Taylor Parker’s story: Her life, lies, and crimes

It didn’t take long for a jury to sentence Taylor Parker to death after finding her guilty of capital murder in the death of Reagan Michelle Hancock. Parker was also found culpable in the death of Braxlynn Sage Hancock, Reagan’s unborn daughter, whom Parker cut from Reagan’s womb. 

Parker’s case heads straight to the Court of Criminal Appeals. Jeff Harrelson, Parker’s attorney,

told KTAL:

“Obviously, we respect the verdict. This was a tough, lengthy case factually and emotionally for everybody involved. So obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome, but Taylor will have an automatic appeal with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and see where it goes from there.”

This piece chronicles Taylor Parker’s mind-boggling story.

Taylor tried to get children via a surrogate following a hysterectomy

Taylor Parker’s marriage with her first husband, Tommy Waycasey, yielded two children. After the kids’ births, Taylor had a tubal ligation and a medically necessary hysterectomy, KTAL reports. Waycasey testified that the procedures had rendered her unable to conceive. 

After divorcing Waycasey, Taylor married Hunter Parker without disclosing that she was infertile. Hunter reportedly faked medical problems to keep the relationship together. Two of Taylor’s friends said she offered them $100,000 each to act as surrogates, but they declined her offer. 

Taylor reportedly told people that she and Hunter had hired a surrogate, but Hunter cheated on her with the woman. Parker didn’t do enough to save her marriage; in April 2019, Hunter and Taylor separated. Several weeks later, she started dating Wade Griffin. 

Wade’s mother and sister-in-law testified that Taylor started lying almost immediately. Griffin’s friends and family sensed he wasn’t into Taylor, speculating the relationship wouldn’t last long. However, Parker was determined to hang on. 

Parker initially claimed she was an heiress capable of purchasing a $4.5 million walnut farm for the couple. She couldn’t keep up that lie for long, so at the end of 2019, she revealed she was pregnant. 

Parker went to extraordinary lengths to maintain the illusion of pregnancy

Taylor’s plan worked; Wade stuck by her after learning about the pregnancy. Parker faked urine tests and sonogram images from her earlier pregnancies to prove she was expecting. 

Griffin’s mother and Taylor’s ex testified they tried to warn Wade’s younger brother about Taylor’s lies and infertility in December 2019. Griffin’s mother said she expected Parker to fake a miscarriage, freeing her son from the toxic relationship. 

Detectives testified that Taylor ordered fake sonograms and a baby belly in August 2020. Waycasey, Taylor’s first husband, testified that he anonymously texted Wade informing him of Parker’s hysterectomy and her use of past sonograms to deceive Wade. 

The testimonies showed that people knew Parker was lying, but nobody confronted her, a fact her lawyer pointed out. Harrelson said:

“There was no safety net when everybody said the wheels are off. This is not to blame anybody. This is to give you a fuller picture of Taylor’s system. Someone somewhere will do something. It will all work itself out. What if someone had said something and changed the course of this? We’ll never know.”

Determined to see her lie out, Taylor staged a gender-reveal party, revealing she was expecting a daughter. Detectives said her online searches escalated, seeking places where pregnant women gathered and videos of Cesarean sections, among other things. 

Workers at a Paris, Texas clinic testified that Taylor started crying after coming in for a sonogram. Parker said she needed to reschedule because her military husband had passed away. The police testified that Parker sat in the parking lot bench afterward, looking up the license plates of expectant mothers. 

Taylor reportedly stabbed Hancock over 100 times during a brutal attack

After resolving to steal an unborn baby, Taylor started searching for a victim. Taylor knew Reagan was pregnant with a daughter. She photographed Reagan and her husband’s wedding in 2019 and kept in touch with the couple via social media. 

Parker reached out to Reagan; the pair bonded over their pregnancies, though Parker’s wasn’t real. Griffin’s mother testified that in early October 2020, someone set fire to Wade’s house, knocking out the power and plumbing. 

Taylor’s labor was scheduled to be induced the following day, but someone – Parker, detectives alleged – called a bomb threat to the clinic. On the day of the murder, Parker allegedly watched a video on the physical exam of an infant born at 35 weeks; Hancock was 35 weeks pregnant. 

Reagan’s husband, Homer Hancock, said he tried unsuccessfully to contact Reagan after receiving strange messages from her phone. Homer asked Reagan’s mom, Jessica Brookes, to check on Reagan as he rushed home from work. Jessica walked in on a nightmarish scene

“Help me! My daughter’s been murdered!” Brookes yelled at the 911 operator. “There’s blood everywhere! Oh, my babies! Oh my God!” Brookes found Reagan’s 3-year-old daughter, Kynlee, in the house. 

The evidence and expert testimony revealed that Reagan was beaten and stabbed in several areas of the home before dying in the living room. Hancock had extensive defensive wounds, a broken nose, five skull fractures, and more than 100 stab wounds. 

The medical examiner testified that Reagan’s injuries suggested she was attacked with both sides of a claw hammer and a four-pound jar full of pink and blue sand from her baby’s gender-reveal party. 

Reagan’s killer sliced her lower abdomen from hip to hip, removing the unborn child and the placenta. The doctor who treated Taylor said the pain of a Cesarean section without anesthesia would have rendered Hancock unconscious. A probably cause affidavit obtained by Law & Crime described the crime scene:

“Officers entered the room and found a white female, on the ground, in the living room of the house face down with a large abundance of what appeared to be blood throughout the house. A large amount of what appeared to be blood was located on the floor, furniture, walls, appliances, and other items in the home.”

Crime scene investigator Marc Sillivan testified that Reagan endured a slow death.

Parker was arrested after an officer pulled her over for erratic driving

Officers at the crime scene called EMS personnel after learning that Hancock was 35 weeks pregnant. The EMS personnel discovered Hancock no longer had a baby in her abdomen. 

An hour before Brookes’ 911, an officer had pulled over Parker’s vehicle in DeKalb, Texas. Parker told the officer that she’s given birth by the roadside, and the child wasn’t breathing. Court documents stated:

“Taylor Parker was the driver and was holding a newborn infant in her lap. The umbilical cord was connected to the infant, which appeared to be coming out of the female’s pants, as if she had given birth to the child.”

The officer who pulled Parker over testified that he noted no blood on the driver’s seat or the baby, and the blood on Taylor appeared dry. Parker requested to be taken to her doctor in Oklahoma, but the authorities took her to the closer McCurtain County Memorial Hospital. 

Doctors said Braxlynn could have survived, but she was deprived of oxygen for too long, causing severe brain damage. She was taken off life support and pronounced dead in the afternoon. 

Medical personnel testified that an examination revealed Taylor had no uterus or cervix. A blood test showed Parker had no pregnancy hormones; a DNA test showed Reagan was the child’s mother. 

Taylor told the police that Reagan sparked the assault by pushing her to the ground in the garage. Parker said that Hancock got so injured that she asked Taylor to remove the baby on the spot to save its life. 

Parker said Reagan was alive when she left, insinuating that Reagan slit her own throat with the scalpel Taylor had used to remove the child. Parker added that Kynlee, Reagan’s daughter, had witnessed the crime scene. 

The jury concluded that Taylor deserved the death penalty for her crimes

After finding Taylor guilty of capital murder, the jury had to decide whether to send her to prison for life or death row. The prosecution sought death row. Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richard told the jury:

“In her last minutes, we’ll never know what she saw, but what we know is that Braxlynn spent her living and dying moments in the arms of the person who killed her. And that, if anything else in the world, deserves the death penalty. In what case would you give it, if not this one?”

Jeff Harrelson, Parker’s attorney, told the jury that Parker was flawed but still human. Harrelson added that the people around Taylor failed her by refusing to confront her about the pregnancy. 

The attorney added that the prosecution had exaggerated the problems she’d caused behind bars. “You don’t have to buy everything [the State is telling you],” Harrelson said. 

The prosecution adduced evidence showing Taylor had continued scheming while in prison: she attempted to frame a fellow inmate for the murder by conspiring with other inmates to fake confession letters and find fake witnesses. 

Harrelson called expert witnesses who admitted Parker was a pathological liar with characteristics of borderline, narcissistic, antisocial, and histrionic personality disorders but didn’t threaten others. 

Assistant District Attorney rebutted with perhaps the most impactful image of the trial: a photo of Reagan’s body from the crime scene. Crisp said:

“One of the things you can also use is the way that she killed her. The close personal nature of this murder…whatever her reach is to bash her skull with a hammer. Did she kneel over her? You heard the medical examiner say that she sawed her open with her alive. WITH HER ALIVE! And then she slashed her throat to make sure he was dead. That’s all evidence of future danger.”

The photo drew tears from Reagan’s family members and, for the first time during the trial, from Parker. 

The jurors found that Reagan was likely to continue committing violent acts that threatened society, and there were no ‘significant mitigating circumstances’ in Parker’s background to save her from the death sentence. They sentenced Parker to death in an hour and fifteen minutes. Crisp told KTAL:

“I think their quick verdict was a testament to the strength of the case that the Texas Department of Safety put together. They went through the evidence in the law and felt that they had plenty of information to make that decision, so I’m very thankful that they saw the evidence the way that the State did.”

“You have been found guilty of capital murder and punished by Texas law to death,” Judge Tidwell told Parker. “I formally sentence you to death. Take her to death row.” Parker will join six death row inmates at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Mountain View Unit. 

Reagan’s family expressed relief that the trial was over and justice had been served

Jessica Brookes referred to Parker as an ‘evil piece of flesh demon’ as she gave her victim impact statement in court. “My baby was alive still fighting for her baby when you tore her open and ripped her baby from her stomach in front of her baby girl,” Brookes said. “You watched her die.”

Brookes added that Parker had lost one of the few people who cared about her. “I will continue to remind people – the world – how evil you are for the rest of your life, however short that may be,” Brookes added. 

Reagan’s sister, Emily Simmons, tearfully read her statement, lamenting the loss of her only biological sister. Simmons said, per the Texarkana Gazette:

“No more celebrating her birthday. I was barely 19 when I got the call my sister was gone. She will never be my maid of honor. If I visit my sister I have to go to a graveyard and see a headstone. I will never get a text or phone call from her again.”

Simmons told KSLA she was delighted that the trial was over. “Parker has been such a burden in our life for so long now that I haven’t been able to think about my sister without thinking about her,” Emily said.

Brookes told the outlet that she was thankful the court had handed down justice: “We are just so thankful justice has been served today, for not only our family, our friends, the prosecution team, our community.”

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