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Search Underway For Woman Who Disappeared In 1986 After Killer Leads FBI To Potential Burial Site

The family of 22-year-old Rebecca Beard agreed to Paul Taylor's immediate release from prison should he provide the exact location of the young mother's body. 

By Jax Miller
A police handout of missing person Rebecca Beard

Workers are searching for the body of a woman who disappeared nearly four decades ago after the man convicted of her murder led authorities to a potential burial site.

Rebecca Beard was just 22 when she disappeared from the Excaliber nightclub in Freeport, Texas, on March 1, 1986, according to The Doe Network. Now, 36 years later, EquuSearch, the Texas-based organization devoted to finding missing persons, has joined the effort to find the woman who is presumed dead.

Saturday marked the 10th day of excavations in Angleton, Texas, about 15 miles north of the gulf town where Beard disappeared, according to EquuSearch. They were assisted by multiple search teams, including Brazoria County officials and volunteer equipment operators who came “day after day in the blistering sun, focused on finding her remains.”

Searches commenced just a couple of months after 65-year-old Paul Gayland Taylor, the man serving life in prison for Beard’s murder, led the FBI to a location where he says he buried the young mother, per ABC Houston affiliate KTRK-TV. Beard’s relatives reportedly agreed to the convicted murderer’s immediate release, should he provide the exact location of Beard’s remains.

“The family offered Paul Taylor immediate release, that we could be willing to, since he’s already up for parole,” Beard’s sister, Carol Mize, told the outlet. “But my mother and Becky’s daughter all agreed that we would be okay with immediate release if he took them to the body.”

Taylor was denied parole in 2020 when the board cited his “conscious disregard” for human life and public safety, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He is up for review in December.

Beard was the mother of a 2-year-old daughter and worked at a local car dealership when she vanished, according to The Doe Network.

“The last thing she said was ‘I love you,’” Carol Mize told KTRK-TV. “Becky was full of life. She didn’t deserve this.”

Though details surrounding Beard’s death are slim, Taylor confessed to killing her in 1994, per KTRK-TV. He pleaded guilty in 1995.

Local outlets claim Taylor was an early suspect in the case and questioned about Beard’s disappearance in 1986 while in jail on DWI charges. Taylor reportedly bragged about the murder to cellmates while in prison on a separate conviction, according to the Doe Network, claiming he killed Beard in his Clute, Texas, home, just south of Angleton.

Taylor previously led detectives to a potential burial site at an unknown time, claiming he left Beard’s body in a shallow grave in a rice field, but subsequent searches yielded no results.

Taylor was also sentenced to 25 years in prison on top of his life sentence for solicitation of capital murder after attempting to hire someone to kill a witness due to testify in Beard’s case, according to The Doe Network and NAMUS.

Loved ones created the “Finding Becky” Facebook page, aimed at keeping Beard’s story alive.

“From the very beginning of my life, the mystery of my mother haunted me,” said Beard’s daughter. “I made an early choice to be very vocal and always share my journey.”

Beard’s family and EquuSearch did not immediately respond to requests made by Oxygen.com. 

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