Dante Taylor, 19, was arraigned Saturday at Suffolk County District Court after being charged with second-degree murder in connection with Sarah Goode’s death. The 21-year-old medical technician disappeared in early June under what police called “suspicious circumstances.” During a dayslong search, investigators found her car with no signs of a crash before a volunteer search party discovered her body in a thickly wooded area in a residential community of Medford.
At his arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Janet Albertson said Goode had been raped, beaten and had her hair cut off when it was closed in the window of her car. She said Goode suffered “sharp force trauma” about her head and body. Albertson told a judge that Taylor used such force that a piece of metal was found embedded in her skull. Authorities have not released Goode’s cause of death.
Albertson said investigators found a bloody palm print – belonging to Taylor – on the hood of Goode’s car. They also have DNA evidence and cell phone records that place Taylor in the same location as the young mother after she had been reported missing, Albertson said. Police have not said whether the two knew each other.
The prosecutors told Judge Karen Wilutis that a grand jury was ready to hear the case and she expected an indictment could be handed up early this week. Albertson said prosecutors would seek to upgrade the charge against Taylor to first-degree murder. He has also been charged with first-degree attempted rape in connection with a separate incident that occurred in 2011, officials said.
Suffolk County Police Det. Lt. Kevin Beyrer said at a Saturday afternoon news conference that detectives developed information in the rape case while investigating Goode’s murder. He said “the entire case” had developed during the Goode investigation, which led police to obtain a warrant for Taylor’s arrest. He was taken into custody in front of his Vero Beach, Fla., home last Thursday and waived extradition to New York.
Taylor’s defense lawyer, Patrick O’Connell declined to comment on the case other than saying his client has “heartfelt sympathies” for Goode’s loved ones. Taylor would not say anything he was led out of a police station Saturday morning in handcuffs. His mother and brother, who attended the arraignment, also declined to comment.
Goode’s sister, Elizabeth DeMuria, said the family received a call around 1 a.m. Saturday informing them an arrest had been made in the case. They had not heard the details of what happened to Goode until prosecutors told the judge during the arraignment. Goode’s aunt, Patricia Urizzo, called Taylor was a “heartless, most vicious monster,” who left Goode’s 4-year-old without a mother.