Investigators Call on Hunters to Aid in Search for Alexis Murphy
The search for Alexis Murphy in Nelson County is very active two and a half months after her disappearance. Now, the Sheriff's Office is asking hunters across central Virginia to stay vigilant for any clues that could help them find the missing teen.
Alexis left her home in Shipman Saturday, August 3 - reportedly heading toward Lynchburg. Surveillance video shows her at the Liberty gas station in Lovingston around 7:15 that night. That was the last time she was seen. Authorities arrested Randy Allen Taylor, 48, on Sunday, August 11, and charged him with felony abduction in relation to the case. For more, click here.
Hunting season draws a large number of people into heavily wooded areas around Nelson County. Investigators hope they can use the eyes and knowledge of hunters who know the land best to scan through unsearched ground.
"There's no way we could search the entire county. It would be a daunting task," said lead investigator Billy Mays, of the Nelson County Sheriff's Office.
Mays is calling on hunters to help search for 17-year-old Alexis Murphy.
"With the hunting season approaching and the amount of hunters that are going to be out, they will be pretty much scouring the entire county, so we'd like to utilize that," said Mays.
Several organized search groups have scanned wooded areas and rivers along Route 29 since Murphy vanished on August 3. Two and a half months later, there's still no sign of the Nelson County teen.
"We're not really asking them to search, we're just asking them to be aware that this case is ongoing and we still haven't found Alexis Murphy," said Mays.
Authorities are hoping to revive their efforts and expand the search with thousands of bear and deer hunters expected to be out and about.
"Everybody hunts you know. You have a lot of people in this county that hunts. You have a lot of people from Waynesboro around that comes into the county that hunts," said Forrest Wood, who owns Shady's Place, a store along Route 29 in Lovingston.
One of those avid hunters is Wood himself. He says this hunting season, everyone will be watching more carefully.
"We're always thinking about - everybody will be looking. I think all the hunters will be looking in the woods," he said.
Looking and hoping for any clues that will bring Murphy home.
"If something looks out of place or doesn't look like it should be there, let us know," said Mays.
Investigator Mays would not comment on the case itself or abduction suspect Randy Taylor. He says if you come across a suspicious item, you should mark its location and contact the Sheriff's Office.