Police seek help in Md. woman's death
Tannessa Taylor had lived a tough life: A mother who died in a car wreck; moving among relatives, from West Virginia to Maryland; mental health struggles; and a turn towards prostitution.
On March 6, Taylor’s partially buried body was found in a shallow grave in woods in northern Montgomery County, just outside Damascus, in the Patuxent River State Park. She was 19 years old.
"She was trying to turn her life around and get out of that lifestyle," Detective Matthew Krest said Monday. "By all accounts she was intelligent. She was very nice."
Stuck on the case, police announced a reward of up to $5,000 Monday for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for Taylor's death. They also released pictures of two people they want to speak with about Taylor: Shannon Watkins, 34, and Casey Boone, 20.
"They were known to be in contact with her around the time of her disappearance," Krest said. "We just believe that these two are going to have some good information for us that can help get our investigation going."
The two are known to frequent Prince George’s County and Alexandria.
Taylor's brother, Keith Carmichael, spoke Monday about his sister who he helped raise, and urged anyone with information to step forward.
"She's a beautiful soul. I know that she wasn't trying to hurt anybody," Carmichael said.
Taylor's grandmother, Dorothy Reemsnyder, said in a statement that her granddaughter suffered from borderline schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She "hated having this condition," her grandmother said.
Her remains were found by chance, police said, by a man walking by to prepare for an upcoming turkey hunt.
Krest, the detective, said Taylor turned towards prostitution when she was about 16, a common age for that to happen. That she was from a broken home and had mental health issues made her an ideal target for pimps and other prostitutes to lure her in.
"Before they know it, they're in over their heads," Krest said. "You're talking about young, impressionable people."
Krest said he didn't know if prostitution led to Taylor's demise. “It’s certainly possible. It certainly increases her risk,” he said.
Krest said that rumors surfaced that Taylor had given detectives information about suspects involved in a 7-Eleven robbery. Though the rumor was never substantiated, it could have prompted someone to hurt her, police said.
Detectives don't know of any connections Taylor had to the Damascus area, where her body was found. They hope to hear from anyone with any information.
"Sometimes the smallest bit of information that seems very insignificant winds up being that little piece of information that breaks the case," Krest said.
Police urged anyone with information about Taylor or the case to call 240-773-5070. Callers may remain anonymous by calling 240-773-TIPS (8477). Information can also be provided through "Text-A-Tip." Users type "MCPD," plus their tip on their cell phone and then texts it to 274637 (CRIMES).
-- Dan Morse
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