Hundreds of Volunteers Continue the Search for Alexis Murphy - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Hundreds of Volunteers Continue the Search for Alexis Murphy

Posted: Updated: 12/1/2013 7:51:53 PM
Route 29 in Lovingston Route 29 in Lovingston

Hundreds of people from an effort that started in Lynchburg poured into Nelson County Sunday to help search for Alexis Murphy. Crews making up the first all-volunteer search scanned a wooded area along Route 29, including the property where abduction suspect Randy Taylor lived.

The search on the site where Taylor's trailer sat before it was removed by FBI was delayed for about an hour, after a confrontation stemmed from what the property owner initially saw as a trespassing issue.  The back-and-forth ended through a conversation started by Murphy's mother, and a shared desire to bring Alexis home.

“I think just because there's been so much going on, that it was a little bit caught off guard,” said Alexis’ aunt Angela Taylor.

The property owner's daughter, Louisa Turner, ordered volunteers off the 19-acre site because they didn’t have a search warrant. After about an hour of discussion with Murphy's family members, Turner's mother gave the search teams permission to scan the land for the rest of the day.

“It was a miscommunication and a misunderstanding with both parties involved,” Turner said. “It was solved, the parties talked and they want to help out in any way possible.”

Turner said Randy Taylor moved onto the property in March and lived out of his trailer. She said he had been a close friend of the family for the past 20 years, and they asked him to look after the land.

The Lynchburg-based Self Help Obtaining Positive Opportunities (SHOPO) gathered hundreds of people at Nelson County High School earlier in the day to begin the search. “It's one common goal to do something positive to bring some joy back to another family during the holidays,” said SHOPO president B.B. Shavers.

Crews walked along Route 29, starting at the Liberty gas station in Lovingston, the last place Murphy was seen on August 3. “[We’re] re-walking the area that's already been searched just to make sure we didn't miss anything,” said Alexis’ great-aunt Trina Murphy.

She says they are looking for any clues to find her, but highlighted two items Alexis had with her when she disappeared: a sky blue iPhone cover and a two-toned gray purse with a long strap. Trina Murphy said, “Those will be kind of two items that we’ll just kind of give people an idea what they need to be looking for. Really we don’t know – we’re just looking for anything.”

It's a community effort the Murphy family hopes will eventually bring Alexis home. "These people could be anywhere else today,” Trina Murphy said. “It's the end of a holiday weekend, everybody has to go back to work, but they're taking their time out to come help us find her.”

Shavers said, “We get a chance to go places that maybe somebody missed. It’s good to revisit some things, and with as many people as we have out here, I’m quite sure we’re going to find something.”

“Everybody wants Alexis to be found, everybody is willing to do what they need to, to make that possible and I think that was evident here today,” said Angela Taylor.

Sunday’s search ended at dusk. Any items found were given to the Nelson County Sheriff's Office to process. No police or law enforcement was directly involved in this search.

There will also be a tree lighting event at the Liberty gas station Tuesday night at 6:00 to mark four months since Alexis was last seen.

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