CRIME

Randolph Taylor to remain in jail

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A day after Virginia authorities announced they are still searching for missing 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, new details are emerging about the investigation into her abduction.

Alexis Murphy remains missing.

WSET is reporting that the suspect in Murphy’s kidnapping, Randolph Taylor, is seen on surveillance footage at the Liberty Gas Station in Lovingston where Murphy was last seen. Murphy was also seen in the surveillance footage.

Meanwhile, court records show he has prior convictions, including one for arson.

Taylor, 48, was arrested Sunday and is facing charges of abduction. He appeared in court on Tuesday and was handcuffed, shackled and wearing a gray jail-issued jumpsuit. Tuesday's hearing was an advisory hearing to let Taylor know what charges he faces in connection with the disappearance of Murphy.

Taylor was appointed a lawyer and a court date was set for Jan. 9.

Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Martin didn't comment after the hearing but said more information was forthcoming. 

Virginia Beach court records show Taylor was convicted of statutory burglary and grand larceny in 1992 and sentenced to 10 years behind bars, with all but 4 ½ years suspended.

Albemarle County court records show Taylor was convicted of arson in February 2005. He was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay about $6,300 in restitution. His suspended sentence was revoked in June 2011, after he failed to pay restitution. His sentence was immediately re-suspended on conditions of good behavior and that he pay at least $50 a month toward his restitution.

An employer and acquaintances of Taylor's described him as a quiet, hardworking man, who kept mostly to himself and worked off and on at a local used car lot and doing odd jobs in the area.

Tere Vann, Taylor's employer at the Ruckersville car lot where he's worked periodically for the past five years, said: "We knew he had a past, because he'd been honest with us."

"I would've never dreamed it," neighbor Jim Matheny told the newspaper while watching from his front porch as investigators searched Taylor's property.

FBI agents on Monday combed the area near Taylor's home carrying shovels. A sport utility vehicle and camper also were hauled from the property.

Among those at Taylor's home Monday was Evans Oakerson, the lead investigator in the unsolved September 2010 disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke of Orange, said Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney Diana Wheeler. Like Murphy, Clarke went out one night and never came back. Neither Wheeler nor other authorities working the two cases would say whether they believe the two cases are connected.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

 

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