In the summer of 2014, petite, 21-year-old Long Island mother and medical technician Sarah P. Goode disappeared. Her partially decomposed body was found in a wooded area about a week later. The resulting autopsy and criminal investigation revealed Goode had been brutally raped and stabbed to death by a man whose sexual advances she had earlier rejected at a party.
Search for the Missing Mom
On June 8, 2014, Goode's family called Suffolk County police Sunday to report her missing. She had not been seen for two days. The family began passing out fliers and neighbors pitched in to search. The next day, Goode's gray 1999 BMW was found parked in a wooded area in Medford, not far from the home Goode shared with her mother and 4-year-old daughter.
Although the car had not been broken into, police said it was found under "suspicious circumstances." Suffolk County Detective Michael Fitzharris would not comment on those circumstances, nor did he reveal whether or not Goode's personal belongings had been found in the car. "This is a 21-year-old gainfully employed Long Island girl. Everyone has to have their vehicle out here," Fitzharris told reporters. "For her family to not see her for a few days… we take that very seriously." It was later learned that police had discovered clumps of hair and blood inside the vehicle.
Using K-9 units, police swept the wooded area where Goode's car had been found. On June 12, 2014, almost a week after she'd vanished, a group of searchers found her body in the woods within a mile of the site where her abandoned car had turned up the day after she'd been reported missing.
On July 12, 2014, Dante Taylor, a 19-year-old former Marine from Mastic, Long Island, whose advances Goode rejected at a party they'd both attended was arrested in connection with her murder. A bloody handprint in Goode's car and text messages between him and Goode on the night she went missing linked Taylor to the murder.
Taylor was arrested but later released after it was learned that police had taken fingerprints, DNA, and cellphone evidence without probable cause and had questioned him without reading him his rights. He was arrested again a month later on unrelated charges in Vero Beach, Florida, and extradited for trial.
Taylor was arraigned on murder charges in a Central Islip courtroom. As prosecutor Janet Albertson described the events surrounding Goode's death, about 50 of her family members were present in court, some responding to the horrific details in vocal anguish, others in verbal taunts. Goode's brother-in-law was removed from the courtroom.
Albertson described the gory scene police found inside of Goode's blood-soaked car. She went on to present evidence that Taylor had brutally raped Goode and had subsequently beaten her so badly with a sharp metal object that a piece of metal had been found embedded in her skull. Goode had been stabbed more than 40 times. After she was dead, Taylor dumped Goode's body, nude from the waist down, in the woods.
Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct Tarnish Conviction
During the trial, the prosecution was sanctioned by state Supreme Court Justice John Collins for withholding evidence from the defense that included a series of Crime Stoppers tips pointing to other potential suspects. It was also learned that police destroyed a threatening message from a boyfriend with whom Goode had recently split up.
Nevertheless, Taylor was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder, and attempted rape in the first degree in the death of Sarah Goode and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Convicted Killer Dies in Prison
On October 2017, the 22-year-old convicted killer was found dead at the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York, where he was serving his life sentence. Goode's family responded to the news with a Facebook post, which read:
“The monster who so violently ended Sarah's young life will no longer breathe another breath, will no longer see another day, will no longer have the privilege of living a life-something he made certain she could not do. Sarah's beauty is eternal. Her laugh is unforgettable. Her memories are carved in the hearts of all whom she met.”
However, Taylor's trial attorney, John Lewis Jr., insisted that his client's conviction was a travesty and a perversion of justice, stating:
“It's a tragedy. His death is just another injustice in a string of injustices. I just hope someone is held accountable for his death. Now Suffolk County will not be held accountable for the injustices it committed in getting his conviction.”
- Landau, Joel. "Long Island Police Searching for Missing 21-Year-Old Mother of 4-Year-Old Girl." New York Daily News, June 9, 2014
- Tracy, Thomas. "Body Found in Long Island Woods Is the Missing Mom of 4-Year-Old Daughter." New York Daily News, June 13, 2014
- Nolan, Caitlin and Brown, Stephen Rex. "Family of Murdered Long Island Mom Weep, Shout as Accused Killer Appears in Court." New York Daily News, July 14, 2014
- Fuller, Nicole and Smith, Andrew. "Dante Taylor, Convicted Killer, Dies in Prison, Officials Say." Newsday, October 9, 2017