Waynesboro Man Charged with Wife's Murder to Appear in WV Courts

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Two months after being charged with his wife's murder, a Waynesboro man is headed to West Virginia. It's the latest update in Thomas Neal Tait's case, dating back more than a decade.

As of late Tuesday afternoon Tait, 62, is no longer behind the bars of the Middle River Regional Jail. Court officials in Greenbrier County West Virginia say he'll make his first court appearance there Wednesday for an arraignment on a first-degree murder charge.

Police from Waynesboro and West Virginia went public in November with the case against Tait. The Waynesboro man is accused of killing his wife in September 2002. 

The body of a "Jane Doe" was found in a state forest just west of the state line, but nearly a decade passed before she was identified as 23-year-old Karen Santillan Tait.  At the time of the alleged murder, Thomas and Karen Tait and a young child were living a duplex on Fairfax Avenue in Waynesboro. It wasn't until nine years later, during an unrelated investigation, that Waynesboro police learned Karen was missing, and had been for years.   

Investigators say Thomas Tait told them that his wife had simply left, presumably to return to her previous home in the Philippines. When a search for her turned up no trace, police entered her as a missing person, and DNA from her family members led to the still-unidentified body in West Virginia.   

West Virginia authorities charged Thomas Tait with first-degree murder, and issued a fugitive warrant for his arrest. Tait was not hard to track down. He's been jailed since July on 20 charges of possessing child pornography. Tait pleaded guilty to those felony counts in Waynesboro and was awaiting sentencing when the murder charge came down.  The outcome of the child pornography case may have to wait until the more serious charge works its way through the West Virginia courts. The body's discovery puts the court of jurisdiction in Greenbrier County West Virginia.

Investigators have not offered any clues about cause of death or a possible motive.