Gary, IN

Special Ed Teacher Tortured, Murdered & Set Her Adopted Daughter On Fire.

The Vivid Faces of the Vanished

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Taylin HillThe Doe Network

On February 26, 2007, two brothers were driving through an alley near 2nd Avenue and Polk Street in Gary, Indiana.

The brothers looked in a cinder block garage and saw the two badly burned legs of a decomposing body.

The pair called the police, who discovered it was the body of a young girl.

The coroner discovered 170 injuries and scars on the victim. The girl suffered from stab wounds, blunt force injuries, and several of her teeth were broken.

The coroner ruled her cause of death as suffocation. A cloth had been stuffed in her mouth.

Investigators poured through missing person's reports but were unable to find a match.

Authorities named her the "Lake County Jane Doe."

They created a reconstruction of the girl and distributed the picture. Police hoped someone would recognize her.

Someone did.

According to the Chicago Tribune, in October 2015, Detective Lorenzo Davis was contacted by a woman who believed the girl was her cousin, Erika Hill.

She said her adopted mother, Taylin Hill, beat Erika daily over several years.

The 25-year old woman told Detective Davis when Erika died she made her biological and adopted children help dispose of her body.

Erika had never been reported missing.

Authorities discovered Erika was only 15-years-old when she died.

Erika's grandmother raised her. When the elderly woman died in 2001, Taylin adopted Erika.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the grandmother favored Erika.

This infuriated Taylin and caused her to place more abuse on Erika than she did on the other children.

According to the NWI Times, Taylin's daughter told authorities they were often removed from school to hide the scars from teachers and staff.

Investigators said Erika had multiple healing injuries and scars on her body.

Taylin's daughter, the one who contacted Gary Police, told investigators Taylin would make Erika stand on one foot.

She would then beat that foot until it bled.

She also said Taylin often used an extension cord on the children that she wore around her neck.

"In addition, she would not allow Erika to eat often, and Erika's physical appearance changed during the years that she was living in the household ... she described her complexion as 'gray' and ... had many, many, scars," court records state, reports the Chicago Tribune.

According to the Fitchburg Police Department, Taylin's daughter told investigators she returned to the home on Red Arrow Trail after work when she was 17-years old.

Authorities report Taylin's daughter told them that she found Erika in the bathroom, dead on the floor.

According to the NWI Times, she asked Taylin, "What did you do to her?"

She said Taylin made her and her siblings help her put Erika's body in black plastic garbage bags.

She said they left her body in the garage until she began to smell.

Then, one evening in February 2007, Taylin made all the children help her put Erika's body in the back of their family van.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Taylin's daughter told investigators Taylin pulled some of Erika's teeth out to prevent her identification. Taylin then dressed Erika up in cheap clothing.

She drove Erika's corpse and her children to East Chicago and left Erika's body near the Indiana Toll Road.

There, she set Erika's body on fire.

According to court documents, Taylin drove back to Chicago the next day and retrieved Erika's body.

She reportedly told her children she was afraid an elderly person would see the body and have a heart attack, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Taylin moved the body to the garage in Gary, Indiana.

When Taylin's other children were interviewed by Detective Sean Coffey of the Fitchburg Police Department, all but one supported the story their sister told investigators.

One sister denied any abuse, according to court records.

In September 2015, authorities arrested 50-year old Taylin Hill in Wisconsin.

Authorities charged her with first-degree reckless homicide and six abuse charges.

When she was arrested, Taylin Hill was an aid in the special education department with Madison Metropolitan Schools. She worked assisting children with special needs.

Taylin also had custody of a granddaughter.

According to court records, the little girl had suspicious marks and bruises on her body.

In 2016, Taylin Hill apologized in court for the horrific child abuse she imposed on her children and the horrendous abuse and murder of Erika.

She was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Authorities credit Taylin's daughter for coming forward with the information about Erika.

"Just one phone call can make a difference," Detective Sean Coffey told the Chicago Tribune.

Sergeant Dan Callahan agreed, reports the Chicago Tribune. "What happened to this young lady was unbelievable. All our cases are important, but I'm glad we could close this one."

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Erika Antoinette HillThe Doe Network

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