*Warning – The information you are about to read may include discussions of true crimes, graphic details, and crime scenes, this may be too graphic for some people, please use discretion when reading*
We are looking at another true crime case that I was first introduced to many years ago. Today’s case involves Teresa Benigno Taylor. She was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and a victim. Teresa suffered indescribable savagery from someone she was incredibly close to, her husband, Dr. Kenneth Z. Taylor DDS. Her story is not one for the faint of heart and it’s something that many women face daily. If you or someone you know is in a violent situation, please share the National Domestic Violence hotline number 1-800-799-7233.
Teresa Benigno worked as a secretary for Dr. Kenneth Z Taylor, who was ten years older than she, in his dental practice. When she was first hired, he was in the process of getting a divorce from his first wife, they had a relationship before it was final. In July of 1983, Ken and Teresa married and took off for their honeymoon in Mexico. When the couple didn’t return as planned, Teresa’s parents contacted the hotel in Mexico and were informed there had been “trouble” and that Mrs. Taylor has been hospitalized. It took a few days before Teresa’s family learned she had been beaten and her husband was being held as her assailant.
Teresa was unrecognizable, Ken claimed that an intruder entered their hotel room while they were asleep, he was knocked unconscious as he tried to fight them off, and when he awoke, his battered wife lay on the floor. Ken had been arrested but claimed it was a shakedown from corrupt Mexican police. The next day they all flew back to New York and Teresa stayed in the hospital for the next two weeks and further recovered at her parents home for the next month. The entire time she told her sister Celeste, ”You’re wrong. Ken couldn’t have done it. He loves me.”
After she recovered, Teresa informed everyone that she was pregnant. She never shared that Ken wanted her to get an abortion. June 11, 1984, Philip Andrew Taylor was born.
On November 11, Teresa called her family to say that they would be visiting friends the next day and would be missing the family meal that they customary attended at her parents house. Late that night or early the next morning Ken Taylor murdered his wife, smashing her in the back of her head with a 20-pound barbell, at least 9 times.
Ken attempted to remove any traces of what had happened, but a 55 foot trail of blood was discovered by forensic experts from Ken dragging Teresa to the garage and putting her body in the trunk. The then put his 5 month old son in the car and drove to Indiana where his parents lived. Ken then drove to Pittsburgh to see his ex-wife and daughter. Afterwards, he dumped Teresa’s body in a wildlife bird sanctuary.
On Wednesday, lying to Teresa’s parents, Ken stated he dropped of Teresa at Newark Airport as she had a bad drug habit and was going to a rehabilitation center. Ken reported his wife missing that same day. Teresa’s sister Celeste and her husband went to the police with their suspicions.
Late Thursday a hiker found Teresa’s body and on Friday her father and brother went to identify her body. Ken voluntarily went to the police and allowed his house to be searched. During his interrogation, a bloody earring was found that belonged to his wife. Ken claimed he caught his wife performing fellatio on his infant son in the early hours of Sunday morning. She was crazed by cocaine and attacked him with a barbell, that he managed to take away from her before “giving it to her”. At this point Ken stopped talking and asked for a lawyer.
Ken went to trial on the murder charges and was convicted on October 4, 1985. He received 30 years to life, and would not be eligible for parole until 2014. He was not granted parole and remains in prison.
Philip Andrew Taylor, who was only 5 months old when his mother died, was the focal point for a custody battle between his paternal grandparents and his Aunt and Uncle. He eventually would live permanently with Celeste and Jeff White, his mother’s sister and her husband.
If you are interested in more of the story, check out the book by Peter Maas, In A Child’s Name; and also the movie based on the book, released in 1991. Both were great and I encourage you to check them out when you can.
Please be ever alert, make good choices, stay safe