Woman Murdered Pregnant Friend, Stole Her Unborn Baby

Taylor Rene Parker convicted of murdering Regan Michelle Simmons-Hancock
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2022 1:41 PM CDT
Updated Oct 4, 2022 12:00 AM CDT
Prosecutor: She Killed to Try to Make Fake Pregnancy Real
This undated booking photo provided by the Bi-State Detention Center in Texarkana, Texas, shows Taylor Rene Parker. Parker, accused of killing a woman to steal her unborn baby to present as her own, went on trial for capital murder, Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.   (Bi-State Detention Center via AP)

Update: Taylor Parker was convicted Monday of capital murder in the slaying of a pregnant Texas woman and subsequent kidnapping of her unborn child, who did not survive. The jury in the case deliberated for just one hour before returning a unanimous guilty verdict, and Fox 8 reports "sniffles" could be heard in the gallery as the verdict was read. The same jury will now move on to the penalty phase of the trial, and will ultimately determine whether Parker receives a sentence of death or life in prison with no possibility of parole. Our original story from Sept. 13 follows:

Taylor Rene Parker's entire pregnancy—her bump, the ultrasound photos, the gender reveal party—was a fake, say prosecutors. And they allege that the Texas woman attempted to bring that faux pregnancy to life by killing a woman in a 2020 plot to steal her unborn child. Parker's capital murder trial began Monday in Texas; if convicted, she faces life in prison without parole or the death penalty. The 29-year-old is accused of killing Regan Michelle Simmons-Hancock, who was 8 months pregnant and the mother of a then-3-year-old, and removing her unborn daughter with a scalpel. Parker then allegedly drove off with the baby. Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp told the jury that Parker "stuffed Reagan's placenta down her pants to make it look like she had given birth on side of road," reports the Texarkana Gazette. A state trooper stopped Parker, who TXKToday reports allegedly had the infant on her lap; the two were taken to a hospital but the baby did not survive.

Simmons-Hancock's mother found her daughter's body, which had sustained more than 100 cuts and stab wounds, in the New Boston, Texas, home Simmons-Hancock shared with her husband. Her 3-year-old was reportedly found hiding in her bedroom. Crisp alleged Parker's motive was not to obtain a child, but rather to retain her boyfriend. "This started months and months ahead of time until it passed the point of no return, and it ended up in homicide," she told the Bowie County jury. Fox News cites witnesses who said a prior hysterectomy left Parker unable to have additional children (she reportedly had two), and that she had told her boyfriend she would be induced on Oct. 9, 2020—the day Simmons-Hancock was murdered.

TXKToday reports Simmons-Hancock and Parker were reportedly friends, and KTAL reports a Texas DPS special investigator presented Facebook messages between Parker and Simmons-Hancock in court on Monday. It also reports on testimony given Monday by Dr. Christopher Mason, Parker's OB/GYN. He told jurors that his office saw Facebook posts about Parker being pregnant, which he knew to be impossible, but that due to HIPAA regulations he could not make that public. But he said he did alert the hospital where Parker posted she was to give birth, telling them to be on alert and closely watch all newborns. Parker is also charged with non-capital murder in the death of the baby, Braxlynn. (Read more fetal kidnapping stories.)

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