Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Taylor Behl

"Bitter"

 There was a time not too long ago in investigative journalism when learning about a person required extensive conversations with the individual's friends, associates, family, etc. The Internet has dramatically shortened that process. People have their own Web sites and communicate to others on bulletin boards and in chat rooms — creating an interesting paper trail of publicly available insight — providing you know the person's various Internet identities.

The people in the Taylor Behl case are part of the generation that communicates intensively through the Internet. There is a fascinating and insightful record available on two of the key individuals: Taylor herself and Ben W. Fawley, the photographer, who has been named a "person-of-interest." This chapter will take a look at Taylor's own site on myspace.com, what she says about herself and what her friends and well-wishers have said.

 

Taylor Behl
Taylor Behl

"Sod Off"

Female

17 years old

Vienna, Virginia

United States

Last Login: 09/04/2005

Taylor then writes:

About me:
I just graduated from high school and now I'm off to Richmond for college. I'm looking forward to meeting people that are in Richmond because I only know a few people down there. But I love to meet new people in general so feel free to message me whenever to chat!

Who I'd like to meet:
Someone who is kind.

Some things are worthy of note. She calls herself "Bitter," but we don't know why. The photo of herself that she put on the site is in stark contrast to the vibrant, happy teenager that has been spread all over the press. This photo she chose of herself fits with "Bitter:" a young woman worried, pensive, and unsure. One of her friends, Sim Sim, alludes to this when he posts:

When I was visiting you today you weren't seeming to be having the best day, so here I am to cheer you up, come with me and my cousin Kamal to go dancing at this club we were at, it was awesome, well here's a picture just to illustrate the kinda fun we had:

The message is accompanied by a cute amateur photograph of man dancing with a 5 or 6-year-old boy.

The site shows that the last time she logged in was Sept 4, 2005, the day before she disappeared.

Starbuck's in Vienna Virginia, where Taylor worked for more than a year.
Starbuck's in Vienna Virginia, where Taylor worked for more than a year.
Before her disappearance, she had a number of messages from her friends, mostly from Starbucks where she worked, and Madison High School. Overwhelmingly, her friends expressed their love for her. One of her friends from Starbucks has a funny clip of Paris Hilton (?) and a moniker "Sluts don't belong in children's movies."  Since then the moniker has been changed to "my heart is black as coal:"

 

Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton

 

Aug 3, 2005 06:05 AM

Taylor, you're hot. I miss working at the Buck and watching you do crazy things with your boobies! I can recall an evening when I came in, and you were wandering around with your shirt unzipped past your bra! LOL. You're a filthy hooker, but I love you the mostest. Why you might find your self asking? Cause you're my baby (ie: you're the youngest person I know)!!!! I do however have slight bits of rage for you... you moved to Richmond. I have a friend that I actually just visited there, next time I'm down I'm callin' yer ass! 'Nuff rambling. LOVE YOU, MEAN IT!!!!!!!

After Taylor's disappearance, there are many messages of concern, love, pleas to come home safely, and prayers.

Another chapter will take a look at the relationship between photographer Ben W. Fauley and Taylor Behl as viewed through the Internet written record.

Taylor Behl's Web site is http://www.myspace.com/doowop/

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