Father claims son's death was foul play

Father of a young man who recently died at a Canady's religious community, the Overcomer Ministry, says he suspects foul play.

The Press and Standard/June 14, 2002
By Libby Roerig

An autopsy revealed Stanley Crawford Bean, 27, died of cerebral herniation on Tuesday, May 28, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Willard Long. Bean, who had been living at the Overcomer Ministry in Canady's for about one year and a half, had a history of seizure-like symptoms.

"The man wanted to go," Teresa Stair said in an earlier interview. "He really wanted to be with the Lord. He said, Sister Stair, I am so happy if I am going to be with the Lord."

Teresa Stair is the wife of the Overcomer Ministry's leader Ralph Stair, 69, who is currently being held without bond at the Colleton County Detention Center on two counts of criminal sexual conduct and two counts of breach of trust.

In the weeks proceeding Bean's death, fellow community members say Bean had been complaining of a variety of medical problems including losing his vision, Long said.

"Brother Stan and I prayed for him two days before he died," said Teresa Stair. "The Lord sent me to him, and I prayed for him. I just believed he going to live."

Considering his age and medical history, Stan Bean's father George believes his son's death was deliberate.

"I believe foul play is involved, He walks in there healthy and comes out on a stretcher," George Bean said. "I really have the feeling myself that something was done to Stan to make him have a hemorrhage of the brain."

"I think its bad, they could have saved him. He was sick for two days, and they didn't do anything. They just watched him die. I don't trust those people."

Though Stan Bean died shortly before 11 PM, his father says he wasn't notified until about 8:45 AM the next day. The Colleton County Coroner's office wasn't notified until 9:30 AM, according to Long.

"The cell phone rang," he said. "I forgot who it was, but they said, `Your son Stan passed away peacefully in his sleep.'"

Though the ministry has offered to pay for a portion of the burial costs, George Bean says that gesture isn't enough.

"I'm sort of bitter anyway. There's nothing that can be done now, because my son is dead and buried," said George Bean.

Stan was always a pillar of great health, his father says. "When Stan left home, he was well," George Bean said. Active in many sports such as baseball, basketball and football, Stan Bean also excelled academically and was voted most popular by his high school class, his father said. "He was a normal everyday kid,"he said. After finishing high school, Stan Bean's behavior changed, as he became reckless and wild.

George Bean says the death of his wife in 1998 instigated his son's desire for salvation. Stan Bean, who worked in construction, began attending service at the Seventh Day Adventist church, and shortly thereafter began following Stair.

"I wish I knew how he got involved with that cult," George Bean said. "I don't know how they do it, but they brainwash those people.

"I really would like a way that no other young people could be brought into that place, ever, ever."

Stan Bean and several other men moved to Nickels, Ga. They would work during the week and attend church services on the weekend. "They were giving all their money to that cult," he said. "He gave them everything he had."

After Stan Bean moved to Canady's, George Bean says he made two visits to the farm. "I wanted to see where my son was," he said. "I wanted to meet Stair, but they said he didn't meet people."

Another thing that bothered George Bean was the fact that he never could be alone with his son. "Every time he came out of the Overcomers, he had this guy named Samuel with him. It was like they didn't want him alone," he said.

George Bean recently made another visit to the farm to collect his son's belongings.

"It looked like someone had been through his stuff," he said.

Since his younger son's death, George Bean says he thinks of him all the time. Stan bean's older brother committed suicide in 1990. "It's been a shocker. I'm still numb," he said.

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