Police: Abducted Mich. girl's death was homicide

AP News
Posted: Oct 28, 2010 8:49 PM
Police: Abducted Mich. girl's death was homicide

Taylor Manley should have been home when her father returned from his job on the overnight shift at an auto supply plant.

He had spoken to her by phone about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. But when Robert Manley arrived at his home near Evart, in a rural area of Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula, the 15-year-old was nowhere to be found and the front door appeared to have been forced open.

Robert Manley called 911, and authorities soon issued an Amber Alert for his missing daughter.

Hours later, Taylor's body and the body of 38-year-old Raymond R. Bush were found about 170 miles away in his minivan, parked in a lonely cemetery in the small, southeastern Michigan community of Newport.

Bush was shot once in the head. Taylor was shot multiple times. At least one .22-caliber slug was to her head. She also was shot in the chest.

"It appears he shot Taylor, then shot himself," said Lt. Mary Kapp, commander of the state police post in Monroe. Bush's death was ruled a suicide, while Taylor's was ruled a homicide, according to the Wayne County medical examiner's office, which performed the autopsies.

Authorities believe Bush abducted the girl, on the morning that she had stayed home from school to testify against him in a sexual assault case.

The sexual assault "wasn't sexual contact with force," said Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis, whose office was handling the case, but was based on Bush's behavior and actions. Michigan's legal age of consent for sex is 16.

"He was preying upon her," Ambrozaitis said. "Predatory conduct."

The relationship between Bush and Taylor started in Monroe County where the girl and her mother once lived, said Taylor's grandfather, Joseph Manley.

Clare County Sheriff John Wilson described Bush as a friend of Taylor's family.

Bush befriended Taylor and her mother about a year ago, when they were living in the Newport area, Ambrozaitis said. His relationship with the girl turned sexual after Taylor and her mother moved north, she added. Bush, of Newport, had a tattoo of the girl's name on the back of his neck.

Taylor had recently transferred into Evart Public Schools, Superintendent Howard Hyde said. She had moved in with her father in recent weeks to get away, her grandfather said.

"We've never seen him, never met him and never talked to him," Joseph Manley said of Bush.

Taylor was living with her mother in Clare County, when in July they reported the sexual contact to authorities. Bush was arrested and arraigned on the charges in September, and was free after posting $50,000 bond, Wilson said.

Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony involving sexual penetration that may be charged when it involves a child at least 13 years of age and under 16. It's punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Bush, charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, was to appear Wednesday morning in district court for a preliminary examination that would determine if he was to stand trial. Taylor was to scheduled to testify. When Bush failed to show, an arrest warrant was issued.

An ex-girlfriend of Bush told investigators that he called her late Wednesday morning and said he fatally shot Taylor and planned to kill himself, according to state police Detective Sgt. George D. Pratt.

Bush later stopped at the ex-girlfriend's home in Newport, where she saw a young woman's body in the van, Pratt said. The woman called police after getting the first call and again after seeing Bush.

Troopers found the van and bodies about 5:25 p.m. Wednesday in St. Charles Cemetery, about 35 miles southeast of Detroit.

"I'm devastated," Ambrozaitis said. "She was just a vibrant young woman. She had a lot of spunk and a lot of promise. It's senseless."