FBI begins testing on Alexis Murphy’s car for evidence of Jesse Matthew

Posted at 12:00 PM, Oct 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-22 19:15:56-04

NELSON COUNTY, Va. -- The car missing Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy was driving the day she disappeared in 2013 will be tested for evidence that could link her to Hannah Graham abduction suspectJesse Matthew Jr.

Alexis Murphy (left), and Jesse Matthew

Alexis Murphy (left), and Jesse Matthew

Defense attorney Mike Callahan requested the testing be done on the car and DNA found in Murphy's white 2003 Nissan Maxima because the DNA did not match his client Randy Taylor. In May 2014, Taylor was convicted of Murphy's murder despite the fact her body was never found.

The FBI is conducting the tests and results should be completed in a couple of weeks, both Callahan and Murphy's family confirmed.

Earlier this month when Taylor's lawyer requested the testing, Murphy's family said they did not believe evidence in Alexis' car would connect her disappearance to Matthew.

"There’s no reason for us to think that anyone else was involved," Trina Murphy said in an October 3 article.

On October 21, officials in Nelson County announced they would resume the search for Murphy. The Nelson County Sheriff clarified with CBS 6 reporter Laura French that the search for Murphy will take place in Orange County in areas Taylor frequented. This is an area that they started searching months ago, but it was challenging due to heavy brush  therefore, it had already been planned to resume in the fall when the brush died down.

The 17-year-old high school student went missing on August 3, 2013 when she left her home headed to Lynchburg to do some shopping.

She was last seen alive on surveillance camera at a Liberty gas station in Lovingston.

More than 72 hours later after the FBI and law enforcement agencies began their search for Murphy, her white Nissan Maxima was found in the parking lot of the old Carmike Theatre in Charlottesville.

Since Matthew’s arrest in the Graham case, he has been forensically linked to the disappearance of Morgan Harrington, who disappeared in Charlottesville in 2009, and the 2005 rape of a woman in Fairfax. On October 20, a Fairfax grand jury indicted Matthew for three counts of attempted capital murder, abduction and sexual penetration with an object,according to court documents.

Randy Taylor was sentenced to two-life terms for Murphy's murder. Taylor asked for a reduced sentence of 20 years, if he helped investigators locate Murphy. Taylor has since been transferred to the Powhatan Correctional Center in Maidens, Va.

Murphy's Family Hopeful About New Search 

Murphy's family is not encouraged about the news of DNA testing and does not think it will change anything in the case against Randy Taylor.

"I'd be surprised if it did," said Trina Murphy, Alexis Murphy's aunt "Honestly, I would be surprised."

"I think this is just an opportunity for him to grab at straws and you know try to get some of the heat off of him," Murphy said.

Alexis Murphy was 17 when she went missing in August of last year. But the search for the missing teen is not over.

Investigators in Nelson County now say they will continue searching for Murphy. The search is now shifting to neighboring Orange County where Randy Taylor has was known to visit frequently.

It's encouraging news for Murphy's family who still remain hopeful that she will be found.

"We definitely need that closure. We need to find her. We need to bring her home. But, you know, we are forever hopeful," said Murphy.

News of the latest search comes just day after human remains were found in Albermarle County. And we're told the results of that DNA testing from Alex Murphy's car could take a couple of weeks.



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