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Autopsy confirms remains found to be murdered Waco woman

Elizabeth Ann Romero was declared missing in April. A mother-daughter duo was arrested, but not the only ones there
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Posted at 2:43 PM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 17:35:56-04


GATESVILLE, Texas— Remains found by authorities have been confirmed to be Elizabeth Ann Romero, a Waco woman who disappeared in April.

The autopsy was performed by the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, according to Public Information Officer Heather Ashley, Coryell County Sheriff's Office.

A mother and daughter are now being accused of murdering Elizabeth over an alleged lumber theft, with another being arrested for tampering with evidence.

Betsy Ayers Robinson and her daughter Jessica Colleen Robinson have both been arrested for murder.

Officials said Jessica's cousin, Cody Gene Ayers, was arrested for tampering with evidence but has since bonded out.

Multiple people mentioned in affidavits have since been interviewed for the murder.

However, it remains unknown whether any new charges will be brought forward.


New information and details on the murder of a Waco resident and the charges of two Central Texans were made available Thursday by the Coryell County Sheriff's Office.

Elizabeth Ann Romero was a resident of Waco before her disappearance in April.

On Aug. 23, Coryell County sheriff's deputies arrested 57-year-old Betsy Ayers Robinson and 42-year-old Cody Gene Ayers of Gatesville regarding her disappearance and murder. Betsy would later be charged with murder and tampering with evidence, officials said.

Cody was charged with tampering with evidence he has since bonded out, authorities said in a press release.

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Cody Gene Ayers, 42, charged with tampering with evidence

Jessica Colleen Robinson, the daughter of Betsy, was also arrested for Elizabeth's murder, authorities said.

On April 8, the Gatesville Police Department officially registered Elizabeth as a missing person.

Elizabeth's family would later receive information that the last known location may be at 809 Mocassin Bend Road, Betsy's residence.

Welfare checks were performed at the residence with no success, but on May 10, authorities received a tip that Elizabeth was indeed murdered at the address, her body loaded into a blue pickup truck and dumped off a bridge. That pickup truck would belong to Betsy Robinson and be frequently driven by her daughter, according to officials.

This tip specified Jessica killed Elizabeth and that another woman, Erin Bailey Finchum, was involved with the murder.

Sheriff deputies and other law enforcement agencies visited the address with specially-trained dogs to search for the body but turned up empty, the affidavits claimed.

However, on May 19, authorities said a "cooperating individual" was assisting in the investigation and repeated the allegation that Jessica killed Elizabeth and Erin was involved.

Erin was arrested earlier that day on an unrelated charge of assault causing bodily injury. She was interviewed for the murder and initially denied it before confessing after being confronted with new details from authorities, officials said.

Jessica was also arrested that same day for theft of lumber, a crime Elizabeth was also involved in that occurred on March 31, said officials.

This lumber theft would serve as a catalyst for Elizabeth's murder.

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Elizabeth Ann Romero, deceased

Jessica was interviewed about the murder and also denied involvement, said officials.

When authorities investigated Betsy, Jessica's mother, she admitted that in own her home, her daughter shot and killed Elizabeth, but said she knew nothing about the body's whereabouts.

In the affidavits, officials introduced a new witness present during Elizabeth's death: Jimmy Rutherford.

Authorities said Jimmy stated he saw Jessica steal Elizabeth's phone and then assault her; holding a serrated knife to her throat. Jimmy said he himself took the knife away from Jessica and threw it into the sink.

In the house, Jimmy said he overheard Betsy speaking with Elizabeth in the bathroom regarding the missing money from the lumber sale.

Betsy would later corroborate this by telling authorities she forced Elizabeth to "strip down like an inmate" to search her, according to authorities.

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Betsy Ayers Robinson, 57. Charged with murder and tampering with evidence

Meanwhile, Jimmy left the residence, but before he did, he told authorities he saw Jessica outside the home with a handgun that was allegedly used to kill Elizabeth.

Jessica spoke with Jimmy saying she did not want to kill Elizabeth in front of her late father, Lonnie Robinson. Lonnie, who was disabled, told Jessica where he kept his handgun. Authorities did not specify if Lonnie knew his daughter's intentions before his death. Lonnie's death was confirmed by the county's PIO.

Betsy told authorities that Jimmy was there to "dig a hole for the Mexican." Authorities did not disclose whether Jimmy was aware of or agreed to this task.

Instead, he left, and per Betsy, all four women sat on her couch and confronted Elizabeth about the lumber theft and confronted Elizabeth about allegedly lying about the profits.

Betsy also corroborated Jimmy's previous statements; how Jessica threatened Elizabeth with a knife and disclosed she witnessed the shooting. Betsy admitted she did not try to save Elizabeth, call the police, or contact emergency medical services, according to the affidavit.

Elizabeth died quickly on the couch, Betsy told authorities. She had the two other women clean up the scene and also participated in removing evidence.

Betsy contacted and instructed Ayers to dispose of the couch Elizabeth died on, she told authorities. The couch was sawed and thrown in a burn pit.

Betsy told authorities a new person- Anthony Cosper.

The relationship between Anthony and the others was not disclosed; however, on a later date after the murder, Betsy and Erin traveled together to his home to discuss it with him, officials said.

Anthony said to authorities Erin did admit she was present during the murder and assisted in the disposal of the body, placing Elizabeth in a "rubber-made tote," according to the affidavit. However, he told authorities he believed Erin was under duress during the process.

During her own interview, Erin denied helping in the murder and the accusations of moving the body, contradicting Anthony's statement, authorities noted.

Authorities said they determined in their investigation that Betsy was the one who told Jessica about Elizabeth's alleged lies via text about the lumber theft between her and an unidentified contractor and concluded in their affidavit that due to probable cause, she was not free to leave.

For her role, Betsy Ayers Robinson was charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and murder, a first-degree felony. Her daughter, Jessica Colleen Robinson, was charged with tampering with evidence, and capital murder, a capital felony. If convicted, Jessica could be sentenced to death for her role.

Authorities did not disclose whether Erin Bailey Finchum, Jimmy Rutherford, or Anthony Cosper will face charges for their participation and knowledge of Elizabeth Ann Romero's death.


Two Central Texans were arrested Tuesday for the murder of a Waco resident who disappeared in April.

Betsy Ayers Robinson, 57, and Cody Gene Ayers, 42, both of Gatesville, were arrested by Coryell County sheriff's deputies.

Robinson was charged with the murder of Elizabeth Ann Romero and tampering with evidence. Ayers was charged with tampering with evidence.

Romero was first reported as missing to Waco police after her family was unable to reach her.

Ayers was released on a $20,000 bond Wednesday while Robinson remains in jail on a bond totaling over $1 million. Additionally, Betsy Robinson is the mother of Jessica Colleen Robinson, who was arrested on May 19 on a property theft charge, and would later be charged with murder.

While Romero resided in Waco, she was known to frequent Gatesville, her family told authorities. Gatesville police had added Romero to the missing persons' database when her disappearance was first reported months ago.

Romero's family would later receive information regarding an address near Gatesville where Romero might be. Coryell County authorities performed a welfare check at the request of Waco police, who had also begun a missing persons' investigation, separate from the Coryell County Sheriff's Office's own.

In May, Coryell County deputies received information that Romero was dead and her body discarded at the same address they conducted their welfare check. Authorities did not specify the conditions on how the new information was received.

After multiple interviews and searches, Jessica C. Robinson was charged with murder, the day after she was arrested for the theft charge.

Jessica's charge was upgraded to capital murder, and she was additionally charged with tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. She remains in the Coryell County Jail.

Police said they expect more arrests to come. The investigation is ongoing.