COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — What started as the case of a missing Putnam County teen has now evolved into a homicide investigation.
Olivia Daryl Taylor, 15, was reported missing by her parents from her Putnam County home on Wednesday, Oct. 26. At the time, it was believed illegal drugs, other individuals participating in illegal activities and other criminal activity may have been involved in the disappearance of Taylor, according to Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris.
On Thursday, Oct. 27, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office reported deputies found what is believed to be the body of Taylor in a wooded area east of Cookeville. The body was initially found by Putnam County Road Department employees.
Authorities had worked throughout the previous night to locate Taylor, who was a sophomore at Upperman High School.
Putnam County Schools released a statement, which reads:
We are deeply saddened by the tragic news of Olivia Taylor. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and the students, faculty and staff at Upperman High School and surrounding Baxter community schools.
The school district will continue to provide additional counselors and social workers to support our students, faculty and staff during this difficult time.Hannah Davis, Communications Supervisor, Putnam County School System
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Her mother, Stephanie Harness, confirmed her death to News 2 and called it “unimaginable.”
She wants the world to remember her beautiful and bright 15-year-old daughter.
“She’s just my favorite person. She really was,” said Harness. “She’s just so lovable. She just was, you know? Just something about her. She’s just so easy to love. She just showed so much love.”
Taylor was the youngest of her siblings, born and raised in Putnam County, involved in ROTC, and dreamed of being a medic in the Army one day.
While authorities say it is early in the investigation, a suspect has been taken into custody in connection with the case.
Charles Carter was arrested and charged Wednesday night with aggravated statutory rape in regards to the investigation. He is being held without bond at the Putnam County Jail.
Authorities say Carter is also a suspect in Taylor’s death.
The juvenile’s body is being sent for an autopsy at the medical examiner’s office in Nashville.
Taylor’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses. If you would like to donate, CLICK HERE.