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Tennessee Man Charged with Murder, Abuse of a Corpse, and Statutory Rape After 15-Year-Old Girl Found Dead in the Woods


Olivia Taylor (L) and Charles Carter (R)

A Tennessee man has been charged in connection with the death of a 15-year-old girl whose body was recently found in the woods.

Charles “Chuck” Carter, 63, hails from Putnam County, roughly 80 miles due east of Nashville, Tenn. He stands accused of one count each of murder in the second degree and abuse of a corpse over the death of Olivia Daryl Taylor, an area teenager who died earlier this month from what is believed to be a fatal overdose of narcotics.

According to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Carter was previously charged with one count of aggravated statutory rape.

Taylor’s body was discovered last Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, east of Cookeville, Tenn. by Putnam County Road Department employees. She had been reported missing the day before around 7:00 p.m. by her parents, according to Nashville-based NBC affiliate WSMV.

Carter was arrested later the same night his alleged victim was reported missing — on the statutory rape charge. The defendant was immediately the suspect in the girl’s death, the sheriff’s office said.

Putnam County Sheriff Eddie Farris earlier asked for the public’s help in determining the girl’s whereabouts and said that finding her sooner rather than later was imperative.

In a later press release, Farris said he was “saddened to announce” that Taylor had been found under the worst circumstances, stressing immediately that the case had become a homicide investigation.

“She is pretty great,” Daryl Harness, Taylor’s grandfather, said in comments reported by WSMV. “We just sat and talked. Well, she did the talking and I do the listening.”

The victim’s friend, Victoria Allen, also remembered her fondly.

“She was so sweet and if you were close to her,” the 10th grader, who has known the victim since the end of 7th grade, told the TV station. “Like if she loved you, she made it known.”

“I was kind of like there’s no way that can’t be her,” Allen added.

Farris said Taylor’s body was being sent to the medical examiner’s office in Nashville in order to ascertain her exact cause of death. Comments by law enforcement, however, along with Carter’s alleged statements to sheriff’s deputies, suggest she, in fact, overdosed.

“This tragic event is another example of what illegal drugs coming across our border into our country is doing to our nation,” Farris said in the most recent press release issued about the case. “Last year, there were over 100,000 deaths from fentanyl related overdoses.”

The defendant, the sheriff’s office said, admitted to law enforcement “prior” to the girl’s death that he “delivered and provided illegal narcotics to Taylor which caused her death.”

Additional charges could be filed in the case, authorities said on Monday, and the investigation is ongoing.

“This investigation has progressed over the weekend and is still being developed,” District Attorney General Bryant Dunaway said in a press release. “Facts were learned in the last 48 hours to justify seeking additional warrants. Once the investigation is complete, we will determine whether additional or amended charges are appropriate.”

Carter was initially held on $50,000 bond; he is currently being detained in the Putnam County Jail without bond.

[images via Putnam County Sheriff’s Office]

Editor’s note: this story has been amended post-publication to correct the grade of the deceased girl’s friend.

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