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

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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 suspect Jesse 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.

22 comments

    • Eric Red

      Good question, it’s very strange. Also the location of the car so close to the other events relating to Graham and Harrington.

  • Manalishi

    “the DNA did not match his client” Well isn’t that some interesting s**t the media did not offer to tell us during the trial? Soooo,,, who’s DNA is it?

  • Leah Clair

    \”Authorities tracked the phone’s last signals to the Cannery Loop area just north of Lovingston, Martin said. Four days after Alexis disappeared, FBI investigators found a strand of hair, a nail embedded in the carpet and a diamond stud from a piercing that matched Alexis’s DNA in Taylor’s camper off U.S. 29 near Lovingston.
    In a search of the home several days later, Martin said FBI investigators found a shirt Taylor was wearing in the surveillance video under the couch in Taylor’s camper; it contained “long, dark hair extensions and artificial eyelashes” and a blood stain that matched Alexis’s DNA, he said.”

    Why are we wasting resources on this new investigation? Did Jesse Matthew “plant” this evidence at Randy Taylor’s home? Seriously, get a grip. Jesse Matthew may be guilty of plenty. But the only one who knows where Alexis is is Randy Taylor.

  • Angel

    If DNA evidence found links Jesse Matthew to Alexis Murphy, shouldn’t they be looking for Alexis where the found the other remains?

  • sw

    Don’t be so quick to rule this guy out. This case was hinky from the beginning. I’m sorry but how many 17 year old girls do most know that would go off with the likes of Randy Taylor. If you say plenty you are crazy. That guy is beyond creepy looking and a young good looking girl is not leaving with him for weed. Now Matthew’s would be a different story. Time will tell and every avenue should be checked regardless if Randy Taylor has been convicted.

    • Eric Red

      I agree 100%. She wouldn’t go to his camper alone, most likely JM accompanied herm Remember, Matthew’s distinctive burnt orange car was seen on the CCTV footage at the gas station where Murphy was last seen.

  • Eric Red

    It seems to me that Jesse Matthew killed this girl and then came back to frame Taylor by planting evidence in and around his camper.

  • Tony

    Alexis Murphy does not match this suspect’s MO. It appears he prefers white females in early 20’s.
    I think Alexis Murphy was thrown in so that it does not appear race based.
    The other black female who was killed, Cassandra, was probably killed by another person as well. These don’t match the others.

  • Belsma

    Ummm, when they found the DNA that had no match, then it had no match. They already had JLM’s DNA on file, they just could not identify him at the time Alexis went missing. If there was a “match” there was a match whether JLM was known or not. As I understand it, it was her fathers car she was driving. Geesh, you will find at least 20 DNA samples in my car from the co-workers, friends and teens I tote around and I assure you, none of them have their DNA on file. Idiotic waste of our dollars.

    • Justin

      What if the body that was found is Alexis Murphy’s body… then what? All these re opening of cases is NOT by accident..
      The Police don’t reveal EVERYTHING they know in the newspapers..

  • BUG

    They say the burnt orange on the footage at gas station is a sign not Matthews car. I still don.t understand how her car got to the location where it was found

    • Eric Red

      LE says it’s not Jesse’s burnt orange car. Anyone who can see is entitled to draw their own conclusion. If LE is so clever why are all these girls dead over so many years?

  • Penelope

    I’ve said all the time, a young girl like that would not approach and go with a man like Taylor by herself. There must have been someone else involved to get her near him.

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