Amos Rex McBeth


Amos Rex McBeth

Death 27 May 1962 (aged 19–20)
Martinsburg, Keokuk County, Iowa, USA
Burial Keokuk County, Iowa, USA
Memorial ID 54434626 View Source
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Amos McBeth (twin brother of Anna) and his killer were good friends, cousins and after returning home from a shopping trip to Ottumwa with the family on this particular Saturday, the two spent the rest of the afternoon, hunting ground worms and fishing on the bank of the Skunk River.

About 8 p.m. Gayno Smith drove his McBeth cousins to a square dance in Brighton, Iowa, 25 miles away. At about 10 p.m. he told them he was going to take off for awhile and would be back to get them at midnight.

It would come out later that Gayno Smith, actually headed back to the house near Martinsburg to carry out his plan. He killed his aunt Dora and uncle Andy, drug their bodies out to the garage, attempted to clean up the house of the evidence, cut the phone lines, pulled the light fuses, and headed back to pick up the kids from the dance.

When they arrived home later that night during a thunderstorm and driving rain, they noticed the house was dark, their parents car did not appear to be in the garage. Things didn't seem right. The girls jumped out and ran to the house to look for flashlights or candles to light their way. Amos was suspicious and went outside to take a look around. When he found the bodies of his parents in the garage, Amos did not yet realize as he rushed back to the house and told Smith what he had found, that Gayno Smith was the killer. That's when Gayno pulled out his guns and started hunting his cousins one by one.

As they dashed through the darkened house in an attempt to hide, Gayno pursued them, with his guns and using a flashlight, he shot wildly at any shadow, and blindly around corners, spraying the house with gunfire. Anna was fatally shot in the back in the livingroom. Donna was shot in the chest and head, falling near the bed where her baby lay fast asleep. Amos was shot in the head and fell but was able to get up and run from the house, and was heard pleading for his life just before another shot rang out, leaving him lifeless in a ditch.

It was days later and after a massive manhunt involving 100 law officers, that Gayno Smith was captured hiding in a barn in Wapello county. Ironically he was being returned to town, the route taking him past the gymnasium in Hedrick where a mass funeral was being held for his innocent victims.


Sigourney Ia.
from the Des Moines Register

Mass funeral services will be held on Wednesday afternoon in the High School gymnasium at Hedirck for the five members of the Andrew McBeth family.

The Revs. John Robinson and George Huffman will officiate at Methodist services.

The Reynolds Funeral Chapel here was handling the arrangements. The bodies will lie in state in the chapel beginning this morning. Burial will be in the Helm Cemetery northeast of Fremont.


Gayno Smith confessed and was convicted on all counts. He also admitted to the murder of his stepmother Juanita Smith who had disappeared months earlier and was found in a shallow grave near her home. It was speculated that Andy McBeth may have had clues and become suspicious of Gayno regarding the disappearance of his stepmother which led to the killings. Gayno Smith spent 42 years, the rest of his life, in prison, where he died at 67 years old.

Written by Dana

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