Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Murder of Taneke Daniels

 

Taneke Daniels vanished in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during May 2005. Taneke's family was alerted about the 27 year-old's disappearance on May 23rd, 2005, when she did not show up for a scheduled court date. That day, Taneke was due in court to testify against her older boyfriend, Glenn Hansen. Glenn had been abusive to Taneke throughout their entire relationship. She planned to testify on May 23rd about an incident in which Glenn had been her beaten so severely that she needed a cast for her wrist and a brace for her neck. 

Taneke's mother, Gail Daniels, arrived at court that day to support her daughter as she testified. Gail immediately knew something was wrong when the scheduled court date came and went without any sign of Taneke. Gail filed a missing persons report shortly thereafter.

Throughout the investigation, it was determined that Taneke was last seen alive on May 12th, 2005 at Glenn's apartment in Overbrook. She never returned home, nor did she ever contact her family members again. This was highly unusual, as Taneke always kept in touch with her family members, and it was unlike her to abandon her three young children. Glenn was inevitably questioned about Taneke's disappearance, but he denied any knowledge of her whereabouts. 

On April 24th, 2006--nearly a year after Taneke vanished--a hunter spotted a shallow grave in a wooded area in the Brendan. T. Byrne State Forest. 

The location where the remains were found

Police were called, and it was quickly confirmed that there were human remains inside the shallow grave. A few weeks later, the remains were confirmed to belong to Taneke Daniels. From there, an investigation into her murder began.

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At first, investigators struggled to identify the human remains. Taneke's family members heard about the discovery of the remains on the news, and immediately began to wonder if they belonged to Taneke. Her sister then contacted authorities, and detectives showed up at the family's home the following day. 

The detectives asked if Taneke had any broken bones or surgeries that might help identify her. Taneke's mother explained that, months before her disappearance, Taneke had broken her ankle and doctor's had placed a metal pin in her leg to help it heal. A pin had also been found amongst the human remains. After contacting the hospital where Taneke's ankle was treated, it was confirmed that the pin found on the remains belonged to Taneke--which meant the remains belonged to Taneke, as well.  Detectives credit the pin as the key component to identifying Taneke, and believe it would have taken much longer to identify her otherwise. 

Taneke's death was classified as a homicide, although investigators struggled to determine an exact cause of death. Glenn Hansen seemed like an obvious suspect: he was an abusive boyfriend and Taneke vanished just days before she was due to testify against him. On top of it all, Glenn was also the last known person to have seen Taneke alive. Still, Glenn denied involvement in Taneke's disappearance and death and investigators initially did not have enough evidence to charge him with anything related to her case.

Months passed, and investigators continued to try and nail down a murder suspect. Finally, a witness came forward that caused a break in the investigation. Glenn Hansen's sister, Kelly Hansen, contacted authorities and said that she knew what happened to Taneke. Kelly explained that Glenn had confided to her that he had killed Taneke to silence her. Glenn had already been to prison in the past for rape and other assault charges. He told Kelly that he feared the charges Taneke had filed against him were going to send him back behind bars, so he killed her before the case could proceed.

Kelly continued to explain to investigators that Glenn admitted that he suffocated Taneke to death with a pillow. He then sexually assaulted her post mortem. Glenn kept Taneke's body in his apartment for days before eventually burying her in the shallow grave at the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest. Kelly told authorities that Glenn had previously taken her to his location, which ended up being the exact location where Taneke's remains were later found. 

On November 2nd, 2006, Glenn was arrested and charged with Taneke's murder. He was also charged with abuse of corpse. It took years, but he finally went to trial during May 2011. A jury eventually convicted him of the charges. Glenn received an automatic life sentence, and he remains behind bars today. 

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