DNA leads to rape arrest in 1978 Biloxi teen's murder
William Taylor. Image source: Biloxi Police Department.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
Biloxi police have made an arrest in the 1978 murder of 15-year-old Sherri Taylor. Investigators tell WLOX News that they have arrested the victim's father, William Taylor, and charged him with statutory rape.
According to police reports, Sherri Taylor was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted on July 11, 1978. Police say the victim's father claimed he discovered her body in the bathroom of the trailer they shared when he returned home from work.
"It was a brutal murder. She had been stabbed several times. The autopsy report shows that she had been sexually assaulted. Semen was covered all over her body," said Investigator Michael Brown of the Biloxi Police Department.
An arrest was made during the initial investigation, but the original suspect was released due to lack of evidence and the case went cold. Last January, police reopened the case.
Investigators conducted interviews with witnesses, including William Taylor. They also sent DNA evidence to a private lab to be tested with technology beyond the ability of investigators of the time. Police say those results showed that Sherri was sexually assaulted by her father.
During the course of the new investigation, police say Taylor admitted to having sex with his daughter, but not to killing her. After her parents divorced, police say Sherri had moved in with her father. They had been living at Sea and Sand Trailer Park for a year when she was murdered.
Sherri is survived by a sister. WLOX News will have more on this developing story as details become available.