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story.lead_photo.caption Taylor Parker

TEXARKANA, Texas — A woman accused of murdering a New Boston woman so she could take her unborn child earlier this month has been appointed a lawyer to represent her on charges of capital murder, murder and kidnapping.

Taylor Parker, aka Taylor Morton, 27, was taken into custody Oct. 9 at a hospital in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, in connection with the deaths of 21-year-old Reagan Simmons Hancock and her unborn daughter, Braxlynn Sage Hancock. Reagan Hancock was 34 weeks into her pregnancy when Parker allegedly attacked her in her New Boston home, cut the baby from her womb and left with the child.

The baby, six weeks short of full term, was pronounced dead at the hospital. A Texas state trooper who pulled Parker over at about 9:37 a.m. in DeKalb on the morning of Oct. 9 reported that Parker had the infant in her lap, claiming to have delivered the child roadside, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

This week, 202nd District Judge John Tidwell appointed Harrelson, an experienced criminal defense attorney, to Parker's defense. Thus far, Parker's only court appearances have been in Oklahoma, where she waived extradition to Texas, and before a magistrate judge in the Bowie County jail, where bails totaling $5 million were set.

Should the state seek the death penalty for Parker, it is likely Tidwell will appoint a second defense lawyer and a mitigation expert as is routine in such cases. A mitigation expert is tasked with collecting evidence about a defendant that might lead a jury to opt for life without parole rather than death in the event of a capital murder conviction.

Parker allegedly faked a pregnancy for months. Parker's boyfriend allegedly told investigators the couple held a gender reveal party and that he expected to meet Parker at the hospital in Idabel, Oklahoma, around noon Oct. 9 for a planned, induced labor and delivery.

Bowie County District Attorney Jerry Rochelle issued a public plea for assistance in the case Wednesday.

Rochelle said law enforcement is seeking to acquire surveillance video or other information that would help them establish the movement of a 2009 black, four-door Toyota Corolla with Texas license plate LHL0637 on the morning of Oct. 9.

"Any video of any route between New Boston and DeKalb could potentially contain vital information," Rochelle said. "The main areas of concern are, but not limited to, U.S. Highway 82, FM 1840, FM 561 and FM 992."

Anyone with video or information is encouraged to contact law enforcement: Rochelle's office at 903-735-4800, New Boston Police Department at 903-628-3771 or Bowie County Sheriff's Office at 903-628-6818.

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