Julia Vergara | Staff Writer
The Mayborn Museum brought “mayhem” to Baylor on Friday night with an interactive mystery event revolving around the shocking murder of fictional movie director Jon Deux.
According to the storyline, Deux was on the Mayborn Museum set, supposedly walking toward the Rotunda to meet his wife when the whole cast received a text containing a picture of his dead body. The museum complex was locked down immediately after the murder occurred — meaning the murderer was still inside.
Around 300 Baylor students, with the help of Detective Shawn Womack (Kyle Moore), set out to solve the “Mayhem at the Mayborn.”
The interactive event took place from 7 to 9 p.m. The characters were portrayed by museum staff who answered students’ questions throughout the evening. Students used the characters’ answers and clues from the detective to figure out who murdered the director and why they did it.
The murder suspects included the director’s wife Jane Deux (Lesa Bush), assistant director Fred McDermott (Sam Cox), Hollywood agent Betsy Tyler (Anna McKay), janitor Barty M. (Drew Triplett), lead actor Dwight Anderson (Daniel McKay) and lead actress Charlotte Pennynickle (Jess Outten).
All suspects were scattered throughout the museum, holding clues to the murder.
“You are now fresh on the case and responsible for solving the mystery,” Mayborn Museum staff said to students. “Find out who killed Jon Deux and what their motive was. You will have until 8:40 p.m. to solve the case.”
Around 7 p.m., four freshmen [Calista Perez from Sugar Land, Kendall Lockwood from Broomfield, Colo., Gabby Hicks from Spring and Alyssa Zuercher from Frisco] set out to solve the case.
They first spoke to the detective, looking for more information about the murder.
“All I know right now is he died around 6,” Womack said. “He was foaming at the mouth and pale.”
After gaining insight as to how the director died, the four students spoke to lead actress Charlotte Pennynickle, who swore she was in the break area at the time of the murder. She revealed that she had witnessed the director and his wife, Jane, fighting over a death clause and their pre-nuptial agreementearlier that day. She claimed that Jane was angrier than she had ever seen.
Later, Hollywood agent Betsy Tyler would confirm that the couple had a pre-nuptial agreement that they often fought over.
Next, Perez, Lockwood, Hicks and Zuercher spoke to the victim’s wife Jane Deux, who admitted she had been arguing with her husband and revealed to the students that her husband was having an affair with Pennynickle.
The four students then moved on to assistant director Fred McDermott, who told them that he saw a medical envelope on Jon Deux’s desk and had heard him say, “That’s impossible. It must have been 20 years ago.”
Based on all the information so far, the four students came up with the hypothesis that the director had recently found out he had a son.
“Maybe the wife killed the husband because she knew the son would get the money,” Perez said.
Perez, Lockwood, Hicks and Zuercher spoke to the janitor Barry M. and lead actor Dwight Anderson last. No new information was revealed, but the janitor also confirmed that the married couple fought often. The lead actor said he thought very highly of his costar and refused to believe that Pennynickle would ever have an affair with her director.
Once they had spoken to all of the suspects and gathered information about the case, the four students came to the conclusion that although the wife may be too obvious of a choice, she may have conspired with Dwight or hired the janitor to kill her husband.
However, a plot twist in the mystery changed everything. At approximately 7:45, the detective announced that there had been a second murder.
“Mrs. Jane Deux was found minutes ago pale and foaming at the mouth near the Musical Soundscape hallway,” Womack said. “She was pronounced dead instantly.”
Womack added that they had found a medical envelope stained with blood next to her body. However, due to medical privacy laws, he was unable to view the contents of the envelope.
Following the announcement, the four freshmen immediately set out to solve the two potential murders.
The first suspect they ran into was Betsy Tyler. She offered the students new information and told them that she had found an old newspaper about an actress, Helena Martin, who had allegedly been pregnant with Jon Deux’s baby. The actress was the woman he had left to be with Jane, Tyler said.
Perez, Lockwood, Hicks and Zuercher met with the detective but were unsuccessful at aquiring new information.
However, the story started to fall into place once the janitor revealed one little detail: His last name is Martin.
The four students said they were excited after finding out the connection and with further questioning, the janitor revealed his mother’s name: Helena Martin.
This new information led them to a new hypothesis: Barty is the murderer. He has the means and the motive, they said.
“The janitor found out that he was Jon’s son so he goes and he decides to kill Jon so he can get his money,” Hicks said. “He already knows where the chemicals are and he has access to clean up the blood.”
She further explained her theory and said that since Jane would have received Jon’s money due to the pre-nuptial, Barty decided to kill her too.
“I really liked going around to all the characters,” Zuercher said. “Just asking them questions and seeing how the theory evolved as the night went on.”
At around 8:45 p.m., the detective confirmed that janitor Barty Martin was the culprit. However, the motive was different than what the four students had hypothesized. Rather than killing the victim for money, Martin had been holding a grudge because Jon had left his mother for Jane.
“Barty decided to take matters into his own hands once he found out Jon was cheating again,” Womack said.
Students who had correctly identified the murderer cheered when the reveal was made.
Tomball junior Cassidy Latham, co-director of the event, said that she believes the event was a success.
“The students were so involved and really asked some tough questions,” Latham said. “But our actors were well prepared and the event couldn’t have been so successful without their commitment.”