Hello. We are John and Betty Doering. We lost our youngest daughter, Twila Jane Doering Wiley on August 7, 2003.  Twila, who had just turned 21 and was pregnant with her first child, was killed by one shot to the head.  Her body was found at our local park.  We know the truth will come out but it is very hard waiting.  We are determined to touch all the bases in remembering and honoring our sweet and beautiful abruptly departed daughter and our expected grandchild.  Both of them as well as her family and friends that also were senselessly victimized by this loss deserve nothing less.

We know that Twila is among a flight of angels now and looks down on us smiling!


Latest News

Death scene looked wrong, officers testify

Monroe County's coroner and an Illinois State Police investigator testified Thursday that there was something peculiar about the way Twila Wiley's body was found in August 2003 that suggested to them that she had been murdered. The coroner, Julie Gummersheimer, and Trooper Benjamin Koch were among the officials who were summoned to Konarcik Park in Waterloo on the night of Aug. 7, 2003, after Wiley's husband, James C. Wiley, reported that his pregnant wife had committed suicide. Testifying on Thursday in James Wiley's murder trial, Gummersheimer and Koch said that there was something odd about the way her belongings were arrayed near her body when it was found in a creek bed north of the park's lake. A 9-mm semiautomatic pistol lay at her right side alongside a nearly empty can of Pepsi and the contents of her purse, including a small spiral notebook. A gun lock was found tucked inside her handbag. "To me, the scene didn't appear proper," Gummersheimer said. "Everything seemed to be too 'in place,' which alerted me that something was up." Koch, an Illinois State Police crime scene investigator, said he drew a similar conclusion when he arrived at the scene. While he was being cross-examined by Wiley's defense attorney, John O'Gara, Koch denied that he had told others at the scene that it appeared to have been "staged" to look like a suicide. "The scene did not appear right to me," Koch testified. Wiley, 26, sat impassively through nearly seven hours of testimony Thursday. He has been charged with first-degree murder, homicide of an unborn child, concealing a homicide and obstructing justice. Authorities have suggested that Wiley may have become enraged at his wife because she was cheating on him. During opening arguments on Wednesday, O'Gara said that he would present evidence that Twila Wiley had become despondent and had committed suicide, using the gun that her husband kept in his nightstand. O'Gara also said that he would detail several sloppy mistakes that Waterloo investigators made that undermined the investigation. Although the defense is not expected to begin presenting its case until next week, O'Gara began picking apart the accounts of several law enforcement witnesses on Thursday during cross-examination. O'Gara got one prosecution witness, Capt. Suzanne Sweet of the Waterloo Police Department, to acknowledge that she executed a search warrant at the Wileys' apartment within days of Twila Wiley's death without first notifying the Illinois State Police. The Illinois State Police was the lead agency investigating Twila Wiley's death. Under cross-examination, Sweet also acknowledged that she found an empty gun box and a leather gun pouch in the Wileys' bedroom but did not take them into evidence. Earlier, O'Gara asked Koch, the State Police investigator, why Twila Wiley's hands were not tested for gunpowder residue at the scene. Koch had testified that he placed paper bags over her hands at the scene to preserve blood evidence. "The gunshot residue folks don't like it when you put bags on the hands before a gunshot residue test," O'Gara told Koch. Koch told O'Gara under cross-examination that he returned to the morgue at St. Mary's Hospital in East St. Louis several days after Twila's body was found. He said he was looking for bruises, which can suggest that a victim struggled with an assailant and which often do not appear until several days after death. Koch said he found "nothing remarkable" on Twila Wiley's body. "That is no defensive wounds?" O'Gara asked. "No scrapes?" "No, sir," Koch said.


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Twila's Eulogy
as delivered by
Annie Rieken, Aug 13 2003

Peace be to this house, again I say, Peace be to this house. Luke 10:5

Twila's family honors me in the privilege of delivering these thoughts and remembrances. I've had a lot of help putting these reflections into a perspective that we hope will be restorative but more importantly inspire some closure and hope for aching hearts.

Did you all see the beautiful happiness collage that the family put together? As challenging as that must have been for the family to coordinate just a few evenings after Twila's passing, I believe it must have been very therapeutic to touch back on those times and events when Twila's world was part of their own.

She was a loved child, she knew it, and it showed in that smile that only Twila had. I know that she enjoyed her birthday parties, and Christmases, Easters and all the family celebration times, which build memories and lay solid foundations in a young mind. Twila did understand the principles of the Bible, she knew right from wrong, she memorized scriptural poems Grandma taught, and she remembered who Christ is. Once you know Christ, he never forgets you.

Twila had a unique character, tender and tough at the same time. I've seen her kiss her cat and known her to lay someone out for double-crossing her. In school counseling terms, we call young people like Twila "strong willed"; leave it to Twila to put a new edge to that meaning. Sometimes the very personality trait we most fear in our children is the very same character we admire in adults. These are the kids that are intense, hard to handle; almost impossible to steer in any direction but their own path, but eventually they grow up to be exemplary adults when they've had a good start. She was definitely a strong willed individual and by the time she was a young teen, she had made her own decision to chart her life journey on a course that John and Betty knew would be challenging.

Being a teen bride is always formidable, but she took her commitment seriously. Don't we always want to spare our children from a struggle? When you raise a strong-willed child, at a point, you have to make the decision to let them go on their own journey or you face the realization that you will lose them. You could never force Twila into a mold she could not abide by. I know that John and Betty did everything within their human capacity to try to help Twila make sound decisions. This was one young woman who needed her life on her own terms. I want you folks, John and Betty, to remember you laid the proper foundations, and you planted the right seeds. She always knew her family loved her. She always knew the door was open to her.

Yesterday morning I went and spoke to the women Twila worked with and through their tears they told me some really wonderful things about her. Twila trained a young woman, Meg, who was Twila’s age. They were the youngest of the work crew. Meg told me how much she admired Twila. She told me that Twila never made her feel foolish or inept while she was learning. Twila was patient with her, understanding, and encouraged her. One of the others stated that Twila took her position there very responsibly. She was good with the customers and the other associates. John and Betty, they admired her work ethic. That comes from something she learned in her home life with you. Meg, Twila’s work buddy, said very sincerely to me, “she was a really good human, she definitely needs to be remembered.” I assured her that would be no problem.

Before I left their store, Meg approached me and said one last thing. She said that one big thing she admired about Twila was that she was non-judgmental. Twila confided to Meg that she had had some scrapes when she was younger but that she had not necessarily wanted too many people to know that about her. She didn't want to be judged by the way she used to be, she wanted to be known for how she was now. She told Meg that she didn't want to be judged so in turn she didn't judge others. This statement tells me that Twila saw her life moving into a new or different phase. She most certainly saw her life journey as having a "then" and a "now."

Twila specifically stated that she did not want to be judged and there is a lesson for us all in her statement. For all the questions left surrounding Twila's departure from this Earth, we are charged not to judge. We need to turn this all over to God. It is hard to trust in God's plan when we feel so miserable and can't begin to put the pieces into any semblance of order. It does feel like a nightmare that we wish we could wake up from. Turn it over to God. He will give us peace. He is personal; he never left Twila, at any point of her life or death. We don't know why things happen the way they do sometimes, this is where we have to trust in the creator's will.

All things work for good to those who believe. That may sound like such a hollow statement at this time of grief. Can we rest knowing that the moment Twila’s spirit left her body she and her baby were instantly in heaven? Scripture tells us in eight places the reassurance that we instantly go to heaven on our death, that is a immediate and easy as stepping through a door. We will all be reunited with our families and friends some day. You will know the baby. We have to wait in the now and fulfill the lessons a tragedy of this magnitude leaves for us. Somehow, some day the reason will be known. Where Twila and the baby are now is in a perfection our human minds cannot comprehend. There is peace, love, joy, contentment and all the aspects of completion that our human understanding cannot hold.

John, Betty, Janay, Candy, Troy, other close family and friends; grief in this proportion takes some time to come to terms with. It will rise up and go away in the most unexpected places. The adversary loves times of sorrow to double your anguish. Satan will try to fill your memories with self-recrimination, doubt, anger and just about every form of unjustified guilt you can imagine. I exhort you all to resist him. In our minds, we can not hold two conflicting thoughts. We cannot hold a negative and a positive simultaneously. God's word and love always remain more powerful over anything the adversary tries. I encourage you to memorize a simple line of scripture or think of a mission statement that will sustain you in the mental assault to come.

Simple scriptural passages such as:

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Or
"He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Only God can fill the giant hole left by this experience. These words will lend comfort. God is personal, call on him.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, height or depth nor anything ,else in all creations will be able to separate us from the love of God. Romans 8 :38

Peace be to this house.



  Family Photos
Click to enlarge
Age 7 - 1989
Sister Janay
Age 7 - 1985
Brother Troy
Age 7 - 1978
Sister Candy
Age 7 - 1980
  Twila  Grandmother
Margie Doering
Parents John & Betty

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