Taylor Wright’s Murder: Who Killed Her? How Did She Die?

Image Credit: Crime + Investigation/YouTube

Each hour-long episode of Oxygen’s ‘Buried in the Backyard’ focuses on those crimes where the body is found in rather unexpected places. It also details the ensuing police investigations, and how the victim is ensured justice. In one such episode, the murder of Taylor Wright is discussed, which has also been profiled in NBC’s ‘Dateline: The Necklace.’ So, let’s break down the events that led to the tragic incident, shall we?

How Did Taylor Wright Die?

Taylor Wright was a 33-year-old private investigator at the time of her murder. Before that, the mother had worked as a police officer and was in the middle of divorce proceedings. Her body was found on a remote farm in Florida after she had been shot in the back of her head. Then, concrete and potting soil were used to bury her on the edge of a farm on Britt Road in North Pensacola. It is noteworthy that the property was owned by the culprit’s family. 

Image Credit: Justice for Taylor Wright/Facebook

A few days before Taylor’s body was discovered, the Pensacola Police Department had also confirmed that she was missing. They did not suspect foul play as she had allegedly texted a friend stating that she needed some time to figure out her life. Mike Wood, the PPD Public Information Officer, said, “We believe she left on her own accord at this point. We want to hear from her, to let us know she’s OK.”

It was the investigator’s live-in girlfriend, Casandra, who informed the authorities that she had not seen Taylor since September 8, 2017. The two were communicating via text until 11:20 am, but after that, the victim stopped responding. Then, Casandra got a text from Taylor’s phone around 8 pm which stated that the latter needed some time to figure out her life and get it back on track.

Ashley McArthur Was Convicted of Best Friend Taylor Wright’s Murder

Ashley Britt McArthur was eventually convicted of the crime. She was a former crime scene technician. Reportedly, the two were best friends. Essentially, what had happened was that Taylor withdrew $100,000 from a joint account between her ex-husband, Jeff Wright, and herself. Then, she gave McArthur upwards of $30,000 to safeguard.

On the day that she disappeared, Taylor had confronted McArthur after she failed to give the money back. The prosecution argued that the indicted had told Taylor that she would put the cashier’s cheque of the same amount in a safety deposit box. However, McArthur had actually deposited the $34,000 in her personal account, and obviously, Taylor had no access to it. News outlets also stated that the money had been spent since then. Apparently, she bought a boat for Brandon Beaty, a man she had an affair with.

There was security footage that placed McArthur at a Home Depot the very next day on September 9, 2017. She was seen purchasing potting soil and concrete. In her initial interview, the former crime scene technician had told the cops that Taylor and she drove to various locations before heading to her family’s farm to ride horses. Post this, McArthur stated that they returned to her house, and claimed that Taylor then booked an Uber to go to a bar. She also described the victim as a person who was tough as nails and not an easy target.

The phone records, however, painted a different story. So authorities looked this up and eventually found Taylor’s body in another farm that the culprit’s family owns. Many witnesses during the trial stated that McArthur spoke of explicit plans to kill Taylor, especially using cocaine. Audrey Warne, who is a local bartender and also the former technician’s friend, testified, “She said she was going to put it [cocaine] in Taylor’s beer. She said this world would be better if Taylor wasn’t here and she wasn’t a good person, once that she was too small to hurt anybody so she’d just shoot them.”

The prosecution alleged that McArthur’s motive was financial in nature. They asserted that since she was a crime scene technician, she would know what mistakes to avoid making. Taylor’s cell phone pinged near a tower in Alabama where McArthur had attended a wedding after the murder. This implied that she had the victim’s phone on her personn. McArthur’s lawyer, however, refuted the allegations and stated that his client was in no need of money.

Eventually, a jury found the defendant guilty of first-degree premeditated murder. She was sentenced to life in prison, which is the mandatory minimum verdict in such a situation. But this was not her only conviction, as she was also found guilty on charges of racketeering and fraud in a separate case. For this, she was awarded a 7-year sentence with 3 years on probation.

Read More: Where is Ashley Britt McArthur Now?