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ECSO: Body of private investigator found in grave, woman held on $1M bond

Photo: Escambia County Jail log

A woman is being held on a $1 million bond at the Escambia County Jail for the murder of a missing private investigator.

According to the arrest report, Taylor Wright was reported missing back in September to the Pensacola Police Department (PPD). Before her disappearance, Wright told her girlfriend that she had placed a large amount of money in a safe deposit box that belonged to the suspect, 40-year-old Ashley McArthur.

The girlfriend said Wright had tried to get her money back from McArthur several times with no success. She told authorities Wright was trying to get the money back from McArthur for court proceedings related to Wright's pending divorce.

The arrest report said Wright and McArthur met up on September 8 so Wright could get her money.

Wright's girlfriend said she did not hear from Wright hours after the meeting so she called McArthur. McArthur reportedly told her Wright wasn't able to come to the phone because she was riding a horse.

The girlfriend continued to try and call Wright until she received a text from Wright's number "stating she needed time to think and get her life on track".

Days later a PPD detective spoke with McArthur about Wright's disappearance.

McArthur told authorities she picked up Wright to go ride horses on a family's property. Shortly after McArthur drove the two back to her home. She told the investigator she went inside her home and when she walked out Wright was gone.

During the investigation, the arrest report said bank records for McArthur showed she deposited a cashier's check in Wright's name for the amount of $34,000 into her personal checking account. Since it was deposited, authorities said the money has been spent.

The arrest report said McArthur's cellphone records were obtained during the time of Wright's disappearance. McArthur's phone showed she was in the Beulah area. It was later discovered McArthur's family had property in the 2200 block of Britt Road, which is in the same area that McArthur's phone showed her in.

A search warrant was executed on October 19 on Britt Road. During the search, the arrest report says authorities found human remains in a "clandestine" grave covered in concrete just to the west of McArthur's family property.

A specific necklace belonging to Wright was found with the human remains, the arrest report reveals.

According to the State Attorney's Office, McArthur has been charged with second-degree murder. The Escambia County Sheriff's Office initially reported McArthur to be charged with first-degree murder.

Because Wright's body was found out of Pensacola police jurisdiction, the Escambia County Sheriff's Office is handling the rest of the investigation.

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