Community holds vigil to honor Taylor Meyer

Taylor Meyer is being remembered as a hard worker who touched the lives of everyone he met.

The Claremont native and Hermosa Beach resident was killed last Friday in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, according to local news reports.

Taylor, 27, was visiting the resort city to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday. He was found stabbed in the chest at a park about 10 minutes from the bar where he was last seen.

Taylor’s father, Kris Meyer, remembered his youngest son as someone who made friends everywhere he went, from Claremont to Boulder, Colorado to Phoenix, Arizona. At a vigil held at the Hermosa Beach pier on Sunday, which was attended by around 200 people, Mr. Meyer was met by dozens of friends who shared fond memories about Taylor.

One man, a former Navy SEAL who had only known Taylor for a month, talked about how Taylor organized and paid for a luncheon honoring the SEAL’s father, who had just died. One woman told Mr. Meyer about how Taylor taught her how to line dance. Multiple people said Taylor was the glue that brought different groups of friends together.

“The more I find out about my son, the more proud I am,” Mr. Meyer said.

Taylor was the youngest of three children, and attended Condit Elementary, El Roble Intermediate School and Claremont High School. After graduating high school, Taylor went to the University of Colorado at Boulder, double majoring in communications and sociology.

Taylor excelled at sports while at Claremont High, and was a pitcher for the varsity baseball team. But his lesser-known talent, Mr. Meyer noted, was golf. He didn’t play often, but when he did, he shined.

“The most impressive thing was that Taylor never bragged about his accomplishments, and there were many,” Mr. Meyer said. “You had to pry information out of him.”

Taylor was also known as an expert planner. Mr. Meyer remembered a story from Taylor’s senior prom, where Taylor singlehandedly rented a Laidlaw school bus—complete with coolers of Monster energy drinks—for him and 90 of his friends to be transported to the venue.

“He was the kind of guy who was the organizer, the leader,” Mr. Meyer said.

He remembers the call from the American consulate in Mexico, informing the family that Taylor was dead. When the call came in on Friday afternoon, he thought it was a prank at first, and called the Claremont Police Department.

A dispatcher at the CPD called the number back, and confirmed the worst: the call was real, and Taylor was dead.

Key details leading up to Taylor’s death remain a mystery. He was part of a 14-member group who had all met in Playa del Carmen to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday. They went to a country western bar in the tourist part of town to dance.

Friends told Mr. Meyer that Taylor was last seen dancing with an unknown blonde woman who was not part of the group. He doesn’t know if she was another tourist or a local.

Taylor didn’t come home that night. His body was found the next morning in the middle of Lazaro Cardenas Park in the Colosio neighborhood of Playa del Carmen, about a ten-minute drive from the bar.

Local news reports and the consulate noted there waweres multiple witnesses who saw three people attack Taylor and stab him in the heart.

“That’s the part that hurts me,” Mr. Meyer said. “He was found in a public square, there were witnesses who watched Taylor be attacked.”

His iPhone X, watch, wallet and shoes were stolen. Mr. Meyer said there was no reason for Taylor to be in that part of the city.

“We don’t know if he was lured there or he was drugged there,” he said.

Local news reports indicated that drugs were found alongside Taylor’s body, something that Mr. Meyer says is not true.

“My son was not a drug user, whatsoever. And that’s been confirmed by everybody in the family, our family doesn’t do it,” he said.

One person, identified by Mexican news outlets as “Hilario N.,” has been arrested in connection with the murder. Riviera Maya News reports that the suspect goes by the street name of        “El Chemo.”

Mr. Meyer was not convinced the local authorities had been acting in good faith, and surmised they were wrapping up the murder prematurely to avoid any negative affect to the tourism industry.

“I’m fearful they just want to get this out of the way, and they just picked up a local gangbanger and they’re going to stick him with the murder of Taylor, and I don’t want that to happen,” he said.

He wants the FBI involved in investigating Taylor’s murder, and wants the Mexican government to cooperate. He’s especially concerned about the two alleged accomplices who are still at large. The first step, he said, would be to triangulate the location of Taylor’s stolen iPhone.

“Nothing is going to bring my son back, and I know that. And he’s in a better place,” he said. “But I want justice to the right person to take place, not a cover.”

Mr. Meyer remembers the last text Taylor sent to the family, a day after he arrived in Mexico. Taylor was assuring his family that he was going to be okay.

Mr. Meyer vividly remembers the text. “I’m a grownup,” Taylor wrote. “I’m okay, and quit telling me to be safe.”

“And so my last text to my son, was, ‘Okay, be safe,’” Mr. Meyer said.

A vigil for Taylor Meyer will take place at 4 p.m. on Friday, November 16, at the Claremont High School baseball field (adjacent to the football field). A celebration of his life will take place on Saturday, November 17 at Purpose Church, 601 N. Garey Avenue, Pomona, with a reception to follow at Taylor Hall, 1775 N. Indian Hill Blvd.

Taylor was a big fan of country music and the Dodgers, and the family asks attendees to wear Dodgers or western gear to the vigil. Those who wish to donate money to the family can bring checks made out to the Taylor Meyer Memorial Fund.

The Meyers are devout Christians. Mr. Meyer noted that the Bible talks about if someone was not rewarded on earth, they would be richly rewarded in heaven.

“And I’m here to tell you that Taylor would be richly rewarded in heaven based upon all this stuff I heard about him,” he said.

—Matthew Bramlett


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