WELEETKA — The two girls found dead in a ditch Sunday along a dirt road in Okfuskee County were good students and best friends, school officials said Monday afternoon.
Taylor Dawn Paschal-Placker 13, and Skyla Jade Whitaker, 11, were found shot to death in a ditch on a dirt road less than a mile from Taylor's home. Family members said Taylor and her friend went for a walk down the road at about 5:30 p.m. to a bridge and appeared to be heading home when they were killed, said Sheriff Jack Choate.
Taylor's grandfather found the girls' bodies after he went to look for them when they did not return, Choate said. Investigators combed the area last night before heavy rains hit the area. Tire tracks were found on the dirt road and were preserved, as well as other evidence found at the scene. Choate said there is a suspect in the case.
The girls were found in a ditch on a county road along the Okmulgee-Okfuskee county line, said OSBI investigator Stan Florence. The girls were found fully clothed in T-shirts and shorts. Both had multiple gunshot wounds, Florence said.
Investigators are still trying to figure out a motive in the killings and what type of gun was used.
"They were little girls, what possible motive could there be?" Choate said. "You have to wonder, did they see something they were not supposed to? Were they at the wrong place at the wrong time?"
Their bodies were found along an isolated road. Hardscrabble homes along the county road are spread out and as much as mile apart in some places. Crime scene tape had blocked the road, but already mourners had dropped off flowers near the field where the girls were found. Lawn chairs filled the front yard of the modest home where Taylor's family lives.
Joe Mosher, Taylor's uncle, said the family is struggling with Taylor's loss. An 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. "They're a very poor family."Guest book: Taylor Dawn Paschal-Placker Guest book: Skyla Jade Whitaker