Family of kidnapped, slain Cocoa mother announces lawsuit

Family says apartment complex should have done more to keep Tashaun Jackson safe

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The family of a woman who authorities say was kidnapped and killed by a convicted felon is filing a lawsuit against the apartment complex where the mother lived with her children.

Tashaun Jackson's family members claim that the companies that own and manage Clear Pond Estates were negligent and failed to protect Jackson against suspect Joshua Taylor, who lived in the same Section 8 housing.

Cocoa police officials said Taylor kidnapped Jackson in February, two days after she gave a deposition, so she wouldn't testify against him in a burglary with assault or battery case in which she was the victim. 

The victim's family said Taylor was staying at an apartment 200 to 500 feet away from Jackson.

[RELATED: Cocoa police searching near pond after tip about missing womanDeath penalty to be sought against man accused of killing Cocoa mother]

Greg Francis, an attorney from the Osborne & Francis law firm, said Jackson was threatened and harassed for months and workers at the complex knew but failed to act, even as she expressed that she was worried she'd be killed.

“We believe this apartment complex was negligent by their failure to provide a secure premises free of this type of violent activity," Francis said. 

He claims the management companies -- Evergreen Partners, LLC, PMINC and Hot Cacao Limited Partnership -- spent money on aesthetic upgrades rather than installing upgraded security features.

He also noted that since Taylor is a convicted felon, he shouldn't have been living at Clear Pond Estates but rather than going through the proper channels and going through a background check like Jackson did, he lived with his girlfriend without the complex's approval.

Jackson's body was found in Osceola County on Feb. 15, less than a week after she went missing. Taylor faces charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Pastor Sharon Jones-Smith, who is Jackson's aunt, said her family will never recover from the loss. 

“When she was around, you knew it. She brought something to the table that can never be replaced. That seat will forever be empty,” Jones-Smith said.

She described Jackson as a devoted mother who loved to laugh and make others smile with her quirky personality and gentle heart. Jackson's daughters were 1, 4, 5 and 11 at the time she died. Now, they'll have to experience life's milestones without their mother by their side.

The family says they know that the wrongful death lawsuit won't bring Jackson back, but they hope the compensation could help with her daughters' upbringing and potentially keep something like this from happening to someone else.

"Our situation can’t change, Tashaun is already gone, but we want to do everything that we can not only for Tashaun’s children, but for every other mother, every other civilian, every other citizen that frequents or is a resident in these apartment complexes that they’re assured that they can live in their home without having to worry about being assaulted, ultimately being taken from their children,” Jones-Smith said.

About the Author: