Mr. Wilbur Riddle, who had been scavenging for glass insulators alongside Highway US-25, discovered the decomposing body wrapped in a heavy green canvas tarpaulin, such as might be used to wrap up a tent. A police investigation failed to identify the deceased woman, much less name any suspects in her apparent murder. She was buried in the Georgetown Cemetery with a donated headstone that bore her likeness as it appeared in a police sketch of how she might have looked in life, and the following inscription:
FOUND MAY 17 1968
ON U.S. HIGHWAY 25, N.
DIED ABOUT APRIL 26 - MAY 3 1968
AGE ABOUT 16 - 19 YEARS
HEIGHT 5 FEET 1 INCH WEIGHT 110 TO 115 LBS.
REDDISH BROWN HAIR
The gravesite existed as such for many years and was a popular legend tripping destination among area adolescents.
Decades later in 1998, the Tent Girl was positively identified as Barbara Ann Hackman Taylor as a result of the ongoing efforts of Mr. Todd Matthews. Matthews, the son-in-law of Wilbur Riddle, had maintained a longstanding interest in the case. He had collated information on the Tent Girl and combed through many missing persons reports on the internet. When he encountered a report from the family of a young woman who went missing in Lexington, Kentucky in late 1967, he forwarded information on the Tent Girl to the Hackman family. The family felt that this was likely their missing relative, and this led to the exhumation of the body and DNA testing, which confirmed her identity. The family opted to have Barbara's remains re-interred in Georgetown, with an additional stone base placed under the original grave marker, bearing her real name.
The prime suspect in the murder is Barbara's husband, George Earl Taylor, who died of cancer in October 1987.