After years of being a Girl Scout, Peggy Beck was excited to become a camp counselor

By Harriet Sokmensuer
April 24, 2020 01:00 PM
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Jefferson County, Col. Sheriff's Office

Authorities in Colorado believe they’ve solved the 1963 murder of a 16-year-old girl who was found dead in her Girl Scout camp tent.

On Thursday, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office announced they had issued an arrest warrant for 81-year-old James Raymond Taylor in connection with the 1963 murder of Peggy Beck.

Peggy was found dead in her tent on August 18, 1963. She had been a Girl Scout since she was 9 years old and was excited to attend camp after she was asked to become a counselor for the first time.

Her body was discovered by her tent-mate when she failed to make it to breakfast on one of the last days of camp. Her family learned of her death later that day after attending church.

Peggy was the oldest of four girls and lived in Edgewater, where she was a student at North High School.

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Authorities say Taylor, the suspect, lived in Colorado in the early 1960s, at one point working at a TV repair shop in Edgewater. It’s unclear when he left the state but he was last seen in the Las Vegas area in 1976.

Taylor’s DNA was matched using genetic genealogy — but authorities have yet to locate him.

Police do not have any recent photos of Taylor, who was born on Dec. 22, 1939.

During the press conference, investigators read a statement on behalf of Peggy’s family: “She was loving and protective of her family and we will cherish the memories we have of her forever.”