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Murder on Haystack?

Written by Heather Penn

 

On August 7, 2017, 52-year-old Christina Taylor/ Watkins was found dead in her home on Haystack Mountain. Haystack, located outside of Fox off the Elliot Highway is a tightknit remote community with one road in and out. From the beginning her neighbors suspected foul play but instead her death was ruled accidental.

Christina’s body was found when her employees became worried after she didn’t show up to work. According to her neighbors, Christina was a creature of habit. “She ran like clockwork, same thing every day,” said neighbor Chris Hunter. Hunter his wife and Christina had been friends since she moved to Haystack back in 2014. Hunter had been fixing Christina’s vehicle for the better part of two weeks and Hunter’s wife frequently carpooled into town with her. Haystack is a small community, “we watch out for each other here,” said Hunter

The night of her death Hunter, her immediate neighbor awoke to what he could only describe as a “sonic boom.” Chris is deaf, so other than the boom he heard nothing else.  He and his dog went outside to see what had disturbed their slumber. After thoroughly checking the grounds around his home and finding nothing amiss, they went back to bed.

At 7am the morning after she died, Hunter began his day. He walked outside and noticed the troopers sitting at the end of Christina’s driveway. Concerned for his friend, he along with his service dog moseyed over to see what was going on. The trooper informed him his friend had died and asked if he knew anything. Hunter replied that other than the boom, he did not. Hunter went home and messaged his other neighbor Preston who has surveillance cameras placed all over his property. Christina lived on a dead-end street, her house, along with her three neighbors, rounded out the dead-end. If someone had come down their street the night prior to Christina’s house, they would have driven by his cameras. Sure enough, a red car can be seen driving by at 1:25 am and again at a high rate of speed at 1:34 am. Preston let the troopers know about the footage but a month into the investigation they had yet to contact him.

There are two other videos that may contain clues on the night Christina died. Six high-definition cameras monitor the only entrance to Haystack and the multitude of mailboxes sitting there. Hilltop restaurant, believed to be the last stop for Christina that night, features several cameras both inside the restaurant and out. As far as the neighbors and children knew neither of those two videos had been reviewed.

Christina was believed to be murdered sometime between 10 pm and 4 am. It is believed that the last person to see Christina alive was her boyfriend Chris Sanchez. They had dinner at Hilltop and from there it is unknown just what transpired.

Christina’s children who live in Anchorage and Hawaii found out that their mother had passed away via Facebook. They feel a thorough investigation into her death was not done. The family has been left in shambles since Christina’s death, with far more questions than answers,” said Hunter. According to the children the police have yet to talk to them about any investigation into their mother’s death. The only interaction with the troopers comes when they call to ask what is going on.

The night of Christina’s death her daughter attempted to reach her on Facetime, something they did regularly, but her mother stated that “it was too dark to chat,” and they hung up. Her daughter noted that this was very out of character for her mother as they liked to facetime frequently to talk about their day. Christina’s body was sent to the medical examiners in Anchorage where her children identified it. According to the children the pathology report has not made a ruling on a definitive cause of death, claiming there are “still reasons to be concerned.” Her body has since been cremated.

 

 

Christina lived in a cabin with a loft that did not have a railing. Police believe she died after she fell from the top of the loft, hitting her head on a post on the way down. Her neighbors don’t buy it. Her body was found naked at the bottom of her staircase. The left side of her face was covered in bruises yet she lay on the right side. Her feet were propped up on the woodstove that sat below the loft. Hunter believes the position of her body and face clearly state she did not “fall.” “Christina is 5’10 and the post is 6’2 inches away. If the post did in fact do the damage to her face she would have had to take a great jump, or be pushed pretty hard to reach it, pinwheel and cause that degree of damage,” said Hunter. There’s one other aspect of the body that bothers Hunter. It is believed that she landed on the left side of her face furthering contributing to the extensive bruising, yet when the body was found she was laying on the right side. It is thought that she rolled over after she landed. “That doesn’t add up,” said Hunter. If she did in fact land and then roll over her feet would no longer be perched on the top edge of the woodstove.” The condition of her home should also have arisen some suspicion. She was not a “neat freak,” said Hunter “but everything had its place.” The night she died there was stuff everywhere, with dishes strewn all over the place.

There is also that “sonic boom,” felt by Hunter the night she died. Hunter believes that boom came from Christina being thrown from her loft and landing on the floor. “Christina’s cabin sits upon two layers of concrete blocks offering a hollow-esque bottom to the floor. Anything that landed with particular force could easily give off a resonating boom. Being deaf has enabled Hunter to hone in on his other senses. He believes he felt her death that night.

Little is known of her boyfriend Chris Sanchez. They had dated the better part of two years. According to neighbors she paid for his place on Chena Hot Springs Road and his cell phone. All of his money was allegedly being sent to his wife and kids in the lower 48. Christina had spoken with Hunters wife about her desire to marry him when the divorce was finalized. The relationship started out well but took a turn for the worst the last few months of Christina’s life. Christina disclosed to her daughter that her partner had become quite verbally and emotionally abusive towards her and Christina told her children that she was “going to end it.” According to the children, “their mother was a hopeless romantic who only wanted to be loved.”

One of the most disconcerting aspects of this case is the boyfriends free use of Christina’s account since her death. According to her children, “every day since her death he has logged into her account and spent money.” He continues to spend freely as her children have yet to garner a death certificate to remove her account.

Neighbors hope to bring light to Christina’s death.  “Christina was a mother and a grandmother, she was a person. Her death can’t be just swept under the rug and forgotten, said Hunter.

About the author

Heather Penn

7 Comments

  • Aloha Heather,

    My name is Chelsea. I am the second daughter of Christine Taylor. Although we are very greatful for bringing attention to the tragedy surrounding our mothers passing, I do want to let you know that there are mistruths to this article.

    I have been working with the homicide investigator, and troopers most recent and are appreciative for them looking into details of the case. We have yet to rule out any definitive suspects. If anyone has any information regarding our mother, we would gladly appreciate that.

  • Im so sad to hear the passing of my fren…we met when she lived in Hawaii…she was a fun spirit and i hope they fin out what happened because from this article it does seem like something doesnt fit…..much Aloha to her kids…
    Ur mother was an awesome person!!!

  • This article is pretty bad. I live on Haystack and know that the major contributor has an agenda for proposing the idea of murder. How cruel to her children in their time of grief. If this is the type of article this paper prints, I am not interested in reading it.

    • There is a lot of misinformation floating around and I hope you understand her children asked me to do the article to hopefully shed some light on what happened to their mother.
      They believe it is foul play. Thank you for commenting.

  • This is horrible! I attended Christina’s funeral as she and her family were life long friends.We all thought the cause of her death was very strange and so sad.
    Please let us know what we can do to help the state troopers know that we want an investigation into what sounds to be foul play in her death! Thank you

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