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Alexis Murphy’s aunt says focus is on Hannah Graham, not guys in jail

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Posted at 1:36 AM, Oct 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-03 09:39:01-04

NELSON COUNTY, Va. - Alexis Murphy's aunt said parts of a letter sent by Randy Taylor's attorney asking investigators to check for a potential link between Hannah Graham abduction suspect Jesse Matthew Jr. and the missing Nelson County teen offended her and her family.

Taylor was convicted earlier this year of kidnapping and killing 17-year-old Alexis Murphy. Her body has not been found.

Taylor's attorney, Michael Hallahan, asked Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney Andrew Martin to order additional DNA testing to see if Matthew, the man accused of abducting missing UVa. student Hannah Graham, has any link to Murphy's case.

"There's no reason for us to think that anyone else was involved," Trina Murphy said.

Since Matthew's arrest, he has been forensically linked to the disappearance of Morgan Harrington. Harrington was the Virginia Tech student who vanished in 2009. Her remains were found 101 days after she was last seen at a Metallica concert, at the University of Virginia, on Oct. 17, 2009.

Martin maintains that there is no credible evidence linking Matthew to Murphy's abduction. Regardless, he said he will order scientific testing to rule out any speculation.

"I don't think that the DNA testing will come back to show that Jesse Matthew's DNA was in the car," Trina Murphy said.

She said that parts of the letter written from Hallahan to Martin were offensive. In it, Hallahan wrote that Alexis' friends testified she liked older men.

"When you're 17 years old, older men to you are 18, 19, 21, not 32," said Murphy.

The letter also stated that Randy Taylor never gave the location of Alexis' body.

"That's a below the belt hit," said Trina Murphy. "It really is, it's very difficult for us as a family to know that Alexis is most likely not with us anymore;  but not have closure, not have her body, not being able to go to a place where we've laid her to rest."

Trina said the focus now needs to remain on the search for Hannah.

"We need to find her and we need to bring her home," Murphy said. She said that both Taylor and Matthew are behind bars, but the search is on for Graham.

She added that  said she will continue to have hope for Hannah, and pray for her family.

Where is Hannah?

It was late on a Friday night and a freckled, blue-eyed University of Virginia student named Hannah Graham was partying in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia.

Graham, described as an accomplished athlete and straight-A student, was seen various times before her disappearance in the early hours of September 13.

She was at a party and later at an apartment complex, just blocks away. A surveillance camera caught her outside a pub, where she was turned away.

She was next seen running past a gas station, and witness accounts have her walking onto the Downtown Mall, a pedestrian thoroughfare lined with restaurants and shops. There were a few people out walking around, and surveillance cameras help capture the track Graham took.

A surveillance camera at an Italian cafe captured her walking eastbound along the mall about 1:06 a.m. A camera at a jewelry store recorded her passing two minutes later.

That camera footage appears to show her walking with Matthew, and a witness collaborated that he say Graham approached by a man who put his arm around her.

Matthew was originally spotted on the camera at the Italian café, headed the opposite direction as Graham. The video shows him cross over and fall into step behind Graham, heading eastbound.

Police said that at 1:20 a.m., she texted her friends to say she was lost and trying to find a party.

However, she told her friends, according to police, that she was lost at a location near her apartment – which was 1.5 miles from where she was spotted on camera ten minutes before the text.

She and a man were seen having drinks at a bar between 1:30 and 2 a.m. was what police have said.

The owner of the restaurant released a statement that Matthew had been inside the bar, but Graham had not.

She may have been under the influence of alcohol, Longo said, and may have been vulnerable or unable to defend herself.

Graham was officially reported missing on September 14, though she was last seen the early hours of September 13.

Jesse Matthew’s car and apartment were searched five days later, on September 19, after police reviewed video and spoke with witnesses. The next day Matthew was reported to have sped away from the overt surveillance Virginia State Police had on him.

He was next named a suspect, after police received more forensic evidence.

On September 24, police in Texas were alerted to a suspicious man camping on the beach in Gilchrist on the Bolivar Peninsula, approximately 1,300 miles from Charlottesville. When they ran his license plate number around 3:30 p.m., they found out he was wanted in Virginia.

Matthew was charged with giving false information to a police officer. A federal law enforcement source confirmed a phone call made from a borrowed cell phone in Louisiana, to Virginia, is how police first discovered Jesse Matthew was out of the state and on the run.

Matthew was flown back to Virginia on September 26 and taken to Albemarle County Jail. He is expected to make an initial court appearance on Thursday where he will face an abduction with intent defile charge.

Anyone with information regarding Graham’s whereabouts should call (434) 295-3851 or 1-800-THE-LOST.

Law enforcement continue the search for Graham, by foot, plane and drone.