The terrible series of events that led to Tawnee Marie Baird, 21, being brutally murdered are detailed in the Investigation Discovery documentary “Web of Lies: Fatal Facade.” In the early hours of October 18, 2014, Tawnee Baird and Victoria Ashley Mendoza were driving on the interstate in Weber County when a significant altercation between the two started. A short while later, Mendoza’s relative got a concerning call from Mendoza and hurried outside to dial 911.
When emergency and law enforcement workers arrived, they discovered a shocking and horrific murder scene. Ashley Mendoza was sitting calmly next to Tawnee Marie when she was found dead from stab wounds in the automobile. An extensive inquiry into a tragic incident of domestic abuse and jealousy that claimed the life of a vibrant girl came next. Are you curious to learn more about this heinous and cold-blooded killing? So, here is what we discovered about the Tawnee Baird Murder.
How Did Tawnee Baird Die?
Tawnee Marie Baird, a student at Salt Lake Community College, had resided in Holladay with Victoria Mendoza, her longtime partner of five years. When Tawnee was put into a behavioural health treatment facility after being found in possession of drug paraphernalia, she had already met Mendoza there. According to reports, Mendoza and the victim’s family were very close, and Tawnee’s father Casey virtually regarded her as his “second daughter.”
Image courtesy of Facebook and Tawnee Baird
After visiting friends in Ogden, Tawnee and her partner were heading back to their Holladay home early on October 18, 2014. The pair, who were already allegedly engaged in an abusive relationship, had a violent argument while driving. As the argument heated up, Mendoza, who was driving, pulled into a parking lot and stabbed her longtime partner. The autopsy report would eventually show that Victoria had stabbed Twanee 46 times. At the site, Tawnee’s death was confirmed.
Who Killed Tawnee Baird?
Mendoza called her sister Spencer after the murder and told her about it. The latter initially didn’t believe her, but Spencer was persuaded by her eagerness to contact 911 and rush to the scene. Later, Spencer continued to testify that when she arrived, she discovered Baird dead and drenched in blood in the passenger seat of the vehicle. First responders anticipated that someone would turn themselves in for the murder when they arrived on the site. “We were actually responding on a complaint of a murder or someone wanting to turn themselves in for a murder,” said Lieutenant Tim Scott of the Ogden Police Department.
Instead, they discovered Tawnee bleeding and stabbed next to Mendoza as they sat inside the car. Mendoza was ultimately detained, put on trial, and found guilty for killing Tawnee Baird. In the end, it was claimed that Victoria Mendoza was envious of her partner and that the two were engaged in domestic violence. Investigators believed Mendoza’s wrath and jealousy were what drove him to do such an impulsive murder.
Mendoza admitted to stabbing Baird as they were arguing over a man after being apprehended and gave police a 4-inch folding knife. According to statements made by the victims’ families, the pair used to physically abuse one another. In addition, the victim’s body bore signs of physical abuse prior to the murder, including a damaged tooth and scrapes on her skin.
Where is Victoria Mendoza now?
Following her detention, Mendoza appeared in court for a preliminary hearing where she pled not guilty and occasionally even made a suicide threat. But after all the information was gathered and a strong case was put up against Mendoza, the police accused her of first-degree felony murder. Her lawyer urged her to enter a guilty plea, so she did. She was also heard adding, “Everything they’ve said is incredibly terrible to me,” which gave the impression that she was crushed emotionally and ashamed.
I have no justification for what I’ve done, she continued. That’s the primary justification for my guilty plea. Really, I’m at a loss for words. Here, I’m the monster. As Casey Baird stated, “I don’t even want the death penalty,” Tawnee’s family never advocated for Mendoza to receive the death penalty. I want her to go through a lot and have plenty of time to reflect. After Mendoza entered a guilty plea, the judge gave her a 16-year to life term for killing Tawnee Marie Baird. Victoria Mendoza’s parole hearing is scheduled for October 2039 while she is still a prisoner in Utah State Prison.
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