Tonight on Dateline NBC, reporter Andrea Canning examines the disappearance of Sarah Goode, a 21-year-old single mother at the time of her disappearance and murder in 2014. Then-19-year-old Dante Taylor was charged with her murder.
Taylor was sentenced to life without parole in 2016, a little over two years after Goode’s initial disappearance.
The episode of Dateline includes interviews with Goode’s family and friends, prosecutor Janet Albertson and more. Goode was part of a large, tight-knit family.
Here’s what you need to know about Dante Taylor:
1. Taylor Allegedly Knew Goode From the Neighborhood
On the evening of June 6, 2014, Goode left her 4-year-old daughter Jocelyn with her brother-in-law Nick Gianetto and went to a party in Medford, New York. She was reported missing on June 8, 2014.
Two days later, her abandoned car was found and investigators spotted bloody handprints and other bloodstains in the car. They located her body less than a mile away on June 12, 2014. An autopsy revealed she was raped and stabbed over 40 times.
A month later, Taylor was arrested and charged with raping and murdering Goode. He’d attended the same party that she did on June 6, and her cell phone records revealed that they had been communicating earlier that day. Taylor pleaded not guilty to the murder.
The defense argued that Taylor had consensual sex with Goode in the early hours of June 7, 2014, but someone else must have attacked her where her car was found.
2. Taylor Was a Former Marine
Taylor had enlisted in the Marines and entered active service on September 23, 2014. His end of active service came just seven months later, though the reason for his discharge was not disclosed, according to Newsday.
Giselle Ruano, who lived in the same neighborhood as both Goode and Taylor, said they knew each other from the neighborhood and had things in common because of his military background.
“Sarah knew Dante from the neighborhood,” she said. “They had stuff in common… Sarah comes from a big military family and knew a lot about the Marines. Dante had just got back from the Marines. He was angry he had to leave.”
3. He Was Sentenced to Life Without Parole
On June 16, 2016, Taylor was convicted of first-degree murder for raping and killing Goode. The guilty verdict came after more than 14 hours of deliberations over three days for the jurors, and it came shortly after jurors reviewed photographs of a palm print allegedly left by Taylor on the hood of Goode’s car.
Taylor was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He said nothing when he was given a chance to speak.
“You may make marks on the cell block on your walls in the cage in which you will live and they will have no significance,” said State Supreme Court Judge John Collins. “You may circle dates on the calendar but they will mean nothing because there is no date for you to get out. There shall be no hope for you.”
4. Taylor Died in Prison
In October 2017, Taylor was found dead at the upstate prison where he was serving life without parole.
The New York State Department of Corrections did not immediately release the cause of death, but they said he died at the maximum security Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, just outside Buffalo, New York.
It was later revealed that Taylor killed himself in an infirmary cell at the prison.
5. His Family Filed a Lawsuit Following His Death
Now, Taylor’s family is suing officials over his death, saying officials beat the man hours before his suicide and ignored warning signs that put him at a heightened risk for self-harm.
The lawsuit seeks damages and lists administrators, nurses, doctors and correctional officers as defendants. It does not list the state prison system as a defendant, however.
Among the factors that the family argues put Taylor at an increased risk for suicide were a history of suicide attempts and a breakup with his wife, but the family says officials did not increase support or monitoring for Taylor.
“Had Defendants met their basic constitutional duties, Mr. Taylor would still be alive today,” the family argues in the lawsuit. “He would be able to maintain relationships with his family and friends, pursue his intended legal appeals to his conviction, and contribute to society going forward in whatever manner was possible.”