Friends mourn Palestine woman found dead in Houston County

CBS19 News at 6 p.m. - June 26, 2017

PALESTINE, TEXAS - The death of Ricki Deann Taylor, 46, has been ruled a homicide caused by a gunshot wound to the head, according to a medical examiner at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas.

Taylor died on June 23, 2017 according to the cause of death report.

According to a Monday statement from the Palestine Police Department, detectives located Taylor's body Friday in Houston County, on County Road 2120.

An autopsy was performed at Southwestern Institute of Forensics in Dallas.

Taylor, a mother of three children, was reported missing on Thursday when Palestine police received a phone call from someone saying they had not seen her since the previous night. 

On Thursday, detectives located her Ford F-150 pick up truck in an undisclosed location.

The Texas Rangers are assisting Palestine detectives with this investigation.

"They will release more information when they are able," a Palestine Police Department statement read in part. "Until then, the Palestine Police Department asks that the media and public bear with us as we continue to work through the leads and information surrounding the circumstances of Ms. Taylor’s death."

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call Det. Mark Harcrow or Det. David Kassaw of the Palestine Police Department at 903-729-2254 or anonymously send information via text message to PALPD, then the tip, to number 847411.

Colleague: "She was someone who would light up the room."

On Monday, a void filled the studios of 93.5 Pine Country Radio in Palestine.

As he said goodbye to Ricki Taylor in the parking lot last Wednesday, Gary Richards, the station's news director, had no idea it would be the last time they talked.

"'See you tomorrow' was the last thing I said not thinking anything like this could ever happen, and now she's gone," said Richards.

Taylor worked at the front desk, where she juggled tasks like billing, bookkeeping and greeting visitors.

"Most everyone who knew her loved her and thought a lot of her, and now all that's gone," said Richards. "'How do you replace it?' That's the big question."

Taylor was active in her church and involved with several local charities, said Richards.

Her sudden death left many in Palestine rattled and in search of answers.

"You want to know why -- number one -- why would you do something like this to someone like Ricki," Richards asked. "What could motivate someone to do something like this? It's just mind boggling for me."

© 2017 KYTX-TV


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