Thursday, August 30, 2007
Assault victim dies; authorities upgrade charges
By SUE WATSON
Aggravated assault charges against Willie Taylor, 51, of Battle Road in the Byhalia area were upgraded to murder Monday following the death of Audrey Tunstall, 27.
Tunstall, who was severely bitten and injured Wednesday, August 1, died at St. Francis Hospital in the early morning hours Saturday, August 25, according to investigator Kelly McMillen with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department.
Taylor is alleged to have beaten Tunstall in the woods Wednesday, August 1, near the mobile home where the two were believed to be living together, and then to have taken Tunstall to his mother’s house in Byhalia Thursday, August 2. Later that day Taylor is alleged to have called for an ambulance saying Tunstall had fallen in the bathtub and had a stroke.
Her condition was not discovered until medical personnel at St. Francis Hospital discovered her wounds while transferring her into a gown, according to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
Hospital authorities notified Memphis police who in turn notified local authorities Friday, August 3, late in the day to be looking for a suspect.
An intensive manhunt followed and the sheriff notified the Memphis media that authorities were looking for Taylor as a possible suspect.
A tip to Crime Stoppers helped law enforcement to hone their search down to a residence on Mt. Pleasant Road where he was reported to have driven a pickup truck.
Taylor was not found after a search of the residence. Law officers searched the road to a dead end where Taylor was found in a wooded area and arrested without incident around 9 p.m.
Taylor made a preliminary appearance before justice court judge Ernest Cunningham Monday, August 6, where the judge set bond at $3 million for Taylor on aggravated assault charges. He made an initial appearance before Cunningham August 20 and remains in the county jail.
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