Culpeper cold case moves into its 15th year

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CULPEPER, VA (WWBT) - A small town haunted by a cold case is back in the headlines, 15 years after a chilling abduction and murder.

Wednesday marks the day, 25-year-old Alicia Showalter Reynolds, disappeared. Her killer has never been found.

Virginia State Police issued a release Tuesday, stating they are still actively searching for Reynolds' killer even though it's been nearly two decades.

People who live in Culpeper tell me they still remember the fear that gripped the community, when the young wife and student, was abducted from the side of the road.

Life has gone on in the town of Culpeper.

"I'd hate to say it's faded away but it's been 15 years," said longtime Culpeper resident, Jerry Raines.

Raines took us back to March 1996, when the name Alicia Showalter Reynolds was at the front of people's minds.

"It was pretty unnerving going back again - the unknown," said Raines.

Raines feared for his own daughter traveling to college then.

"Kept her cell phone with her and if she ended up with car trouble, call and stay locked in the car," said Raines.

Betsy Strawderman also worried about her two girls.

"I remember that being really a big concern for me them driving down 29 at night," said Strawderman.

Reynolds was driving along Route 29 south headed for Charlottesville. Police found her car along this stretch. After Reynolds' body was found two months later, reports from other women, about a strange man trying to flag them down on Route 29 stopped.

Investigators released a sketch and received more than 10,000 tips. But state police have never identified a suspect and there's no evidence connecting the Reynolds case to any other, including the 2009 abduction and murder of Morgan Harrington.

A full time agent is following leads hoping to bring some closure one day. We spoke with Alicia's parents just last year.

"If he was stopping that many women how is it that they haven't found him yet?," said Sadie Showalter.

If you have information that could help investigators, call Virginia State Police Culpeper at 1-800-572-2260.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.