August 13, 2013
As Randy Allen Taylor makes his first court appearance in connection with the abduction of Nelson County teen Alexis Murphy, court records tell one story of who he is while the people who know him tell another.
People who know Taylor who requested not to be identified say they're shocked by his arrest for the abduction of the 17-year-old. One person said there's got to be a mistake.
Taylor was arrested Sunday at his home on Thomas Nelson Highway. His first court appearance was Tuesday for an advisement hearing.
One person said she never thought Taylor could be implicated in a case like this. One anecdote involving Taylor stems back five years ago when he lost his electricity. She says he cried because he was so upset he couldn't provide electricity for his son.
Taylor used to work at Drive Away Motors in Ruckersville. Employees there would not confirm how long he worked there or when he last worked there. The business has a confidentiality agreement with the FBI, which asked them not to talk.
With Taylor's arrest, there's a renewed interest in the Samantha Ann Clarke case in Orange County. Taylor was questioned by authorities relating to the 19-year-old's disappearance in September 2010. He was never charged, and Clarke is still missing.
The FBI says it's too early to connect the cases, but they are looking at all possibilities.
In the 1990s, Taylor spent five years in jail for being an accessory to burglary. He was also found guilty of arson in Albemarle County a few years ago.
But people who know him say everyone deserves a second chance, and they're hoping the authorities made a mistake.