NewsPinellas County


Project: Cold Case deals out unsolved St. Pete homicides on a deck of cards

Posted at 9:16 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 23:20:53-04

ST. PETE, Fla. — A family remains hopeful someone will be held accountable in their daughter's death.

Leslie McAllister prays someone comes forward with new information.

"Taylor was a beautiful person, a beautiful soul, a wonderful mom, a wonderful daughter, just gone way too soon and way too unexpectedly," said Leslie McAllister.

Detectives ruled Taylor McAllister's death a homicide. Investigators said she was strangled to death, and her body was dumped in an alley on 63rd Avenue South in St. Petersburg. It happened on December 22, 2016.

Three people were charged with failure to report her death, but no one faced murder charges.

Project: Cold Case is featuring Taylor's case in a deck of cards. The organization is using a deck of cards to feature unsolved homicides from across Florida. Each card has the victim's name on it as well as information about the unsolved homicide.

"It gives you a little more hope, and maybe that one person will see that card and just say hey, I know this about this case, and that might be just the one tip that we need," said Leslie McAllister.

Ryan Backmann is the founder of Project: Cold Case. He said the cards would be placed in jails from across the state. He is also working to place them in businesses with frequent customers.

Unsolved homicide card of Taylor McAllister
Project: Cold Case's ace of diamonds card for the unsolved homicide of Taylor McAllister.

"We didn't come up with this; Crime Stoppers and state police around the country have created these cards in the past and used them in prisons to try and generate new leads and tips," said Backmann.

Backmann started the organization in 2015 after his father was shot and killed. His dad worked in construction and would take side jobs on the weekend. His father was cleaning out an office building on a Saturday morning when he was shot and killed in 2009.

"He was in there by himself vacuuming up drywall dust when somebody walked in and shot him and took his wallet. He lived long enough to call 911 and gave a very brief description of the man who had just shot him," said Ryan Backmann.

Backmann said his father's case quickly turned cold and still remains unsolved. He switched careers and made it his mission to help families who lost a loved one.

"We're not going to solve all 52 cases just because of a deck of cards as much as we hope we do. The reality is we're showing these families that somebody cares, and we're getting their loved one's story back out there," said Backmann.

Taylor's mother said she is grateful to Project: Cold Case.

"It's just going to take somebody to come forward with information and what we ask and pray for is one of those individuals knows what happened, and all it's going to take is just one person to come forward," said McAllister.

"Project: Cold Case is a wonderful group of people that help all kinds of parents, grandparents, siblings that are looking for help to find some justice for their loved ones," she added.

St. Pete Police said Taylor McAllister's case remains an active and open investigation, but detectives have exhausted all tips and are accepting any new information.