[Fort Worth Business Press] Family honors slain daughter who lived near TCU with foundation

On April 10, 2017, Molly Matheson’s body was found by her mother, Tracy, in her garage apartment near TCU. That evening, David and Tracy Matheson vowed that, despite the overwhelming grief the family faced, they would commit themselves to bring something positive out of this tragedy.

Molly was a 22-year-old college student studying to be a social worker who hoped to one day work with troubled youth. The Matheson family announced exactly one year after Molly’s untimely death the formation of Project Beloved: The Molly Jane Mission, a non-profit, charitable organization, to honor the memory of their daughter.

“The days and weeks immediately after Molly’s death were a combination of the darkest sorrow and confusion over how this could happen and an intense drive to protect our family. Project Beloved was created out of an obligation to bring light, Molly Jane’s light, in the face of such extreme darkness,” Tracy Matheson said in a news release. “No family should experience the heartache of losing a child, especially to violence. We are committed through Project Beloved to make sure that no other family endures what we have this past year.”

After Molly’s death, her mother discovered her tattoo that read “Beloved”.

“I did not know Molly had any tattoos, so I contacted a friend of hers to ask about it,” Tracy Matheson said in the release. “She explained the Beloved tattoo was most meaningful to Molly. When I asked why Molly chose to get it, her friend replied, ‘because Molly knew she was beloved in God's eyes.’ ”

Tracy decided she would “find a way to make Molly's story matter and bring much-needed change.”

The coincidences were hard to ignore, from a family friend remarking words that came to her as she thought about Molly including “beloved” and one of Tracy’s friends giving a thoughtful gift she later found out was called “The Beloved Bangle,” and so Project Beloved found its official namesake.

The organization’s mission statement is as follows: Project Beloved strives to educate, advocate and collaborate to change the conversation about sexual assault and empower survivors to find their voices.

Project Beloved will launch two immediate initiatives in Tarrant County with long-term plans are to make this a nationwide effort.

Beloved Bundles

Beloved Bundles will include clothing, undergarments, personal hygiene products and other necessary items. These items will be given to sexual assault survivors at Tarrant County Hospitals following their sexual assault forensic exams (SAFE) so that the survivors can leave the hospital with “some sense of dignity and know that someone cares for them.” The SAFE typically leaves the survivor with nothing to wear home from the hospital.

In 2017, advocates and staff from The Women’s Center of Tarrant County responded to 830 SAFEs. Project Beloved will be partnering with the Women’s Center by providing their advocates with Beloved Bundles to be given to survivors.

Soft Interview Rooms

Project Beloved seeks to partner with local and non-local agencies to install Soft Interview Rooms, including comfortable seating pleasant lighting and decorations to make a participant feel physically and emotionally safe during interview processes following their assault. According to the release these rooms could be useful when interviewing those suspected of committing crimes as well.

Evidence-based practices call for a trauma-informed approach to reports of rape and sexual assault, and a soft interview room is considered an integral component of trauma-informed care.

Project Beloved also plans to award scholarships to students who plan to major in social work in college.

“Sexual assault is a growing issue that needs to be talked about openly and honestly. Several national movements including #MeToo are great starts and Project Beloved will continue to move the conversation forward,” Tracy Matheson said in the release. “We know that our daughter, Molly, is extremely proud of the direction we are going and is cheering us on from heaven.”

Molly Matheson was found slain in her apartment near TCU on April 10, 2017. Reginald Gerald Kimbro was arrested April 27 and charged with killing Matheson, someone he knew. Officials say Kimbro is also charged with killing 36-year-old Megan Getrum of Plano, who was last seen April 14 at a nature preserve. Her body was found April 19 in Lake Ray Hubbard.

Marshall Kerns