ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) — Could the man arrested and charged with abduction in the case of the missing 17-year-old Alexis Murphy be connected to another missing person case in the region?
It is a theory the FBI could not ignore when it held a press conference in Nelson County Monday morning.
“I know there is some speculation that this case may be connected to other, similar disappearances or abductions in the region,” FBI Special Agent Jeff Mazanec said. “We are certainly looking at all possibilities and information in this regard.”
Randy Taylor, 48, has been charged with abduction in the case of Alexis Murphy.
Taylor’s criminal history includes charges of assault, stalking and brandishing a firearm.
But as CBS 6 discovered, Taylor was also a person of interest in the Orange County Samantha Clarke case three years ago.
“There was a bit of contact between him and Samantha Clarke in the days immediately preceding her disappearance,” Orange County Commonwealth Attorney Diana Wheller told CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George.
“He was one of a number of people she had been having contact with,” Wheeler said.
Clarke disappeared in 2010 at the age of 19. Wheeler said the manner in which Clarke disappeared is similar to Alexis Murphy, but emphasized Taylor was never charged in the Clarke disappearance.
Wheeler also acknowledged that Orange County detectives are assisting Nelson County investigators.
CBS 6 crime expert Steve Neal also weighed in on Taylor’s arrest. He told CBS 6 reporter Jon Burkett that authorities would have needed a confession — or strong evidence that provided probable cause – to arrest and hold Taylor without bond.
Neal also said the fact that the FBI is keeping open all investigative avenues sends a powerful message.
“Law enforcement are definitively linking the cases, which is wise,” said Neal. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this case in Orange and Nelson County are linked, and they’re likely others.”
Taylor is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday afternoon.
Stay with CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for the latest developments on this story.