MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 15, 2014

Former resident’s death mystery

Police investigate after woman’s body found in national park in Georgia

By Anita Reding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Police in Roswell, Ga., are investigating the death of a former Muskogee resident, and family members believe the girl’s boyfriend should provide some answers.

On Sunday, the body of Markeesha Latreece Taylor, 20, was found at Vickery Creek Park off of Riverside Road in Roswell, Ga., said Officer Lisa Holland. Taylor’s body was found by a visitor at the national park about 1:25 p.m., Sunday on the bank near the Chattahoochee River, Holland said.

“Initially, we responded to that location, but the FBI took over the investigation because it is in a national park,” Holland said.

The FBI then returned the case to the Roswell Police Department, “because they determined she did not die there,” Holland said. “Investigators believe the death of Ms. Taylor did not occur on the property and that her body was dropped off at the location.”

Taylor had not been reported missing.

“We don’t know how she died,” Holland said.

Officials have been unable to determine if Taylor has any ties to the Roswell area.

“We really don’t have too much information about her,” Holland said.

Police are waiting on autopsy reports from the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office and toxicology tests results from Georgia Bureau of Investigations. Holland said she does not know when police will receive the information.

At the time of her death, Taylor was living with her boyfriend, Tariq Smith, Holland said.

Taylor moved to Muskogee as a baby and lived here until she was 16, her aunt, Malika Cheeks, said. She then moved to New York and then to Decatur, Ga.

 A death notice from a Muskogee funeral home lists Taylor’s occupation as modeling. Her aunt said she did not know where Taylor was employed. She said she last spoke to her niece about two weeks ago.

“It’s still an ongoing investigation,” Cheeks said Wednesday afternoon, adding that family members want Taylor’s boyfriend to answer several questions. “We still have a lot of unanswered questions from him.”

Cheeks said Taylor’s boyfriend called a family member early Monday morning and said that Taylor’s body was in the river.

During this time, media reports were announcing that a body had been found at Vickery Creek Park, but were not providing any descriptions. Cheeks said she questions how Smith knew that a black female was found.

Family members eventually were able to confirm that it was Taylor who had  been found at Vickery Creek Park by providing specific information about her to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Cheeks said Smith has cleaned out their apartment, and “he’s basically gone into hiding. He’s running. It makes it so suspicious.”

Smith, who was the last person to see Taylor, was in contact with Taylor’s family until family members identified the body, Cheeks said, adding that she has been unsuccessful in contacting Smith on his cell phone.

She also said that Smith has deleted his Twitter page and Facebook page.

Police are asking anyone who has information that will help in the investigation to contact them.

Cheeks said she also encourages anyone with information about the death of her niece to contact authorities “so we can find out who did this and get them properly prosecuted,” she said.

Funeral services for Taylor will be conducted in Muskogee on May 24, family members said. The location will be announced at a later date.

Reach Anita Reding at (918) 684-2903 or areding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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Anyone with information regarding the death of Markeesha Latreece Taylor is asked to contact Detective Jeff Sanders with the Roswell Police Department in Roswell, Ga., at (770) 640-4464.