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Police Foundation raising funds to return murder victim's remains home

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  • Police Foundation raising funds to return murder victim's remains homeMore>>

  • Karen Tait funeral and transportation expenses

    Karen Tait funeral and transportation expenses

    WAYNESBORO Va. (WVVA) - Following are the total expenses associated with the funeral and transportation of Karen Tait's remains from the United States to her native country of the Philippines, as submittedMore >>
    WAYNESBORO Va. (WVVA) - Following are the total expenses associated with the funeral and transportation of Karen Tait's remains from the United States to her native country of the Philippines, as submittedMore >>

WAYNESBORO Va. (WVVA) - A fund-raising effort has been launched to return the remains of a woman found in Greenbrier County home to her native country.

The body of Karen Santillan Tait -- a native of the Philippines -- was found in the Greenbrier State Forest in September 2002. Her remains remained in West Virginia as unclaimed 'Jane Doe' until she was reported missing in 2011. Shortly thereafter here husband, Thomas Tait was charged with murder.

Thomas Tait pleaded guilty to killing Karen in November 2012. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

View WVVA.com's previous reports on the Tait case

During the couple's brief marriage they resided in Waynesboro, Va. Now, the Waynesboro Police Foundation is collecting donations to be able to send Karen's remains back to her family in the Philippines.

Police need $6,000 to reach their goal. Donations can be made to the Karen Tait Fund and mailed to The Waynesboro Police Foundation, 250 S Wayne Ave, Suite 102, Box 3, Waynesboro, VA 22980.

Following is the news release from the Waynesboro Police Foundation about Karen's story:

In 1997, Karen Santillan was just a teenage girl living in a small village near Legazpi City in the  Philippines.  Karen, the youngest daughter of an indigent family, had only traveled short distances from her home when she met and later married an American man.  Karen came to the United States in 2000 with her new husband.  She left her home with her family's blessings, for what they believed would be a better life for her in the United States.  She would never see her native country or her family again.  Just under two years after coming to America, Karen Santillan Tait would be dead at the hands of her husband, and almost completely forgotten by all those in her new home.  She was only 23 years old.  Her parents and siblings will never be able to have Karen with them to talk to, laugh with, embrace, or enjoy those little moments in life with family and friends.  For almost eleven years her parents wondered what had happened to their daughter, not knowing that Karen was an unclaimed Jane Doe in West Virginia. 

From accounts of those who were able to meet her during her brief life in Waynesboro, Karen was described as "meek and timid."   Petite in stature but with a luminous smile as indicated in the pictures we have displayed, Karen was not permitted to venture outside of her home  unattended by her husband.  Although we can only speculate now as to what her life was like when she lived here, we do know that she was blessed, albeit briefly, with a beautiful daughter who survives her and is now experiencing her own teenage years in a safe and loving home.

It is our mission here, eleven years after her death,  to return Karen's remains back to her family in a final reunion, that will hopefully bring them closure.  Today, the Waynesboro Police Foundation is starting a fund raising campaign to raise the money necessary to transport Karen's remains to the Philippines for proper burial.  Six thousand dollars is our goal to cover all expenses.  An itemized list of the associated costs is included in your press packages.

We are hoping that those who have been moved by Karen's remarkably sad story will make a tax deductible donation to the Waynesboro Police Foundation's Karen Tait Fund.  Checks should be made to the Karen Tait Fund and mailed to:  The Waynesboro Police Foundation, 250 S Wayne Ave, Suite 102, Box 3, Waynesboro, VA 22980.

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