In August 2013, Virginia teen Alexis Tiara Murphy set out for a shopping trip before the start of her senior year.
“Burg bound!” the high school senior told her large following on Twitter as she headed to Lynchburg, about 45 minutes south of her home in Shipman.
To get there, Murphy drove along the Route 29 corridor, where, since 1996, a number of young women have gone missing or were later found dead.
Among the high-profile cases associated with that stretch of highway is the 2009 murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, 20, who was killed by Jesse Matthew, Jr. He also murdered UVA student Hannah Graham in 2014, and pleaded guilty to both slayings.
Authorities believe many of the other young women who vanished along the corridor may have been victims of a serial killer dubbed the “Route 29 stalker.”
Law enforcement believes this killer may have also murdered Alicia Showalter Reynolds, a Johns Hopkins grad student who disappeared in 1996 while driving from Baltimore, Maryland, to Charlottesville, to go shopping with her mother. She was later found dead. Her case has never been solved.
Murphy became another Route 29 victim when she vanished on Aug. 3, 2013, after stopping at a gas station in Lovingston on her way to Lynchburg.
In 2014, Randy Allen Taylor, a man who was captured on surveillance video holding the door open for Murphy at the gas station, was convicted of murdering her and given two life sentences after evidence — including her DNA found on a bloody shirt and a fingernail — was found linking her to him, The Roanoke Times reported.
Her body was never found — until now.
On Wednesday, 7 years after Murphy went missing, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI’s Richmond Division and the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office announced that they had recovered her remains.
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SOURCE: PEOPLE, KC Baker