Investigators Comb Area of Nelson Searching for Alexis Murphy
Dozens of search and rescue teams from across Virginia combed the woods and waterways of Nelson County Saturday for any trace of missing teen Alexis Murphy.
Alexis disappeared four weeks ago but the effort to bring her home alive continues. Nelson County's lead investigator on this case, William Mays, says the areas searched may be linked with abduction suspect Randy Taylor. Crews thoroughly scanned locations on foot, with dogs, and out on the water for clues to help them find Alexis.
"We're about 28 days in. It really has been non-stop since the onset of this investigation," Mays said.
Mays says crews have been working around the clock to follow up on thousands of tips and leads since Alexis' disappearance. "I really don't see it letting up anytime soon," Mays said.
Saturday, more than 50 search and rescue personnel from around the commonwealth scanned about 10 locations in Nelson County. Ground teams used dogs to sift through wooded areas along Route 29 near Lovingston while dive teams searched the Rockfish River - all looking for anything that could lead them to the missing 17-year-old.
"These areas are heavily wooded and vegetated areas with very steep grades and drop-offs and areas we just want to clear," Mays said.
Investigators believe these are spots Taylor may have traveled through in the days after Alexis disappeared.
"These are some of the secondary roads that someone, if they were trying to fly under the radar so to speak, would travel these areas just to avoid contact with other people and law enforcement," Mays said.
Mays emphasizes that this effort is a search and rescue mission, meaning they hope to find Alexis alive. That's reassuring to the Murphy family.
"Just the fact that we're a month in and there's all these huge searches going on today and that he can still say that it's search and rescue, that just lets me know that they know way more than we do obviously and if they still have hope, there's no reason for me not to have hope," said Trina Murphy, Alexis' great-aunt.
All the searches in Nelson County wrapped up shortly before 6 p.m. Mays says nothing of real interest was found Saturday, but another round of searches will take place soon.