At about 7 p.m. on Aug. 3, 2013, Alexis Murphy left her home in Shipman, Va., to run an errand in Lynchburg. She was driving her father’s 2003 Nissan Maxima and stopped at a gas station in Liberty, which was on the route. When Murphy, 17, did not arrive home by midnight, her family knew something was wrong and called police.
The Maxima was located on Aug. 6 in the parking lot of a movie theater in Charlottesville. Surveillance footage from the gas station where Murphy was last seen alive and pings from her cellphone led police to an abandoned property on Route 29. Police found a Chevrolet Suburban on the property that they had also seen in the surveillance footage. The vehicle, and a camper which was also there, belonged to Randy Taylor. Once inside the camper, they found a strand of hair, an earring, and a fingernail. DNA tests linked them all to Murphy. A second search of the camper revealed a bloody shirt, hair extensions, and fake eyelashes under the couch. These were all connected to Murphy through DNA tests.
Despite the fact there was no body, Taylor was tried and convicted of Murphy’s murder on May 8, 2014. On December 3, 2020, remains were found on private land near Stagebridge Road along Route 29 in Lovingston, Va. They were taken for examination and on February 5, 2021, it was confirmed the remains were Murphy.