Love You More: The Taylor Behl Story
It was just after Labor Day 2005 when Janet Pelasara received the news every parent dreads: her beautiful daughter, Taylor Behl, who had just started her freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, was reported missing from campus. The ensuing search for Behl eventually uncovered a secret life kept hidden from the people who knew her best. Under the screen name "tiabliaj"–jailbait spelled backward–Behl posted her private thoughts on a blog, or online journal. While Behl's family knew her as outgoing and thrilled with college life, Behl wrote that she had drifted far away from her friends, "...and I don't think anyone noticed I was gone."
Behl's body was discovered in a rural area four weeks after her disappearance. Police soon identified the key suspect as Benjamin Fawley, a 38–year–old amateur photographer who had been involved in a sexual relationship with Behl. The pair met briefly through a mutual friend and then communicated via the Internet, often posting comments on each other's blogs. While Behl was flattered that an older man took interest in her, it seems unlikely that she knew much about Fawley's past. On disability because of bipolar disorder, Fawley had a lengthy criminal record that included charges of domestic assault against women. Fawley was indicted for the crime and later claimed that he had accidentally strangled Behl during rough but consensual sex. In August 2006, although still claiming his innocence, Fawley agreed to a plea bargain of 30 years for second–degree murder.
Shocked and devastated that a predator like Fawley had access to her daughter through the Internet, Pelasara is on a crusade to prevent what happened to her child from happening to anyone else. In this compelling cautionary memoir, she reflects on her life since Behl's disappearance, describing in intimate detail how she coped with the discovery of her daughter's online diaries, how she learned of her daughter's killer, and how she endured the investigation that finally put a sexual predator behind bars.
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Let me first say that it is tragic what happened to Taylor. She didn't deserve to have such a terrible death. She also didn't deserve to have the most selfish mother I've ever read about. Where to start? Her terrible behavior right back at her first husband? Moving her daughter overseas with no thought of the relationship with her father. Flitting from one guy to another? Let's go back earlier where she writes that she left her 18-month old daughter on the front porch while she went inside to do dishes, and Taylor wandered over to the neighbors. Or, how she involved her daughter in the arguments about child support? This poor kid. Then, after Taylor goes missing, all Janet can write about is HERSELF - how she gave M&M's to a hotel staff who was "down on her luck." How she did a "happy dance" when donations came in (what?!). How she screamed at Taylor's dad to "F-off" when he was upset that he wasn't told that Taylor's car was found (selfish). She is a nightmare. I can hardly finish this book (one chapter left) because of how poorly-written (as if written by a middle-school girl) and self-serving it is to JANET. Save yourself the time, and just google about Taylor. This woman is insane.
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - maryintexas39 - LibraryThing
Heartbreaking, and inspiring. I want to go hug my daughter! Read full review