LUBBOCK, Texas — “She was a baby, and they’ve taken our baby from us,” Celestine Taylor, Veronica Taylor’s aunt, said.
It’s been more than three decades of waiting for justice for the family of 13-year-old Veronica Taylor. The sixth grader was brutally murdered in 1987, and her body was found in a snow-covered field adjacent to F.M. 1729 — not far from the neighborhood where she grew up.
To this day, her case has never been solved, and her family fears some have forgotten about their little girl, even though they never can.
“We never stop thinking about her, and you know that one day justice will be served and maybe now it’s that time,” Lorene Taylor, Veronica’s aunt, said.
They’re hoping a new $6,000 reward from TX DPS will help warm up this now cold case and finally bring them answers — the answers they need to heal.
“You don’t find very many people like her. There was something special about her from the beginning. You could see it in her,” Celestine said.
Around their homes, you’ll notice they don’t keep pictures of Veronica, saying the memories are still too painful.
“It was 35 years ago, and I still can’t — I’ve never looked at her picture,” Celestine said.
They’re pleading for anyone with information on the killer or what happened to come forward. Maybe to clear up a doubt — or even a conscience. But they have their own suspicions too.
“I do believe in my heart [the killer] is somebody that knew her because she would not go to a stranger,” Celestine said.
And they have good reason to think so. Celestine was one of the last to ever see Veronica alive. The teen was last seen walking out of her door but never made it home that night. The next morning, her body was discovered severely beaten and strangled, dumped by the side of the road.
“People just take heed, and watch your babies. You’re not expecting any of this, and Lord knows we weren’t. Because otherwise I would have went out that back door with her,” Celestine said.
The grisly crime happened before modern-day DNA technology, so evidence at the scene was largely contaminated.
And a few months after Veronica died, her mother died in a car crash, never knowing who killed her daughter.
“I just think a lot of times of what [Veronica] would be like and what her future would be if she were alive, and I know she would have gone far,” Celestine said.
They emphasized Veronica was a bright little girl who loved going to school and singing in her church choir.
Veronica especially loved her family and her baby sister, who was just one year old when Veronica died. Now that baby sister has a daughter who has outlived her.
“I have an older daughter, she’s 15, and for a really, really long time, she was under my wing because of what happened to my sister,” Taneka King, Veronica’s sister, said.
The family will never give up their search for justice.
“Even though she’s gone, she lives on in each and every one of us,” Lorene said.
Veronica would be 47-years-old today.
Anyone with information on Veronica’s murder has been asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-252-8477. All tips are anonymous.