Friends remember Taylor Haynes for her selflessness
For the Enquirer
As the investigation into the death of Hartselle resident Taylor Haynes, 25, continues, friends and relatives remembered her for her contagious laugh, love for animals and the selflessness she displayed by helping those around her.
Haynes’ body was discovered Thursday by Morgan County authorities in a wooded area in Trinity after she had been missing for more than a month. No cause of death has been released. Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn said an autopsy was being performed Friday but that it could take months before all results from it become available.
One of the two people taken into custody for questioning Thursday has been released, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Swafford said Friday. The second person was being held in Lawrence County Jail on an unrelated charge. No charges have been filed in Haynes’ death.
Swafford has said the two individuals detained were the last people to see her and the last people to be at a South Seneca Drive residence in Trinity where Haynes had been staying.
Haynes’ stepmother, Rhonda Barnett, said her families’ hearts were “crushed” about Haynes’ death.
“We don’t know details, but we do know that we are praying for justice for Taylor,” Barnett said. “She was such a beautiful person inside and out. Whoever could do this to her is pure evil and left a 3-year-old precious baby boy without his mommy.”
Barnett said the family didn’t want to comment further.
Clay Hayes, who graduated from Danville High School with Haynes in 2015, said she was his first friend when he started school in the ninth grade.
“She was the first girl that I fell in love with,” Hayes said.
He said he could always spot Haynes in a crowd if he heard her laugh.
“She had a laugh that everyone knew and once they heard it, they knew it was Taylor,” Hayes said.
He and Lara Mayfield said their friendship with Haynes was so strong, sometimes they would stay up all night with her at his grandmother’s house, just talking.
“We were really inseparable,” Mayfield said. “I mean sometimes we would just sit in the car and listen to music all night or just sit outside and talk for hours.”
Mayfield had been friends with Haynes since they met each other in the sixth grade at Danville Middle. She said Haynes aspired to work in the nursing field and was also passionate about taking care of elderly animals.
“She always wanted to be a nurse and she took some classes at the tech school at Brewer High for a little bit while we were in high school,” Mayfield said.
After graduation, Haynes was hired as a certified nursing assistant at Summerford Health and Rehab, a nursing home in Falkville. Hayes said she worked there for three years.
Mayfield said Haynes’ laugh was unique and that she always had a way of making her friends smile.
“She would just get you going and you’d just be laughing until your stomach hurt,” Mayfield said. “I’m really going to miss that about her.”
Hayes said, “She didn’t really care too much about talking about herself. She liked to listen to everyone else and help them.”
Hayes said he had last seen Haynes at the end of February when she was in the process of separating from her husband.
She and her husband married in 2017 and were the parents of a 3-year-old son, according to court records. The husband has a Hartselle address.