Photog A Suspect In Student Death

Taylor Marie Behl CBS/The Early Show

Police found the body of Virginia Commonwealth University freshman Taylor Marie Behl, 17, after examining photographs on the Web site of an amateur photographer who was one of the last people to see Behl alive.

"I don't think that I would be too far off base to say that he is a suspect in this case," Richmond police chief Rodney Monroe said Friday on CBS News' The Early Show.

Investigators said Thursday they identified the body that had been founded in a wooded area near the Chesapeake Bay some 75 miles from Richmond as Behl's. How she died had not yet been determined.

Ben Fawley, 38, has not been charged in the Behl case, but he is being held without bond on child pornography charges.

"Some pretty graphic photographs and other things were retrieved from the computers" that were seized from Fawley's home, Monroe told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen.

Fawley had a romantic relationship with the teen, his attorney, Chris Collins, has said.

Behl had just started her freshman year at VCU, reports . At 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 5, she left her dorm room with her mobile phone, a small amount of cash, a student ID and her car keys and disappeared. She told her roommate she would be back in a few hours.

"It's scared me a little, and it's definitely scared my parents. They got really nervous about going here and living in the city and everything," VCU student Allene Moody told CBS affiliate WTVR.

"You should not be worrying about that when you are studying in college, but there are freaks out there. It's scary, it's just distracting," added freshman Sarah Bishop.

Behl had shared much of her personal life on the Internet — perhaps too much.

"There seems to be a lot of information on here that someone who didn't know her would have a pretty good idea who she is and what she's all about," Scott Lane, who met Behl on the Internet, told Smith.

While the Net can put young people at risk, it can also provide clues when they are missing, as it did in this case.

A task force investigating Behl's disappearance found the body buried off a dirt path in rural Mathews County on Wednesday. Dental records were used for identification.

Earlier Thursday, before the identity was confirmed, Behl's mother addressed reporters.

"I'm sure you can imagine the shock and horror I feel knowing that the body found is most likely my baby's," Janet Pelasara, said outside of her home in Vienna, Va., a suburban of Washington, D.C.

Fawley has been questioned by police in Behl's disappearance.

Pelasara's attorney, George Peterson, said he believes the strongest suspect is already in custody.

"I think that we're moving closer" to pressing charges, Monroe said. "It won't be days, but I think within the coming weeks we should be able to wrap this case up."

Detectives seized more than 70 other items from Fawley's home, including a box of bones, a machete and part of a box spring bearing a reddish-brown stain, according to a search warrant.
  • Brian Dakss

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video