The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

January 23, 2013

Murder suspect arraigned in Greenbrier County

A Virginia man suspected in the 2002 murder of his wife was arraigned in Greenbrier County Magistrate Court Tuesday and remanded to the Southern Regional Jail without bond.

Thomas Neal Tait, 52, of Waynesboro, Va., is charged with the murder of Karen Santillan Tait, a Philippine citizen whom he married in 1998. Karen Tait legally immigrated to the United States with her husband in July 2000 and gave birth to a child later that year.

In 2002, the woman disappeared.

On Sept. 26 of that year, Donald Osborne discovered human remains in the Greenbrier State Forest at Harts Run and immediately notified the police.

West Virginia State Police officers, including First Lt. Vince Deeds, arrived at the scene and found the remains of a petite female. In due course, the remains were examined by Dr. James A. Kaplan of the West Virginia State Medical Examiner’s office and Dr. Douglas Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution Department of Anthropology.

Owsley concluded that the remains were those of a small female between 25 and 33 years of age, with Asian ancestry.

The unidentified woman’s dental records and DNA were placed in national crime registries in the spring of 2003.

Eight years later, the Waynesboro (Va.) Police Department began an investigation into the reported sexual abuse of a child that was alleged to have occurred over the course of several years. The investigation soon expanded to include child pornography.

As a result of that investigation, Thomas Neal Tait was convicted of 20 counts of possession of child pornography in September of 2012.

During the course of the abuse and pornography investigation, police became concerned about the whereabouts of Tait’s wife, learning that her family in the Philippines had lost contact with her in 2002.

Waynesboro police opened a criminal missing person case on Karen Tait Dec. 16, 2011, entering information about the woman — including a DNA profile developed using DNA from her child — into crime databases, including those where West Virginia authorities had previously placed DNA from the unidentified remains found in the forest.

The information appeared to match.

After a series of dental, forensic and DNA testing, Kaplan determined the remains found in Greenbrier State Forest matched Karen Santillan Tait. The medical examiner listed her cause of death as homicide.

According to the Greenbrier County Magistrate Court file, Thomas Tait was interviewed by two U.S. Department of State law enforcement agents Nov. 1, 2012, at which time he indicated he had murdered his wife.

No further hearings have been scheduled in the murder case, which is now assigned to Greenbrier Magistrate Brenda Campbell.

— E-mail:


Text Only
Latest News
  • Video: Meat market

    The price of beef has everyone in a stew these days, and it doesn’t stop with the “what’s for dinner” protein. Prices of pork and chicken are on the rise, as well.

    April 17, 2014

  • Child care in state lacking in quality

    Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Still alive, TWV’S 54th season is all ‘Hatfields and McCoys’

    Although the schedule is a bit different than originally planned, Theatre West Virginia Act II is officially alive, with 17 scheduled showings of “Hatfields and McCoys.”
    The curtain will rise for its 54th season on July 11, and Manager Scott Hill said these 17 shows will be produced with the same quality theater patrons have come to know and love over the years.

    April 17, 2014

  • jobfair Spring Job Fair: 400 job seekers meet 22 employers

    More than 400 people came looking for a new job Wednesday at The Register-Herald’s Spring Job Fair at the Tamarack Conference Center.
    This year there were 22 area employers in attendance which gave potential hires more options in many different fields.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Train derailment reported in Mercer County

    The derailment occurred in the Rock area of Mercer County, according to Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in state

    Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Rahall raises $324k in WVa’s 3rd; Jenkins, $194k

    Democrat U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall raised almost $324,000 last quarter for his contested re-election bid, while GOP challenger Evan Jenkins banked about $193,500.

    April 16, 2014

  • State regional jails ban touching during visits

    Concerns about drug contraband have prompted a ban on regional jail inmates touching loved ones during supervised contact visits.

    April 16, 2014

  • Renew W.Va. car registration online

    State residents strapped for time got a break Tuesday when Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Acting Division of Motor Vehicles Director Steve Dale announced new DMV online options for renewing vehicle registration.

    April 16, 2014

  • Manchin says mines should speak out about coal

    The Democratic senator leading the battle against the White House’s strategy to fight climate change urged the mining industry on Tuesday to speak out about coal’s role in providing affordable, reliable electricity to the country to help combat strict new emissions rules for coal-fired power plants.

    April 16, 2014

AP Video