Surveillance Video Shows Suspect at Same Gas Station as Missing Virginia Teen

Suspect has rap sheet

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013  |  Updated 4:26 PM EDT
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Investigators confirmed to NBC29 in Charlottesville that surveillance shows Randy Taylor at the Liberty gas station in Lovingston at the same time as missing 17-year-old Alexis Murphy.

Taylor, 48, of Lovingston, appeared Tuesday in Nelson County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. He will remain in jail until a Jan. 9 court appearance.

Taylor was arrested Sunday and charged with abduction in connection with Alexis’s disappearance. She was last seen by her family Aug. 3. Her car was found in the parking lot of a multiplex in Charlottesville three days later.

Media outlets report that Taylor appeared in person, handcuffed, shackled and wearing a gray jail-issued jumpsuit. He was appointed a lawyer.

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

The Daily Progress reported that court records show Taylor's criminal record stretches back more than 20 years.

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 1/2 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 His suspended sentence was revoked in June 2011, after he failed to pay restitution.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, working off and on at a local used car lot and odd jobs in the area.

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

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

FBI agents on Monday combed the area near Taylor's home carrying shovels. A sport utility vehicle and camper were also 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, Orange County Commonwealth's Attorney Diana Wheeler said. Like Murphy, Clarke went out one night and never came back.

“As Randy Taylor is someone that Samantha spoke with immediately prior to her disappearance, he remains someone we are very interested in learning more about,” Wheeler said

Neither Wheeler nor other authorities working the two cases would say whether they are connected.

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