10-Year-Old Homicide Case is Reopened

By: Elizabeth Lamb Email
By: Elizabeth Lamb Email

WAYNESBORO, Va -- Karen Tait disappeared 10 years ago. Her body was found in 2002 in Greenbrier State Forest in West Virginia. How she disappeared is still a mystery, but on Wednesday, Waynesboro Police reopened her case to find out what really happened.

Police charged Tait's husband, Thomas, with child pornography earlier this year. You can read that story here: Police: 80,000 Images of Child Pornography Found on Man's Computer Police asked him about his wife's whereabouts and he told police he thought she went back to her home country of the Philippines.

Investigators since found out that didn't happen and that Tait died 10 years ago.

The Waynesboro Police Department relaunched a decade-old homicide investigation to figure out what happened to Karen Tait.

She lived in Waynesboro with her husband. Thomas lived there until Karen disappeared.

The Waynesboro Police worked with agencies across international borders to solve the case.

“We have been able to network and partner with people we never dreamed we would,” said Capt. Kelly Walker, with the Waynesboro Police Department. “It has all come together to this point, and we're going to continue those very valuable relationships going forward.”

Police are looking for anyone who might have known the Taits while they lived in Waynesboro. They are also looking for this car, in this photo possibly taken right before Karen died.

Sgt. W.A. Pendleton, with West Virginia State Police, said evidence helps keep the case open.

“Ten years later it leads us to where we are today,” said Sgt. Pendleton. “Every step that was taken then, every effort I should say was made to determine who she was, but we didn't even know at the time that she was missing.”

Karen's family is still in the Philippines, mourning their daughter's death.

“The family has feared the worst for some time. They're devastated, to say the least. Our hearts go out to them completely,” said Capt. Walker.

Walker said they need the community's help to trace back the Taits' life in Waynesboro.

“We will continue to follow the evidence wherever it leads, and we will do all in our power to bring this case to a logical conclusion and obtain justice for Karen Tait.”

Twenty-two agencies worked with the Waynesboro Police to figure out what happened to Karen. That list includes agencies in the Philippines, the FBI and the National Park Service, near where police found her body.

Karen's husband, Thomas, has been convicted with 20 counts of child pornography and he is in jail awaiting sentencing.

Thomas knows about his wife's death and police have continued to talk with him about Karen's disappearance.

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