Under the cover of darkness on a quiet December night, a thump and the screeching of tires echoed through the silence in a back alley in St. Petersburg, Florida. The rumble of the engine roared as a white Toyota Tundra took off in the night, leaving behind the battered and semi-nude body of a beautiful blonde alone under the glow of the moonlight.
“I didn’t know what was going on. These guys said they were going to take her to the hospital. I mean, problem solved.”
– Statement from Robert Butler III to St. Petersburg Police Department (2017)
Taylor Anne McAllister was born on July 21, 1994 in Melbourne, Florida to Leslie and Bill McAllister. She was a gregarious baby with an ever-present grin on her face who grew into a precocious and theatrical child, delighting in singing along to the Spice Girls and dancing for her parents and four siblings. While she spent a few years in Tennessee as a child, she lived the majority of her life in Florida where she attended Tarpon Springs schools. Music quickly became her passion and she often recorded herself belting out everything from The Cure to Justin Timberlake as she strummed her acoustic guitar.
Now, videos of the beautiful girl with an angelic voice and glowing blue eyes are all her family has left.
“Her death has changed each and every one of us,” Taylor’s parents explain. “The pain we feel is more than most can even fathom.”
Taylor’s body was found in an alley in St. Petersburg three days before Christmas in 2016. She was naked except for a grey tee shirt; tire tracks had been imprinted across the skin of her legs. Her cause of death was homicidal asphyxiation.
No one has been charged with her murder.
“We quickly learned how bad the judicial system is,” her parents state. “Absolutely no justice was served.”
Taylor was only twenty-two when she was killed. What happened to her?
“He pulled over and crawled back and said, ‘This girl isn’t breathing. She ain’t breathing.’ And that’s when everything took a turn. Now the hospital trip changed.”
– Statement from Deonte Baker to St. Petersburg Police Department (2017)
Taylor’s parents are extremely candid about their daughter’s drug addiction and how she struggled in the last few years of her life before her murder.
“She started to spiral deeper after the girls were born and she was prescribed pain medication,” Leslie and Bill recall. “This continued and led her down a bad path. The drugs made her a completely different person.”
Many members of the public have scoffed at her death while her parents seek justice, citing her drug use as a reasonable excuse for her demise. The autopsy report clearly states the manner of death as homicide, but many people choose to ignore it and focus instead on the lifestyle Taylor was living at the time, calling her a “junkie” and blaming her for her own death.
“Her addiction did not define her,” Leslie and Bill state. “Taylor was truly one of a kind. Anyone who met her fell in love with her because of her personality. She could make you laugh like crazy.”
It’s astonishing the vile and heartless words people choose to say, especially to grieving parents. Taylor struggled with drugs – but she also loved her twin daughters more than anything in the world, and she cried every year when she read her birthday cards, and she had a talent for doing impressions and making everyone around her laugh. She was known for her hugs. She wanted to be a musician and had an interest in cosmetology, spending hours with her sisters doing their hair and makeup.
Bill and Leslie had done everything in their power to get their daughter the help she needed, but in the end, the drugs took over.
In 2016, Taylor moved in with a man named Robert Butler III. According to police reports, she was at his house the night she died.
Various testimonies paint a grim and mysterious picture of the last few hours of Taylor’s life. According to witnesses, Taylor was barely conscious in Butler’s bed when he called friends to take her to the hospital. Because Butler was a convicted felon with both guns and drugs in the house, he did not call 911, and he did not go with his friends when they placed her in his truck.
On the way to the hospital, Butler’s friend, Quran Archer, reportedly told police that he noticed Taylor died in the truck. He contacted Deonte Baker, who met him at a store, and they both confirmed she had died. Panicking, they pulled over and dumped her body in a nearby alley.
According to witness testimony, both the house and the truck were cleaned the next day.
Despite the bruises and abrasions on Taylor’s body, despite her cause of death being ruled a homicide, and despite DNA found under her fingernails allegedly belonging to Butler, no one has been charged with her murder. Robert Butler III, Deonte Baker, and Quran Archer were all charged with failure to report a death – a misdemeanor in the state of Florida.
Where is the justice? What really happened to Taylor?
“There is no question Taylor was beaten and murdered based off the injuries she sustained,” her parents say. “Taylor wouldn’t back down and would fight back if attacked.”
Leslie and Bill McAllister have made it their mission to find out what really happened to their daughter. Utilizing Facebook, they dedicate each day to revealing information about the people involved and the circumstances surrounding her death. They post snippets of the autopsy report in conjunction with audio and video statements given to the St. Petersburg Police Department. Every day they fight for their daughter while they love on their twin granddaughters who refer to Taylor as “Angel Mommy.”
“None of us will ever be the same without her,” Leslie and Bill express. “There is no healing or moving on; no accepting she’s in a ‘better place.’ Time won’t make it better. Losing a child is a feeling you cannot explain. Everything is a constant reminder of her, anywhere you go or whatever you’re doing…there is a memory of Taylor attached to it.”
Memories like the time at Taylor’s seventh birthday party when she swung the stick so hard she spun around like a top until she fell down, or the time her parents caught her scratching her name into the side of the car with a rock. Or years later when she found out she was pregnant, and she thought the monitor had a split screen (“No, that’s two babies,” the doctor replied).
Taylor’s younger sister, KJ, remembers waiting for their parents to fall asleep and then sneaking downstairs to eat snacks and watch movies until two in the morning.
“We would hold each other so tight because we were so freaked out and then just end up running back upstairs scared to death,” she recalls.
Payton, Taylor’s other younger sister, cherishes memories of the three of them playing games, creating silly videos, and watching Spongebob for hours.
“I really miss her a lot,” she says.
Taylor and her best friend, Mitza, met when they both attended Tarpon Middle School. They called themselves the “Meatballs” and shared countless inside jokes together. They enjoyed playing flag football, and Taylor would watch Mitza coach cheerleading.
“My heart breaks that her life was cut too short,” Mitza expresses. “We lost a daughter, sister, mother and best friend. I love you forever, Taylor Anne! I will never replace the irreplaceable.”
Family and friends cling to these precious memories as they continue to fight for justice for Taylor. When asked what they would say to her, her parents’ heartfelt response was this:
“We would tell her how much we love and miss her. How her death has impacted so many people who are now fighting for justice for her. Then we would beg for her forgiveness, tell her how sorry we are for not being there that night. It doesn’t matter the circumstances or if we were aware of what was going on because as parents you know your job is to protect your children no matter what. Regardless of their age or situation you know that is your responsibility in life and we have a tremendous amount of guilt for that. That [her daughters] watch her videos all the time and they love and miss her. We would tell her how our lives will never be the same without her and ask her to please watch over her girls and our family.”
“God of each hill, God of each valley,
why was she left all alone in an alley?
The light of our lives and mom of twins is now dead;
two little girls have an angel instead.
Her beauty, her laughter…so many things we miss
but justice is coming – we’ll make certain of this.
Her killers will pay one way or another
but for now we’ll fight on for our daughter, our mother.”