Families of Alexis Murphy & Morgan Harrington Meet, Share Grief
The families of two young women abducted in central Virginia met Saturday for the first time with a mission to help save the next girl.
Morgan Harrington's mom united with Alexis Murphy's family to get the word out on nearby unsolved missing and murdered persons cases. They teamed up through Help Save the Next Girl, a national nonprofit created in Morgan's honor to sensitize young women and girls to predatory danger.
It was an emotional meeting at Chandler's Bakery in Albemarle Square Saturday afternoon as Gil Harrington spoke with Alexis Murphy's family for the first time. They say are linked by a devastation they would not wish on anyone else.
"My daughter was not misplaced, Alexis was not misplaced. They were stolen; they were ripped from their lives," Harrington said.
Gil Harrington and Laura Ann Murphy share a tragic bond over their only daughters.
"They know exactly what I'm going through, and that really helps that I can talk to someone that has been through this," Murphy said.
Alexis Murphy, 17, has been missing since the night of August 3. Her car was found three days later at the Carmike 6 movie theater in Albemarle County - not far from the spot in where Harrington and Murphy met Saturday.
"Just having them call us to invite us to this really shows that they care. And that they want to save the next girl so - my daughter is the next girl. It's wonderful. Words could not describe how I feel," Murphy said.
Harrington says she understands that the not knowing is the hardest part.
"Being in a state of suspended animation when you are in the missing phase, when you are in the same time trying to prepare yourself for bad news and trying to keep hope at the same time - it's a difficult, draining, exhausting process and dance to do," she said.
The families joined for support in the search for Alexis and to draw attention to the 14 missing and murdered persons cases in central Virginia since 2009. This includes Samantha Ann Clarke, an Orange County woman who was last seen in September 2010, and DaShad "Sage" Smith, a Charlottesville transgender teen who disappeared in November 2012.
They hold out hope that Alexis will soon be the next girl saved.
"If you don't have faith, then you don't have nothing at all. I got to keep my faith. This is my baby daughter. I got to bring her home. My faith is strong," Alexis' father Troy Brown said.
"I take it day by day. God is what gets me up because every day I just think maybe today is the day she comes home," Murphy said.
Alexis Murphy has been missing for six weeks now. Authorities have arrested 48-year-old Randy Allen Taylor and charged him with abduction in connection with her disappearance. The case will go before a grand jury on September 26. The FBI announced on September 3 that her phone had been recovered. No new developments in the case have been released since then.
Morgan Harrington's case has not been solved. Harrington was last seen in October 2009 leaving a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena. Her body was discovered three months later in Anchorage Farm in Albemarle County.