According to law enforcement authorities with the Memphis Police Department and the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office, the body of Tamia Taylor was found in the Mississippi River on Sept. 23.
The young Black woman’s family said she went on a riverboat cruise to celebrate her 21st birthday and had mysteriously gone missing while aboard two weeks ago.
Authorities had reportedly been searching for Taylor since being alerted that she was nowhere to be found. While law enforcement said that foul play is not suspected, the family, through their spokesperson, stated that certain factors surrounding Taylor’s disappearance and subsequent drowning have been classified as undetermined by the medical examiner.
Jasmine Ellis, a spokesperson for the family from the Dock Ellis Foundation, said that Taylor’s mother is devastated. Ellis noted, “She’s overwhelmed and naturally [has] the feelings a mother would feel if they lose their daughter.”
The Dock Ellis Foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps families of men, women, and children who are minorities and go missing. Ellis said that the police informed Taylor’s mother about the discovery of her body and death in person. The spokesperson added that multiple layers of the story need to be examined and investigated, including why an individual claimed he saw Taylor disembark from the boat and what the deceased woman’s friends who were with her on the cruise might know. She continued by saying the family has questions that need to be answered about the portion of the medical examiner’s ruling that was classified as undetermined.
According to a statement released by the Dock Ellis Foundation on the family’s behalf, Taylor’s mother and family are grateful for the community’s prayers, but they need privacy and time to heal. The organization further expressed that the young woman’s memory will be cherished, and while the family feels significant grief, they also feel gratitude for Taylor’s life.