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Monday, Jun 9, 2008
Police Search for Motive in Double Slayings of Oklahoma Girls
Oklahoma police are searching for a motive in the double slayings of two young girls found dead Sunday night in a ditch along a rural road.
Taylor Paschal-Placker, 13, and Skyla Whitaker, 11, were discovered by a relative after they failed to return from an afternoon walk on the county road south of Interstate 40 in Okfuskee County near Weleetka, Okla.
The deaths of the best friends were labeled “double homicide” by investigators, according to News9.com in Oklahoma City.
The pair, who were sleeping over at Taylor’s house, decided to take a walk down the desolate road Sunday afternoon, something they were used to doing in their rural community.
Taylor’s grandfather, Peter Placker, found the children after he became worried when his wife tried calling a cellular phone the girls had with them and got no answer.
“I can’t describe coming up on it,” Peter Placker said, sobbing uncontrollably, as he tried to remember walking up on the scene, only about one-quarter mile from his house. “I done it once and I can’t do it again.”
The girls were found clothed in T-shirts and shorts with multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Oklahoman.
Okfuskee County Sheriff Jack Choate told the paper that they have a suspect in the case, but no motive.
“They were little girls,” Choate told the paper. “What possible motive could there be? You have to wonder, did they see something they were not supposed to? Were they at the wrong place at the wrong time?”
Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Inspector Stan Florence said it was unknown if they were molested.
“This is a case that involves two innocent girls that were walking out on their own,” Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Inspector Stan Florence said. “Some evidence has been found at the scene which may be useful to us. We have spent a lot of time going down this road looking for evidence.”
Meanwhile, relatives tried to make sense of the grisly killings in a community where some folks still leave their keys in their cars and residents who live 10 miles apart still call themselves neighbors.
Skyla was the carefree adventurer, the girl who walked barefoot almost everywhere and rode her bicycle down endless dirt roads. Where she went, her many cats followed, along with her pet goat. Skyla wanted to become a veterinarian, said her grandmother, Claudia Farrow.
To know Taylor was to love her. She was the big-hearted girl who rescued helpless turtles crawling in the middle of the road and wanted to become a forensic scientist, like on the TV shows, said Peter Placker, who said he raised Taylor like she was his daughter even though he was her biological grandparent.
She was home-schooled until the family moved to Weleetka, located about 70 miles south of Tulsa and 90 miles east of Oklahoma City. It has a population of approximately 950 people.
“She was the best kid I’ve known,” Placker said.
Taylor attended Graham Public School in Weleetka, where in 2006 she was a fifth grade queen candidate in the Elementary Royalty Coronation, according to the school’s Web site.
“Taylor was the most lively, beautiful little girl you ever met,” her uncle Joe Mosher told the Oklahoman. “She was very intelligent and had good grades. She didn’t have an enemy in this world. People who didn’t even know her loved her.”