April is Amy, Sixteen Years Later

I lived next door to a serial killer.

Many summer evenings, I sat on his front porch in a white rocking chair, sipping lemonade or iced tea with his wife and our widowed neighbor from across the street.

He killed them both.

Every April 5, I think of Amy and feel compelled to share with the world a memory of two beautiful women who should be here right now. Here’s to you, Amy Vick and Kathy Beadle.


April Is Amy

April doesn’t come and go any more without my thinking of Amy. Amy was my next-door neighbor in the Maplewood subdivision in Franklin. One night as I slept, she died. April, in 1993, was when it happened, a week before Easter, when the rest of us were thinking about new white shoes, chocolate bunnies, and marshmallow eggs.

It was an accident, her husband said.

“This 31-year-old white female was found in the family hot tub . . . Foul play has not been ruled out,” the police report said.

He was the prime suspect.

Neighbors gossiped, said it was murder, that he did it. Not me. I believed him. After all, he was a church-going man, an editor of religious books, he told me. And his house stood fifteen feet from the lilac bush at the corner of my house. My son played on the trampoline in his backyard, and I caught lightning bugs with his son. How could I be so close to a murderer? How could I let my child play in a murderer’s yard?

At the visitation, I stood with him at the coffin. “Everybody says she looks natural,” he said. “She don’t look natural, she looks dead.”

Amy wore her wedding dress of white satin and lace. Her hands were crossed on her chest, her shiny red fingernails stark against so much white. Her dark chestnut hair looked out of place against a pillow of white satin.

Two detectives sat at the back of the room, watching.

At the funeral, I stood on a grassy hillside under a maple tree. The heels of my pumps kept sinking in the damp ground. Everyone there was young — twenties, thirties, maybe early forties. Our hair whipped around in the spring wind. The widower walked out the back door of the funeral parlor and up the long path to the grave, his little son beside him. His navy blazer kept blowing open, and he kept pushing his hair back in place. I felt sorry for him. I turned toward the preacher, who read Scripture from a leather Bible, and bright white sunshine blazed in my face. I closed my eyes, shielded them with my hand, and I could see the outline of the people gathered there on the backs of my eyelids. The words of Skeeter Davis came at me. Why does my heart go on beating? Why do these eyes of mine cry? Don’t they know it’s the end of the world?

Amy was put under in the moist dark earth, a world where bugs and worms crawled and tunneled and carried on their daily lives. A different world under our world of sunlight and laughter and thunder and madness. She was too young to go there.

Her death was ruled accidental.

___

The years rolled by, and I quit thinking about it. I never went back to the cemetery. I even moved away from the blue house where Amy drowned.

But as the calendar flipped over into April, 2003, it all came back. Like the Maplewood lake that yearly went through a cleaning process by turning itself inside out, the bottom coming up to the top and big nasty brown chunks floating on the surface for everyone to see and smell and live with, it all came back up from the bottom of my mind. Thoughts of Amy kept coming at me, and I couldn’t make them stop.

Do you believe people come back from the dead? I do. She did. Amy prodded me from the other side. The pull was so strong I didn’t have a choice. I had to go to the graveyard.

___

“I’ve got to visit Amy’s grave,” I told my husband. “Go with me.”

On a cold April Saturday, we drove down Columbia Pike to the memorial gardens. I remembered the grassy hillside, the maple tree, the approximate location of her grave. We walked up and down every row, checked every marker for her name, but couldn’t find it. I went to the office for help.

“It’s #148,” the young funeral home man said. “In the Garden of Prayer.”

“I looked all over that section and didn’t see her name.”

“Meet me up there. We’ll find it.”

I watched him climb up the hill, stop, look around, scratch his head, hold out his hands in a shrug. “There ain’t no marker. She’s right here, though.” He pointed to the spot. “And she’s buried north to south.”

A chill went over me. No marker. Nothing to show that someone lay beneath the cold spring grass. Nothing to show that a life was lived, a person was gone. You couldn’t even tell a grave was there. It was seamless.

Amy was lost to the world.

No one deserves to be buried, then forgotten.

“Can you look up when she died?” I asked the funeral home man. I’d forgotten and was hoping to see it on her marker. “I know it was in April because my son was home from college on spring break.”

“Yeah, stop in before you leave.”

When I later entered the office, a man with a mustache and a woman with red lipstick stood shoulder-to-shoulder to the young man. They stared hard at me, didn’t even blink. I wanted to run out the door and keep on running up the pike. Why were they looking at me like that?

The young man shifted nervously, cleared his throat. “Ma’am, she died April 5, 1993. Ten years ago today.”

“Oh God.” My lips formed the words, but the sound didn’t come out.

Ten years. Ten years to the day.

Amy came back on the tenth anniversary of her death because she wanted me to know her plight. Her husband got away with murder and left her in an unmarked grave.

___

I thought of Amy’s car wrecks two months before she died. Two of them, eight days apart. The first one, she skidded in gravel and hit a piece of machinery on the side of the road. She had glass embedded in her face and arms and was all scratched up.

The second accident, her car rolled down an embankment and caught fire. She managed to free herself while patting out flames. “Smell my hair,” she told me, as I stood by her bed. “I’ve already cut my bangs, but you can still smell fire in my hair.” It got singed, along with her eyebrows and eyelashes. Her knee was injured, too.

“Amy, what are you trying to do—kill yourself?” I asked her.

When she went to the hospital after the second accident, the glass was still embedded in her face from the first wreck.

Fifty-one days later, she fell out of a boat on Lake Barkley and had to swim to shore. That same night, she got in a hot tub and met her fate.

I can’t understand. No, I can’t understand, how life goes on the way it does.

Had her husband made three attempts to kill her before he succeeded?

___

Amy’s widower went on with his life. He took up with the young widow across the street. President Clinton spoke of them in a State of the Union address — how Tony had placed an ad in worldwide newspapers when he was seventeen, beginning a search for a life-long mate, and now he’d miraculously found the woman of his dreams. They moved to Knoxville together. Two years later, she went missing. I saw the story on the five o’clock news, her picture plastered across the screen of my kitchen TV. I was cooking spaghetti, and I held up my wooden spoon and proclaimed, “He did it. He really did it. He killed them both.” His new bride’s body was found eleven months later, buried in their backyard, entombed in concrete under landscaping stones and timbers. She had been strangled.

He disappeared, then was nabbed up north, attempting to shoplift a suit from a bargain store.

He was tried for murder, given a life sentence.

Amy’s case was re-opened.

He made a surprise appearance in Circuit Court and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He pleaded “guilty in best interest,” not an admission of guilt. The plea kept him from getting the death penalty.

He never said he did it. Amy never got her day in court. Justice was not served in her behalf.

___

April, in 2004, I went to the Franklin courthouse, pulled the records, spent a week reading through them, learned Amy’s father died suspiciously and so did her aunt.

Seven months later, Tony called a reporter from Channel 4 News and confessed to Amy’s murder.

April, in 2005, I visited Amy’s grave and saw that someone had placed a marker there.

Amy got her due.

And Skeeter Davis was now buried a few rows up.

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32 Comments on “April is Amy, Sixteen Years Later”

  1. inktarsia says:

    An amazing story.

  2. drtombibey says:

    Ma’am, that is as sad as I have ever read.

    Dr. B

  3. Lori D says:

    Kathy,
    I came across this link tonight wondering if anything has else has come about with Mr. Tony Vick since he murder my cousin. I always think of Kathy Beadle and how much she meant to us. It was a very sad and hard time. I will be reading your book! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Ginnie P says:

    Kathy,
    I have often wondered if anyone in the subdivision where Tony, Amy & Kathy B lived were suspicious of him. He was suspicious to me from the first day I met him. I just couldn’t put my finger on it until Kathy Beadle went missing. You see she was my niece. The grief, hurt & hardship he put my family through cannot be described. I was involved in the entire process and something like this does something to you that you can never get over. I have to say that it did a lot more to my dear sister & brother-in-law. They took Kathy’s children to raise & did a fantastic job,but sad to say they are both now deceased. One in 2005 & the other in 2006. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

  5. Yvette W. says:

    I enjoyed your story. I knew Amy when she was in High School. She and my sister were best friends, they were roommates in college and she was at my wedding. I heard about Kathy’s story when I lived in North Carolina. It was on Inside Edition. I couldn’t believe he did that. After hearing that they suspected him of killing Amy, I searched the news papers and found the information I needed to tell my family about it. They were all surprised also. I am so glad to hear that people are still remembering both ladies. There lives were taken much to early.

  6. mgb says:

    Amy and Kathy are only two of his victims. Amy’s father died of suspicious circumstances and so did Amy’s aunt Francis Baggett.

  7. Gerald says:

    I went to Amy’s funeral as did all of Tony’s co-workers. See Tony was my administration assistant at the hotel where we worked. I thought there was someting odd about him but could not believe he murdered his wife. I remember all of the girls (cute, young, retail) at the funeral. I was asked by someone who knew him through her, “Do you think Tony did it?” I was shocked. I flew back, “No! How could you ask such a thing.”

    Years later after seeing the news on Television while living in Dallas did I recall his Father In Law passing in an odd way.. and there was someone else.. And I remembered he kind of laughed about it. To say hindsight is 2020 is an understantement.

  8. DebbieH says:

    His affair with Kathy was going on long before he killed Amy. On our cul-de-sac, near their homes, I well remember asking my neighbors why was he not being questioned about this as his business had just failed (money problems), he was having an affair with the woman across the street from him and it was well known, and apparently Amy was well insured. My neighbors thought I had a “bad mind”. Also, Kathy’s first husband had been killed in an air crash when he was in the service and she had his insurance money, some thought this gave Tony the idea as well. The whole thing was terrible, do you remember him trying desperately to sell that house when the insurance wouldn’t pay due to “suspicious determination”? One of my neighbors tried to buy the murder house when it was auctioned at the courthouse. What happened to Kathy Beadle was terrible, as well, however she was having an affair with him when Amy died a shocking death – I find it hard to believe that she didn’t suspect him, at least. Shocking times in Maplewood. It seemed so nice on the surface….

    • Deborah Uphoff says:

      I was hired by Tony Vick to clean his house this was after Amy has her second accident. I lived up the street at 541 Maple Grove Dr. I had been doing house cleaning for sometime and one day I went out on our street and started to place flyers advertising my housecleaning business when I heard someone yelling miss, miss, I turned around to see a man approaching me he said he was interested in having me give him a quote and asked if I would follow him to his house which I did. He went to Kathy Beadles house opened the door and walked in I had no idea who he was and I just assumed he lived there . Kathy was sitting on the couch and Tony got behind her and just put his hands on her shoulders and then Kathy says she would be interested in me cleaning for her. I gave her a quote and then Tony goes well…. can you go over to my house I just live accross the street and I say oh ok I was a little bit confuse about what was going on. I did meet Amy a few days latter she was in bed and she had her arm in a sling and her face was badly cut up I started working a few days after that and I have to admit alot of strange things went on in that house.

  9. Tina Rowe says:

    Way back in 86 the couple cleaned my house weekly, then one day when I was at work, I saw them going into the Hermitage Hotel in some type of royalty dress. Then on the evening news I say that a princess and diplomat had visited our prison to review for some type of grant. Few weeks later on the news was revealed as a hoax and Tony was arrested for impersonating a diplomat. During that broadcast they said that he had been arrested before for working at Third Natl Bank and stealing money. I’ve seen this over the years… and thought wow… I hired a serial killer to clean my house.

  10. Niki vick says:

    I was searching on the Internet for Tony Vick and came across this. He was my uncle not proud to say but Im glad he was caught I too at my young age thought he was weird and glad my parents thought so too and kept me far from him. The day she died I had went to visit the day before but she was out with Kathy and the kids so I missed her but I hadn’t seen her for months before so it was strange that it happened the next day to me and the Kathy murder he had planned months in advance so all these details were shared with my parents.

    • MGB says:

      Jerry, We spoke years ago, right after Tony’s arrest. I would like to compare notes. I couldn’t find you on facebook.

  11. Jerry Vick says:

    I’m the brother of this killer and would like to hear more from anyone…find me on face book.

  12. Tena says:

    I was told of this story within the past year by the father of Kathy’s twin daughters – but this really opens the picture up for me.
    When did the father of the twins leave the picture?
    I know he had met Tony and told me about Amy having multiple accidents and then her murder shortly after.
    I guess it’s just hard to understand how anyone can be so cold and selfish…..pure evil.

  13. MGB says:

    Kathy, I would love to compare notes. I have a timeline of events you might be interested in. I was interviewed by a newspaper columnist that has since developed a relationship with Tony.

  14. kathyrhodes says:

    I’d be interested, MGB, on your timeline. Thanks.

  15. ranne says:

    Kathy
    I was on here looking to see what ever happened to Tony. I was hoping he was never getting out of prison and I found your story. I lived with Tony and Amy the night she died. I was so sad and upset that I couldnt even think of Tony doing anything but later talking to the detectives and after Tony kicked me out without notice because supposedly neigbors were thinking something was going on with us (NEVER THOUGHT OF IT) I started putting pieces togerther and then talked to detectives years later wanting to know if they would reopen the case as I think he may have done it. I always thought there was something going on with Tony and Kathy but never knew for sure until later. Talked to Kathys mom after Kathy died and she said Tony had told her that he killed me. He has no clue on where I went I didnt stay in contact with him. I miss Amy so much and think of her all the time. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  16. Marianne says:

    My mother went to the same church in Knoxville as Kathy and Tony Vick. Apparently Tony quickly gained the trust of the congregation and the ministers very quickly, so he must have been very charismatic. My mother (now deceased) thought they were such a beautiful Christian family and she was impressed with how nicely dressed the children always were. She carried a picture of them that Kathy had given her of their family. My mother introduced me to them once when I took her to a special church function at her church. Vick reportedly began pressing the ministers to allow him to manage the church finances. I can’t recall if they permitted this exactly, but I seem to recall that some money was stolen. Kathy disappeared and for some time Vick told eveybody that she had cancer and had gone away for treatment. He didn’t provide any address for any person to reach her. Everything got very strange then, and suddenly it’s im the Knoxville paper that Vick had murdered Kathy and buried her under the concrete. My dtr. in law and son attended the church academic school and as we reminisced about the church this evening Vick’s name came up. I wondered if he was still in prison and if the children grew up to be okay. I noted someone mentioned the children were taken by a relative and can’t tell for the comments if it is the relative or the children who have died. Such a very, very sad tale of human evil and the misery he brought onto so many people. The story is eerie, and it is so disconcerting to look back on the events and see what an mesmerizing effect Vick had on his victims, both those he killed and those he took advantage of and those to who he just pretended to be something he wasn’t–a decent Christian family man. In fact, he surely must be a demon.

  17. cant forget says:

    I too worked with Tony. I knew there was something “not right” about him from the moment I met him. I am convinced I spoiled a plan he had to sue the hotel we worked at when he intentionally tried to electricute himself. Sounds strange I know, and it was. After Amy died he showed up with the new girl one night at the hotel. He was very nervous when he saw me. I always thought he was gay, yet he had a completely different demenor that night. All these years later this story gives me the creeps.

  18. Steve Papuchis says:

    Interesting stories. Tony worked for me for years managing my store. One day he he called me in the back and and gave me this sad story about how he had been diagnosed with cancer. I even felt his side and there were a series of knots (tumors)? Anyway everyone at the store believed him and were always praying for him, bringing him and Amy food, etc. Amy worked at Dillards in the same mall. I believed him and kept him on full salary even though he wasn’t working. His aunt got hit by a truck (very suspicious circumstances) and he and Amy inherited a bunch of money and they opened a restaurant in Franklin. Tony claimed God healed his cancer. The restaurant lasted a few months and went under. Tony came back to work for me but after a month or so I caught him stealing and fired him. A few weeks later I found a live copperhead in the store. Tony then went to work (I believe) for the Maxwell House Hotel. It was shortly after that he killed Amy. We (everyone at my store who worked with him) all knew he did it from the moment it happened. I wish the Franklin police believed he did and maybe his second wife would still be alive. There are lots more really weird stories I could tell about Tony if I had time. Some of the stuff was really bizzare.

    • Mark says:

      Just came across all of this today. I was the one that bought the restaurant from him in the Maples shopping center. His story was that he had cancer and couldn’t run it anymore due to his health. Only met Amy once when we closed the deal. Of course, all of the stories of the money the restaurant was making and even the tax returns were bogus. It was just a few months after that when I heard about Amy’s death and the whispers about the suspicious circumstances.

  19. Babette says:

    I went to high school with and graduated the same year as both Tony and Amy. My father was friends with Tony’s dad, who worked at the barber shop in the mall. Tony’s dad was such a nice man, and I so hope that he died before Tony committed these murders. Amy was a friend of mine in high school, and a very sweet girl. I have no idea how she ended up with Tony. While we felt sorry for Tony because he did not have a mother, we were all aware of how strange he was. One day, I sat in his seat in English class and the usually very quiet Tony walked up to me and said, ” get out of my seat, or I will kill you.” Needless to say, I got up and moved. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how abnormal it is to say that to someone. I am so disgusted that he could have gotten away with Amy’s murder long enough to have done it again. While it is also sad that Kathy was having an affair with him, in NO way did she deserve what happened to her. I have been a teacher for almost thirty years now, and it scares me when I see a student who exhibits the same personality characteristics that I remember Tony having, and unfortunately, there are some. My heart goes out to Kathy and Amy’s familys.

    • Jon Vick says:

      His mother and father were both in the house when he murdered my mother. They both lived long enough to see him go to prison. I was raised by them until they died. His mother died in 2003, but lost her personality and memories years earlier from several strokes. His dad died in 2005 from heart failure while in the hospital with pneumonia.

      • MGB says:

        Jonathon, You used to come into Dillards with your mom and we picked on each other. You refused to call me by name, so I called you every boy name but Jonathon. Your dad called me the day your mother died. I immediately called the police. The managers in the store knew things weren’t right. Amy would call me at 10:00pm and tell me Tony was leaving the house to run errands. I asked her what errands could he be running at that time of night. She never let on that anything was amiss. After her car wreck we talked and she dismissed it. I have a copy of the news reel from Channel 5 regarding the princess scam. I came in late one night to a phone call asking me if I had seen Tony on the news. They said Kathy was missing. I called Carthage police and told them that they needed to be looking for a body, that he was suspected of killing his first wife. You came to my house and played with my daughter in her playhouse. I know that was a long time ago, you may not remember. Your mom was good to me and she needed a friend more than anyone I had ever known. She never confided in me. I have a couple of things she gave me.

      • Jon Vick says:

        Thank you for the information MGB…I remember going into Dillard’s many times, but I don’t remember any names besides Ms. Moore. I haven’t been able to find any copies of the news reports on TV. If you get a chance, would you send me some of the information to jonvick at gmail? Thanks!

      • Steve Papuchis says:

        Jonathon…I don’t suppose you would remember me but I knew you when you were only 7 or 8 and you would sometimes come with your parents to the mall. At that time I was just starting a new business. We published and sold pocket cards with a persons name and the meaning . When I was putting the business together Tony asked if I would add Jonathon spelled with an “o” to the inventory because that is how you spelled your name, and I did. My last memory of you is walking up the mall with you dad. At that time, and even now something struck me as very sad. I was so glad to hear from you on this blog. I know you have been through some horrible things. I hope you are doing ok.

      • Jon Vick says:

        Yes Steve, I am doing fine. I remember the store, but not anything specific. I actually still have the pocket card with my name on it.

  20. kathyrhodes says:

    Correct, on the affair. The police notes in the public record files reveal such. The three of them always seemed to be together, though. Kathy went with Tony to Amy’s Visitation, even though we neighbors tried to get her not to because it didn’t look right.

  21. MGB says:

    Steve, I had dinner with you at their house and you visited my store, in the same mall, to discuss all the details. The police believed he was guilty from the moment they found out about it. I was contacted by a reporter that had quit her job and was writing a book,[prior to meeting him]. She gave me a timeline that is very interesting. She has since fallen prey to his “charm”.

  22. Jerry vick says:

    Tony, my brother, for years had quite the con game going on. He claimed he was the next Jesus and the dead could speak through him. He managed to get a following, one of which wS Francis Baggett (the aunt of Amy). When she suddenly walked out in front of an 18 wheeler on I-24 and was killed Tony was left everything including the pay off of a nice Lexus which Francis had in her name. That is when Tony opened the resturant in Franklin, luring my parents to go with him. As I was told the resturant was doing good, until the husband of Francis contested her will which left Tony everything. He won in court ehich
    Meant Tony had some repaying to do. He came up with a cancer plan, Amy’sany accidents and even drained my parents for the sale of there home money to te pay Baggett. He even had to turn over the car to Baggett. He finally finished re paying after killing Amy, and her mother and father… And set out for a new money pot named Kathy.

  23. Steve Papuchis says:

    I had heard rumors of this… that Tony could walk through walls, talk to the dead, etc. One rumor I heard was that he had Francis convinced her family in heaven was calling her. She stepped out in front of that truck after changing her will. Tony had the cancer scam going on before this though. He had it going on when he worked for me. I knew Francis at this time. At the store we served as an outlet for ticket sales…mostly gospel groups. One day your Dad came in to buy some tickets. I told him we were all prayiing for a cure to Tony’s cancer and he gave me the oddest look, like…”What”? At the time I so believed Tony was sick that I thought “My God…Tony didn’t even tell his parents to protect them the anguish”. What an idiot I was.

  24. John Puckett says:

    Jerry, my name is John Puckett. I was a former FBI agent in Clarksville in the 80’s, If you are Tony’s bother that worked for the MCSO there, would you call me at 256-659-5631, I would like to communicate with you in person about Tony. Thanks


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