If there’s one thing absolutely nobody can deny, it’s that the double homicide of renowned Virginia socialites Derek and Nancy Astor Haysom on March 30, 1985, was as complex as it was heinous. After all, as explored in Netflix’s ‘Till Murder Do Us Part: Soering vs Haysom,’ their assailants were none other than their own daughter, Elizabeth Roxanne Haysom, and her boyfriend, Jens Soering. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about the one individual to have stood by the former at every step — her third cousin, Phyllis Workman — we’ve got the necessary details for you.
Who is Phyllis Workman?
It was reportedly back in the late 1970s/early 1980s when Phyllis first came across Elizabeth, only for them to gradually develop a close bond despite the latter being a heroin addict teen at the time. We actually specify “teen” because there’s also a nearly 25-year age gap between the two, meaning the former was already well settled in Lynchburg, Campbell County, when everything went down. “As we became friends, ocassionally there would be conversations in which his [Jens Soering’s] name would come up,” the proud family woman candidly revealed in the 4-party documentary series.
Phyllis continued, “Elizabeth has told me about the anger Jens felt toward her parents because they wanted him to break off his relationship with their daughter… He didn’t have the proper last name, he didn’t have the proper heritage, and he didn’t have the proper profession in mind [in their eyes, even though he was the son of a German diplomat]. They wanted her to marry an attorney or a physician.” She thus wholeheartedly believes teenaged Jens was the one to have slain Derek and Nancy following a fray during a visit to again seek permission to date their 20-year-old, just to be denied.
Though apart from what allegedly transpired on this fateful day while Elizabeth claimed to be in Washington DC, Phyllis has also seemingly backed her cousin in her anger toward her parents. “Elizabeth often felt rejected,” she expressed in the original production. “She was always being sent off to school. She was sent to England, she was sent to Switzerland [without Derek or Nancy ever showing up to support her]. That was a very, very deep sense of rejection on her part.” Then came her drug addiction, return home, and alleged sexual relations with her mother, which her father never once stopped.
“[The parents] tried to control her friends, her goings about, her schooling. They wanted her to be obedient to their desires,” Phyllis said prior to later adding, “I don’t know for sure, but I think Derek would look the other way [if his wife was using Elizabeth]. Maybe he knew some things, yet he ignored them; didn’t want that to be, so it wasn’t. There probably is more, but they are things I wouldn’t divulge [for the sake of our family].” Therefore, when the youngster was sentenced to 90 years behind bars — 45 each for two counts of accessory to murder before/after the fact, her cousin didn’t give up on her for even a second.
Where is Phyllis Workman Now?
Phyllis’ empathy for Elizabeth has always been rather unprecedented, which is why it comes as no surprise she advocated for her release at every parole hearing while also helping in other ways. This was in the form of forgiveness, consistently visiting the inmate, procuring helpful information, and expressing just how proud she was when she began writing a column from behind bars. Moreover, in the 2000s, she engaged an expert forensic psychiatrist for some aid, whose official reports made it clear her cousin was remorseful plus no longer a threat to society with her once-extreme thinking, yet it was only in 2019 that she was released.
Since then, from what we can tell, while Canadian native Elizabeth has settled down in the western area of the nation as a result of her deportation, Phyllis has found solace at home again. In other words, the family woman continues to reside in Lynchburg, Virginia, to this day, but she did once visit her cousin to ensure that everything is okay and learned that she won’t ever speak out in public concerning this ordeal to respect her paternal half-siblings’ wishes. Hence, while surrounded by her loved ones, this 84-year-old loyal YMCA customer as a fitness/CrossFit enthusiast has seemingly resolved to kind of serve as Elizabeth’s voice these days.