Trinetta Dotson clearly remembers the last time she saw her loving, hard-working, God-fearing mother Daisy Taylor.
It was the morning of November 2, 2012. The 56-year-old Tennessee native was sitting at the kitchen table in the home she shared with Trinetta and her granddaughter, in Raleigh, Tennessee, a community in north-central Memphis.
As Trinetta prepared to leave for work, they talked about their plans for the day. Daisy, who was a home health care worker, told her daughter she planned to pick up a paycheck from the agency that provides extended home care to seniors. She would then continue on to her one of her jobs at someone’s home.
“She was a caring woman - and very hard-working,” Trinetta told Dateline. “She loved taking care of seniors. And she had a job at one point where she took care of a child with disabilities. She just had a very caring heart.”
When Daisy wasn’t busy with her home health care jobs, she cared for her mother, who had just turned 80 in 2012.
“She loved her family and would do anything for us kids,” Trinetta said with a small laugh. “She loved when everyone got together. Just us family. Her brothers and sisters. Grandchildren. Nieces and nephews. She was the life of the gatherings. ‘Aunt Daisy, Aunt Daisy’ is all I’d hear all day long.”
But after November 2, 2012, Trinetta’s family gatherings would never be the same.
“Our hearts were broken that day,” she said. “And everything changed.”
Around 10 a.m., Daisy spoke to her sister on the phone from home, Trinetta told Dateline. She then left in her recently purchased 2012 Chevy Impala to pick up her paycheck. But she never made it.
An hour later, a road crew worker discovered Daisy’s body in what investigators described as a ”pool of blood” in a ditch on the side of Grammon Road in Crittenden County, Arkansas, near Marion - some 20 miles from her home.
Crittenden County Sheriff's Chief of Investigations Todd Grooms, who went to the scene that day, told Dateline that Daisy Taylor had been shot three times.
About an hour later, back in Memphis, Christopher Jones heard an explosion outside his home at the intersection of Crump Boulevard and Mason Street.
“I looked out the window and I just saw a car was ablaze and when I was going toward my kitchen door I heard it explode at least one more time,” Jones told NBC affiliate WMC Action News 5 back in 2012.
Memphis Police arrived on scene to find a gold 2012 Chevy Impala on fire at the intersection of Crump Boulevard and Mason Street. It was registered to Daisy Taylor and her daughter Trinetta Dotson.
Chief Grooms told Dateline the vehicle had been deliberately set on fire, destroying any evidence that may have been inside.
Daisy’s daughter said she first got the call from the Memphis Police about the car being on fire. Knowing right away something was wrong, she tried to call her mother’s cell phone - which Daisy always answered. But Trinetta’s calls went to voicemail.
“Something didn’t feel right that day,” she said. “I could feel everything was about to be really bad.”
Trinetta told Dateline it wasn’t long before she got a call from the Crittenden County Sheriff’s Office in Arkansas.
“They wanted me to come identify a body,” Trinetta said. “I just broke down. I knew it was her. I didn’t know why or how, but I knew she was gone.”
Chief Grooms has spent years trying to piece together what exactly happened to Daisy that day. He said he believes she was taken from her home and driven to Arkansas where she was shot. After dumping her body on the side on Grammon Road, the perpetrator(s) then drove her car back Memphis and set it on fire.
He added that with the lack of clues -- fingerprints, murder weapon, witnesses -- it’s been a tough case to crack. They don’t believe the murder stemmed from a robbery, but said some sort of crime of passion may be a possibility and that she most likely knew her killer.
Trinetta told Dateline her mother had being seeing someone, but added that everyone close Daisy had been questioned at the time and no arrests were made.
Chief Grooms told Dateline that a person of interest was questioned early on in the investigation, but has since been cleared. There are no persons of interest at this time.
In 2017, Chief Grooms released video evidence that shows Daisy's car driving across the scene to where it was burned. It was followed by a second car, which they believe is linked to Daisy’s killer.
But there was one problem with the video.
Chief Grooms said that a wasp on the lens obscured the part of the frame that would have shown the second car’s license plate number.
“It was just really frustrating,” Chief Grooms said. “We continue to find new avenues, but then keep hitting roadblocks.
This week marks eight years since Daisy’s murder, but Chief Grooms said that even with all the roadblocks, they haven’t given up on the case.
“Someone knows what happened to Daisy Taylor and we just hope they will come forward with the information we need to give the family closure,” Chief Grooms told Dateline. “We’ll continue to chase all tips and leads until we solve this.”
While the killer’s trail may have gone cold, the case hasn’t and Chief Grooms said investigators continue to work on it by re-interviewing people and re-verifying alibis, with the hope of uncovering the something they may have missed the first time.
For Daisy’s daughter, Trinetta, and the rest of her family, the lack of answers continues to take a toll.
“I want to know who would do this to her and why,” Trinetta said. “What did my mom do for someone to kill her and dump her on the side of the road like a dog? Nothing.”
Trinetta said it’s hard to believe that someone would want to harm such a loving and joyful woman who devoted her life to her family, church.
“She also did some traveling and just loved seeing new places,” Trinetta added. “She was so full of life.”
Trinetta said her grandmother, Daisy’s mother, was left heartbroken by the murder. She prayed for answers every day until her death in 2018.
“That’s all she wanted before she passed,” Trinetta said. “She wanted to know why. Why someone would kill her daughter. But she passed without knowing. And we might not ever know.”
Trinetta said that even though their family gatherings are not the same without Daisy, she says they continue to keep her memory alive by sharing stories and playing her favorite card game, Spades.
And, Trinetta added, “We’ll keep telling stories of their Aunt Daisy, so no one will ever forget.”
Anyone with information about Daisy’s case is urged to contact the Crittenden County Crime Stoppers at (870)-732-4444. All calls are confidential.