The Illinois mom wrote, "If something ever happens to me, please make sure the number one person of interest is Tim." Take a look at the evidence that led to Tim Bliefnick's arrest.
On Feb. 23, 2023, Becky Bliefnick was shot 14 times inside her Quincy, Illinois, home. Her father found her body on her bathroom floor and called 911
Investigators arrive at the crime scene
Investigators from the Quincy Police Department and the Adams County State's Attorney's Office, pictured here, responded to the scene.
Who was Becky Bliefnick?
Becky Bliefnick was a mother of three and worked as a nurse at Blessing Hospital in Quincy. She received The Daisy Award, which recognizes the care and kindness nurses provide to their patients.
Becky Bliefnick's estranged husband
On the night of her murder, Becky Bliefnick was home alone. Her three boys were staying at their father Tim Bliefnick's house, about a mile away. Becky and Tim were in the process of getting divorced.
The broken window
Police quickly determined that the killer had broken into Becky Bliefnick's home by prying open an upstairs window in one of the children's bedrooms.
Tool marks left behind
Investigators found these tool marks on the window that had been pried open.
Inside Becky Bliefnick's house, this partial shoeprint was found near the point of entry. Nothing appeared to be stolen and neighbors didn't see or hear anything.
Odd pieces of plastic
These small shreds of plastic were found around Becky Bliefnick's body. "We thought it was unusual when we saw that," Adams County State's Attorney Josh Jones told "48 Hours." "I was like, 'OK, what is this?'"
When the pieces were examined further, investigators determined that they were remnants of an ALDI grocery store bag.
The broken bedroom door
Pieces of wood from Becky Bliefnick's bedroom door were also found at the crime scene, which led investigators to believe that the killer had violently kicked in the door.
Shell casings on the floor
Investigators also found eight spent 9-millimeter shell casings at the scene.
Victim's phone found behind bedroom door
Investigators believe the intruder entered Becky Bliefnick's home around 1:11 a.m. on Feb. 23, 2023, because they were able to determine she had tried to dial 911 on her cellphone at that time.
She dialed 91126 before her phone was knocked out of her hands as the killer entered her bedroom. Investigators found her phone behind the bedroom door.
The surveillance videos
When police began investigating the murder, they spoke to Becky Bliefnick's next-door neighbors. They had a security camera set up in their driveway, which ran alongside Becky's house. Their camera didn't capture anything on the night of the murder, but it did capture something unusual about 24 hours earlier.
At 1:05 a.m., a person was seen walking down the driveway towards the back of Becky's house and what appeared to be that same person was seen again — 48 minutes later — this time, walking in the opposite direction.
The camera had also captured a similar incident about a week earlier on Feb. 14, 2023, Valentine's Day.
The mysterious biker
Officers went around Becky Bliefnick's entire neighborhood trying to find more surveillance video and they were able to find some from a house and from a bus barn that showed a person riding a bike in the direction of Becky's house right before the murder and in the opposite direction right after.
Authorities began to suspect that the person seen on the bike was the same person seen in the neighbors' driveway videos, because every time a person was seen in that driveway, a person was seen riding a bike down the road just prior to that.
The only problem with the surveillance videos was that the person seen in them was unidentifiable. Investigators could only say that the bike did not appear to have reflectors on the wheels.
A suspect emerges
When Becky's sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Bret Reilly, learned of Becky's murder, they say one person came to mind as the prime suspect: Becky's estranged husband, Tim Bliefnick.
Sarah Reilly told investigators that Becky and Tim were going through a contentious divorce and that's when Tim became a person of interest.
Divorce documents indicate the couple had been fighting over money, the marital home and custody of their three children.
"If something ever happens to me …"
More than a year before Becky Bliefnick's death, she sent her sister this text:
"If something ever happens to me, please make sure the number one person of interest is Tim, as that is who would do something to me. I'm putting this in writing that I'm fearful he will somehow harm me, come after me, or will try to (sic) something to me that takes me away from the kids or the kids away from me. He has already lied multiple times to paint himself as a victim and me as the perpetrator when it is absolutely the other way around. No, I have not sent this to Mom or Dad as I don't want them to be out of their minds with worry."
"That text was prompted by the murder of one of her colleagues … One of the nurses that she knew… was murdered by her partner," Sarah Reilly told "48 Hours."
The discovery of a bike
As the investigation continued, authorities found this bike — with no reflectors on the wheels — just like the one seen on those surveillance videos. The bike was found less than half a block from Tim Bliefnick's residence.
Police search Tim Bliefnick's home and car
After finding that bike, and armed with the knowledge of the contentious divorce, investigators executed a search warrant on Tim Bliefnick's house and car as he looked on.
Tim Bliefnick arrested
On March 13, 2023, just over two weeks after Becky Bliefnick's death, Tim Bliefnick, seen in his booking photo, was arrested and charged with her murder.
When Tim Bliefnick was arrested, it made national news, in large part, because of an appearance he made on the game show "Family Feud" years earlier.
One of the questions he was asked was, "What's the biggest mistake you made at your wedding?" And Bliefnick responded, "Honey, I love you, but, said 'I do.'"
Considering the charges he now faced, it had people talking. But prosecutors believe it had nothing to do with the murder.
Tim Bliefnick maintains his innocence
Tim Bliefnick sat down for an exclusive interview with "48 Hours'" Erin Moriarty. He insists he is innocent. "The idea of murdering someone, let alone the mother of my kids … is not any part of who I am," he said.
On May 23, 2023, exactly three months after Becky Bliefnick was murdered, Tim Bliefnick went on trial for her murder.
Prosecutor Josh Jones described the last moments of Becky's life in his opening statement to the jury. "The defendant looked down at Becky and he pointed a gun at her. And he pulled the trigger," Jones said.
When Tim Bliefnick's defense attorney Casey Schnack addressed the jury, she told them that the case was "dripping with reasonable doubt," and that just because Becky and Tim were going through a contentious divorce, it doesn't mean that he killed her.
The Aldi Bags
Prosecutors laid out evidence they say points directly to Tim Bliefnick, starting with odd pieces of Aldi bags that were found around Becky's body. They told the jury that they found these stacks of Aldi bags during the police search of Tim Bliefnick's home.
"He had fired through an Aldi bag, either in an attempt to muffle the sound or to catch his shell casings," prosecutor Josh Jones told "48 Hours."
Tim Bliefnick's cellphone searches
The prosecution also showed the jury numerous searches found on Tim Bliefnick's cellphone, including, "how to open my door with a crowbar," "how to make a homemade pistol silencer" and "how to clean gunpowder off your hands."
The "John Smith" Facebook account
Prosecutor Josh Jones told the jury that during the investigation, information was downloaded off Tim Bliefnick's phone and it was discovered that he had a Facebook account under the name John Smith. That John Smith Facebook account appeared to have been looking at this bike for sale: a blue Schwinn without reflectors on the wheels — just like that bike that was found less than half a block from Tim's house.
Prosecutors told the jury that police found this crowbar in Tim Bliefnick's basement. They called an expert to the stand who testified that she compared it to the tool marks left on the window that was pried open at Becky's house. While there were microscopic consistencies, she couldn't say with scientific certainty that that crowbar made those marks.
The prosecution also presented these spent shell casings which were found in Tim Bliefnick's home. An expert testified that she compared them to the shell casings found at the crime scene and determined that 27 of them had been fired from the exact same gun used in the murder.
Tim Bliefnick's lawyer refutes the evidence
Casey Schnack, Tim Bliefnick's defense attorney, discounts the prosecution's evidence. She says that the expert's opinion concerning the shell casings is "subject to human error." And she suggests that everyone in town has stacks of Aldi grocery store bags in their house and therefore it's not incriminating.
She also pointed out that the bike that was found doesn't have Tim Bliefnick's DNA on it and she says that prosecutors can't even say for sure whether the bike that was found is the same bike from the surveillance videos. She insists it is not Tim in those videos.
She also pointed out that there was no date or time as to when those searches on Tim's phone were conducted. She suggests that they could have been done after the murder.
If not Tim Bliefnick, then who?
Defense attorney Casey Schnack says she believes investigators should have given more weight to the idea that it could have been an intruder who killed Becky in a break-in gone wrong. She points out that investigators never found shoes to match that partial shoeprint found inside Becky's house.
"I'm innocent. I didn't kill Becky," Tim Bliefnick told "48 Hours."
"This was an execution"
Prosecutors insist this murder was not committed by a random prowler.
"It was an execution," prosecutor Josh Jones told "48 Hours." "This was somebody who was there with a purpose."