FORT MYERS, Fla. – Investigators believe Mark Sievers, the husband of a popular local doctor found dead inside their Bonita Springs home, had direct involvement in the planning and execution of what is believed to be a murder-for-hire, according to court documents released late Tuesday afternoon.
The documents outline evidence collected by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office tying Curtis Wayne Wright and Jimmy Ray Rodgers to Dr. Teresa Sievers’ death. Text messages between Wright and Mark Sievers, GPS coordinates from the Sievers home to Wright’s Missouri residence and a statement from Rodgers’ girlfriend claiming he and Wright were hired by Mark Sievers to kill Teresa Sievers were among evidence collected by authorities.
“This murder was committed in expectation of Wright getting paid an undisclosed amount of money from Mark Sievers and then in turn, he was to pay Rodgers $10,000 for his involvement,” detectives said in court documents.
Teresa Sievers, 46, was found dead inside her Jarvis Road home on June 29. Wright, 47, is charged with second-degree murder. Rodgers, 25, was arrested in connection with the killing. He is serving six months in federal prison for a probation violation in an unrelated gun case.
Mark Sievers has not been charged in his wife’s killing, but investigators searched his condominium in Fenton, MO, believing there was evidence connecting him to her death.
Investigators also believe the killing may be related to the couple’s financial problems. The IRS filed a federal tax lien against Mark and Teresa Sievers after they failed to pay more than $32,000 in income taxes in 2013, the documents said.
The couple had five life insurance policies on each other totaling $4.4 million, the documents said.
Home alarm down
Teresa Sievers’ mother, Bonnie, was tasked with caring for the family pets while the couple and their two young children travelled to Connecticut for a family gathering.
The home alarm was deactivated on June 28 at 6:09 a.m., but Bonnie Sievers didn’t arrive at the home until 7:45 a.m.
“(She) had no explanation as to how the alarm was deactivated earlier that morning using her code, even though the residence remained secured,” the documents said.
Bonnie Sievers reactivated the alarm at 8:01 a.m., then returned to the residence at 4:13 p.m. but never reactivated the alarm, “telling detectives that she could not get the alarm to set properly,” documents said.
Bonnie Sievers contacted Mark Sievers, who directed her to leave the alarm deactivated as his wife was to arrive later that evening, documents said.
Detectives believe Teresa Sievers was “brutally murdered” after she arrived home from Connecticut. A neighbor said she heard screams coming from the home between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on June 29.
Mark Petrites, a family friend, was asked by Mark Sievers to check on his wife after she didn’t show up to work that day, according to documents.
Petrites entered the home and found Teresa Sievers’ body in the kitchen.
“It was evident that she had been bashed in the back of the head,” said the documents, which added that a hammer was found next to her body.
“The hammer appeared to have blood and hair on the shaft and head,” the documents said.
Teresa Sievers died from blunt force trauma to the head and 17 crescent shaped lacerations on the front, back and sides of her scalp, the documents said.
Authorities believe the crime scene was staged to appear that the exterior garage door was pried open in an apparent burglary, the documents said.
“The interior crime scene where Teresa was found also appears to have been staged,” the documents said.
Petrites told detectives he knew the couple for 20 years and described their marriage as “good.”
But multiple neighbors said the couple argued loudly, according to documents.
Mark Sievers told authorities he and his wife had a good marriage but they ‘get on each other’s nerves,” the documents said. He added that he and his wife were “taking active steps to rekindle their relationship.”
But Mark and Teresa Sievers were involved “in numerous affairs with men and women both together and outside of their marriage,” the document said.
Mark Sievers considered divorcing his wife for, among other reasons, “lack of intimacy and Teresa’s harsh emotional treatment of Mark in his notes on his cellular phone,” the documents said.
Teresa Sievers was also considering divorcing her husband, a family friend told authorities.
After Teresa Sievers’ body was found, detectives spoke with Mark Sievers twice before he obtained legal council. Authorities attempted a third meeting with Mark Sievers on July 7 but were directed to contact his lawyer. The detectives requested DNA and other evidence related to their investigation but their request was denied, the documents said.
Tipped off to a suspect
Detectives were tipped off to Curtis Wayne Wright on July 9 after they were contacted by Jeff Hamilton, chief of the Southern Illinois Airport Authority, the documents said. Hamilton said an acquaintance overheard a conversation that placed Wright in Florida at the time of Teresa Sievers’ death.
Lee County investigators traveled to Mount Vernon, Ill., where an unidentified cooperating witness said she was in a conversation where it was stated that Wright made an “unplanned and short notice trip to Bonita Springs” to fix a computer at Mark Sievers’ residence.
Wright and Sievers are childhood friends.
“During interviews with Mark Sievers, he mentioned nothing of Curtis Wright traveling to either his home or the family business to work on any type of computer,” the documents said.
Wright’s wife, Angela, told authorities she was not able to talk to Wright during the trip because he left his cell phone at home, the documents said.
“She couldn’t comprehend how he left his cellular phone at their residence since he never goes anywhere without it,” she said, according to the documents.
GPS data from a vehicle rented by Jimmy Ray Rodgers showed a route from Wright’s residence to his home on June 27.
“Then the GPS shows a continuation of the trip from Rodgers residence to the Sievers residence,” according to documents. “This route places the GPS at the homicide scene approximately 6 a.m. on June 28 if travelled from Rodgers’ residence in Missouri. This is the same day the Sievers’ alarm was deactivated.”
Investigators said they also found multiple deleted GPS searches, including a route from East Terry Street, located near the Sievers’ home, to Wright’s Missouri residence, a search for ‘Bonita Beach’ while the GPS was in the area of East Terry Street and Southern Pines Drive and another search for a Walmart.
Authorities found surveillance video of Wright and Rodgers leaving the Walmart on Six Mile Cypress Parkway in Fort Myers on June 28 at approximately 11 a.m.
“Wright and Rodgers were captured entering, buying suspicious material and exiting the establishment,” the documents said.
Items purchased included flushable wet wipes, 30 gallon trash bags, a lock pick set, black shoes, water shoes and black towels, the documents said. The items were paid with cash.
“It should be noted that both Wright and Rodgers denied ever being in Florida, specifically during the time frame of June 27 through June 30,” the documents said.
Investigators also found evidence of Wright and Mark Sievers using “burner” phones since May, the documents said.
Authorities also claimed “the suspects” were waiting for Teresa Sievers and that Wright “arrived earlier in the day to start staging the crime scene and then departed shortly after her murder,” the documents said.
Wright, along with his wife Angela, also attended Sievers funeral.
Authorities redacted Wright’s initial interview with detectives from court documents. The documents stated that Wright “became nervous” when detectives told him about their evidence, including text messages between him and Mark Sievers using different phones to communicate with each other, his wife placing him in Florida during the time of the killing and leaving his cell phone at home.
“Sergeant Lebid again explained to Curtis that if his friend Mark Sievers intentionally involved Curtis in a crime that Curtis didn’t plan, then now was the time to explain that situation,” the documents said. “Curtis stated he wanted to stop talking for now.”
Admitting to murder
Rodgers girlfriend, Taylor Shomaker, told investigators in August that “Wright told her that he was taking Rodgers to Florida to make some money by committing burglaries and stealing high end antiques,” the documents said.
After Rogers returned from Florida and unpacked his belongings, Shomaker said she noticed a white cooler containing a cardboard box filled with items, including the black shoes purchased at the Fort Myers Walmart, the documents said.
“It was also confirmed that Rodgers bought Shomaker a white ‘Fort Myers Beach’ t-shirt,” the documents said.
After detectives executed a search warrant at Wright’s residence, Wright contacted Rodgers “in a frantic state” and told him about the search.
“With this, Rodgers became uneasy and his demeanor completely changed,” the documents said. “Rodgers then retrieved Shomaker’s Fort Myers Beach shirt and the black shoes, wrapped them in a towel and threw them in the community dumpster.”
Shomaker siad she and Rodgers then travelled to his job and retrieved his cell phone.
“He then soaked it in water by utilizing a nearby water fountain and broke it into pieces,” the document said. “On the way to pick up [a jumpsuit and gloves left behind], Rodgers had Shomaker throw the phone (in pieces) out of the window.”
Rodgers told Shomaker the phone contained photos of him in Florida and evidence related to Teresa Sievers’ killing, the documents said. Shomaker said she was later instructed by Rodgers to discard the jumpsuit and gloves in a river, but instead threw the items out the car window, “unable to process the request as her suspicions on what was occurring began to weigh on her mind,” the documents said.
Shomaker later confronted Rodgers regarding the items and conversations he had with detectives.
“Shomaker asked who he killed and he informed her that Mark Sievers hired Curtis Wayne Wright to drive to Florida and kill Teresa Sievers for insurance money,” the document said. “Unbeknownst to Mark, Curtis offered Rodgers an additional $10,000 for helping him while down there.”
As their conversation progressed, Rodgers revealed more details.
“Shomaker asked Rodgers how they killed her and guessed that she was shot with a gun,” the document said. “Rodgers laughed and stated that he killed her with a hammer. This placed a well-founded fear in Shomaker and she terminated the conversation.”
Wright later met with Rodgers and Shomaker at a bar. When Wright asked Shomaker if she knew what he and Rodgers did while in Florida, “she replied ‘no.’”
“Wright thens stated that they did ‘some work’ and were waiting to be paid a large sum of money,” the documents said.
Shomaker later led authorities to where she threw away the jumpsuit and gloves. The jumpsuit was recovered but the gloves were not found.