CLARIFICATION: Deangelo Bridges is being held in jail without bond for Hilliard’s death, but he has a $10,000 bond for a separate charge of violation of the sex offender registry.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Police say a registered sex offender took an Uber to a woman’s Fox Meadows apartment, sodomized and killed her, and then tried to clean up her body with soap.
Deangelo Bridges, 36, was booked in the Shelby County Jail Monday on charges of first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse, theft, and tampering with evidence.
Police said 19-year-old Taliyah Hilliard was discovered by a co-worker at the Residences at Lakeview apartments on February 20 after the victim failed to show up for work.
Cederkia Hopkins, who made the gruesome discovery, said she’s unaware of any connection between Hilliard and Bridges.
Police said Taliyah was found dead on her bed. Investigators said she had bruising around her neck and chest, a broken left arm, and had been sodomized.
They said there was also a green, soapy substance covering her body.
Hopkins told officers she found Taliyah covered in pillows and blankets.
Police said surveillance video from the apartment complex showed a man in a gray hoodie get out of a Toyota Highlander and being let into Taliyah’s apartment at around 11:50 p.m. on February 9.
They said he exited the apartment at 1:15 a.m. carrying something in a pillowcase and left in another vehicle.
Detectives were able to tie Bridges to the Toyota Highlander after they discovered the vehicle was an Uber and that Bridges had ordered the ride.
Police said they also discovered the victim’s cell phone near the Oak Grove Apartments.
They said Bridges’ sister lives at the apartment complex on Cadraca Drive, and surveillance video from the complex showed a man in a gray hoodie toss a pillowcase into a dumpster there on the morning of the murder.
Taliyah’s parents, Dominique Hilliard and Tiffany Bellamy, said they found that Bridges had been arrested Monday night.
“I was a little bit happy, but then it made me sad because you know it’s not going to bring her back, and it just left me with more questions,” said Dominique. “When I asked the officer why he did it, all the guy could tell them was they were just hanging out.”
Bridges is being held in jail without bond for Hilliard’s death. However, he has a $10,000 bond for a separate charge of violation of the sex offender registry.
Bellamy said her daughter had just started dating and living on her own, and she doesn’t think she knew Bridges very well.
“She was starting to find herself,” said Bellamy. “She would have been twenty in May, and I lost my baby. She really didn’t deserve that. She didn’t.”
Police said Bridges is a convicted sex offender out of Cook County, Illinois, and is currently a registered sex offender out of Holly Spring, Mississippi.
“And that’s the sad part she didn’t know anything about his past, and that is something that cost her,” Dominique said.
Bridges is scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a bail review hearing and arraignment. Dominique Hilliard said he plans to be there.
“I’m trying to keep it together, and then I’m trying to stop asking why, but then it’s hard. It’s hard not to,” he said.
Dominique said his daughter moved to the Residences At Lakeview apartments because she saw all the cameras around her building and felt safe there. Ultimately, those cameras and the Uber led to Bridges’ arrest.
Uber said Bridges had been banned from their platform, and a spokesperson released the following statement:
“Safety is a priority at Uber, and our dedicated Public Safety Team is committed to supporting law enforcement with their investigations. We hope this development is a step towards closure for the victim’s loved ones.”