After seven years of searching, the remains of missing teen Alexis Murphy have been found, police confirmed.
The 17-year-old went missing from a gas station in Lovingston, Virginia, on Aug. 3, 2013. She was on her way to buy hair extensions for an upcoming event. Her disappearance led to national coverage, and a man was convicted of killing her — despite she was still considered missing.
On Dec. 3, 2020, law enforcement found human remains on private property near Stagebridge Road, along Route 29 in Lovingston, in the same area where she went missing, according to the Nelson County (Virginia) Sheriff’s Office.
The body was positively identified on Feb. 5, but the announcement of the discovery was delayed to allow Murphy’s family proper time to grieve and make arrangements.
In the days following Murphy’s disappearance, Randy Allen Taylor was arrested for kidnapping and murdering Murphy. He was first linked to Murphy when police reviewed surveillance footage from the gas station and saw the two of them together, the New York Daily News reported.
Law enforcement conducted many searches for her body before and after the trial, expanding their search area each time. However, for seven years, they never found the remains.
Since Murphy’s body was never found before the trial, the case against him hinged on circumstantial evidence.
During Taylor’s trial, evidence showed he liked to ogle high school girls who visited the parking lot in the evening, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Strands of her hair, one of her earrings, and a piece of her fingernail were found in his camper.
Taylor was found guilty of the crime in May 2014, and sentenced to two life terms, NBC29 reported.
The Virginia State Police credited “persistence and fortitude” for the discovery. “As we keep her family in our thoughts & prayers, we are hopeful they are able to find peace & comfort in knowing she is no longer missing,” the department tweeted.
Murphy’s family said in a statement, “Our family is so grateful for the continuing love, support and prayers for Alexis and our family over the past 7 years.
“Alexis was the fashionista, athlete and joker of our family; we were blessed to have loved her for 17 years and her memory will continue to live on through us all.”