CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Virginia man killed his wife and then dumped her body in Greenbrier County more than a decade ago, police said Monday.
Police in Waynesboro, Va., charged Thomas Neal Tait, 52, of Waynesboro, with first-degree murder on Friday in the slaying of his wife, Karen Santillan Tait, who was 23 when she died.
On Monday, Tait was in Middle River Regional Jail in Staunton, Va., where he was awaiting sentencing on child pornography charges.
Tait allegedly killed his wife sometime in early 2002 and then hid her body in Greenbrier State Forest. A passer-by notified West Virginia State Police after discovering the body along a trail on Sept. 26, 2002, according to a news release.
According to reports at the time, the body was found in a ravine off Greenbrier State Forest Road a half-mile south of the state forest boundary and about two miles from Interstate 64.
Karen Tait's body remained unidentified for 10 years until Waynesboro police began looking into her disappearance.
According to the news release, Thomas Tait was arrested July 16 and charged with 20 counts of possession of child pornography following a yearlong investigation into alleged child abuse. He was convicted of those charges in September and is awaiting sentencing, police said.
Waynesboro detectives discovered soon after that Thomas Tait was married, but no one had seen his wife in nearly a decade. Karen Tait, originally from the Philippines, married Thomas Tait in 1998 and then legally migrated to Virginia in July 2000, police said. She gave birth to a child later that year, and the family lived in Waynesboro until 2002. Her whereabouts after that were unknown, according to the news release.
When questioned, Thomas Tait said his wife had left many years ago and returned to her family in the Philippines. Detectives made contact with Karen Tait's relatives, who said they hadn't spoken to or seen her since 2002, according to the news release.
Waynesboro Police declared Karen Tait a missing person in December 2011 and entered her information into the National Criminal Information Center database.
A DNA profile was made of Karen Tait using DNA from her child and parents, police said. The FBI the found a DNA match linking Karen Tait to the body of an Asian female discovered in Greenbrier County in 2002. State Police and Waynesboro Police used Karen Tait's dental records to positively identify her.