New information in a two-decade-old murder mystery could now lead authorities to a killer. Veronica Taylor was just 13 years old when her body was found two miles north of Idalou.
NewsChannel 11 cameras captured the scene 21 years ago as Lubbock County Sheriff deputies first started to piece together what happened March 26, 1987. Since then the puzzle has remained unsolved. However, Wednesday morning investigators told NewsChannel 11 new information could help close the case.
"We recently came up with a little more information and they are trying to get this case together and we feel this is certainly a solvable case," Lubbock County Sheriff's Office Major Don Carter said.
If this smiling teenage girl were alive today, she would be celebrating her 34th birthday. Instead, Veronica Taylor was just 13 years old when someone brutally took her life.
"They took a child in her tender years and just treated her like a piece of trash to be used and discarded," Judge Jim Hansen said. Judge Hansen is now a Lubbock County Justice of the Peace. However, more than 20 years ago he was a NewsChannel 11 reporter who covered the story when it first broke.
On a cold March 26 morning, NewsChannel 11 cameras rolled as deputies snapped pictures of her beaten body in a snow covered field. Evidence collected included a comb and school supplies in Taylor's pockets. An Idalou banker on his way to work noticed Taylor's body just before seven in the morning. Her panties had been tied around her neck and her face was almost unidentifiable. At the time, Sheriff Sonny Keesee spoke to Hansen about Taylor's tragic end.
"She was severally beaten apparently by fist. The killing blow came from an instrument to the back of skull on the left hand side is where the blow was placed," Sheriff Keesee said.
"Something like that in a wide open area in broad daylight, I remember the sheriff saying someone must have seen something. And when you go over there and look you'd say someone had to have seen something," Hansen said.
Taylor was a sixth grader at Murfee Elementary when she was killed. At the time, she lived at the Phoenix Apartments formerly located in 1000 block of 38th Street. Authorities told Hansen that Taylor and another young friend were last seen going into another apartment unit two days before her body was found.
"Authorities are still sticking to their theory that some at the Phoenix Apartment did it, they still don't know who it is," Hansen said in his report.
"I know the sheriff's office put in a lot of efforts back then and obviously my statement has proven true because they are still thinking about it today," Hansen told NewsChannel 11 Wednesday.
Major Carter said, "We want the family to know we have not forgotten about the case."
Fast forward 20 years and the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office has a new set of eyes on the case and a new weapon - DNA testing.
"The new technologies are coming into play. We do have some evidence that has been resubmitted for analysis that we hope to be able to further this case," Major Carter said.
Hansen added, "Whoever did that, if they are still out there, they have no heart, no soul and need to be found and put behind bars."
The Lubbock County Sheriff's Office asks you to think back more than 2-decades and if you know anything about this crime, you are urged to call Crime Line at (806) 741-1000.
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