The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 29, 2014

After waiving preliminary trial, Oak Hill man awaits trial on alleged kidnapping charge

By Jessica Farrish
Register-Herald Reporter

FAYETTEVILLE — A middle school teacher accused of kidnapping an Oak Hill girl waived his right to a preliminary trial before Fayette County Magistrate Sharon McGraw Tuesday.

Joshua Taylor, 30, of Oak Hill, was remanded to Southern Regional Jail to await trial in the Jan. 18 kidnapping of a 13-year-old Oak Hill girl.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Fayette Magistrate Court, West Virginia State Police were notified on Jan. 18 that the victim had “gone missing” around 6:15 p.m.

Police saw fresh footprints in snow around the girl’s home, and a K9 that searched for the girl ended its tracking in a parking lot behind her house, indicating to police that the girl had gotten into a car.

Trooper C.L. Mollohan located Taylor’s telephone number on an iPad in the girl’s room.

Mollohan went to Taylor’s Jones Avenue home, where he interviewed Taylor’s wife.

According to Mollohan, the wife said Taylor had left home around 5 p.m. to go to the store and had never returned.

She added that Taylor called around 9 p.m. to say he’d gotten his car stuck in snow at a friend’s house and wouldn’t be returning home until the next morning.

The following morning, Jan. 19, Taylor’s car was spotted on surveillance video at the Bradley toll booth on U.S.19 around 7 p.m. Jan. 18.

An unidentified passenger was in the car with Taylor, said Mollohan.

According to statements by troopers, Taylor took the victim to his friend’s home in Beckley. The next day, she arrived at her friend’s house in Oak Hill around 10:30 a.m.

The victim called her dad about 4 p.m. that day, and he brought her home.

When police questioned the victim at her family home, she told them she’d had a fight with her brother on Jan. 18 and had called Taylor to ask him to get her and that Taylor had complied.

Police had sent out a description of the victim to local media on Jan. 18, and Taylor’s name and photo were released on Jan. 19.

Troopers arrested Taylor in the St. Marys area on Jan. 20., and he was arraigned in Pleasants County.

Taylor was a gym teacher at Collins Middle School for two years, but it was unclear Tuesday whether he was still employed at the school or whether the alleged victim was his student.

— E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com