Police: Laurel County man killed woman with rock

Published: Mar. 29, 2017 at 10:11 AM EDT
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A man is behind bars in Laurel County and charged with murder.

Coroner Danny Finley tells WYMT Shannon Vaughn Saylor, 36, of East Bernstadt was found dead Sunday in Clay County.

Jeffrey Taylor is charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the case. Taylor was arrested early Thursday morning.

We are told Taylor and Saylor were in a relationship together. Taylor is accused of hitting Saylor in the head with a rock, killing her.

Saylor was found in a wooded area in Clay County off Whites Branch Road Sunday. State Trooper Lloyd Cochran said a preliminary investigation led them to the secluded area.

"Very serious case, very serious charges, and detectives don't take that lightly," said Trooper Cochran. "They will be following up on their leads and it's still a very active ongoing investigation at this time."

According to an arrest citation, Saylor died from severe skull breakage.

Police believe Taylor killed Saylor between March 4 and March 21. They also believe he killed her at his home on Sasser Road in Laurel County before dumping her body in Clay County.

People that live on Sasser Road said they were shocked when they heard about the crime.

"It's hard to believe that this happened in our neighborhood that's quiet and peaceful," said Sophie Hollin. "I mean you never hear anything."

Another woman, who also lives on Sasser Road, said she knew Taylor and his family and couldn't believe that he may be involved in the crime. She also wants people to know that her neighborhood has always been safe.

"I've lived here since 1963 and this is the first occurrence of this type that I've known of," said Martha Wagers. "Besides...he's accused and hasn't been proved guilty."

On Wednesday, some who live in Clay County, such as Bobby Jones, were not surprised to hear a body was found.

"Not surprised at all," said Jones. "I mean, it's just kind of the norm in this area, to be honest with you."

He said those who live around him are family.

"Up here, on this knoll, is my family and stuff but it gets pretty wild down there," he said, pointing down the road.

Others, like Judy Hensley, were surprised to hear about the investigation.

"I don't see anything to be afraid of around here and its a surprise to hear about something being up the road there," she said.

Hensley added, it makes her second guess the safety she once took for granted.

"I don't think of fear and if I did, I would probably more be alert. We've got nothing to be afraid of around here... but now we will be more alert," she said.

We reached out to Taylor to see if he would talk to us from jail, however, he declined.

We also spoke with Saylor's family over the phone. They said they are too upset to do an interview at this time. However, they did tell us that Saylor was and only child and leaves behind two children.