Buried Memories by Irene Pence


Texas 1985.  Police were led to believe that Fire Department Captain Jimmy Don Beets’ body was on the property of his wife, 48-year-old Betty Lou Beets.  Their search led to them finding the man’s body inside the wishing well carefully covered in a sleeping bag.  While tips and intuition paid off in this case… the police were in for a surprise.

Further down in the well, they found the body of Betty Lou’s fourth husband, who was claimed to have left her years before without a word and without his truck, Doyle Wayne Barker.

Now the police had a chilling realization.  The soft-spoken, petite blond woman who was adored by so many, was not who she portrayed herself to be.  In fact as they dug deeper into her past they found out a few things that apparently had missed their attention:

  • She had tried to run over her third husband with a car.
  • She had shot her second husband in the back (claiming self-defense)

While husbands two and three survived the outrageous attempts on their lives, as they now knew…. all were not so lucky.

Betty Lou Beets was sentenced to die by lethal injection and in February of 2000, she was the second woman to be executed in Texas since the Civil War.




I do have diverse tastes in my reading… and yes, for whatever reason I am drawn to the occasional true crime.  As in this case, often I have never heard about the crime prior to reading the book or listening to it on audio.  I am not someone who enjoys watching the news and I rarely take time to read the newspaper…. maybe that is why I am in the dark about many of these things.  I choose not to watch the news because I find so much about the state of our world to be sad and I can not put that on me day after day without becoming sad myself… yet occasionally, as in this story – I want to know what in the world happened and what in the world would cause someone to do what they did.  (Apparently I can take my true world crimes only in small doses and in my timing…. go figure. )


Buried Memories is narrated by George Newbern.  He has the ideal voice and tone for such a read.  The true story takes you back through Betty’s life as a young mom, and details about where she would meet her future husbands and what she looked for in a husband.  Betty’s formula was definitely premeditated.  She became known as the Texas Black Widow.  More heartbreaking, is the way she involved her son and daughter in her doings…  in one case, having her adult daughter come over and help her move the body.

A strange and powerful retelling of Betty’s horrifying crimes without being graphic or gory (two things that would have been deal breakers for me).

Readers of True Crime would appreciate this retelling of Betty’s troubled life and the psyche that led her to become the woman she was.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 15 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: July 16, 2014



13 thoughts on “Buried Memories by Irene Pence

  1. I’m actually from Central Texas and remember well the big to-do made over this, with tv clips, movies, etc during my eighth and ninth grade years (1998-2000). She is one of many reasons that I quit watching the news. However, the book looks very interesting to me because I love to learn what moves people to do the things they do.

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