SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — A search warrant obtained by WREG says investigators believe Carl Hayes was directly involved in the disappearance of his wife Taquila Hayes, sometime between May 21 and 22.
Shelby County Sheriff's detectives said fresh paint, new carpet and drained bank accounts prompted them to search the home of Taquila Hayes, the missing nurse and mother detectives have been looking for since last month.
More than 60 deputies and volunteers spent hours scouring the area around her home looking for clues Tuesday, and now, we're getting a deeper look into the bizarre case.
The home appears empty now, but it was almost exactly a month ago detectives and TBI agents did their first search, coming in and out of the front door and trying to find out what happened to Hayes.
Investigators carried boxes, took pictures and fulfilled a search warrant on Aug. 19. The warrant, signed the night of Aug. 18, allowed investigators to search the home of Taquila Hayes and her husband Carl Hayes as well as Taquila's car for firearms, firearms accessories, ammunition, computers, computer storage hardware, electronic devices, cell phones, DNA, clothing, weapons and other evidence found on the property as needed in the crime of criminal homicide.
A detective with 15 years of law enforcement explained his case to a judge for why the search was needed in an affidavit for search warrant.
The detective said Taquila was reported missing by her mother on Aug. 9, and she told deputies her family hadn't actually spoken to Taquila since a few months prior. Her mother went on to say Carl told her the couple had separated in early June, something he was embarrassed to tell the family.
Carl allegedly said Taquila had left the house with a friend sometime around June 8 and quit her job as a nurse at Methodist. But Taquila's mother said that didn't match her daughter's behavior, telling us in previous interviews she would never leave her 12-year-old son.
On Aug. 12, three days after the missing person's report was filed, Taquila's supervisor contacted investigators. She clocked out May 20 but was a no-show on May 21. The supervisor said she attempted to contact Taquila, sending multiple text messages with no response.
When she text again saying she would call the police for a wellness check if Taquila didn't respond, she finally got a call back, but not from Taquila. It was Carl on the other end of the line. She claimed Carl told her Taquila wouldn't be returning to work, and when the supervisor asked multiple times to speak to his wife, he refused.
Taquila's mother also told investigators Carl had given different accounts of what happened to different family members.
On the same day she was reported missing, Carl was interviewed by detectives.
He said he and Taquila separated in June over infidelity issues, admitting to officers that since her disappearance he had accessed her cell phone, switched the SIM card and had pretended to be her when speaking to other people.
When investigators looked around the home, they saw what looked to be new carpet in the living room, dining room and master bedroom, as well as new paint. As it turns out, the home is a rental property, and the lease expires next month. When asked about the new carpet, Carl said he made the change so he wouldn't lose his deposit on the property — a receipt from July 2 showed he had shelled out $1,500 on it.
When detectives did an initial look around the house the day she was reported missing, Aug.9, they noticed Taquila had no belongings in the house. Carl said he had thrown away anything left that was hers.
When deputies looked in Taquila's car, they saw what looked to be new carpet as well. Carl told them he had cleaned it out.
Detectives also checked bank records. Video footage at multiple Regions Bank locations shows Carl withdrawing money from Taquila's accounts, including one for $800 on May 22, the day after she was a no-show for work. Investigators said more than $4,000 was taken from accounts.
While Carl told investigators he last saw his wife in June leaving the home in a white car with an unknown friend, that is not believed to be true.
Just Tuesday, investigators said this is still a missing person's case.
WREG reached out to the Shelby Count Sheriff’s Office to find out why the search warrant said the property needed to be searched "in the crime of criminal homicide" but a spokesperson only said this is still a missing persons case. No one has been charged in Taquila's disappearance.
Investigators still need the public's help, and they're asking anyone with information to contact them at 901-222-5600.