It Takes Two: Mom Helps Son Cover Up a Murder

Margaret Archer received a six-and-a-half-year sentence for assisting her son in a brutal murder. She helped her son bury his partner’s body after purchasing bags of cement in South Australia.

Jody Meyers / Margaret Archer / Lucy Meyers / Margaret Archer.
Source: YouTube

Neil Archer, the murderer, will serve a 22-year sentence for murdering Jody Meyers, who was just 20 years old. To add to all the madness, Archer (57 years old) texted the victim’s family, giving them the false belief that she was still alive by assuring them that everything was OK. She buried her body in a shed on Archer’s property.

Covering Up the Body

Ms. Meyers was reported missing from August 2015. Her body was recovered after having been discovered under a slab of concrete in Margaret Archer’s shed. She pled guilty a month in advance to avoid attention and publicity surrounding her crimes.

A picture of Margaret Archer on her way to court.
Source: ABC News

During her sentencing, she appeared detached and cold. She was sentenced to four years of jail time before her parole to complete the six years. The trial took place at the Adelaide District Court. After discovering the physical evidence in her home, she was convicted for her unspeakable wrongdoing.

Judge’s Comments

Archer was taken into custody in 2015, which meant she would be eligible for parole by the end of 2019. After reviewing the findings of the case, the judge reconsidered and said, “Plainly all of your actions were considered, calculated and deliberate, designed to cover up your son’s murder of Jody Meyers.”

A photo of Archer arriving at court.
Source: YouTube

The judge taking the case was Paul Muscat. Not only did Archer buy bags of cement and a wheelbarrow to cover her son’s tracks, but she also withdrew 250 dollars from Ms. Meyers’ bank account as she got a hold of her card. Her spending using the woman’s card didn’t end there.

Prosecution Gives Their Say

The prosecution pronounced that she Archer used Ms. Meyers’ card to buy phone credit for $10 to communicate to her family that she was all right via text message to reduce any suspicions. Judge Muscat said, “After purchasing the phone credit, a text message was sent from Jody Meyers’ phone to her mother, creating the impression that Jody Meyers was alive, well, and safe.”

A video still of Margaret and Neil withdrawing money from Jody’s account.
Source: Sunday Night

Not only did she murder the young woman, but she also used her resources to cover up her criminal misconduct: “In fact, you knew your son had murdered her, and her body was buried inside your garden,” said Judge Muscat.

Ms. Meyers Had a Son

The police were never able to find Ms. Meyers’ phone, and they concluded that Archer probably tossed it. They also found receipts in the mother’s handbag for the cement purchases. The victim, Ms. Meyers, had a son whom Neil and Margaret left to ask where his mom was, where his mother had gone.

A portrait of Ms. Meyers and her baby son.
Source: Facebook

Ms. Meyers was engaged to Neil Archer when she was murdered, and they had a son together. “The family of Jody Meyers has every right to feel anger towards you,” said Judge Muscat to Margaret Archer. He also highlighted that Ms. Meyers wasn’t a stranger to her or someone she had no relationship with.

Lying to Her Son

The judge emphasized the “shocking and incredulous” misconduct of the Archer mother and son covering up the murder of her grandchild’s mother, not to mention the couple was also engaged at the time.

Margaret Archer speaks during a televised interview.
Source: Ten News

Margaret Archer was also taking care of Ms. Meyers’ son when the murder was happening. We can only imagine what she must have said to him as he probably questioned where his mother was. The judge stated, “One can only imagine what you must have told him when he was asking after his mother.”

The Confession

Archer admitted to the cover of the murder in an 11-hour confession. It was also noted that Meyers’ son was in the house while they were disposing of the body. Prosecutor Longson shared with the court:

The press follows Archer outside the courthouse.
Source: Ten Network

“There was a time Your Honour when Elijah (the son) … was [inside]while his mother was deceased in the backyard-not buried but simply somewhere on that property.” He also added that the boy was left in the car when Archer went out to buy a phone card and cement to cover up the killing.

False Hope

It couldn’t get crueler than the deceitful act of presenting false hope to the family that their loved one was alive. The trial revealed that Neil Archer used a chord from a hoodie to strangle Meyers. This was because he suspected that her family was trying to break them up.

A portrait of Neil Archer.
Source: 9 News

The judge summarized his behavior as controlling and abusive. His attitude showed that he had ownership of Meyers’ life. CCTV recovered footage of Margaret using Ms. Meyers’ bank card. Her face was covered with a hoodie so that she wouldn’t be recognized.

The Police Catch a Phone Call

The mother and son had a phone call discussing their murderous plans, and the police caught the conversation and presented it as part of the evidence. Naturally, the family welcomed the sentence. Meyer’s brother-in-law stated, “The judge has done a really good job.”

A photo of Meyer's brother-in-law outside court.
Source: ABC News

He reflected on how the woman who murdered Meyers will be in jail for longer than was assumed, which gave the family some relief: “Of course we’d love her to be in there for life, but label her for life, that’s the best we can expect really.”

Faking It

It turns out that Margaret Archer did not only commit a vicious crime, but she knew a thing or two about acting. She went on television to plead for Jody Meyers to come home while “crocodile tears,” otherwise known as false, insincere displays of emotion, streamed down her face.

Margaret Archer fronts the media with tears.
Source: 7 News

Ultimately, she didn’t care about Jody’s family or anybody else for that matter. All she cared about was herself and her son, who murdered Meyers. She cried for the cameras as an act.

What Did They Say?

The murderous mother and son became media stars in Jody’s hometown of Mannum, South Australia. They went on TV saying, “Just come home, Jody. Contact somebody. Let us know that you OK.”

A photo of Neil Archer.
Source: YouTube

Neil Archer also went on TV and did interviews, pretending to miss her and portraying his appreciation for Jody. “I wouldn’t be the man I am today if it wasn’t for her,” he said. He added that he was “worried” about her because she hadn’t contacted anyone since her disappearance.

Why So Long?

The judge asked Archer why she had taken too long to confess. She said that the late statement of guilt coincided with her recovery pursuit. The lawyer couldn’t present a concrete explanation as to why it took so long other than his client now accepting responsibility for her actions.

A still of Meyer's family talking to the media outside court.
Source: Reddit

“Albeit [the plea] was at the latest possible moment, that notwithstanding saved the family and friends of Jody Meyers the anguish and trauma of being subjected to the process of a trial,” said her lawyer, Kane.

Clues for the Police

Lucy Meyers knew her daughter too well to fall for a supposed text she received from Jody. She said she went off with her friends as she had decided to leave Neil. However, Mrs. Meyers knew that her daughter would never leave her son, Elijah, behind.

A police tape surrounding the crime scene area.
Source: YouTube

Another clue was the realization that Mr. Archer had when he arrived home after traveling to Tasmania. He saw that the floor in the shed had been covered with concrete. His son Neil told him he had done this as a Father’s Day gift. However, Mr. Archer realized the poor job his son had done. It was completely unlike him to do such a nice thing for Father’s Day.

Spelling Mistakes

Once she was abducted, Jody’s mom, Lucy, received a suspicious text. Not only did Jody’s mom realize that the wording of the text was completely unlike her, but she also noticed too many spelling mistakes in the text itself. She knew that if she had misspelled something, she would fix it and re-text the word.

A photo of the message sent to Lucy.
Source: 7 News

After gathering all these conclusions, Mrs. Meyers went straight to the police station and reported her daughter missing. It took a month to discover her body after she was reported missing. Once they found the body in the shed of the Archers’ house, it was all over for them.

Unlike Him

Detective McLean recalled speaking to Lawrence, Mr. Archer: “Even Lawrence himself said that just wasn’t in his character. He was a lazy man. He wouldn’t do something nice like that for Father’s Day,” said McLean.

A picture of Jody Meyers / A portrait of Neil Archer.
Source: YouTube

Things began to unfold when Neil spoke to his brother Aaron. He confessed that he had strangled and buried her under the shed of the family’s home. Initially, Aaron told his brother Neil to turn himself in, but it doesn’t seem like he listened as Aaron went and told the police what had happened later on.

Sharing Their Grief

Margaret Archer wiped a tear off her face as she begged someone to contact them if they knew anything and asked her to come home. Neil Archer also played the part as he said, “We all do love her and miss her dearly, and we would really like her to come home.”

A still of Neil Archer during an interview.
Source: Saturday Night

He confessed to Jody being the first woman he had ever had a long relationship with. After a further closeup on the Archer’s mother, you could tell that her tears weren’t falling down her face and that it was all just an act.

Examples of Acting

The Australian TV host who covered the story displayed numerous examples of family members or people close to victims who had faked their acts on TV and pretended to miss their loved ones or show grief.

Margaret Archer / Jody Meyers / Neil Archer.
Source: YouTube

The anchor then interviewed a criminal psychologist to try and understand what it means to grieve when you have lost someone close. He mentions that the last thing people who have lost loved ones would want to do is go on television and share their grief. Instead, the Archers were “falling over themselves” to give an interview.

Advice From Professionals

The report invited a forensics psychologist and a former FBI profiler to learn and understand how to read the behavior of people who have committed atrocious acts and pretend to mourn on TV. They were invited to understand body language and spot when such people were lying.

A portrait of Jody Meyers.
Source: ABC News

The former FBI profiler recalled that sometimes body language is pronounced, while other times these people don’t make distinct or apparent movements, so that can be missed. The anchor then emphasized how well the Archer mother and son had done in these scenarios.

Mother-Son Relationship

When asked how he would describe the criminal duo’s relationship, the criminal psychologist said, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, um, very close.” He spoke about how the mother and son had a relationship such that they would do anything to protect one another.

A photo of Neil and Margaret Archer.
Source: YouTube

Margaret had four sons, but her favorite son, evident by what she was willing to do for him, was Neil. The boys grew up without their father around; she raised all four boys on her own. Aaron, Neil’s brother, was interviewed and asked to tell a little bit about his mother.

A Brother’s Take

He said she did the best she could raising four boys. When asked if Neil was smart, Aaron replied that he was more street smart and crafty and that his mom was actually very intelligent.

A photo of Jody's brother-in-law talking to the media.
Source: ABC News

Jody’s brother-in-law shared that being a mom made Jody happy and that she was a great mom. This understanding supports the fact that she would not have left Elijah even if she wanted to get away from Neil. He also added that Neil was never willing to become a part of their family. He wasn’t reliable or trustworthy.

Concern About the Criminal

Lucy, Jody’s mother, also had her fair share of worries about Neil. When speaking to her daughter, she noticed Jody pretended to be happy when in fact, she wasn’t. Jody had mentioned that Neil was trying to take her away from her family.

Lucy leaves the courthouse weeping.
Source: YouTube

Her brother-in-law spoke about how Neil wouldn’t let her see and meet people without his permission. He also mentioned that Neil always had to know where she was and that he could access her Facebook: “It’s one of the most controlling relationships I’ve seen.”

Mom Is in Charge

Lucy also spoke up about Margaret being extremely controlling of her boys. The reporter added that Aaron recalled that his mother was strict and wasn’t someone to mess with.

A photo of Lucy outside the courthouse.
Source: YouTube

The report revealed that Neil and Jody were always fighting and that Margaret would always take her son’s side and did not have time for Jody. Lucy went on to say that when the couple fought, Margaret would lock Elijah inside and not let her see her son.

Leaving Her Boyfriend

At a certain point, Jody had enough of her relationship with Neil and confided in her family that she wanted to leave him. Neil was suspicious that Jody planned to leave him but blamed her mother and sisters for distancing her from him.

A photo of Jody inside her car.
Source: Facebook

Neil confided in Jody’s brother-in-law about the situation. Her brother-in-law laid down the options of either working their disagreements out or breaking up and asked what other choice he had. Neil replied that he would kill her without any hesitation.

Going Out for the Night

The night she disappeared, Jody had gone out to party with Neil. The last time she was seen, she was celebrating at a family birthday party. The day after, her mom received the text message. Jody did not reply to her mother’s initial reply to the first text message that contained the spelling mistakes

A photo of Jody Meyers / A picture of Neil Archer.
Source: ABC News

She showed her other daughter the text. Her sister said that there was no way that the person who wrote the text message was Jody.

Neil’s Body Language

To understand how Neil was lying, the report and the former FBI profiler reviewed the footage of him on TV holding Elijah and sharing that he had wanted Jody to come home. He noticed a major body language error: Neil was smirking while talking about such a devastating tragedy.

A still of Neil Archer during the interview.
Source: 9 News

The reporter said that smiling footage was a significant red flag for him. The criminal psychologist said the footage could have potentially reinforced the scam because if the press were convinced, other people would buy it as well.

Confidence Is Key

Neil went on TV to say that he wasn’t sure who had access to her accounts. He thought perhaps it was one of her friends. When asked if he could use the account, he answered with a blank, no.

A photo of an ATM.
Source: YouTube

The confidence level of Neil and his mother were so high that it was even pretentious. He also said that a couple in a four-wheel-drive came to pick her up. He essentially was hinting that they were helping her figure out her issues as she was hiding away.

The Archers Always Cooperated

When asked about cooperation from the mother and son, an investigating officer answered that they “appeared” to cooperate. Essentially, they cooperate with any questioning, but that does not mean they were telling the truth.

An image of the shed where Jody Meyers was found.
Source: SA Police

“All they were trying to do was cover their tracks, misdirect,” said the officer. The goal was to take the attention away from them so that the officers would question other people. The murdering duo also said they were more than happy to assist with any information they needed, but that does not mean they shared truthful facts.

Pointing Out the Problem

Another major issue with the video content the FBI profiler picked up was that Neil said Jody “was” the love of my life. Essentially, he was speaking in the past tense. He went on the news daily during her disappearance, requesting Jody contact somebody even if it wasn’t him.

A photo of a detective arriving at the crime scene.
Source: YouTube

The footage was discovered of Margaret withdrawing money from Jody’s account. Neil had escorted her; he was wearing a hat, and Margaret was wearing a hoodie.

More Suspicious Footage

In addition to discovering the credit card, the investigators got actual footage of Neil and Margaret driving in Neil’s green Ford into a convenience store. The footage then depicts Margaret at the cash register paying for a recharge voucher.

Police officers and detectives are standing outside Margaret’s home.
Source: YouTube

The mother and son never mentioned that they were going anywhere when they were asked about this. Once she left the store, she went back into the car, and they didn’t move for about six minutes. Then Jody’s phone was recharged, and the text message was sent.

Not Too Clever

At this time, Jody’s family had also begun to feel that something was up. The criminal investigator highlighted that the Archers weren’t crazy; for example, it’s not like “Jesus was telling them to do this.”

A photo of Neil Archer holding his son.
Source: YouTube

They were completely aware of what they were doing. They understood the risks at hand and the consequences leading to jail time. It seems that the only thing they got wrong was they thought they weren’t going to get caught. The actual delusion was thinking they could cleverly initiate this whole scam without anyone suspecting a thing.

The Archer Father

Margaret’s husband agreed to do an interview even though it didn’t have anything to do with the crime. While he was being interviewed, you could hear Margaret in the background yelling that she had already told them everything and to leave them alone.

A picture of Jody holding her baby boy.
Source: Facebook

She yelled out in the background, “I’ve had enough.” She eventually agreed to come out and do an interview, and this is when she put on her award-winning performance stating how much they miss her and want her to come home as she shed a fake tear.

Family’s Reaction

Following her interview, Jody’s sister and brother-in-law watched the footage. Her sister was in tears, saying, “ I just don’t know how they could do that, knowing what they knew.” More evidence unfolded as the footage also caught Margaret buying over 600 (about 1,323 pounds) kilograms of concrete.

Jody’s sister is in tears.
Source: YouTube

The concrete was so heavy that it put pressure on their back tire. Once Neil’s father came home and realized that the shed floor had been covered in concrete, he noticed what a terrible, unprofessional job had been done.

Confirming the Suspicions

Eventually, the police gathered enough information regarding the suspicions. The pressure had gotten to Neil, and he cracked. He confessed all that he had done to his brother, Aaron. During his admission, his mother was smoking, and Neil asked him to join him in the house’s hallway.

An aerial view of the shed where Jody was found.
Source: 7 Network

The first thing that he said to Aaron in the laundry room was, “I killed her.” He walked away, and Aaron called out to him and asked why, and Neil replied that Jody was going to leave him and take their son with her.

The Confession

Aaron had asked him what he had done, and Neil replied that he had strangled her. When asked where she was, Neil replied that she was under the shed. Neil then moved to ask what he should do, and Aaron told him he should turn himself in.

An exterior shot of Margaret’s house.
Source: YouTube

When asked about the look on his face, Aaron replied that Neil’s eyes were black, like nothing was there. He highlighted how scary it was for him to hear that. Eventually, he shared his brother’s confession with the police.

The Detectives Arrive

Once they were given the information, a group of detectives came to the house. Her body was found in a shallow grave under the recent concrete they had poured. The crazy thing was that as they were doing the interviews displaying their “sorrow” and how much they missed her, while her body was buried ten meters away.

Detectives mark the area with police tape.
Source: YouTube

They also had used the last of Jody’s money, 250 dollars (which they withdrew from her bank account), to buy the cement to cover up her body.

After the Confession

Once Neil confessed, he was charged with murder. Not only did he strangle Jody to death, but he also did it with a chord on a hoodie he wore during one of his TV interviews. His mother never admitted to helping him commit the murder.

Officers and detectives are standing outside Margaret’s house.
Source: YouTube

When Jody’s mom was interviewed and asked if she was more involved than what she had suggested earlier, her answer was a clear yes. Her brother-in-law said the same, “I reckon his mom helped him.”

Making the Wrong Move

The report described several other criminals who had committed similar crimes. They had all acted for the cameras, but the anchor highlighted that all it took for that same criminal to reveal themselves was one slight incorrect gesture.

A photo of Margaret leaving court.
Source: YouTube

Experts don’t miss even the slightest movement or word. The body language expert also spoke about the specific reactions once the culprits are investigated and interviewed after the crime.

Secrets Revealed by Former FBI Profiler

The anchor interviewed Steve, a body language expert and Former FBI Profiler, to take a deeper look at the Archers’ interview. After displaying footage of murderers who cried “crocodile tears” after committing their crimes, Steve was asked to comment on what he noticed.

A portrait of Jody Meyers.
Source: Pinterest

Footage of a man who had killed his father using a samurai sword was displayed. At a certain point, the man talked about hearing about the death of his father. When the footage was paused, the former FBI profiler mentioned how he had shown no emotion when stating the sentence.

A Real Show

Another example was given of a woman who “put on a real show” by crying deeply as she wiped her nose with a tissue. This same woman murdered her six-year-old daughter and shoved her in a suitcase.

A picture of the young girl and her parents.
Source: Pinterest

The former FBI profiler commented that her whole performance was “staged, it’s like um a method actor.” It seems like the only reason she was crying was that she understood the ramifications of what she had done, and she drew on those emotions to perform her act.

Spotting a Lie

When Steve was asked how to figure out that a perpetrator was lying, he mentioned three categories. One is verbal, whereby a person could lie with their words, but their body language does not reflect what they are saying.

A portrait of the killer mother and her husband.
Source: YouTube

The next category is the delivery of the message or paralinguistics. These could range from a change in tone or pitch, voice variation, and more. Lastly, he mentioned paying attention to the same person taking themselves out of the narrative once going on camera.

Jody’s Memory

Neil was given a life sentence of 22 years, and Jody was given six years. The family created a memorial near the river in their town for Jody. Elijah, Jody’s son, moved to live with Lucy, Jody’s mother.

A portrait of Jody’s relatives.
Source: YouTube

Lucy mentioned that Jody’s son misses her dearly and tries to keep her there in spirit. Elijah has a photo of his mom that he kisses. He also looks up to the stars and knows that his mom is looking down on him.