August 12, 2013
Local, state and federal officials made their first public comments since the arrest of a man suspected in the abduction of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy.
"We continue to hope that Alexis will be found safe and returned to her family," said Nelson County commonwealth's attorney Anthony Martin.
On Sunday, police arrested 48-year-old Randy Allen Taylor at his Thomas Nelson Highway home without incident. He's been charged with abduction by force, but authorities wouldn't elaborate on details of the charge.
Officials said despite the arrest, Alexis is still missing.
"If anybody knows anything, please, please, let us know. Please," Alexis' mother, Laura Ann Murphy, said tearfully.
FBI agents spent much of the day Monday searching Taylor's property.
"A crime of this type has a significant impact on the community and the culture of Central Virginia and the region," said Jeffrey Mazanec, the FBI special agent in charge.
Authorities took Taylor's car, a late model GMC Suburban, and they're asking anyone who may have seen the vehicle last week to call police.
"It is quite difficult to bring this type of case to resolution quickly and thoroughly, especially when time is of the essence and the area to be searched is so extensive," Mazanec said.
Helen Stewart has lived on property next to Taylor's for more than 50 years. She said the FBI arrived at her house Monday morning.
"It's very surprising and upsetting," she said. "I'm glad they did find somebody. It's a relief."
Three years ago, police questioned Taylor regarding the disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke of Orange County. Taylor was never charged and Clark is still missing.
At Monday's press conference, authorities acknowledged the rumors that Taylor might be connected to Clarke's disappearance, but they said it's too early to speculate.
"I want to assure her family and the Nelson County community that we will keep looking as long as it takes to find her," Martin said. "And we continue to ask the public to keep calling in with tips."
Taylor's first court appearance will be Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. The advisement hearing, where Taylor is informed he has the right to an attorney, is expected to take about five minutes. It will be held in the Nelson County Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court since Alexis is considered a minor at the age of 17.
Taylor is currently being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail without bond.