WARNING: The information and images associated with this story may be disturbing or triggering for some.
NEW BOSTON, TX. (KTAL/KMSS) — It’s been a little over a year since Taylor Parker was sentenced to death for the brutal murder of 21-year-old Reagan Simmons-Hancock and her unborn baby, Braxlynn Safe, and the police who pieced together what happened on that tragic day are sharing their accounts of the scene.
For the first time outside of a courtroom, two of the crime scene investigators who processed the murder are sharing what they saw, and the emotional toll of solving these graphic crimes.
In October 2020, Marc Sillivan received a call from New Boston Police informing him that NBP needed help due to a crime scene unlike any other they’d seen before.
Upon arrival, Sillivan found out the victim, Reagan Simmons-Hancock, was pregnant. However, investigators were in for a shock when they learned the baby was gone.
“My remark was, ‘The baby is gone, as in deceased? Or is gone, as in – gone?’ And they said, ‘No, the baby is gone. The baby is missing,'” said Sillivan, “You start to play a thousand scenarios through your head.”
Sillivan did an initial walk-through of the crime scene and he knew he was going to need help. He called his Texarkana Texas PD CSI Partner, Spence Price.
At the time, Price was on medical leave with his wife and dropped everything to head to the crime scene.
“There’s a lot of times that we get told, ‘Blood is everywhere’. And we doubt it a lot,” said Price. “This is probably the bloodiest scene we’ve worked [on] in a long time.”
Sillivan said blood is very telling and informs investigators about what happened.
“The first thing I noticed at the scene was a lot of bloody footprints. Shoe prints. Shoe impressions,” said Sillivan.
They were there for the next 13 hours.
“And I looked at my partner and I said, ‘She was alive when that baby was taken”. And he said, ‘I think you’re right,” said Sillivan.
They initially thought Reagan had fought for her life, however, the blood told a different story.
“The victim’s fingernails were broken and things like that. She was covering up. She was ambushed,” said Sillivan.
Price also explained that it takes a lot more to knock a person out than movies often depict; a fact the perpetrator seemed unaware of.
“I think in Taylor Parker’s mind she thought the assault would be like on TV. I hit her in the head once, she’ll go down unconscious. I can do what I need to do and be done and out of here. She didn’t realize that it takes a lot more than that to knock somebody out,” said Price.
Investigators established Reagan was assaulted at the garage door and the attack continued throughout the house as Reagan tried to escape.
“Up against the wall, we had the blood spatter on the wall. You could pretty much, with the blood, look at everywhere she had been,” said Sillivan.
“Once the baby was pulled from her which she fought for her. As she [Parker] was walking off, you could tell she [Regan] was trying to go after her and died,” Sillivan recounts dropping his hand on the table.
Investigators knew Reagan fought because she was pulling hard enough during Parker’s fetal abduction to lose a nail. Regan was wearing press-on nails, they found three at the house and one in the uterus.
Hundreds of hours were spent identifying, collecting, and processing the forensic evidence.
Their work paints a factual picture that led to a conviction and a subsequent death sentence for Parker.
Nevertheless, the mental and emotional burden is carried with them.
Price and Sillivan are both parents and could not imagine the terror Reagan was going through to fight for her unborn baby.
Price’s voice trembled, “Everyone in our unit are parents – that’s what bugged us the most. And that’s what left a psychological impact on us was knowing that fact, and knowing that, she’s alive during this”
“It’ll never … It’ll never leave my mind. You know as long as I have a sound mind. In this business, I might not have a sound mind for long,” said Sillivan.
“Fetal abduction murders are so rare. I think there were only two reported cases in the year 2020. One in Brazil and one in New Boston Texas. That’s how rare these kinds of cases are,” said Price, “I really don’t want to work another one like it … ever again.”
To this day, Sillivan says they have not recovered the shoes Taylor was wearing and her several cell phones.
The details of how mercilessly Reagan was attacked are disturbing. Sillivan said she was beaten with multiple objects and left with a scalpel in her neck, “She was beaten with a 4-pound mason jar full of sand; she was sliced, she was cut.”
Sillivan traced his thumb below his left ear, under his jaw to the other side of his neck to show the extensive neck wound. He said the cut was the last attack and it was inflicted on Reagan post-mortem.
“I believe she was on her stomach. I believe she walked up to her, raised her head, [and] started here” detailed Sillivan.
Price said there was so much blood lost, that the baby died from the traumatic extraction.
They shook their heads and looked down at the table detailing Reagan’s three-year-old daughter who ‘saw too much’ saying the trauma that occurred to the child still clings to them.
“It’s tragic, it’s horrific, it’ll never leave my mind,” said Sillivan, “as long as I have a sound mind. And in this business, I might not have a sound mind for long.”
Sillivan said he will always empathize with the ‘Crime Scene’ department as they’re the first ones on the scene.
“I think in this point of my career they don’t ‘pop’ as much in my head especially since this case has been done what three years now,” said Price, “We’ve had cases that fill the void in that time. Now there are times, I might think about when I’m with my daughter. Just having a glimpse of the terror she went through.”
“As soon as you hear their names it floods back to you,” said Price.