Episode 058: Bekime Elshani

October 10, 2022

When a young woman trapped in an abusive relationship goes missing, an investigation uncovers years of violence and threats, leaving the family with one question: Where is Becky?

Episode Media
Bekime “Becky” Elshani (Facebook)
Becky Elshani (KKTV)
Daniel M. Dereere Jr. (Colorado Springs PD)
Daniel’s red Toyota 4-Runner (Colorado Springs PD)
Episode Sources
Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Bite-Sized Crime. As you might know, October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. On this podcast, I’ve covered multiple cases of domestic abuse, many of which have ended in tragedy. As heartbreaking as these stories are, it’s important that we tell them, that we spread awareness so that we can hopefully prevent even more victims. This week I’m bringing you a story that is all too familiar, but it’s one that needs to be told. This episode includes discussions of violence and suicide; listener discretion is advised.

Bekime Elshani, “Becky” to those who knew her, grew up in a large Albanian family. Born in New Jersey and raised in Colorado, Becky was one of ten siblings. At home, Becky loved spending time with her family; at school, she had a small but loyal group of friends. Becky was vibrant and outgoing, and she was loved by many.

In her late teens, Becky started working at a call center in Colorado Springs to earn extra money. There, she met Daniel Dereere, who was several years older. The pair dated off and on for the next few years, but it was never anything steady or stable. At one point, Becky even started a relationship with someone else and eventually got married, but the marriage was short-lived. Daniel had moved out of state, but when he returned, he and a newly-divorced Becky picked up where they left off.

In 2007, Becky and Daniel moved into an apartment together, but their relationship was strained. Among other things, Daniel didn’t like that Becky still talked to her ex-husband, Wes. This was the cause of many fights between them, and things often turned violent. The police were called on multiple occasions, both Daniel and Becky accusing each other of abuse. In May of 2007, Daniel tried to press charges against Becky, claiming that she punched him in the face. In October, Becky sought a restraining order against Daniel, telling police that he had used a stun gun to shock her over 20 times.

In January of 2008, Becky left Daniel and got back together with her ex. This enraged Daniel, and he sought revenge by hacking into Becky’s MySpace page and posting nude photos of her for the world to see. This time, Daniel was charged with harassment and computer crimes, and he was scheduled to appear in court that spring. In the meantime, he and Becky reconciled and moved back in together.

Of course, that didn’t mean that things were going smoothly. Becky’s family was frustrated with the whole situation, and they encouraged her to leave Daniel once and for all. They also suspected that Becky was struggling with an addiction to pain-killers, adding another layer to their concern for her safety. But Becky was an adult, and there was only so much they could do to protect her.

On March 28, 2008, the family was gathered at the Elshani home in Colorado Springs. The evening started off just fine, but at some point, Becky slipped out of the house to meet Wes. Becky’s father believes that she may have been meeting him to purchase pills, but this has never been confirmed. Whatever the reason, Daniel became irate and started screaming at Becky in front of the family. He demanded that they leave, but Becky didn’t want to go, and her family backed her up. However, Becky eventually gave in, and she and Daniel left a little after 1am.

That weekend, no one heard from Becky, not even her sisters. The scene on Friday night had rattled them, and now she wasn’t responding to their calls. To make things worse, Wes had told them something alarming – Becky had confessed to him that Daniel had threatened to kill her.

On Monday, March 31st, Becky’s father called the Colorado Springs Police Department and reported her missing. Wes had also contacted the police, informing them of Daniel’s threats to kill Becky.

Around 9:30 that evening, officers responded to Becky and Daniel’s apartment on Twin Oaks Drive. As they approached the front door, they heard a gunshot ring out. They entered the apartment and found the body of Daniel Dereere. He had taken his own life.

Officers immediately secured the scene, looking for any sign of Becky or what may have happened in that apartment. But Becky wasn’t there, and there didn’t seem to have been a struggle. Daniel hadn’t left a note, so investigators were left to speculate.

They quickly began circulating pictures of Becky around the community, hoping that someone had seen her and could lead them in the right direction. Lieutenant Skip Arms told reporters, “Hopefully, she’s just alive and well somewhere and will return. But we don’t know, and her family is concerned, and we want to get the word out to find her.”

Becky’s family was definitely concerned, and as the days passed, their hope that Becky was alive began to dwindle. Her father Agim tearfully told The Colorado Springs Gazette, “I feel it in my bones, my daughter is dead. It’s just a matter of time until someone spots her body, and that’s it.”

Police dug into the investigation, focusing their attention on Daniel Dereere. Even though their main source of information was dead, they were able to get a hold of his vehicle and his phone.

Daniel’s cell phone records revealed that in the hours after he and Becky had left the Elshanis’ home, he had driven his red Toyota 4-Runner to Woodland Park in neighboring Teller County, about 20 miles northwest of Colorado Springs. He allegedly made several calls from that area, but it’s never been revealed who he was calling.

At first, investigators weren’t sure that Becky had actually been with Daniel on his drive to Woodland Park, but when they searched the vehicle, they found blood inside. Testing later revealed it belonged to Becky Elshani.

Upon hearing this news, Becky’s family was devastated. Her mother Doris told the Gazette, “We have no hope at this point.”

Based on the evidence, investigators began searching Woodland Park. Police helicopters circled Teller County, while ground teams covered the large wooded areas. A local news station volunteered their own helicopter for the search, as did a local flight school. But they were unable to find any trace of Becky.

At this point, investigators were out of leads. They continued to circulate pictures of Becky and Daniel along with images of the red Toyota, hoping that someone would call in with a tip. Lieutenant Arms told reporters, “We don’t even know if she was with him… We’ve figured out he was up there during that time, and we’re looking for more details.”

But the details didn’t come, and Becky remained missing. It was six years before police received a promising lead, a tip that led them to Grand Lake, a small town several hours north of Colorado Springs. The family organized a search in April of 2014, but it didn’t yield any clues. Becky was still missing.

Becky’s family has tried to keep her case in the public eye as much as possible. Each year, on the anniversary of her disappearance, they renew their commitment to finding Becky, and remind the public of the $5,000 reward for information leading to her recovery. In March of 2015, Agim Elshani told local news station KRDO, “We think about her all the time and every day… We would like to have closure. We would like to have a grave for her, to bring flowers for her.”

The family believes that Becky is dead, that Daniel killed her in the early morning hours of March 29, 2008, then dumped her body somewhere in the mountains of Colorado before ultimately taking his own life. But they are determined to never give up the search. Her sister Fatime told KRDO, “If anyone knows anything, I’d wish they’d come forward, ‘cause if this happened to them, I’m sure they’d want the same.”

Although the family mourns Becky’s loss, they also celebrate her life. Every year on her birthday, they gather together and make a cake for her, sharing memories of their beloved daughter and sister. They remember how she was kind, how she made them laugh. In the words of Fatime, “She was a beautiful soul.”

Bekime “Becky” Elshani was 22 years old at the time of her disappearance on March 29, 2008. She had blond hair and blue eyes, was 5’5” tall and weighed approximately 110lbs. She was last seen on the west side of Rockrimmon Boulevard in Colorado Springs, Colorado, wearing jeans, a pink and white shirt, and a black jacket. She may have been seen in one of several vehicles: a red Toyota 4-Runner, a blue 2004 Mazda, a white 1990 Chevrolet, or a red 1987 Nissan truck.

If you have any information about the disappearance of Becky Elshani, please contact the Colorado Springs Police Department at 719-444-7000.

Becky’s story ended in tragedy, but yours doesn’t have to. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text START to 88788. Help is available 24/7 – it is free and confidential. You deserve to be in a healthy relationship; don’t be afraid to reach out.