Teresa Sievers: The life behind the murder victim
While you may know her face and you probably know the name, who was Dr. Teresa Sievers before she was a murder victim?
“Ladies, remember when walking into a room meant turning heads?” said Teresa in a YouTube video. “You had that glowing skin, in-shape body. Didn’t you feel sexy and confident?”
Teresa was used to commanding attention. She was always dressed to perfection, always in heels and her middle name was literally Grace.
“She was a tiny thing like you and just as cute as a bug’s ear,” said a former patient, Marian Ziegler-McAfee. “Uplifting, positive, full of energy, a dynamo, a dynamo in a tiny package.”
Teresa was only 4’11”. When patients like Marian got to know her, they appreciated her, even loved her.
“Several people said that she was like the Oprah Winfrey of Florida,” Marian said. “That she was that popular.”
Teresa grew up in Connecticut. She was her high school valedictorian and later on graduated medical school with honors. When the new doctor moved to Charleston, she met her first husband, Kenny Cousins.
“I believe this is the sort of person you might meet once in your life,” Kenny said. “When I met Theresa, she was doing clinical research in South Carolina. Some of the ways that we connected certainly love of the outdoors, the ocean, music, food and really having a good time. The real kind of a work hard, play hard ethic.”
The pair moved to Saint Pete where Teresa worked at an outpatient clinic in a disadvantaged part of town.
“She didn’t think it was fair that she would have to have two or 3,000 patients,” Kenny said. “She could literally only spend 15 minutes with each of those patients.”
Three years after they married, Teresa and Kenny divorced. But Kenny said they remained dear friends. Even when Teresa remarried to Mark Sievers a few months later, they kept in touch, emailing monthly a couple of short lines with life updates.
“She really felt restricted to be a doctor and that’s one of the reasons when she got remarried to Mark,” Kenny said. “They bought a practice in the Fort Myers area where she wasn’t taking medical insurance because it sort of lifted that burden.”
“It was a calling she had and she fulfilled it in an exceptional way. It was not a 15-minute visit; it was an hour and a half a visit,” Marian said. I’m grateful that I got that in this lifetime. That’s how rare she is.”
For her patients, her medicine lives on in a series of videos on a YouTube channel, which focuses mainly on anti-aging. Many women turned to her for help through menopause. It was a group of women she was talking to when she said something that now has the kind of irony that makes you think.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for post-mortem,” said Teresa in a YouTube video. “I want to enjoy my life like it is now.”
Teresa had a beautiful life – or at least that is how it looked.
Almost a year to the day after that video was uploaded, Teresa was murdered. She came back early from a family trip while Mark and their two daughters stayed in Connecticut.
Teresa rolled her suitcase into an attack in her kitchen.
“Is she awake?” the dispatcher said.
“No she is dead on the floor,” the caller said. “She’s cold. The back of her head is bashed in and there is blood everywhere.”
WINK News Anchor Amanda Hall first interviewed Kenny in 2015, shortly after the killing.
“I mean my God she’s 4’11” and defenseless and by herself,” Kenny said. “If there were problems in their marriage, why couldn’t they just get divorced?”
As Mark awaits trial for plotting his wife’s murder, Kenny wants people to focus on how special she was.
“This is the Teresa. This is the person that I know. This is the person that I care about and respect and honor,” Kenny said. “I really want people to understand this is a loving, kind, caring nurturing mother and physician. This is a person that wanted to and I believe made an impact on everyone’s life that she touched.”
Will he ever find peace? Teresa may have answered that best in one of her YouTube videos.
“Is it a guarantee?” Teresa said. “No. There’s no guarantees in life.”
“It’s hard to find peace knowing that somebody that you know and love and care about and you always want the best for has been taken this way,” Kenny said. “I haven’t been able to get my arms around any of that yet. I don’t know if I ever will.”