Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Taylor Behl

Jailbait Spelled Backwards

By Steve Huff

A close look at Taylor Behl's Livejournal, a weblog the 17-year-old VCU freshman wrote under the screen name "tiabliaj" — "jailbait" spelled backwards — between April of 2004 and 2005, shows there was more going on with Taylor than many may have known when she disappeared September 5, 2005.

The following exchange between Taylor and Ben W. Fawley, the amateur photographer considered a 'person of interest' in connection with Taylor's vanishing, was found in a Livejournal entry Taylor made April 8, 2005. This dialogue between the 38-year-old Fawley and Behl may shed more light on the nature of their relationship and Taylor's part in that relationship. Taylor wrote, in the main weblog entry:

If you read this,
Even if I don't speak to you often,
You must post a memory of me.
It can be anything you want, good or bad,
Just so long as it happened.
Then post this to your journal.
See what people remember about you(...)

Fawley responded:

...This very attractive girl climbed up into my bunk @ 407, the last girl to do so before the move...

A bit later Taylor answered him; "well I was curious..." and three days after that response, on April 11, 2005, Ben again commented; "...so was I...fact I still am.... :-p."

Ben Fawley
Ben Fawley
Five days later, according to an April 15, 2005 entry Fawley made in a Livejournal he later deleted, Taylor Behl came to Richmond to visit him:

Taylor should be here around noon, but then who knows. If she does I plan on taking her off to take photos in that spot I want to take some photos in. I think it would be a great place for photos. I wanted to take another there, but I don't think that will happen and Taylor is game...

Later, in a Livejournal he kept under the screen name "Skulz67," Fawley wrote about Taylor's visit:

Then Taylor came down to Richmond to visit for the weekend. Got out to Belle Isle amongst other things(...) I got some photos, not as many as I would have liked, but Taylor looked cold...

This exchange seems to show that Belle Isle (an island in the James River in downtown Richmond) for Fawley and Behl wasn't just a place to "take photos." The dialogue seems to show too that Taylor was active in the initiation of a relationship with Fawley.

A former lover of Ben Fawley's kept a Livejournal here, using the screen name "select_choice." In this entry written August 29, 2004, she mentioned Belle Isle, mistakenly referring to it as Belle Island:

I am saddened that you feel we will not work. I will move on and find another like you will in time. I like that you keep going after things.
That spot on Belle Island is in my head. Sex in the woods was fun silly boy...

Taylor Behl appeared to pursue Ben Fawley, at least to some degree, but Fawley didn't have to say yes. Even if Taylor 'climbed into his bunk,' Ben Fawley could have told her to turn around and climb back out — the difference between 38 and 18 is maturity as much as years. Maybe he was already thinking of getting her out to Belle Isle.

That Taylor Behl pursued Ben Fawley does not expose some dark secret about Taylor — but Taylor Behl's Livejournal does expose how vulnerable she might have been to a potentially predatory older male with a habit pursuing barely legal and perhaps even illegal lovers, age-wise. Taylor was so vulnerable, apparently, that she willingly placed herself in his hands.

Taylor's journal portrays a bright, intense young woman who was just seeking a place to land, to put down some roots, to find something real and stable. Taylor Behl's story is the same story found in the lives of a million other 17 and 18-year-olds of both sexes. No longer a child, but not really an adult, either.

The real Taylor Behl could have been a million other kids. Suddenly out there, alone for the first time, looking for something.

Taylor's attraction to Ben Fawley, her vulnerability to him, may not have been her undoing. Fawley is only one person-of-interest; in a way, Fawley's desire to publicize himself in the past, along with his predilection for very young women, has been his worst enemy.

The real Taylor Behl was still underneath it all a kid. She wasn't prepared for the Ben Fawleys of the world, even if she thought otherwise. The real Taylor was everyone's daughter, walking the tightrope between childhood and being an adult without balancing pole, in a high wind. She didn't truly know who Ben Fawley was, much less Taylor Behl, but at one point it does seem that she wanted to be with him.

Taylor Behl
Taylor Behl
The tragedy when someone so young disappears one night in September is that they didn't have the chance to find so many things out about themselves, where their lives might be headed. If Taylor Behl is gone forever, it might be because she truly didn't know who, or what, some of her friends and lovers were, until it was too late.

The URL for Taylor Behl's Livejournal is http://www.livejournal.com/users/tiabliaj/.)

Copyright© Steve Huff

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