CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WTVR) — The Charlottesville reporter who interviewed the man charged with abducting Alexis Murphy about another missing person case nine months ago hopes increased media coverage will lead to a break in the case.
Courteney Stuart, the editor of The Hook, said she was floored when news broke of Randy Taylor’s arrest.
Stuart interviewed Taylor nine months ago about Samantha Clarke, who has been missing for three years. In October, Taylor told Stuart that he had been unfairly singled out as a suspect and claimed police planted evidence and used GPS to illegally track his movements. [LINK: Living in the shadow: As Samantha Clarke's family mourns, a suspect claims police harassment]
When Stuart made the connection between the two cases, she said the hairs on her arms stood on end.
“Orange and Livingston are an hour and a half apart, so you wouldn’t assume a connection necessarily, so I think that’s why that came as a surprise,” said Stuart, who hopes increased media coverage could lead to a tip.
The case is now making national headlines and cable news stations are devoting hours of coverage to the search for Alexis.
“I think what’s elevating this to the national stage is the fact that we have one person who is a suspect in two cases. And it raises questions: are there others,” Stuart said.
Since Taylor’s arrest, investigators have searched the property on Route 29, including the home owned by his aunt where he has been living.
Agents and search dogs returned Wednesday to the property as the community prayed the 17-year-old would come home.
Taylor, who was a suspect in the Clarke case, was never charged in her disappearance. He remains behind bars facing an abduction charge in the Alexis Murphy case.
Stay with CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for the latest developments on this story.