*Weeks after Miss Alabama Zoe Sozo Bethel died from injuries sustained after a mysterious “fell” off a third-story balcony on Feb. 10 in Miami, those closest to her are speaking out about the dark past she so desperately tried to keep secret.
Bethel, 27, was the daughter of two radical preachers, Orlando and Glynis Bethal, who called themselves “The Apostle” and “The Prophetess,” as reported by the New York Post. “They took their kids all over the South, having them participate in inflammatory homophobic rhetoric and wear T-shirts reading “God Hates Gays” or “God Hates Whores,” sources said,” per the report.
“Zoe tried to remake herself so no one would know she was the kid from Baldwin County (Alabama) who yelled ‘God hates you’ to people,” her sister Kezia Bethel, 26, told The Post. “She was able to keep it a secret on a national level. No one knew who she really was unless she came back to Baldwin County.”
Her parents’ views were so extreme that Westboro Church threw them out. “My parents were too extreme even for them,” Kezia said.
View this post on Instagram
Kezia, her ex-husband, and her best friend told The Post that the beauty queen was not suicidal. They think her death is highly suspicious but the Miami police closed the case after calling her death a tragic accident.
Zoe’s father Orlando, now 54, and his late wife, Glynis (who died of cancer in 2013), were often arrested for disorderly conduct for their public preaching, so their children were in and out of foster homes, according to the report.
“I went to sleep every night crying,” Kezia told The Post. “I just wanted my family to be normal. Nothing made any sense. Zoe would fight back the most and they kicked her out of the house several times. We were scared.”
Here’s more from the Post:
Bethel, who left home at 16, forged a successful career as a model while also pursuing conservative politics, including trips to the Trump White House, an affiliation with Turning Point USA and participation in a Young Black Leaders Summit. In 2018, she was fired by the Ursula Wiedemann modeling agency in Atlanta after they got wind of her right-wing beliefs.
Zoe’s half-brother Santiago said he and his sister had dinner out the night she died, according to the police report. He said she had taken some type of drug to “relax.” When they got home, he said she took a shower, dressed and went out to the hallway where she began pacing erratically while on the phone with her younger brother, Zion. She then ran down the hallway and jumped off the balcony, the report stated.
Kezia told The Post Zoe’s death may have stemmed from turmoil within the family.
“I think there was some kind of dispute between them (Zoe and her brothers) but the police did not really look into it or talk to possible witnesses,” Kezia said. “We all have a hidden type of anger in us. It comes from a deep spot because of how we were raised. We didn’t have love. When that anger comes out, you cannot tell us anything. We are extreme. There’s nothing that can pull us back from it. No one around can say ‘calm down.’ We are truly Glynis’ children.”