“Wave of Deceit”: ’20/20′ Reports on Laura Lee Day Case July 5 2024

The latest episode of ABC’s “20/20” titled “Wave of Deceit” delves into a perplexing and tragic case that raises questions about a possible fatal accident or a calculated murder. Airing on July 5, 2024, the episode revisits the story of Laura Day, a Texas stepmother convicted of capital murder for the drowning death of her 6-year-old stepson, Taylor Syring. Despite her conviction, Day maintains that the incident was an unfortunate accident. This episode provides an in-depth look at the case, examining the events leading up to Taylor’s death and the subsequent trial that changed Laura Day’s life forever.

The Tragic Day at the Beach

On October 5, 2012, Laura Day picked up her stepson, Taylor Syring, from school in Corpus Christi, Texas. According to Day, Taylor expressed a desire to go to the beach, leading to a spontaneous decision to spend the afternoon by the ocean. Day recounted that they first returned home to gather bathing suits and towels before heading to a more secluded area of the beach to avoid the crowds.

At the beach, Day ensured Taylor wore a lifejacket while he played in the water. However, she eventually removed it due to it causing a rash. Day claimed that after Taylor demonstrated he felt safe and comfortable in the water, she allowed him to swim in the shallow surf without the lifejacket. She said that as she turned away briefly, Taylor disappeared. She described frantically searching for him, only to find him floating face down in the water. Despite her attempts to save him and her knowledge of CPR, she decided to drive him to the hospital 12 miles away instead of calling 911. Taylor was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Suspicion and Arrest

Investigators quickly began to doubt Day’s account of the events. They found it suspicious that she chose to drive to the hospital rather than call emergency services, especially since a fire station with EMTs was only three miles from the beach. Day’s failure to administer CPR despite being certified raised further questions. Three days after Taylor’s death, Day was arrested on charges of child endangerment.

As the investigation unfolded, Day’s past came under scrutiny. It was revealed that she had a history of criminal behavior, including a conviction for second-degree murder when she was 17. In 1982, Day, then known as Laura Feist, shot and killed her 21-year-old boyfriend, James Kendall, before attempting to take her own life. This revelation painted a troubling picture and cast doubt on her claims of innocence in Taylor’s death.

The Trial and Conviction

In January 2013, Day was charged with capital murder in addition to child endangerment. During the trial, the prosecution presented evidence suggesting that Day’s actions were not consistent with those of a panicked caregiver. A key witness, Rene Ruiz, testified that he saw Day leaving the beach in a calm manner, even waving and smiling as she drove away with an unconscious child in the car.

The prosecution also challenged Day’s account of the drowning, pointing out inconsistencies with the conditions of the beach and the direction of the currents. Expert testimony indicated that it was improbable for Taylor to have drifted the way Day described without her being right next to him. After six days of trial, Laura Day was found guilty of first-degree capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Aftermath and Continuing Controversy

Following her conviction, Day continued to maintain her innocence, seeking a new trial with the support of her husband, David Syring, who initially believed in her innocence. However, as time passed and more evidence came to light, Syring’s perspective shifted. He now believes that justice was served with Day’s imprisonment. Despite the conviction, Day hopes for a retrial, bolstered by expert testimony challenging the prosecution’s evidence.

The tragic death of Taylor Syring and the subsequent investigation revealed a complex and disturbing story of a woman with a hidden past. Laura Day’s case serves as a reminder of the intricate dynamics of criminal investigations and the enduring impact of justice on all involved. “Wave of Deceit” on “20/20” provides a comprehensive look into this heartbreaking case, shedding light on the events that led to the conviction and the ongoing quest for truth and justice.

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Ryan Gill

Ryan is a passionate follower of true crime television programs, reporting on and providing in-depth investigations on mysteries in the criminal world.

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