NEW BOSTON, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – Taylor Parker told investigators that it was Reagan Hancock’s idea to cut her unborn baby out of her own body on the morning of her murder.
Jurors watched videos Wednesday of Parker’s interviews with police. In those interviews, Parker claimed Reagan was badly hurt when they got into a violent physical confrontation and that Reagan begged her to take the baby because she was afraid she was dying.
“She was screaming, ‘Take her out. Take the baby out!’” Parker told Texas Ranger Josh Mason, who led the investigation and conducted the interviews. “She said, ‘I’m finished!’ She said, ‘I’m dying.’ She was talking to me! And she just begged me, she said, ‘You can have her, just take her!’”
In one version of events, Parker even claimed Hancock grabbed the scalpel herself.
“It’s not believable at all,” said Mason, who testified Wednesday that Parker told “wildly different stories” over the course of five hours in two separate interviews. The first was on the day of Parker’s arrest on charges of capital murder and kidnapping. The other was five days later after Parker was extradited back to Texas from Oklahoma – and after an autopsy raised even more questions for investigators.
While Parker initially claimed she did not remember bringing a knife to Hancock’s house, she eventually admitted to using a scalpel from a medical kit she carried in her purse to use on her dogs when hog hunting. She said she was “pretty 100 percent positive” that she put it down after removing Hancock’s baby from its sac.
Parker asked for proof when Mason told her it had been recovered from Hancock’s neck during her autopsy.
“Can you show me that 100 percent?”
“I don’t have to show you, I’m telling you that,” Mason told Parker. “We didn’t find the scalpel in the house. It was found in her body, in her neck. Please explain.”
“The last time I used it was when we were doing the baby deal,” Parker said. “I didn’t touch her neck with that scalpel.”
The autopsy report found well over 100 sharp force trauma wounds on Hancock’s body, dozens of them on her head and neck alone.
Parker told investigators she left her house around 7 a.m. on the day of the murders and went to McDonald’s for a coffee and a hashbrown. After that, she went next door to the EZ Mart and got some gas. She said she took her boyfriend Wade Griffin‘s Toyota Corolla because it got better gas mileage than her car. Then, Parker claimed, she started to get a “really bad headache” on her way home and pulled over in the parking lot of a church on Hwy 8 in New Boston. She said she was alone and that her seat was tilted all the way back like she was going to sleep. She claimed not to remember how she got there.
“I thought it was a little weird that I was sitting in a parking lot,“ Parker told the investigators.
Parker claimed she only went over to Hancock’s house that morning because she insisted.
“Reagan was calling me. She told me she was worried about me from the night before and to come take a shower. I told her I didn’t want that. I just needed to be by myself. I got off the phone with her, she called me back and told me to come over there. She asked me where I was and I told her I was in New Boston,” Parker cried as she told investigators. “I don’t know, I just had a really bad feeling that I just didn’t need to get around her.“
“‘What did you talk about?“ Mason asked.
“She just told me to come. I said I would just take a shower and lay down there for a few hours, and she said, ‘No, we need to talk,’ so I drove over there.”
Reagan was scheduled for a final 9 a.m. shift at Flying Burger before beginning maternity leave that morning and need to take Kynlee to daycare first. First Assistant District Attorney Kelly Crisp asked Mason on the stand whether it made sense that Reagan would be inviting Taylor over to talk at this time of the morning. Mason said it did not.
Parker claimed that when she got to the house on Austin Street, there was a confrontation in the garage.
“She was talking, and it was kind of like, I’d grabbed my head because my head was pounding, and she told me, ‘You need to lay down and sleep because you’re not sleeping,’ and she grabbed me, just in a caring manner… and that’s when she scratched me,” Parker told Mason in one interview. “And it was some kind of going in and out, not knowing what was going on and what wasn’t, and she kept hollering at me.”
Appearing to sob at times as she described what happened next, Parker continued, “I told her, ‘I need to get away from here…’ She wouldn’t let me. She shut the garage door.”
Parker said she pushed Hancock, causing her to hit her head on her car and fall to the garage floor.
“What prompted that?“ Mason asked Parker.
“She was shaking me and I was already out of my f—g mind,” Parker told Mason, crying. “I knew something bad was gonna happen… It was like when I shoved her down, everything changed.”
Mason testified that it was difficult to get a straight answer out of Parker as they tried to understand how the fight moved from the garage into the house, and what happened in between. At one point, Parker said they were chatting while Reagan did her hair in the bathroom, telling her she was running late, texting her husband, Homer, and talking about trouble in their marriage. But she said the two also fought in the living room when Taylor again tried to leave.
“What do you remember?“ Mason asked Parker.
“I remember her having to hold me and screaming at me,” Parker said.
“What did she say?“
“That I wasn’t right, that I wasn’t Taylor,“ Parker cried.
“Well, what happened?“ Prompted Mason.
“I remember…pushing her off me and she grabbed my hair and hit me and said, ‘You need to wake up!’”
“How did she hit you?“
“I think with her hand, I don’t think she had anything. And I instantly…”
At this point in the interview, Parker paused and appeared to break down in tears, holding her hand over her mouth. She eventually described “wailing” on Hancock, although she told several conflicting stories about exactly how the fight played out. But she claimed that Hancock was the first to get physical and that she fought back as she tried to get away.
“I remember there being blood everywhere. There was blood on her face and blood on my face. And just blood everywhere.”
Parker also claimed that Hancock was the one who pulled a knife from a kitchen drawer and “poked” her with it, and later grabbed the mason jar from her wedding and bashed her over the head with it.
No such knife was found at the scene, and according to the officer who booked Parker into the Idabel city jail on the day of her arrest, she only had a scratch on her chest and no serious injuries.
Despite being able to detail a vicious fight with Hancock, Parker initially had little to say about exactly how she removed the baby from her body.
“I remember taking her out, I know that.”
“What do you mean?” Mason asked.
“That was the only way to get her out.”
“Okay, how did you do that?”
“I had to cut her out.”
McCurtain County obstetrician Dr. William Herron testified Monday that the kind of pain a person would suffer during a cesarean section without anesthetic would be excruciating.
Yet, Parker claimed Hancock continued to converse with her after the baby was removed from her womb, telling her to go and get help for the baby when she told her she was not breathing. Parker also claimed Hancock was alive when she left the house.
Mason confirmed that Parker did not call 911 until she was pulled over in De Kalb.
Parker appeared to sob at times as Mason and Bowie County Sheriff’s Office investigator Westin Fannin questioned her. Her voice grew louder and more argumentative in response to some questions and noticeably higher in pitch in response to others. She took long pauses, whispered, or changed the subject in response to difficult questions.
Mason testified that body language and behavior can be telling in suspect interviews.
“Words tell you a story but how someone says it can also mean something,” Mason testified. “Nonverbal cues, whether they’re looking at me or looking away, the pitch in their voice changes.”
Parker scoffed at some questions and even laughed as she tried to get the investigators to tell her what they knew.
But Parker was not laughing when the investigators homed in on what Parker’s intent was that day.
“Your intent was what?” Mason asked.
“Wanting a baby,” Parker said softly.
“Your intent was wanting HER baby, right?” Fannin followed up. “You made sure the hospital in Idabel would take you. Wade was going out of town. You sat in that church parking lot contemplating whether this was the right thing to do or not. You had a scalpel. Nobody does that. Your intent was wanting a baby. Right or wrong? “
Parker sat silently with her left hand on her face and her right arm draped across her stomach.
“You went to the house intending on leaving with a baby, was it not??”
“I wanted a baby, I’ve been wanting a newborn for months,” Parker confirmed, crying.
“When did you decide that she had what you needed?“ Mason asked.
“I already thought I told you what my intent was. “
“You can’t tell me she asked you to take her baby and expect me to believe that!”
“I swear to God!” Parker insisted.
But Mason believes Parker did not go to Reagan’s house that day just to visit a friend.
“She has targeted, been looking for a target, prior to this date and I wanted to know when she decided that that was her target,” Mason explained to the jury.
“You took her family pictures, her three-year-old daughter,” Fannin told Parker during the Oct. 14 interview. “This lady trusted you, to let you in her house. You went in her house with a diaper bag and a scalpel, what you needed for the baby. You had Wade arranged to go out of town. You got your baby. Wade believed you, you proved all these people you were lying for the last ten months and you had your ‘aha’ moment…at the expense of that.”
Fannin appeared to be gesturing toward an autopsy photo on the desk in the interview room as he emphasized “that.”
“You had your ‘I proved you all wrong’ moment.“
Parker sat still with the back of her hand under her chin, looking down. The clock in the interview room was the only sound for several seconds. Then she crossed her arms and, after a long pause, whispered something so quietly, Crisp had to play it again in court before Mason relayed what it was.
“Can I please go to the bathroom?”
“Her attempt to change the subject, probably,” Mason explained.
During the interviews, Parker vehemently denied calling in the bomb threat to the hospital and starting the fire under Wade’s cabin in the week leading up to the murder in order to avoid an induction appointment she knew she could not keep.
She also denied taking Hancock’s cell phone from the house and disposing of it, along with other items police say they never found. Those items include the fake baby belly and the shirt and sandals Parker was seen wearing in surveillance video at the EZ Mart just a couple of hours before the murder.
Parker told investigators that Wade did not know that she was not pregnant until after her arrest and repeatedly said she acted alone.
Hancock’s three-year-old daughter witnessed the bloody scene. Parker told investigators she told the crying toddler to go back to her room.
Wednesday’s testimony also provided an explanation for why cell phone records show Parker’s boyfriend Wade called her burner phone on the day of the murder. Parker told investigators they got the burner phone to evade surveillance from her mother, who she claimed was hacking, harassing, and threatening them.
Mason asked Parker if she had ever been diagnosed with a mental illness. Parker told him she suffered from depression after her divorce and experienced “blackout episodes” after a stroke in 2015. She claimed she saw a psychiatrist from late 2017 through 2019 or 2020, but there are no records of any history of blackouts or a stroke and Mason said he is not aware of Taylor Parker being diagnosed with any kind of mental illness.
Earlier Wednesday, Hancock’s OB-GYN took the stand and testified that the 21-year-old was about eight months along and that the pregnancy was progressing normally at the time of her death. Dr. James Scales told the jury that there were no signs there was anything wrong with the baby.
Dr. Scales testified that he was surprised to learn that Hancock’s baby did suffer any physical injuries, considering the crude nature of the c-section.
“You can nick a baby cutting through those layers,” Scales said, explaining that doctors are trained to cut into the uterus very carefully. “So, someone that is not trained in a situation like I can imagine that was, I’m surprised. I’d say very lucky.”
And at 35 weeks and more than seven pounds, Scales said baby Braxlynn would have been viable.
In other testimony Wednesday, crime lab analysis showed 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.
Parker’s defense team has attempted to raise questions about whether the baby was ever alive, suggesting Parker’s attempt at kidnapping was unsuccessful.
Prosecutors addressed that again on Wednesday, confirming with Mason that a homicide committed in the course of an attempted kidnapping still adds up to a capital offense under the law – even if it isn’t successful.
Prosecutors are expected to wrap up its case Thursday. Parker’s mother and her boyfriend, Wade Griffin, have yet to take the stand.