Mom Raped and Killed at Popular Texas Beach

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CRYSTAL BEACH, Texas (AP) - Authorities say a 28-year-old mother whose beaten body was found by campers on a popular beach near Galveston was brutally raped.

The Galveston County Medical Examiner said Bridgette Lynn Gearen of Orange also had been strangled. But the medical examiner has not determined whether that was the cause of death.

Gearen disappeared late Saturday night, around the time she and some friends staying at a beach house were leaving to take a late-night drive. She walked outside first, but was gone a few minutes later when her friends left the house to join her.

Campers found her body Sunday morning about 100 yards from the beach house where she and her 2-year-old daughter were staying.