A body found on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River has been identified as missing 21-year-old Tamia Taylor, Tennessee police said.
Taylor hadn’t been seen since she vanished during a riverboat cruise for her birthday, according to the Memphis Police Department.
Officials said she got on the boat the evening of Sept. 9, but when the boat docked a few hours later, she couldn’t be found. A city watch was issued for Taylor, and a search for her began.
Two weeks later, the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Department in Arkansas pulled a body out of the Mississippi River, Memphis police said. As investigators worked to identify the body, Taylor’s family held out hope and asked the community not to give up.
Now, the body has been identified as Taylor, Memphis police told McClatchy News. Her cause of death is still being investigated, officials said.
A spokesperson for the Dock Ellis Foundation, a nonprofit that supports families of minority victims who go missing, said in a statement that law enforcement went to the home of Taylor’s mother to deliver the news.
“She’s devastated,” spokesperson Jasmine Ellis said. “You have that type of hope that it’s not your loved one and you get the answer and it’s a different type of feeling. So right now, she’s overwhelmed and naturally (has) the feelings a mother would feel if they lose their daughter.”
Tamia Taylor was also a mother, WREG reported.
Memphis Riverboats previously shared a statement saying Taylor was last seen as the boat was pulling into the harbor, and they had no reason to believe she had gone overboard.
Now, the Dock Ellis Foundation insists the riverboat company “re-evaluates the safety features on their boat.”
“When does the questioning begin?” Ellis asked on Facebook. “When do we start peeling back the layers of the individual who said he saw her get off the boat? When do we peel back the layers of the friends who were on the boat? When do we peel back those layers and even Tamia’s mother has said, ‘If that’s my child, this takes this to another dimension,’ and we’re there now. We’re there today.”