LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Kenneth Earl Taylor has been identified as a suspect in the 1993 murder case of then 28-year-old Sherry Ann Ragsdale Dorsey, who was found in her apartment complex in East Lubbock.
The Lubbock Police Department made the announcement during a 9 a.m. news conference on Monday inside the department’s media room. Taylor, who was born in 1958, has since died.
Ragsdale Dorsey, whose family now just goes by Ragsdale, was found in her apartment in the former Greenfair Manor Apartments at 2704 Weber Dr. on April 17, 1993.
This is the first major update on her case within the past 26 years, Greg Stevens, LPD’s chief of police, said. Before Monday’s announcement there were hardly any leads on the murder of the mother of two.
At the time of her death, Ragsdale-Dorsey’s son was a little over 2 years old and her daughter was younger than 2 months old.
“This has been a difficult 26 years for them,” Stevens said, “to grow up without their mom.”
The identification of Taylor came with the help of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Crime Lab and the University of North Texas’ Center for Human Identification. The evidence used was collected and saved from the 1993 case.
A search warrant issued by LPD states an autopsy found Ragsdale’s death was caused by strangulation. Early in the case, a detective with LPD identified Taylor as a suspect but it was not until 1998 the case was presented to the Lubbock County District Attorney’s office.
However, Stevens said, there was not enough evidence present to take the case to prosecution. It was not until March of 2017 the DPS lab was able to process the murder scene swabs.
The evidence was then collected into an evidence system, called the Combined DNA Index System – CODIS for short.
“The report advised the DNA profile generated from the evidentiary swabs obtained from Sherry Ann Ragsdale Dorsey matched a DNA profile from a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office homicide case,” the warrant stated. “The TXDPSCL report further stated this case and the Los Angeles California case are unsolved.”
Because Taylor was dead by the time the DNA evidence came into play, LPD detectives reached out to his mother and received a voluntary DNA sample. Through a familial identification process, detectives keyed in on Taylor’s possible connection to the case.
“That sample taken from Ms. Ragsdale’s homicide scene was a positive match for a biological child of that woman, the mother of Kenneth Earl Taylor,” Stevens said. “Understand that’s not a positive match to Kenneth Earl Taylor at the time, just that it was a biological child of his mother.”
On March 5, detectives obtained a warrant allowing them to exhume the body of Taylor, who was buried in the City of Lubbock Cemetery.
It was with the help of UNT’s facility that police found the DNA was a positive match for both the Ragsdale’s case and a homicide case in California, Stevens said. Thirteen samples were taken from Taylor’s body to make this identification.
Now, with his profile in LPD’s system, the DNA can be used as evidence in other cases that may be related to Taylor, he said. As of now that does not mean he is currently a suspect in any other cases.
But with the DNA match made, LPD consider’s Ragsdale’s case closed.
“It’s a case where, really, just following up and seeing what can be done down the road as well follow up on cold cases,” Stevens said.
The full Monday morning news conference can be found here.