GUFLPORT, MS (WLOX) - The sons of a murdered Gulfport woman have lived without answers to a question that has haunted them for decades: Who killed their mother?
Now, they’re grappling with the unexpected answer 26 years later. Alleged serial killer Samuel Little admitted to strangling Alice Taylor to death in 1992.
“I wonder if my mama screamed out for help. I wonder if my mama thought about us when it was going on,” said Marcus Taylor.
The body of Alice “Tina” Taylor, 27, was found under a pile of tires between Mississippi and Alabama avenues in Gulfport. The mother of five had been strangled. Little told investigators he killed her and her friend Tracy Johnson on the same day but at separate times.
That was in December 1992. Jermaine Taylor was 10. His brother Marcus just 7.
The memories they have of their mother are scarce, but one of the most vivid is their mother promising them she would get clean from drugs. That was just days before she disappeared.
“She said she wanted to keep us altogether. She wanted to get all her kids back with her, and she’s going to do right. She ended up getting a job, and then that’s when that happened," Marcus Taylor said.
Tina Taylor was last seen on Dec. 7, 1992. Her body was discovered four days later. As time passed, leads to find her killer dried up; her addiction became the story behind her death.
“You grow up angry because you feel like she chose those things, drugs, over us,” Marcus said. “So for 26 years, we all said it. That mama picked drugs over us."
Almost three decades later, a new answer finally emerged in the case in the most unexpected way.
“I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe it. You know it was just 26 years. A confession? Why?” Marcus said.
Investigators checking Little’s confessions said he is giving them specific details of the murders that no one but the killer would know. He also gave them a sketch of Tina Taylor, which the brothers said is a spot on depiction of their mother right before she went missing.
“Twenty-six years later, he still remember. Uncle Bubba had just permed her hair,” Marcus said.
The confession put decades-long rumors to rest.
“Now people can let her name rest in peace, and the things they said, they’re going to realize that they weren’t true about her. She was, she did change. She just crossed paths with a monster who didn’t care anything about her," Marcus said.
The reality is just as tough to accept.
“Yeah, it’s different now than finding out at 33, then finding out at 7, and having to relive it,” Marcus said.
For these brothers, it’s forced painful memories to the surface, making the saying “forgive and forget” impossible to put in to action.
“I can never forgive him. No ma’am. No forgiveness,” Marcus said.
“I hope he...I hope he rot in hell,” Jermaine said.
Though an answer to the question that’s haunted them for years won’t bring their mother back, it does bring closure.
“Right now I just want to move forward, but at least we know what finally happened after all these years,” Jermaine said.
“You know, you can never be at peace for losing your mama, but you can be at peace knowing that, hey, you know what happened. You really know what happened to her,” Marcus said.
Now these brothers move forward after a unexpected confession gives them closure.
Little is currently serving three life sentences in California for the murder of three women. He has also been charged in the deaths of another Harrison County woman Julia Critchfield and police say he has confessed to the death of a Jackson County woman, Melinda LaPree.
The FBI recently released a timeline and map of the dates and locations of Little’s murders, including the ten in Mississippi.