Tayler Rock, 22, was not killed by a Cowley County Sheriff Deputy because he made a mistake, or because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rock was specifically targeted and murdered as part of a larger conspiracy involving the deputy, and two women whom Tayler was in child custody battles with, according to the lawsuit filed on behalf of his family.
To understand how and why Tayler Rock came to be on an isolated road, being shot to death by Deputy Steven Deill on May 31, 2014, it is important to first understand the relationships between Rock, Ana Bedolla, Shea Casurole, and Deputy Deill.
Ana Bedolla, at the time of Rock’s death, was a corrections officer with the Cowley County Jail, and is the mother of A. Rock, who is believed to be Tayler Rock’s daughter. Bedolla and Rock had a relationship which had deteriorated prior to A.’s birth. As a result, Bedolla refused to let Tayler see the toddler.
Shortly before Rock’s death, Bedolla was in need of a babysitter, and decided to allow Tayler to watch A. This was the first time Rock had A., and he told Bedolla that he would not return her to Bedolla until after an upcoming court date, which, according to Bedolla’s attorney, was legal.
In the days before Rock was killed, Bedolla, in the heat of an argument, threatened to have a Cowley County Sheriff’s Deputy kill Tayler. Tayler repeatedly told his friends that he was being harassed by local law enforcement, and that he felt the harassment was related to his relationship with Officer Bedolla.
Cowley County terminated Bedolla’s employment one week after Rock’s death. She is believed to have moved out of the state.
Deputy Steven Deill
Prior to his death, Tayler told friends that Bedolla had stated that she was having a sexual relationship with Deill, who at that time was a Cowley County Sheriff Deputy. Tayler’s family believes that Deill and Bedolla, acting together, accessed department records pertaining to Rock, as Bedolla was looking for information to aide in her custody battle, which was a violation of Rock’s privacy.
Tayler’s family has also stated that Deill harassed Rock on multiple occasions. After Rock’s death, Deill was placed on administrative leave, and has never returned to the department, and has reportedly moved out of the state of Kansas. This has not stopped Deill from threatening Rock’s mother with litigation over posts she has made on Facebook pertaining to the case.
Deill is known in Cowley County as “Dirty Deill” (pronounced “deal”).
Shea Casurole is the mother of S. Casurole, a child believed to be the eldest daughter of Tayler Rock. Despite his repeated requests, Casurole refused to allow Rock to see his daughter for nearly a year prior to his death. Out of the blue, on the day Rock was killed, Casurole called him to tell him that he could come and see his daughter in Coffeyville.
What Tayler did not know is that when he left Coffeyville to return to Arkansas City, Casurole called Bedolla to inform her that Rock was heading back to Arkansas City. Bedolla then called Deputy Deill who agreed to stop Rock on his way home, which he did, after following Tayler along the rural road (Hwy W-166) under the pretext of a child welfare check, and because Rock had a suspended license. She is believed to have moved out of the state.
Tayler Rock’s Death
Deill alleges that upon approaching Tayler’s vehicle that Tayler had his torso and arms hanging out of the driver side window. Tayler’s family believes he did this out of fear, due to Bedolla’s threat to have him shot by a deputy. According to Deill’s statements, Tayler then rolled up the window, then rolled it down a few inches. Deill says that he then reached his arm into the window, unlocked the door, and opened it.
Deill says that he informed Rock that he was under arrest, and then attempted to remove Tayler from the vehicle, despite being aware that the car was running, in gear, sitting alongside a steep embankment, and that a baby was in the backseat.
At this point, Deill alleges that a struggle ensues, and that, despite being significantly larger than Rock, that Deill is unable to remove Rock from the vehicle. Deill says that he then drew his firearm, and told Tayler, “Don’t make me shoot you”.
Then, according to Deill, Rock grabbed his wrist with his right hand and accelerated the car forward. Deill says that he was dragged by the car, and that while being dragged, he opened fire, killing Rock, because he was in fear for his life.
Deill alleges that at that time, he was able to break free, and that the car then travels off the road, into a ditch, and then out of the ditch, through a barbed wire fence, coming to a stop several hundred yards into a field.
Deill claims that he was dragged and ran over by the car, but was listed as having “extremely minor injuries” by hospital staff that night. From the time Deill called in the initial stop on the radio, to the time that he reported “shots fired” on the radio was only three minutes.
During the traffic stop, a witness, M. came upon the scene. His accounting of the events do not support Deill’s story. M. states that when he arrived on the scene, Deill had the driver side door of the car open, and was bent over at the waist, feet planted on the ground, and his entire torso inside of the vehicle.
M. states that he never saw any struggle, never saw Deill with a gun, and that Deill’s body was not moving as if he were struggling with anyone. Despite being present when Deill claims to have fired the shots, M. states that he never heard any gunshots. M. did see the vehicle lurch forward, and says that Deill had both hands on the steering wheel as the car moved into the ditch.
Deill’s patrol car was equipped with a dashboard camera, but, according to the Cowley County Sheriff’s Department, the camera was not operational. The car has since been sold, and the whereabouts of the camera are unknown.
Despite having evidence of the relationships between Rock, Bedolla, Casurole, and Deill, as well as the testimony of M., which clearly suggests that Rock was shot sometime prior to the car lurching forward, contradicting Deill’s story, the Cowley County District Attorney ruled that Rock’s death was justified.
The video below was made shortly before Tayler Rock’s death. Tayler, in red, was a talented musician, and an exceptional athlete. Rock was also crowned the winter homecoming king at his school. In a sad twist of irony, the song is entitled, “My Final Farewell”.