MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The husband of a Cordova woman who was reported missing in 2019 pleaded guilty Friday to her murder.

Carl Hayes was charged with second-degree murder in 2020 in connection with the disappearance of Taquila Hayes, his estranged wife. He entered a plea and was sentenced Friday to 20 years in state prison.

Court records indicate he was set to begin his trial Aug. 7.

The body of his wife has never been found, despite multiple searches of her home on Starcross Lane.

Carl Hayes, Taquila Hayes

Taquila Hayes, 41, was reported missing by her mother on Aug. 9, 2019, after family members said they hadn’t spoken to her for several months. Authorities believe she disappeared sometime between May 21 and 22. She left behind a 12-year-old son.

Carl Hayes told investigators the couple had separated over infidelity issues, admitting to officers that since her disappearance he had accessed her cell phone, switched the SIM card, and pretended to be her when speaking to other people.

He said he was the last person to see her alive as she left with a friend.

Taquila’s mother, Roberta Nutall, said that Friday’s sentence is bittersweet. She finds relief because justice is finally being served after four years, but she still lacks closure, because Tequila’s body has never been found. 

“We know that she is not here, we know that she’s no longer here. She is deceased. But I would love still to have her body so we can properly lay her to rest,” said Nutall.

Nutall said that this is a victory in the case, but it doesn’t necessarily offer closure to the family.

“Let us be able to put her to rest. If not for us, for his son,” Nutall said. “I didn’t know anybody could be that selfish.”

Nutall says police and the Shelby County Sheriff’s office are still accepting tips in the case that could help lead them to Taquila’s body. If anyone saw anything out of the ordinary in May 2019, please contact authorities.