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Nelson Investigators: Person of Interest in Murphy Case - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Nelson Investigators: Person of Interest Contacted in Murphy Case

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Alexis Murphy Alexis Murphy

Nelson County investigators confirm they have talked to a "person of interest" in the disappearance of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy. The man fits the description abduction suspect Randy Taylor's attorney told NBC29 early in this investigation.

This is the first time investigators with the Nelson County Sheriff's Office have confirmed contact with someone other than Taylor who may be involved with Alexis' disappearance.

The Murphy family says they have known about this lead for a while.

"We know quite a bit about the person of interest," said Trina Murphy, Alexis' great-aunt, "but we just can't say who it is or where they are or anything like that because it would jeopardize the investigation."

The Nelson County teen was last seen on the night of August 3 at the Liberty gas station in Lovingston. Eight days later, 48-year-old Taylor was arrested and charged with abduction.

On August 14, Taylor's attorney, Mike Hallahan, first told his client's account of what happened the night Alexis vanished. The suspect told his lawyer that Alexis had connected him with a man to buy marijuana. Back then, Hallahan gave a description of the man they believe was last with Alexis.

"He said they drank a beer together and they smoked. The girl did not smoke or drink anything," Hallahan told NBC29 in August. "It's a black male, mid- to late 20s, cornrows and a 20-year-old burgundy Caprice with 22-inch wheels.

Nelson County investigators say they followed up on Hallahan's statement by locating the person of interest.

Alexis' family thinks Taylor was lying, and that authorities following up on the lead will put holes in his story.

"I did want investigators to pursue that so that he can't use it as his defense for saying that there was someone else present, so I'm glad they are following up on all leads and pursuing all avenues with regards to that," Trina Murphy said.

The Nelson County Sheriff's Office could not confirm whether Taylor is still the prime suspect in the investigation but at this point, no other arrest has been made. Taylor's case will go before a grand jury Tuesday.

The FBI says it is highly inappropriate to comment on the ongoing investigation and that the agency would report anything substantial at the appropriate time.

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