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Beard was last seen leaving the Excaliber Club, a nightclub in Freeport, Texas, on March 1, 1986. She has never been seen again. She was employed at a car dealership at the time of her disappearance. She left behind a two-year-old daughter.
In 1995, Paul Gayland Taylor Jr. pleaded guilty to Beard's murder and led authorities to a rice field in Brazoria County, south of Angleton, Texas. He said he had buried her body in a shallow grave there, but a search of the field turned up no evidence. Taylor was a suspect in Beard's case from the beginning, but authorities lacked enough evidence to file charges until 1994. Taylor was incarcerated at the time on charges of driving while intoxicated, and one of his cellmates told investigators he had bragged about killing Beard. He said he shot her to death at his home in Clute, Texas. Taylor was sentenced to life in prison for Beard's murder. He was also sentenced to 25 years in prison for solicitation to commit capital murder; he tried to hire someone to kill a witness in Beard's case.
Foul play is suspected in Beard's disappearance due to the circumstances involved, but her body has never been recovered.