CONTENT WARNING: This report contains graphic details of crime scene and autopsy testimony that some readers may find disturbing.
NEW BOSTON, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Reagan Hancock was brutally slashed, stabbed, and bludgeoned before her baby was cut out of her womb in October 2020, but evidence presented Tuesday to the jury in the capital murder trial of her accused killer trial showed she fought hard for her life.
Taylor Parker, who was 27 at the time of the murders on Oct. 9, 2020, is charged with kidnapping and capital murder in the death of the 21-year-old New Boston mother and murder in the death of her unborn baby girl, Braxlynn.
Prosecutors have said they are seeking the death penalty due to the heinous and pre-meditated nature of the crime and because Parker showed no remorse.
After Judge John Tidwell once again warned observers in the courtroom about the graphic nature of upcoming crime scene photos and testimony, an expert in crime scene reconstruction testified that what he saw at the scene of Hancock’s murder indicates she was beaten and stabbed in four or five areas of the home before she bled out on the living room floor.
Texarkana Texas Police Department crime scene investigator Marc Sillivan walked the jury through photographs showing different types of blood swipes, spatter, and shoe prints. There was blood spattered everywhere, including on the walls and even on the ceiling.
“This was not a quick death, was it?” Bowie County Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp asked Sillivan.
“No, it was not,” Sillivan replied.
Like others before him who have taken the stand in this trial, Sillivan also testified that it was the worst crime scene he has ever seen.
There was a bloody hair print on the refrigerator below a series of ultrasound scans of baby Braxlynn. Investigators found a child’s bathing suit on the living room floor, soaked with blood. They believe it might have been used to try to wipe something off. A child’s nighttime pull-up diaper, soaked with urine, was found on top of the pool of blood on the living room floor next to the couch. Sillivan believes it did not end up there until after the murder.
There was a large blood stain on the edge of the couch, with clumps of what appeared to be Reagan‘s blonde hair in it as if her head was leaning against it at some point during the attack. There was bodily fluid soaking into the couch cushions, which Sillivan believes came from the three-and-a-half-year-old child that was in the home at the time.
A blanket on the living room floor was soaked with blood and what is believed to have been amniotic fluid.
A jar full of pink and blue sand from the couple’s wedding on the living room floor, monogrammed with an H, was found spattered with blood near Hancock’s body. Investigators believe the four-pound jar was just one of the items used to bludgeon Hancock in the head, fracturing her skull. They found a semi-circular indentation above her left temple that seemed to match the size and shape of the bottom of the jar.
Another jar from the wedding was found on the floor in the dining room area, also smeared with blood.
Sillivan testified that the pattern and direction of bloody swipes by the front door with more patterns suggesting bloody hair was smeared against it indicate someone was pushed against the wall, sliding to the left toward the front door and down to the floor.
The wall near Hancock’s body was splattered with blood going in all directions, some enough to drip, indicating a significant beating took place there.
Injuries on Hancock‘s body included numerous stab wounds and deep incisions caused by a sharp-edged weapon consistent with a scalpel. She was cut open from hip to hip, and her uterus was pulled out and cut.
Her hands showed extensive defensive wounds, including bruises, scrapes, stab wounds, and cuts on her fingers and palms. One finger was dislocated, and the tip of another was nearly cut off.
Sillivan also testified to finding two distinct sets of prints throughout much of the crime scene. One set was consistent with the crocs Parker was wearing when she was arrested. The other set was consistent with the No Boundaries brand of sandals she was seen wearing in surveillance video at the EZ Mart just a few hours before the murder. Based on the patterns Sillivan identified in the bloody tracks, whoever was wearing the crocs was doing a lot of walking back-and-forth through blood, around the blanket on the floor, and around Hancock‘s body.
There were watery blood stains on the kitchen and hallway bathroom sink as if someone had tried to wash something bloody.
While several possible fingerprints were identified at the scene, the CSIs say none of them proved to be clear enough to be useful to the investigation.
Dallas County Medical Examiner Dr. Melinda Flores also testified for more than two hours Tuesday afternoon about the findings of the autopsy, detailing the extensive cuts, scrapes, bruises, and blunt force trauma Hancock suffered in the attack. Hancock was slashed and stabbed well over 100 times, with 39 of them on her scalp alone. There were also multiple slashes around her neck.
In addition to a broken nose, Hancock suffered five skull fractures, indicating at least five separate blows. Flores pointed to fractures that showed where Hancock was hit with what was likely the claw of a hammer as well as the blunt end, in addition to fractures consistent with the bottom of the mason jar.
A scalpel blade used in the attack was found buried in her neck.
The medical examiner’s testimony was briefly interrupted early Tuesday afternoon when Judge John Tidwell removed the jury from the courtroom in order to “address some issues.” Once the jury was gone, the judge had Parker escorted out. For the first time since the trial began more than two weeks ago, Parker appeared to hide her face from the camera as she left the room. When she returned nearly 20 minutes later, her eyes were red as if she had been crying. Her defense attorney reportedly requested the brief break.
Back on the stand, the medical examiner testified to her findings that Reagan Hancock died as a result of sharp force injuries and blunt force injuries but concluded that they could not rule out the possibility that ligature strangulation contributed to her death. Flores testified that there were too many deep incisions around the victim’s neck to be sure. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.
The defense had no questions for the medical examiner before she left the stand.
The Texas Ranger who searched Taylor Parker’s car and home also took the stand Tuesday, testifying that he found a loaded gun in the car, but none of the weapons believed to have been used in the slaying.
Texas Ranger Stacey McNeal said he found a loaded Taurus Judge revolver holstered in the passenger seat of the Toyota Corolla Parker was driving when she was pulled over with a lifeless newborn baby girl in her lap.
The gun had five rounds in the chamber.
McNeal says he did find a blood-stained blanket and a pillow in the passenger seat, pajama pants, and other bloodied items. Those items were swabbed and submitted for analysis at the crime lab. He also found bloodied paperwork on the dash and noted blood on the driver’s seat and console. On the passenger side, he found a paper sack from McDonald’s, likely from Parker’s purchase that morning.
McNeal also recovered the black yoga pants and bloody underwear that were cut off Parker that morning by people who thought they were helping a woman who had just given birth on the side of the road.
The bikini panties appeared to have some blood on them, and McNeal said they had a foul odor.
“It smelled like someone had defecated,” McNeal said on the stand.
Crime lab analysis would later show that most of the DNA testing on samples taken from the crime scene and from Parker’s car came from Reagan Hancock and her baby and that none of the DNA in the blood samples came back matching Parker.
The Texas Ranger also found a diaper bag with some blood on it. Inside, he found newborn baby clothes, some still with tags on them, diapers, and baby blankets.
McNeal did not find the black jacket with leopard print lining in the hoodie that Parker as seen in surveillance video from EZ Mart on the morning of the murder, nor any of the weapons suspected in Hancock’s murder. There were no hammers, crowbars, or scalpels in the car. He also did not find Hancock’s missing cell phone.
McNeal went to the crime scene on Austin Street and searched Parker’s home on CR 23 in Simms. Photos taken from outside and inside the cabin showed a fairly typical, if small, home of someone who has a young female child and is expecting a baby.
There was a baby swing in the living room, a crib and baby clothing in the bedroom, and what appeared to be a children’s play area in the loft.
The search warrant for the home included Wade’s F-350 super-duty pickup truck. There was an infant car seat in it, the size you would use for a newborn.
McNeal did not find any potential murder weapons or evidence directly related to the murder.
The only question Parker’s defense team co-counsel Mac Cobb had for McNeal was whether the play area in the loft contained items consistent with the presence of a 10-year-old girl, in an apparent reference to Parker’s daughter, who was about that age at the time of the murders.