September 20, 2022
Forty-eight-year-old Roger Taylor went missing from Monroe County, Mississippi on March 10, 2019, while travelling to Greenwood Springs, Mississippi to visit his daughter.
He stayed connected with his daughter as he travelled alone in his silver 2008 Saturn Astra and called her for the last time at 9:44pm to tell her he had gotten lost and was unable to get his vehicle unstuck. That would be the last contact Taylor would ever have with his daughter, or anyone, and soon after, his car would be discovered abandoned in a wooded area near Blair Cemetery Road, with Taylor himself nowhere to be found.
Police searched for the missing man by both land and air, but were unable to locate him. They obtained his cell phone records to find it had last pinged in the area of Wise Gap and Grubbs Springs Road, around thirteen miles from the location of Taylor’s vehicle.
The missing man left behind four children, a son and three daughters, and a wife.
On August 30, 2022, Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook put out a statement regarding the case, which has been cold for the last three years. Crook announced that a local Minister, Pastor James Eric Crisp, recently confessed to murdering Roger Taylor following a “heavy spiritual conviction while teaching and preaching.”
Crook, who is also a Christian and said he is not surprised by the confession, but amazed, told the Monroe Journal: "For someone to sacrifice every ounce of their freedom to be free on the inside, this is definitely something you don’t hear when you come to the office every day."
Crisp is a minister at Gods House of Hope, a church in Kilmichael, Mississippi. The church offers a program for drug and alcohol addicts and Crisp himself had a past of addiction and a long criminal record spattered with drug charges, including drug possession and trafficking. It was during this period of addiction that James Crisp said he committed the murder.
Roger Taylor's daughter, Breann Taylor, recalls James Crisp joining the search for her missing father in March of 2019. She also recalls Crisps constant reassurance that he had no involvement in the disappearance and continued to protest his innocence several days later. Breann admitted that she was instantly suspicious of Crisp, as he and her father were not close, yet he joined in on the search and behaved strangely towards her. She would later tell journalists that she suspected him from that moment. Crisp had been introduced to Taylor through Breann’s then boyfriend, who was best friends with Crisp.
Following her father’s disappearance, James Crisp was incarcerated on drug-related charges. He leaned on Breann after being shunned by his own family, and she gave him a place to stay when he was released from prison and had nowhere to go. She also made sure he had enough cell phone credit to contact his children.
Crisp was looking to face thirty years in prison for felony drug charges in 2019, but instead, he was sent to Gods House of Hope, with the hope that he could get sober be rehabilitated.
On October 18, 2020, The Gods House of Hope Facebook account posted a picture of Crisp standing before a framed picture of Philippians 4.33, with the caption:
"Eric Crisp, is thirty-five from Gatman, Ms. If you only knew the MIRACLE he truly is!!!! He grew up in a broken and very dysfunctional home. He has been in some form of addiction since the age of twelve! Eric came to GHOH from jail and was literally at the end of his rope! The LORD rescued him from a life of prison of 35 years! God has radically transformed him just since he’s been here. Eric was bound by anger and doubt. We have seen Jesus set this man free! We will never forget his first church service he ran out the back door because he was not going to be around “that jumping and worshipping” lol TODAY he’s a True Worshipper for the LORD!!!! We are so thankful to see what God is doing and what He’s going to do for his future for him and his children! #HesAGodStory"
When asked why he confessed to the crime, Crisp, who has since kicked his addiction and found God, claimed he was seeking spiritual freedom, which he would gladly do jailtime for following his confession to police. He told police that he killed Roger Taylor during a physical altercation and concealed his body, which has yet to be located, along cemetery road, close to where the victim's vehicle was found.
According to Crisp, it was this incident that led him down his righteous path, and after getting clean, the reality of what he did to Roger Taylor three years earlier began to weigh on him.
Breann Taylor has told media outlets that she does not believe James Crisp actually feels remorse for murdering her father. She told The Independent that when she came face to face with Crisp following his confession to law enforcement, that he appeared emotionless when admitting to her that he had killed Taylor and that he has not once apologised to her. She added that following the conversation, she asked him if he was "hiding behind" his newfound religion, to which he allegedly said: "Yes, Amen" and proceeded to answer any follow-up questions she had with the same two words before leaving the room and laughing with law enforcement officers in the corridor.
Breann also told the newspaper that she had heard rumours that one of Crisp’s own children had been threatening to turn him in to police and she believes this is the only reason Crisp came forward.
Following his confession to the murder of Roger Taylor, Crisp was charged with manslaughter and his bond was set at $150,000 by Monroe County Justice Court Judge Sarah Cline Stevens.
Law enforcement is currently searching for Roger Taylor's remains, but admitted that it may not be an easy feat, due to shifting of the landscape from floodwater in the area where Crisp claimed to have disposed of the body in 2019.
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