Police Find Body of Missing College Student

Police Find Body of Missing College Student
Taylor Behl
Courtesy Taylor Behl Family

10/07/2005 AT 08:00 AM EDT

Investigators say that they have identified the body of Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Taylor Marie Behl, who had been missing for a month.

Behl, 17, left her dorm Sept. 5 with her mobile phone, a small amount of cash, a student ID and her car keys, telling her roommate she would be back in a few hours. The teen's car was found two weeks later – its license plates had been replaced with Ohio plates that were stolen several weeks earlier.

A task force investigating Behl's disappearance found the body buried off a dirt path in Virginia's rural Mathews County on Wednesday. Dental records were used for identification. The cause of death has yet to be determined, the Associated Press reports.

Earlier Thursday, before the identity was confirmed, Behl's mother, Janet Pelasara, addressed reporters and said: "I'm sure you can imagine the shock and horror I feel knowing that the body found is most likely my baby's."

Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe said the area where Behl's body was found was searched after police examined photos on the Web site of an amateur photographer who was one of the last people to see Behl alive.

Ben Fawley – who had a romantic relationship with the teen, his attorney, Chris Collins, has said – has not been charged in the Behl case, but he was questioned by police regarding her disappearance and classified as a person of interest at one point during the investigation. Detectives seized more than 70 items from Fawley's home, including a box of bones, a machete and part of a box spring bearing a reddish-brown stain, according to a search warrant.

Fawley, 38, was arraigned last week on 16 counts of possession of child pornography and is being held without bond. A telephone message left for his attorney was not returned.

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