VIRGINIA

Alexis Murphy missing: Route 29 the site of several disappearances

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As investigators continue to search for 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, they're reminded of other young people who have disappeared along Route 29 and whose abductors have never been found.

In addition to Murphy's disappearance near Lovingston, Dashad 'Sage' Smith disappeared from Charlottesville in 2012; Samantha Clarke from Orange in 2010; Morgan Harrington from Charlottesville in 2009 and Alicia Showalter Reynolds and Anne Carolyn McDaniel from the Culpeper area in 1996.

Those two cases took place at the time of the Route 29 stalker attacks, a period when more than a dozen women driving along Route 29 reported being stopped by a man who flagged them down.

All of them got away except Reynolds, whose remains were found a few miles off the highway.

Orange County prosecutor Diana Wheeler is one of many members of the legal community hoping Murphy's disappearance jogs the memories of people who live in this mostly rural area, particularly with a suspect, 48-year-old Randy Taylor, now behind bars, charged with abducting Alexis Murphy.

He's also been a person of interest in Samantha Clark's disappearance since well before his recent arrest.

While investigators won't say if he's connected to any of the other unsolved abductions, they will say they're taking a fresh look at all of these cases dating back nearly 20 years, trying to close the cases for justice and the victims' families.

“It's an open wound for them and they still grieve a great deal because there's no knowing what happened,” Wheeler says.

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