Search reignited for missing women tied to Randy Taylor

Published: Nov. 16, 2014 at 10:21 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2014 at 12:50 AM EST
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ORANGE, VA (WWBT) - The search reignited Sunday for two young Virginia women who are still missing.

At least 150 volunteers and members of law enforcement hacked their way through to the wilderness in Orange County, for any sign of Samantha Clarke or Alexis Murphy. Both missing teenagers have ties to the same man, Randy Taylor. Taylor has since been convicted of Murphy's death.

Search teams eagerly scoured 200 acres of rugged terrain in the Eheart area of the County. Trained dogs and horses helped crews look for any trace of Samantha Clarke. Clarke, 19, went missing after she left home one night more than four years ago.

Murphy's family continues to suffer, as their daughter vanished a little over a year ago.

"The fact that we have to look for two beautiful, young women on the same piece of property, is heartbreaking,” said Trina Murphy, Alexis's aunt.

It's a piece of property that Randy Taylor once lived near, according to detectives. A jury convicted Taylor in Alexis's murder, even though a body was never found.

Investigators say Taylor had also just met Samantha. The pair spoke on the phone the night she went missing, according to investigators.

"There's only two people who know what the topic of that conversation was. One of them is currently locked up. The other is missing," said Chief James Fenwick of the Town of Orange Police Department.

Randy Taylor was never charged in Samantha's disappearance. Her mother, Brenda Tinder, watched quietly as search teams planned their routes. Tinder was too upset to go on camera, but has previously said she just wants closure.

"It's been four years that she's been missing and, just want her home and want answers," said Tinder in a previous interview.

Alexis Murphy's aunt holds onto hope that her niece will be brought home.

"When they made that promise to us, the last day of court, that they would never stop looking. And they meant it. They prove it each time they show up," continued Trina.

"We're out here beating the bushes to see what we can stir up, because we haven't had a lot of information coming in," added Chief Fenwick. Fenwick hopes to use airborne search equipment in the future.

Investigators say they continue to get periodic leads on both cases, which they follow up on thoroughly.

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