Fitchburg, Wisconsin – A Madison woman is now charged in the death of her adoptive daughter in a cold case that spans across three states.
Taylin Hill, 50, was arrested on Thursday. She was charged Monday with reckless homicide and six counts of child abuse.
The gruesome details are all laid out in a 23 page criminal complaint. The case centers on 15-year-old Erika Hill.
Her body was discovered in 2007 in Gary, Indiana, but wasn’t identified until last month. It happened after Taylin Hill’s daughter came forward in August this year, saying she couldn’t live with the secret any longer. Taylin’s 25-year-old daughter is identified in the criminal complaint only by initials.
Court documents show Taylin’s daughter started researching in May 2015 to see if her cousin’s body had ever been found. A Google search revealed a reconstructed picture of a girl on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She believed it was her cousin, Erika, and called police in Indiana.
Erika had come to live with Taylin and her kids in 2001 after Taylin’s mother had died.
Court documents also reveal the physically abusive life Taylin’s children lived at their Fitchburg home. Her daughter explained to detectives how she and the other kids were abused daily. She said they had been slapped, punched, hit with a bat, and had household objects thrown at them. She said her mom’s most frequent tool used in the abuse was an extension cord.
While all the kids were allegedly abused, Taylin’s daughter said Erika had it the worst. She said Erika could do no right in her mother’s eyes.
While talking with detectives, Taylin’s daughter told what happened the day Erika died in February 2007. She and her sister were told by Taylin to leave work because of a family emergency. When they arrived home, they found Erika laying on the bathroom floor unresponsive. She told investigators Erika’s body laid there for several days before the kids were forced to move it to the garage. She said her mother than pulled some of Erika’s teeth out to avoid any dental identification. They then loaded the car and took the body to Chicago. That’s where Taylin allegedly lit it on fire under an overpass. They then drove back to Madison.
A few days later, she said Taylin had concerns about the body so they drove back to Chicago and moved the body to Gary, Indiana. They put it in what they thought was an abandoned garage.
Taylin’s daughter said her mother made threats that if anyone said anything they would be next.
When people started questioning marks on the children, Taylin pulled all of the kids out school in 2004 and left her job at the Madison School District where she worked as a special education assistant. She then returned to work in 2013 as a substitute special education assistant. The Madison Metropolitan School District released a statement saying, “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of this tragic event. Ms. Hill has been put on leave and removed from our substitute list, pending the outcome of this investigation.”
Taylin is currently behind bars on a $500,000 bond. She’s due back in court on September 22.
Gary, Indiana and Fitchburg Police Departments are investigating this incident. Lieutenant Todd Stetzer with the Fitchburg Police Department told NBC15 this is an open investigation and have nothing further to release at this time.
UPDATED Tuesday, September 15, 2015—2:48 p.m.
MADISON, Wisconsin(AP) – A Wisconsin woman is accused of killing her teenage adopted daughter whose body was found in Indiana eight years ago but was not identified until this summer.
Fifty-year-old Taylin Hill of Madison is charged with first-degree reckless homicide, five counts of intentional child abuse-bodily harm and physical abuse of a child.
Erika Hill was 15 when she disappeared in 2007 from the home in Fitchburg where she lived with her cousins and adoptive mother. That same year, the unidentified body of a young woman was found in a garage in Gary, Indiana.
This summer, Erika’s cousin contacted police and said she knew the Jane Doe’s identity, because she had helped put the body in the garage.
Hill was jailed on $500,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled next week.