Ja’Quarius Taylor, 17, was recently found tied to a tree and shot in a swamp near Angie, Louisiana, in Washington Parish. Authorities believe Taylor was murdered on January 12.
On January 16, a dive team from the Washington Parish Sheriff’s office “made a significant discovery” at the bottom of a lake near where the body was found. Authorities would not describe the nature of the evidence, saying only “it was being processed by a Federal law enforcement agency.”
“We have reached out to our law enforcement partners on the local, state and federal levels,” stated Sheriff Randy Seal. “Our intent is to leave no stone unturned as all agencies work together to solve this senseless murder. We want justice for Ja’Quarius and his family and are working diligently to discover the identity of the coward who took this amazing young man from our community. Please be patient with us as we take the necessary investigative steps to ensure evidence is properly collected and processed so that the murderer, whoever he or she might be, can be successfully prosecuted. Meanwhile, I ask everyone to keep this family, our community and our investigative team in your prayers.”
CrimestoppersGNO is offering a reward of $2,500. The Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office is also offering a reward of $2,500, bringing the total reward sum to $5,000. In announcing the reward, Sheriff Seal said, “By partnering with CrimestoppersGNO, we are able to offer a significant incentive for someone to come forward with valid information we can use to solve this tragic murder. We desperately want to bring closure to this family by identifying and arresting the murderer. If you know anything at all, please contact Crimestoppers and help us solve this crime and provide justice for Ja’Quarius.”
Tipsters must contact Crimestoppers directly to be eligible for the cash reward and do not have to provide their name or be a witness. Any person who has information is asked to call Crimestoppers anonymously at (504) 822-1111, or go online at www.crimestoppersgno.org to post a tip.
The Bogalusa Daily News ran an obituary and local media covered the murder, but curiously left out possible motives. Taylor’s family suspects he was murdered for being black and/or gay. Trans-activist Dylan Waguespack posted on Facebook:
“Ja’Quarius Taylor was 17 years old and set to graduate high school this year and then be the first in his family to attend college this fall. Ja’Quarius was murdered last weekend in Washington Parish, Louisiana. Some of his family believe he was killed for being Black and gay. He was found tied up and shot in the swamp in Angie. You won’t see this on the news because law enforcement is keeping it close to the vest. His family wants the world to know what happened to their child and for everyone to join them in calling for justice.
I want to add for clarity that as best we understand, this young man was in the very early stages of coming out and introducing his authentic self to his loved ones and community. That can be a difficult thing for families to process under any circumstance, and there are differing opinions at this time about whether this young man was gay or not. I cannot imagine a more difficult way to be presented with this information. I want to be clear that family members, whether they were aware of this or not, whether they would have been supportive or not, must be treated with compassion and respect. We all want the same thing here, which is justice for Ja’Quarius.”