Hometown Homicide follows the case of Alexis Murphy, who was last seen alive at a gas station in Lovingston, Virginia, on August 3, 2013. Although a body was never recovered, she has been declared legally deceased, and Randy Taylor has been convicted of her murder.
17-year-old Alexis left her home in Shipman, Virginia, to travel a distance of approximately 20 minutes to Lynchburg. When she failed to return home by her curfew, her family called the police. Alexis had a massive following on social media, which enabled the mobilization of thousands of searchers.
Three days later, her car was found abandoned in the parking lot of a Charlottesville movie theater. Police later discovered surveillance footage from a local gas station; it showed a man with a distinctive tattoo holding open a door for Alexis. Cops saw that the man was driving a Chevy Suburban.
The investigation points to Randy Taylor
Nothing particularly extraordinary about that, but when police discovered Alexis’s cellphone near the gas station, they found the same Chevy Suburban parked nearby. It belonged to Randy Taylor, who also had a trailer nearby. A search of the trailer uncovered an earring, a fingernail, and a hair belonging to Alexis.
Taylor’s trial began in May 2014 when he pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, first-degree felony murder, and abduction with intent to defile. He tried to lay the blame on another man who he said came to his trailer with Alexis on the day she disappeared. However, this other man had a strong alibi.
Taylor was found guilty of the murder. At his sentencing, he tried to bargain for a reduced sentence offering to give up the location of Alexis’s remains. The offer was refused, and he received two life sentences for the crime.
FBI agents and local law enforcement officers remain committed to finding Alexis’s remains so they can bring closure to her family. “Our office and law enforcement will not stop until we find her,” said Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Daniel Rutherford in August 2018.
Other Hometown Homicide cases
Follow the links to read about other Hometown Homicide crimes such as the case of Debora Moody, who disappeared from her home in Long County, Georgia. Like the above case, her body has never been located, but in 2019 Kenneth Lumpkin, who was already serving a sentence for another murder, confessed to killing Moody.
Another Hometown Homicide looks at the bizarre case of John and Liz Calvert, who mysteriously vanished from Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. The prime suspect was their accountant, Dennis Gerwing, who committed suicide a week after the couple disappeared.
Follow the case on Hometown Homicides at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.