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Mecklenburg Sheriff’s Office seeks to calm rumors in Taylor case

SoVaNow.com / September 22, 2010
The family of Jeremiah Taylor, 26, whose body was discovered Sept. 4 in his Isuzu SUV submerged in a South Hill pond, may have to wait two months longer for an autopsy report that will tell them how he died.

Steve Murman, district administrator for the office of the Virginia Chief Medical Officer, said Monday that a final report will not be available until a toxicology study has been completed.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office last week issued a press release stating that the death of the South Hill man is being investigated as a homicide, “as are all death investigations” by the office.

“The investigation to this point has not yielded any information that would implicate anyone to Taylor’s death,” the press release stated.

The release listed and denied a series of rumors, widely circulated in the county, that several law enforcement officials have been suspended and/or arrested in connection with the case and that the body may have been tampered with or dismembered.

According to the release, the hands and feet were recovered with Taylor’s body and the letters KKK had not been marked on the body — contrary to two widespread rumors.

Murman, administrator of the medical examiner’s office, on Monday viewed photos taken during the autopsy and confirmed that there were no letters on the body.

He said the body appeared to have been in the water about 8 weeks, and natural decomposition had altered its appearance.

Taylor, reported missing July 24, was last seen July 22 by a friend. He did not tell anyone where he was going.

The Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 4 responded to a call from a fisherman that an object that appeared to be a shoe had been spotted just below the surface of the water. The dive team recovered Taylor’s body from his vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office release, issued Sept. 16, reads as follows:

REF: BODY OF JEREMIAH TAYLOR

There have been a number of reports of incorrect information being spread through the county concerning the death of Jeremiah Taylor and the condition of the body when found.

The following information is to dispel some of that incorrect information:

There were no letters or marking observed on the body when recovered from the pond. A rumor has spread saying the letter’s KKK were found on the body. Not True.

If any of the evidence recovered or anything at the scene had indicated any type of hate crime involvement the Virginia State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation would have been notified immediately, as required by law.

The body was submerged in water for approximately 6 weeks. All extremities were recovered with the body. Due to the natural decomposition of human remains the physical appearance of the body had changed. A rumor has spread saying the hands and/or feet of Taylor were missing and his arms were tied when the body was recovered. All False.

No arrest has been made. The investigation to this point has not indicated any involvement of anyone in Taylor’s death. A rumor has spread saying that Sheriff Fox has been suspended from duty along with Chief Norman Hudson of South Hill Police Department and Chief Jay Jordon of Chase City Police Department being arrested. All False.

The death of Jeremiah Taylor is being investigated as a homicide, as are all death investigations by the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation to this point has not yielded any information that would implicate anyone to Taylor’s death.

The Sheriff’s Office will not close the case or release the final ruling as to cause of death until the final autopsy report is released by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Sheriff Fox would like to express his deepest regrets to the Taylor family for having to endure these unsettling rumors during their time of loss.



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