Betty Sanders Brock, of Milton, Florida, was befriended online by Clayton Ray Strong in 2010 while her husband of 35-years was terminally ill with cancer. Strong showed up in the couple's yard pleading to help out around the property in exchange for a place to stay.
Five months after her husband's death, under pressure, false promises, and orchestrated alienation from her family by Strong, Betty consented to marry him.
Betty had unknowingly opened the door to a predator. He quickly took control of her time, relationships, conversations, access to the outside world, assets, and options.
In an initial "love-bombing" (a common tactic of predatory relationship abusers), he bought a new truck and Airstream trailer with her savings, and took her traveling to national parks she had always wanted to see. Combined with controlling her access to her phone, this soon became an important tool in isolating her from her family.
From there, Strong began an escalating pattern of emotional and physical abuse, isolation, imprisonment, and psychological torture of Betty and threats of violence against her family.
When the family intervened, Strong threatened them with a gun, and threatened to disappear Betty, saying "You will never see her again." In 2016, he made good on that threat, disappearing in the Airstream, carefully concealing their whereabouts from family and friends, and using PO Boxes and a secret friend to handle business, so that their whereabouts could not be discovered.
By December, 2016, Betty -- a robust and fit outdoors woman -- was dead under suspicious circumstances in Harpster, Idaho, 2,500 miles from home. Strong arranged immediately cremation of her body. Idaho County Sheriffs Department made no attempt to investigate Betty's death, contact relatives, conduct an autopsy, or check for domestic violence police reports, in spite of realizing, at the time, that the circumstances were highly suspicious. They have refused to investigate, despite appeals from Betty's family and demonstration of means, motive and opportunity.
Three months after Betty's death, in March, 2017, Clayton Strong remarried. Betty's children warned her and her family, but like Betty, she "stood by her man." On August 7, 2021, his new wife, Shirley Barrington Weatherly, was found dead by her son, Russell Barrington. She had been shot to death, and Strong was on the run. Once again, he had become an owner in all of his victims assets prior to her death. Shortly before her death, Shirley had asked for a divorce and discussed changing her will. Clayton Strong was filmed by security cameras disposing of the murder weapon at a department store in Eagle Pass, Texas, and the weapon was recovered by U.S. Marshals.
Strong evaded a U.S. manhunt, but was stopped on a traffic violation in Mexico and arrested on weapons charges. He is serving his weapons violation sentence while awaiting extradition to the U.S. to stand trial for Shirley's murder.
Betty's death has still not been investigated by Idaho County Sheriffs Department in spite of the family supplying medical documentation of her clean bill of health, Strong's history of domestic violence, and police records of abusive circumstances in their Santa Rosa County, Florida home.
Idaho County Sheriffs Department still has not investigated or publicly acknowledged their error in failing to investigate Betty's suspicious death. Her family can never again celebrate the holidays without the painful awareness that their holidays with the beloved mother who held the family together were stolen from them.
Strong remains in prison on weapons charges in Mexico, and neither the Belanger family nor the Barrington family can be assured he will be returned to the United States and brought to justice for the murders of their beloved mothers.
The Belanger family is legally unable to reclaim, occupy, insure, maintain, or protect their home of 30-years from squatters and vandals. Family members who have lived in Milton, Florida, for generations must drive past their family home and see it, and the gardens Betty loved, left in ruins. If Clayton Strong dies without being brought to justice for Betty's murder, his daughter will inherit the Belanger family home that Strong gained by murdering Betty.
Texas law does not prevent a murderer from inheriting the property of their victim. The Barringtons must undertake expensive legal action -- which they cannot afford -- to try to legally recover their family home. If Clayton Strong dies without being brought to justice for Shirley's murder, his daughter will inherit the Barrington family home.
Both families have suffered the unbearable premature loss of a beloved mother/grandmother/aunt -- and the trauma of losing their beloved to murder. The Belanger family has been subjected to the further trauma of law enforcement agencies that seemed more interested in covering up their mishandling of Betty's death than in bringing a killer to justice and preventing another death.
The families of Betty Sanders Belanger Brock and Shirley Barrington Weatherly are relieved to announce that Clayton Ray Strong has been captured. He was arrested on weapons charges in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico, and authorities there are cooperating with the U.S. Marshals to extradite him to Parker County, Texas.
Urge them to investigate the Dec 14, 2016 death of Betty Belanger Brock (Strong) in Harpster, Idaho. Ask them to document the evidence provided by the family, in case it can be instrumental in preventing Strong from evading justice in the murder of Shirley Weatherly.
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