‘My son was my best friend’: Evidence released in suspected arson that killed 11-year-old son

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — New evidence has been released in the case of a local mother accused of setting her own house on fire for insurance money; a fire that killed her 11-year-old son.

In a 2018 witness interview with deputies, Michelle Taylor said the front door of her home wouldn’t open when trying to get out.

“I grabbed David then we headed down the hallway, and he went back for the dog and I tried to grab him, but I lost sight of him,” she said.

STORY: Two arrested after victim shot, stabbed and beaten in Yulee attempted murder

“How did you get out?” a deputy asked in another witness interview.

“We tried to get out front door but we couldn’t get it unlocked. we had to go to the back and bust out the window,” Taylor said.

Taylor was arrested on murder and arson charges in August 2021. Investigators say she was trying to get insurance money from the house and later received a $90,000 check from her homeowner’s insurance company.

Her 18-year-old daughter can be heard on 911 calls. She made it out alive but Taylor’s 11-year-old son didn’t.

When being questioned by a deputy for over an hour this past August, Taylor said that her son was her best friend. The conversation ended shortly after once she asked for an attorney.

“I think David, you and Bailey were supposed to make it out and I think somehow, another, something horrible went wrong and he didn’t get out. Unfortunately, we don’t know that. We don’t know if he was meant to get out or if he was meant to not make it out of that fire,” the deputy said.

“My son was my best friend,” Taylor responded.

Security video shows fire trucks outside the home and even neighbors running to help as the house was engulfed in flames. New pictures show the inside of the home once the fire was put out and the damage caused, with barely anything left behind.

Investigators have since said gasoline was found throughout her home.

While being questioned about her son’s death in August, Taylor claims to not remember much of that night nearly three years ago.

“I don’t remember a lot of it, I have PTSD, diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression, loss of memory,” she said.

Investigators also allowed Taylor to call her husband before being questioned and booked into the St. Johns County jail.

“I don’t know what to do, I don’t know nothing about nothing, I don’t know what to do,” he said.

TRENDING: Gabby Petito: FBI finds backpack, notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie in reserve

During witness interviews in 2018, Taylor’s husband can be heard crying and saying that was his whole world.

Taylor will make her next appearance in court on Nov. 23.