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Investigators find Alexis Murphy's cell phone

By Web Staff, WDBJ7, news@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:55:20 AM EST
Updated On: Sep 03 2013 05:54:25 PM EDT

Investigators confirmed Tuesday that they found the missing teenager's cell phone.

NELSON COUNTY, Va. -

The FBI has found the cell phone of missing Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy.

The FBI confirmed the find on Tuesday. Murphy has not been seen since Aug. 3. Her car was found in the parking lot of a Charlottesville movie theater three days later. Randy Taylor has been arrested in connection to her disappearance.

In a news release Tuesday, the confirmed that several cell phones were found during the investigation. The FBI was able to confirm that one of the cell phones belonged to Murphy after receiving analysis results back from the FBI Laboratory. Authorities have not said where they found the phone.

No further information will be released by the FBI, according to a news release.

Taylor, 48, has been held without bond since his arrest on Aug. 11. A grand jury is scheduled to meet Sept. 24 to decide whether or not to indict Taylor.

A dive team spent the weekend searching along Rockfish River in Nelson County for any clues.

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UPDATE 9/1/13 8:45PM

According to investigators, crews recovered one item from the Rockfish River during their search efforts this weekend in Nelson County.

Investigators could not confirm whether or not that item belongs to Alexis Murphy at this time.

Search efforts continue for the missing teen as the one month anniversary of her disappearance nears.

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According to Detective Billy Mays of Nelson County Sheriff's Office, search crews are spending the day searching areas where they now know abduction suspect Randy Taylor may have traveled leading up to Alexis Murphy's disappearance.

Crews are working along Route 29 and secondary roads off of Route 29 and other places Taylor may have traveled.

Water search crews are also searching multiple locations.

According to Mays, nothing special prompted the search effort.

We have a crew en route to the area and will bring more details as they are made available.

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A judge has denied bond for Nelson County abduction suspect Randy Taylor.

Judge White made the ruling Thursday afternoon in Nelson County court. Taylor's attorney, Michael Hallahan, claimed that the evidence presented by the Commonwealth during a closed session does not justify the abduction charge

Randy Taylor waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The case now goes straight to grand jury at 9:30 a.m. September 24. The grand jury will then decide whether or not to indict Taylor on abduction charges.

Taylor was originally ordered held without bond at his advisement hearing last week, but Taylor's attorney challenged the ruling.

Portions of Thursday's hearing were closed to the media and public. That's when the Commonwealth presented evidence, some of which they say was uncovered late Wednesday afternoon. All court documents pertaining to Murphy's disappearance remain sealed.

Hallahan didn't say much outside of court, but told the judge his client is innocent and should at least have the right to bond out of jail so he can live with his son in Nelson County until the trial.

The Commonwealth's attorney says Taylor is a danger to society, and given his past criminal history, is a flight risk. In court Thursday, Hallahan said that Taylor has three prior felonies. Two of those are from 20 years ago. Hallahan says Taylor is on probation and is not a flight risk.

Hallahan says Taylor is not responsible for Murphy's disappearance and has cooperated with law enforcement by describing the last man who he says saw Murphy.

Hallahan argued that no evidence has been provided to hold him without bond, let alone be arrested in the first place.

"Nothing about this case justifies my client from being held with no bond," Hallahan argued.

Alexis Murphy's aunt, Trina Murphy, spoke to the media following the hearing. Murphy is happy that Taylor will remain in jail.

"I've never had to look for a missing person and I trust the team that is on this. I do. I have to and the whole family does," Trina Murphy said. "The simple fact is this is a very sensitive case. We're not willing to do anything to jeopardize (Taylor) getting off on a technicality or something jeopardizing Alexis' safety," Trina Murphy said. "This is not about me. This is not about Randy Allen Taylor. This is about Alexis.

She added: "I think the last man to see Alexis is sitting beside his attorney."

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Details are emerging from Randy Taylor’s bond hearing in Nelson County.

His attorney, Michael Hallahan, says Taylor has three prior felonies. Two of those are from 20 years ago. Hallahan says Taylor is on probation and is not a flight risk. He is asking for a secured bond.

Taylor intends to live with his son and his son’s mother in Nelson County until the trial begins, if he's granted bond. Taylor is accused of abducting missing 17-year-old Alexis Murphy. She has not been seen since Aug. 3.

Hallahan says Taylor is not responsible for Murphy's disappearance and has cooperated with law enforcement by describing the last man who he says saw Murphy.

Hallahan argued that no evidence has been provided to hold him without bond, let alone be arrested in the first place.

"Nothing about this case justifies my client from being held with no bond," Hallahan argued.

The judge has cleared the court room so more evidence can be given.

Check back soon for more updates.

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The bond hearing for a Nelson County abduction suspect will be open to the public and the media.

A judge is in the process of rescinding a previous order stating that Randy Taylor’s bond hearing Thursday would be closed to the public and media.

However, the judge will clear the courtroom if there is sensitive information.

WDBJ7’s Nadine Maeser will be inside the courtroom.

Check back soon for more updates.

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Air searches for missing Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy have stopped, according to an investigator.

Law enforcement is still using dogs to search for the 17-year-old. Murphy has not been seen alive since August 3. Her accused abductor, Randy Taylor, is scheduled for a bond hearing at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Billy Mays, an investigator with the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, says they are continuing to search Route 29 for Murphy. Thursday’s search will be off Route 56 in the Roseland Road area of Nelson County.

When asked if investigators are looking for a second suspect, Mays replied “no comment.”

There is no longer a command center in Lovingston, Mays said. The main center for communication is coming from the FBI office in Charlottesville.

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There is a large law enforcement presence at the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office complex in Lovingston on Thursday morning.

Several law enforcement personnel, including dogs, were present. It's not clear if investigators were coming from a somewhere, or headed out.

Investigators are searching for missing 17-year-old Alexis Murphy. She has not been seen since August 3. Randy Taylor is accused of abducting her. He is scheduled for a bond hearing Thursday afternoon.

Check back soon for more updates.

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The hearing for Alexis Murphy's alleged abductor, Randy Taylor, is at 1 p.m. Thursday in Nelson County. His lawyer will argue that Taylor should not have to stay in jail until his trial.

Prosecutors will likely have to show some of the evidence they have against Taylor to convince the judge to keep him in jail. A

That may be why the judge isn't allowing the public or reporters in the courtroom. The hearing is closed. After Thursday's bond hearing, Taylor isn't scheduled to appear in court until a preliminary hearing on January 9.

WDBJ7 and other TV news stations are trying to get the judge to reconsider her decision. We will be in Nelson County for the hearing. Check back here for updates.