WELEETKA — The dirt road near Taylor Dawn Paschal-Placker's house was a familiar place to the 13-year-old girl and her best friend, Skyla Jade Whitaker, 11. The girls often traveled the road going to sleepovers or to play in the rural pastures near their homes in east central Oklahoma. Now investigators are retracing the girls' steps, looking for clues to their gruesome murders after their bodies were found in a ditch along the road. The girls, wearing T-shirts and shorts, were found shot to death about 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Taylor's grandfather, Peter Placker, found the girls after he went looking for them when his wife tried calling their granddaughter's cell phone and got no answer. "I can't describe coming up on it,” Peter Placker said, sobbing as he tried to talk about the moment he found the girls' bodies about a quarter-mile from his house. "I done it once, and I can't do it again.” The girls, who were sleeping at Taylor's house, decided to take a walk down the desolate road Sunday afternoon. "She was the best kid I've known,” Placker said. Investigators combed the area in search of the girls Sunday night before heavy rain hit. Fresh tire tracks made a U-turn where the girls' bodies were. Investigators said they found other evidence that helped them identify a "person of interest.” No arrests had been made Monday night. Investigators are trying to figure out a motive in the killings and what type of gun was used. The road where the bodies were found is isolated. Joe Mosher, Taylor's uncle, said the family is struggling with the death. A bank account for donations to pay for her funeral expenses has been set up at Weleetka Commerce Bank. "Her parents are really distraught,” said Mosher, who is the brother of Taylor's mother. Mosher said his niece was vibrant and full of energy. "Taylor was the most lively, beautiful little girl you ever met,” Mosher said. "She was very intelligent and had good grades. She didn't have an enemy in this world. People who didn't even know her loved her.” Taylor was a big-hearted girl who rescued turtles crawling in the middle of the road and wanted to become a forensic scientist like the ones she saw on TV, said Peter Placker, who said he raised Taylor. Taylor was homeschooled until the family moved to Weleetka, a town of 1,014 about 70 miles south of Tulsa. Skyla was the carefree adventurer — the girl who walked barefoot almost everywhere and rode her bicycle down dirt roads. Where Skyla went, her many cats and a pet goat followed. Skyla wanted to become a veterinarian, said her grandmother, Claudia Farrow. Taylor was the only girl in her sixth-grade class, and Skyla was the only girl in the fifth grade in the Graham School District. "Taylor was a top student,” said Wanda Mankin, principal. Mankin said school counselors will be available for students from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday.
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