CRIME
01/07/2014 12:55 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Missing Teen Alexis Murphy Presumed Dead; Family 'Devastated'

Alexis Murphy's aunt said her family is "devastated" the missing Virginia teen is now presumed dead by the authorities.

"Of course my family's devastated, I can't stand here and say that we're not," Murphy's aunt, Trina Murphy, told reporters outside the Nelson County courthouse on Monday, according to WSET News.

"But, we're [going to] stand in our faith in God and ... have our day in court," Trina Murphy added.

Trina Murphy and other family members were at the courthouse Monday, for a press conference scheduled by Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Martin. During the press conference, authorities revealed their belief that Alexis Murphy was murdered by Randy Allen Taylor. They also announced Taylor's indictment in connection with the homicide.

"A special grand jury was impaneled at my request to hear evidence and to consider indictments that I prepared," Martin said.

The grand jury indicted Taylor, 48, for multiple crimes, including abduction and first-degree murder in the death of the 17-year-old.

Alexis Murphy, a senior at Nelson County High School, was last seen by family members on Aug. 3, 2013. Murphy's cousin, Tiffany Murphy, told The Huffington Post that the teen had left her house to go back-to-school shopping in Lynchburg, but never made it.

Authorities with the Nelson County Sheriff's Office obtained surveillance video from a Lovingston gas station that shows Alexis Murphy enter the station at about 7:15 that night. Randy Taylor also was allegedly spotted in the same video footage.

Three days later, police in Charlottesville found the missing girl's white 2003 Nissan Maxima in a movie theater parking lot just outside of the Charlottesville city limits. The location is approximately 40 miles north of the gas station.

Nelson police allegedly have video footage of Taylor at an adult novelty store, that was taken the same day Murphy disappeared, but the timing on the video is unclear. The shop, police said, is just two miles from the movie theater where Alexis Murphy's car was found.

Authorities ultimately searched Taylor's Lovingston home, but whether they found anything related to the case remains unclear. The search warrant, as well as affidavits in the case, have been sealed. Hearings related to the case have also been closed under court order.

According to The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Taylor's attorney, Michael Hallahan, acknowledged shortly after his client's arrest that Alexis Murphy and a black male were at Taylor's home the day she disappeared, but left together.

In August, Tiffany Murphy told HuffPost her cousin has no known ties to Taylor.

"She is a senior in high school. She has a full scholarship for volleyball and is planning to go to college. She's a good kid and has never been in trouble with the law," Tiffany Murphy said.

Taylor was initially charged with abduction, but the prosecution said Monday they would not prosecute him on that charge because of his indictment on the more serious charges. His trial is scheduled to begin on May 1.

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Alexis Murphy Missing
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