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Clues sought in slaying of girls in Weleetka

By Johnny Johnson Modified: June 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm •  Published: June 10, 2008

Ross said DNA is being recovered from the girls, samples from their clothing and under their fingernails are being tested for substances, or anything that might give investigators a clue about the last minutes of their lives.

The girls were found close together. It is unclear if they had tried to flee, Ross said.

While the girls were found fully clothed in T-shirts and shorts, Ross said there is no conclusive evidence to show that the girls were not sexually assault.

"We have no information on whether the girls were sexually assaulted or not," Ross said. "In that time frame, I doubt it, but we're still looking into it."

Taylor and Skyla, who were classmates at the Graham school in eastern Okfuskee County, had walked down the dusty road to a bridge about 1/2 mile from the home where Taylor lived with her grandparents.

Investigators spent most of the evening Sunday looking for clues in the area where the girls were found. Tire tracks preserved before heavy rains hit the area late Sunday show that a vehicle traveled down the road, then turned around near the ditch where the girls were found.

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.

Taylor was homeschooled until the family moved to Weleetka, a town of 1,014.

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, Taylor's grandfather, who said he raised Taylor.

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.

Mankin said school counselors were to be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, and from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday. School is out for the summer at Graham.

A fund has been set up to help pay for the funeral expenses for both girls at the Bank of Commerce, P.O. Box 48, Weleekta, OK, 74880. For more information call 405-786-2216.

Guest book: Taylor Dawn Paschal-Placker Guest book: Skyla Jade Whitaker has disabled the comments for this article.