Remains of W. Virginia Filipina murdered 10 years ago to be shipped to family

Karen Santillan Tait- Photo: National Missing Person Directory

Karen Santillan Tait- Photo: National Missing Person Directory

A Filipina immigrant who disappeared in West Virginia more than 10 years ago and who was later found to have been murdered will soon be reunited with her loved ones in the Philippines,according to a statement from the Philippine Embassy.

The Embassy, at the same time, expressed its appreciation to authorities in Waynesboro, West Virginia, for solving the case and putting Santillan-Tait’s husband, Thomas Neal Tait, 52, behind bars.

“If not for their efforts, our kababayan would most likely remain nameless and her killer would still be on the loose,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said as he cited in particular the efforts of Prosecuting Attorney James L. Camblos, III of the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney and case officer Corporal Alyssa Campbell of the Waynesboro Police Department.

“We thank them and the good people of Waynesboro for going out of their way to make sure that Karen can finally rest in peace with her loved ones in the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

He added that authorities and citizens of Waynesboro raised the necessary funds to cover the cost of the cremation, repatriation and burial of Santillan-Tait’s remains and other related expenses.

Consul General Ariel Peñaranda said the Embassy had been coordinating with Waynesboro authorities since October last year after they identified the remains that have been in the custody of the West Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office since 2002 as Santillan-Tait’s.

According to news reports, authorities stumbled upon Santillan-Tait’s disappearance only last year after her husband failed to account for her whereabouts while he was being investigated over unrelated charges.

Authorities then officially declared Santillan-Tait a missing person until a few months later when DNA samples collected from her family in the Philippines and daughter here in the United States matched those of the remains of an Asian woman that were recovered at the Greenbrier State Forest in 2002.

As a result, Santillan’s husband pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is now serving a 30-year prison term in West Virginia.
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