Reagan Simmons Hancock was ecstatic about having a new baby, a daughter named Braxlynn who was due next month. “I’m so ready for Brax to be here,” the 21-year-old Texas mom recently told a friend. “I’m scared she’s fixing to come faster. I feel like she’s going to be here before November.”
That friend, Abby Mathis, remembers telling Reagan, “Let’s pray she stays in there as long as she can so she’s extremely healthy.”
But Reagan’s and her unborn baby’s lives would be cut short days later, on Oct. 9—when another so-called friend, Taylor Rene Parker, allegedly killed her, snatched her unborn child from her belly, and fled before a state trooper pulled her over.
According to police, Parker told the Texas trooper she had just had a baby on the side of the road and the newborn wasn’t breathing. The 27-year-old was then transported by ambulance to a hospital in McCurtain County, Oklahoma, where the baby was pronounced dead. Parker was taken into custody after an investigation by Texas and Oklahoma authorities.
Parker is accused of killing Reagan at the New Boston home she shared with her husband, Homer, and 3-year-old daughter, Kynlee. According to Reagan’s Facebook posts, Parker spent time with the victim—and even delivered her a baby gift and Starbucks coffee the day before the alleged murder.
Parker and Reagan were Facebook friends. But the women also spent time together offline, including last year when the alleged killer snapped engagement photos with Reagan, Homer and Kynlee, and wedding photos for the family months later.
“Love my little family,” Reagan said in a caption for what appears to be a July 2019 engagement photo, picturing Kynlee in the foreground wearing a shirt with the words: “Mommy, will you marry my Daddy?”
“My fav family,” commented Parker, who goes by Taylor Morton on Facebook.
“Thank you so much for everything!!” Reagan replied. Homer chimed in too, “Thanks for taking such great pictures!”
“Y’all are so welcome,” Morton said.
Meanwhile, Reagan’s mother, Jessica Brookes, told The Daily Beast that Parker took photographs at her daughter’s wedding in September 2019 at the Elliott Lake recreation area at a Texarkana military park.
Brookes could not comment on the relationship between Parker and her daughter. But friends shared screenshots of Facebook photos that Parker had shared in September 2019 with the words: “Fun time at the Hancock wedding.”
“Our family is our family—the heart and soul of us, and a big piece of that’s gone,” Brookes said in an interview on Tuesday. “And we can never get it back.
“Everybody says you can have memories,” Brookes added. “Well, you don’t want to just have memories. You want to have your baby. And we never got to meet Braxlynn. We’re in pieces. I’d never wish this on anyone.”
In one Facebook post, Brookes said she found her daughter mortally wounded. In a separate post, Reagan’s grandmother said the alleged killer attacked Reagan while little Kynlee was asleep in her bed.
Police responded to a 911 call at the Hancock residence Oct. 9 around 10:20 a.m. and found Reagan, who died after Braxlynn was removed from her body.
Reagan was Brookes’ first-born child, someone she spoke to every day, even texting her good morning, I love you and goodnight. “If you were her friend, if you were someone she trusted, she loved you with all of her heart,” Brookes told The Daily Beast. “She wanted to help everybody she could.”
“She had the funniest attitude. She could be rough and tough and give the guys the best of it. Other times, she could be sweet and gentle. She was the best mother anyone could ask for,” Brookes added. “I was so proud of the mother she turned out to be.”
Reagan and Homer bought their house and got married last year. They worked hard, Brookes said, and Reagan was still working at Flying Burger & Seafood in Texarkana up until her death, despite her swollen ankles from the pregnancy. Reagan was especially proud of her new car, a 2020 Nissan Rogue SUV.
“They worked so hard to have what they had,” Brookes said. “She never quit working. She didn’t call in sick. The only time she missed work was when she had a doctor’s appointment.”
Homer previously worked as a jail guard before taking work with a landscaping firm. He’d started a new job at a trucking center the week before his wife was killed.
Brookes said her daughter hoped to take college courses in the spring. “She knew it was gonna be a long haul, only a few at a time,” Brookes said. “She was determined. She was going to work, do this, and take care of the baby.”
The night before Reagan died, she and her mom talked about how excited she was for her second daughter. Reagan said she was seeing signs that Braxlynn would be born soon; she had a bag already packed for a hospital stay.
“It was just a normal conversation between a mother and daughter,” Brookes recalled. “We tried to raise our kids that way: family first. Thankfully, that’s how they turned out.”
Reagan had a young sister and a stepbrother and stepsister. “A big, big part of me left when she left,” Brookes said of the heartbreaking loss. “All of my girls, my kids, they’re my life. We have friends but I’d rather be with them.”
While Brookes said she can’t talk about the criminal case, because of the pending investigation, she added: “You never think anything like this will happen. It’s like a TV show. You don’t see this stuff happen in real life.” The grieving mother said she was grateful for her northeast Texas community for coming together to help her family, despite the chaos and political division across the country.
“Nobody’s worried about a political party,” Brookes said. “it’s all about love and support. It’s just waiting for justice to be served.”
“If nothing else, I want people to know the kind of person Reagan was,” Brookes told The Daily Beast. “I want people to know there are still good people in the world.”
The small-town community has rallied around Reagan’s family, creating Facebook and Paypal fundraisers for Homer and Kynlee while also collecting money through T-shirt sales and carwashes. Homer is not the toddler’s biological father, but loved her like she was his own and will seek full-time custody, Brookes said.
Friends mourned the woman and her unborn baby ahead of a memorial service scheduled for this Saturday. “Reagan was a very strong independent woman,” one pal, Kelsey Conway, said. “I can say that without a doubt, her mother raised a good child.” Conway was a new student in middle school when she met Reagan. They loved each other’s shoes, so Conway swapped her pink Converse All Stars for Reagan’s Nike Shox.
“She never would let you frown,” Conway said. “She had a way to make you smile even when she was going through stuff.” Reagan was a positive person and protective mother to Kynlee, she added. “We are going to miss her so much.”
Mathis said Reagan worked constantly for what she had. Her daughter, Kynlee, and providing for her family was her main priority. Reagan hated when people talked about how she was a young mom, Mathis added; it was a part of her life she embraced. “From the time she had Kynlee, to the time she passed away, she was 125 percent the best mom.”
“She was there for every single person,” Mathis said. “It didn’t matter if she knew you for a day, or if you knew her for an hour, you could count on Reagan for anything. She was always cracking jokes and always had something funny to say. She made events fun even if it wasn’t a good time in someone's life.
“You don't think things like that happen to good people like Reagan.”
Mathis said she was also acquainted with Parker—but did not know her well—and ran into her a few weeks ago. “Have you not had that sweet baby yet?” Mathis asked the woman, who was apparently faking a pregnancy.
“No, they’re trying to keep me [pregnant] as long as they can,” Parker allegedly replied.
Parker also has two young children. On Facebook (under the surname Morton), Parker shared photos from what appears to be her boyfriend's farm: pickup trucks loading massive rolls of hay, and she and her beau posing next to a calf. She also created a public post seeking feral hogs that her boyfriend wanted to purchase. One Aug. 25 photo, which appears dated, shows her holding her pregnant belly while cozying up to a horse.
On June 19, Parker shared a post seeking a high chair. “I am looking for a old broken or not functioning WOODEN high chair to redo,” she wrote. “I will buy it or take it off your hands. This is my project this next coming month.”
On Aug. 5, she advertised a high chair on local Facebook groups. “Got a new one is only reason I’m selling this,” she wrote.
Parker advertised a photography business on Facebook, too. In December of 2018, she posted about a “maternity photo shoot sale that includes a free hospital delivery shoot” in public garage sale and swap groups.
Her business’s last post in June 2019 said, “Hey everyone! I know we have had alot of parents upset about prolonged dates for shoots but at this time due to health reasons we have to put stuff on hold. Between the lovely wet weather we have gotten and now this I have been told by my doctor to put it on hold.
“I went today and had more testing done. I should have answers very soon. At this time they do not want me to over stress myself from previous results. As soon as I am told that it is ok to get back out there and start up, we will get dates posted.”