A Tahlequah physician employed by Cherokee Nation was arrested in Chicot County, Arkansas on Tuesday for the first-degree murder of Moria Kinsey, 37, and a candlelight vigil has been slated to honor the victim.
Dr. Tyler Tait was taken into custody by special agents with the Arkansas State Police. This comes after law enforcement responded to a report of a woman in need of medical assistance.
Chicot County Sheriff’s Office deputies found Kinsey lying outside of a parked vehicle along Highway 65, about two miles north of Lake Village, where Tait was also found. The woman was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
According to the Cherokee Nation Communications team, Tait is an employee with Cherokee Nation Health Services. As per policy, he is on administrative leave pending an investigation. Kinsey was reportedly employed as a nurse with CNHS.
Tait and Kinsey had reportedly been traveling together. According to reports, special agents examined the vehicle the pair were traveling in and discovered evidence of a physical altercation inside.
According to court records, Tait has a history of alleged domestic violence. In 2017, a protective order was filed against him by Shelby Nicole Burris. That was ultimately dismissed, after Tait was charged with violating the order, but Burris filed another protective order against Tait in 2020. The last information on that case indicates it would be up for review in June 2022.
In May 2017, Tait was also charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. That case was dismissed without fine or costs. Then again in January 2021, he was charged with domestic abuse, assault and battery. That case, like the others, was dismissed, this one "for lack of subject matter jurisdiction."
Since the McGirt ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, jurisdiction for cases involving Native Americans has reverted to the tribes on whose reservations the crimes occurred.
A source with the state said Tait's medical license is being stripped.
The candlelight vigil is slated for Thursday, Oct. 14, at 8:30 p.m. at Norris Park.