FBI searches Nelson County neighborhood for missing teen
Updated On: Aug 10 2013 07:21:58 PM EDT
Two neighbors on a Nelson County street tell WDBJ7’s Nadine Maeser that FBI agents have searched all of their homes for missing teenager Alexis Murphy.
FBI agents told residents of Cannery Loop that this is the last place a cell tower received a hit from Murphy’s cell phone. Agents searched everything from their rooms to their refrigerators, according to neighbors.
Cannery Loop is in the Lovingston area, very close to Route 29. Click here to see a map. One neighbor says the FBI has been searching homes on the street all week. Right now, FBI agents are searching the woods off Cannery Lane.
Murphy was last seen around 7 p.m. Saturday at a gas station in Lovingston. Her car was found in Charlottesville on Tuesday night.
Investigators are also using helicopters in the search for Murphy. The helicopters have been used sparingly because of recent poor weather.
Murphy, 17, will be a senior at Nelson County High School. School is scheduled to start Monday at Nelson County. School counselors will be available for students who need help coping with her disappearance.
"It's part of our plan to help the student sthrough this tough time," said Nelson County Hjgh School Principal Todd Weidow. "We realize this is a tough time for everyone."
Murphy is also a member of the volleyball team. Longtime volleyball coach Vicki Crawford says the team is taking Murphy's disappearance very hard. But she says that they are all holding out hope. Murphy was named captain for her senior season. Last season she was named all district. Crawford described Murphy as a great leader and hard worker.
The community held a candlelight vigil for Murphy Thursday night. The school year at Nelson County High School is scheduled to start Monday.
Investigators are using helicopters in the search for missing Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy.
Murphy was last seen around 7 p.m. Saturday in Lovingston. Her car was found in Charlottesville. Investigators have only been able to use helicopters sparingly because of the weather.
Murphy, 17, will be a senior at Nelson County High School. She is a volleyball player. The community held a candlelight vigil for her Thursday night.
Investigators are continuing to broaden their search efforts for Alexis Murphy.
They tell WDBJ 7 that they are focusing much of the search along Route 29. Investigators believe Route 29 is the last place Murphy's car was seen traveling before she was reported missing.
Investigators say they have learned that Murphy's cell phone is no longer active, but wouldn't comment on whether or not they have located the phone.
They are following up on all tips and leads but at this point in the investigation, they are under the assumption that Murphy is still in Virginia.
At this point, investigators are still treating her disappearance as a missing persons case.
The FBI released surveillance images Thursday of Alexis Murphy going into Liberty Gas Station in Lovingston around 7:00 p.m. Saturday.
The family of missing Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy begged for her safe return during a news conference Wednesday in Lovingston.
The family and FBI also asked for the public’s help in providing information about Taylor’s disappearance. Click here to watch the entire news conference. Murphy hasn't been seen since Saturday.
“Please, just help get her home safely,” Alexis’ aunt Angela Taylor said. “We miss you.”
In a development Wednesday, investigators say Alexis Murphy was seen on surveillance video at a Liberty Gas Station in Lovingston around 7 p.m. Saturday. Investigators wouldn't comment on whether or not Murphy was with someone.
During Wednesday's news conference, Alexis' family had words directly for her.
"To Alexis, just know that we’re working on bringing you home. Because we all miss you, and I would give anything to take your place right now because you do not deserve whatever has happened to you or any of this," Taylor said. "You are a innocent 17-year-old girl who had so much promise and a future. We just need the public to really help us with this case."
Another aunt, Trina Murphy, said the family will not give up until Alexis is found.
"Alexis, if you are out there and you can hear us, just know that your family loves you. We will never stop until you are home. Our family circle is broken right now. But it will be mended," Trina Murphy said.
Wednesday is the second time investigators have briefed the media since Murphy disappeared Saturday. Murphy, 17, will be a senior at Nelson County High School. Her car was found Tuesday night in the Charlottesville area. She told friends she was headed to Lynchburg to shop.
During Wednesday's news conference, Mazanec highlighted the need for the public's help.
"We really need the public’s help. Someone has got information. We really need to solve this case," Mazanec said. "Someone has had to have seen Alexis at the gas station or where the car was parked or in some other location after her disappearance on Saturday."
The family also asked for the public's help.
"The public, please, somebody had to see something. How insignificant you may think it is, just please call it into the tipline any way and let the authorities decide that," Trina Murphy said.
In other news Wednesday, WDBJ7 spoke to Gil Harrington, the mother of Morgan Harrington. Gil Harrington said state police told her that investigators don't believe that her daughter's disappearance in 2009 is connected to Alexis Murphy's disappearance. Click here to see the story about Gil Harrington's interview.
Investigators are holding a 4:30 p.m. news conference in Lovingston about the disappearance of Alexis Murphy.
WDBJ7 is planning to live stream the news conference. Click here to watch the live streaming.
Also, WDBJ7 spoke to Gil Harrington, the mother of Morgan Harrington on Wednesday. Gil Harrington said state police told her that investigators don't believe that her daughter's disappearance is connected to Alexis Murphy's disappearance.
Check back soon for more updates.
FBI agents are continuing to search a Charlottesville-area neighborhood in the disappearance of a Nelson County teenager.
Alexis Murphy's car was found Tuesday night in a movie theater parking lot, but no other clues have turned up since.
WDBJ7 reporter Tim Saunders has seen dozens of FBI agents walking around the movie theater parking lot where Murphy's car was found Tuesday night around 8 p.m.
The agents are interviewing everyone from pedestrians to workers at nearby businesses. WDBJ7's Nadine Maeser reports that security cameras at a nearby shopping center point to the movie theater parking lot.
Some of the people who were interviewed say they were asked questions about Murphy and her car. We understand that investigators are also looking for video from this area.
The movie theater where the car was found does not have an outdoor camera. The Nelson County Sheriff's Office is hoping to locate surveillance images from another source.
They want to pinpoint exactly when Murphy's car was left in this location, and whether Murphy herself was in the vehicle when it was parked.
The car being found in the Charlottesville area is creating a lot of new questions. Murphy was believed to be headed to Lynchburg when she disappeared. Charlottesville is in the opposite direction.
However, Murphy may have been familiar with this area. Charlottesville media outlets report that this movie theater is less than a half-mile from a store where Murphy was known to work.
Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks said Wednesday afternoon that there are no new details to release at this point. He said FBI agents are searching the Charlottesville area for video and pictures.
Murphy, 17, has not been seen since around 7:15 p.m. Saturday in Lovingston.
She will be a senior at Nelson County High School. Murphy has her right nostril and left side of her upper-lip pierced. Click here to see the poster that the FBI put out for Murphy. She was last seen wearing a pink blouse, floral-print spandex pants, and brown boots.
A police search of an apartment complex club house near where Alexis Murphy's car was found in Charlottesville turned up nothing. A police dog picked up a scent that officers followed to the complex.
The command post for the search efforts will remain at Tye River Elementary School in Nelson County at least for Wednesday. Classes begin there next week which will likely force officers to move it.
Authorities have found the white Nissan Maxima matching missing Nelson County teen Alexis Murphy's license plates at a theater in Charlottesville.
Murphy's car was found at the Carmike Cinemas in Charlottesville around 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
That's about 40 miles north of the command center where law enforcement agencies have been meeting.
Someone saw the car in the parking lot and called in to report it, according to Nelson County Sheriff's office.
WDBJ7's reporter Nadia Singh arrived on the scene around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday. Nadia told us that a police/K9 unit searched nearby Arden Place apartments near the scene where the teen's car was found. A tow truck and locksmith arrived around 11:00 p.m. to take the car away for further investigation.
We will update the story as more details are made available.
Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks says they aren't giving up hope on the search for missing Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy.
Helicopter searches are done for the day and investigators will be at Tye River Elementary School overnight again Tuesday night. The school is being used as a command post for law enforcement. Investigators have covered up the windows at the command post.
With school resuming on Monday, investigators will have to set up elsewhere but there is no word yet on where.
Sheriff Brooks hopes it won't get to that point.
Murphy, 17, will be a senior at Nelson County High School. She was on the volleyball team.
In a statement on WDBJ7 at noon, Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks said investigators are extending their search for missing Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy.
Brooks said investigators have extended the search 30 miles north and south of Lovingston, along Route 29.
There are more than 50 FBI agents involved in the search, along with several Virginia State Police officers. Murphy was last seen around 6 p.m. Saturday.
Sheriff Brooks said investigators are also looking for any video footage residents or businesses may have of Murphy.
"We’re looking for any video footage that we can find," Brooks said. "If any residents have any that they can share with us, please do. Also we’re looking at businesses for any video footage.
"Also, we’re looking for any citizens who may know something or have seen Alexis. We most certainly want to bring her home."
Murphy, 17, will be a senior at Nelson County High School. She was on the volleyball team.
WDBJ7 talked to Nelson County Investigator William Mays on Tuesday, at 8:22 a.m.
Mays said weather is playing a major role in the resources investigators are using to find Alexis Murphy.
The ground team is still in place for the search, but Mays says both helicopters are grounded right now because of weather.
On Tuesday morning investigators gathered inside the Tye River Elementary School gym. The school is being used as a command post for law enforcement. Investigators have covered up the windows at the command post.
Mays says they will start Tuesday morning fresh by reviewing all the information collected from Monday, as well as following up on leads that have come through the tip line.
WDBJ7 has a crew waiting outside of the elementary school where investigators have set-up the command post.
Watch WDBJ7 at Noon for live reports from Nelson County.
Several law enforcement agencies are searching for a missing teenager from Nelson County.
17-year-old Alexis Murphy was last seen around 6 p.m. Saturday. She left her Shipman home Saturday en route to the Lynchburg area to do some shopping. She hasn’t been heard or seen since.
Law enforcement, including the FBI and Virginia State Police, are using helicopters in the search for Murphy. When asked if the 17-year-old Murphy was abducted, Nelson County Sheriff's Office investigator William Mays declined to comment.
"We just want her to come home safe," Mays said.
Murphy was driving a 2003 white Nissan Maxima with the license plates "WYN 3706." She was last seen wearing leopard-print Capri pants and a burgundy long-sleeve T-shirt.
Mays says that Murphy is very close to her family, and she was looking forward to playing in a high school volleyball tournament later this week. She will be a senior at Nelson County High School.
"Alexis is missed very much by friends and family and loved ones," Mays said. "We know she loves her family and we know the entire community is doing everything possible to bring her home safely."
Anyone with information about Murphy's whereabouts is asked to call the Nelson County Sheriff's Office tip line at 877-570-8477. No piece of information is too small, and every detail is important, Mays said.
The Nelson County Sheriff's Office held a news conference Monday night at Tye River Elementary School.
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