Chilling find links LI dumping grounds
Jessica Taylor worked as a prostitute all over the East Coast and had been arrested multiple times in New York City on a variety of charges, police records show.
She was just 20 years old, had a tattoo on her back, wore hoop earrings and had moved on to Washington, D.C., after her release from a Rikers Island jail. But then she returned.
On July 26, 2003, days after she was seen working as a prostitute on the streets near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, her nude torso was found in the woods in Manorville, near the Long Island Expressway.
A woman walking her dog came across Taylor's butchered body on a pile of branches. Police said she had been dumped about a week before.
Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said Monday that a woman's head, hands and forearm discovered March 29 in the brush along Ocean Parkway, about a mile east of where the original Gilgo victims were found, belonged to Taylor, establishing a grim connection between two body dumping grounds in the county.
Taylor came from a small town in upstate New York and was estranged from her family. She had been arrested on prostitution charges in Washington, Atlantic City and New York City.
In one case, from Feb. 4, 2003, Taylor solicited an undercover officer for $50 to perform a sex act in Long Island City, Queens, records show.
When she was being booked, Taylor assaulted a police aide, punching her in the face, police said. She pleaded guilty to prostitution and assault charges.
Also that month, she pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property after she was accused of driving a stolen 1995 Chevy Cavalier in the East New York section of Brooklyn, where records indicate she lived.
After her guilty pleas, correction officials said Taylor was sent to Rikers on Feb. 25, 2003. She was discharged on April 28, 2003.
Taylor is next known to have been in Washington, where a prostitute reported her missing in mid-July. She was last seen in Manhattan near the bus terminal on July 18-21, police said.
Taylor might have remained anonymous had it not been for a Washington police officer.
Poring over police bulletins of unidentified remains, he realized that a tattoo of wings and the words "Remy's Angel" on the back of the torso found in Manorville fit her description. The tattoo had been cut and mutilated to make identification harder.
The officer contacted Suffolk police and Taylor was identified in February 2004.
Connecting a picture of her face while alive with the dumped body was then seen as a big break in the case.
Det. Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick, then Suffolk homicide commander, said then that police were hoping someone would recognize her photo and come forward.
Spota said Monday that detectives interviewed people of interest when Taylor's body was found, but they were eliminated as suspects. The trail has long gone cold.
With Anthony M. DeStefano