20 years later, Alicia Showalter Reynolds murder remains a mystery

Published: Mar. 2, 2016 at 4:07 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2016 at 6:41 PM EST
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Virginia State Police released this sketch of a possible suspect and a picture of a possible...
Virginia State Police released this sketch of a possible suspect and a picture of a possible suspect vehicle in the Showalter Reynolds case. (Source: Virginia State Police)

. - Wednesday marks 20 years since 25-year-old Alicia Showalter Reynolds disappeared while driving home to Charlottesville along Route 29.

NBC12 On Your Side Investigator Rachel DePompa used to work in Harrisonburg and has interviewed the Showalters numerous times over the years.

For 46 days in the winter of 1996, the Route 29 stalker terrorized women. He would flash his lights and gesture from his window. When the women would stop he would tell them there was something wrong with their car, perhaps sparks coming from underneath. In all, 23 women were flagged down. At least three got in the man's truck, and just as suddenly as it began, it stopped the day Reynolds was murdered.

"We both had a lot of admiration for her grit and determination, and her spunkiness, her brilliance, and her beauty," said Alicia's father, Harley Showalter back in 2009.

On March 2, 1996, Alicia was driving from Maryland to Charlottesville to meet her mother for a shopping trip. She left early in the morning and traveled along Route 29. By mid-morning Alicia was gone. Her car was found on Route 29. She went missing for two months. Investigators released sketches of a suspect. Several drivers passing by said they saw Alicia and a man looking over her car's engine on the side of Route 29. Several more drivers told police they saw Alicia get in that man's truck. At the time she was driving a white Mercury.

The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 35-45 years old with a medium build and light to medium brown hair. He was described between 5'10" and 6'0" tall and was driving a dark-colored pickup truck, possibly a green Nissan.

"I felt right from the beginning she was gone. My biggest fear during those nine and half weeks was not finding her body. That was such a big fear, " said Alicia's mom, Sadie.

Her agony ended on May 7 when a man saw buzzards circling a clear-cut field in Lignum. He had found Alicia's remains. Twenty years later no one has ever been arrested.

"If he was stopping that many women, how is it that they haven't found him yet? They haven't been able to charge anybody with the crime? " said Sadie.

When Morgan Harrington went missing in 2009, Sadie wrote a letter to the Harringtons. She, more than anyone else knew their pain.

"We knew what that felt like for her to all of a sudden be gone and not know," she said.

"We just hoped that they wouldn't have to wait as long as they did," added Harley Showalter.

Even after all these years and more than 10,100 leads, tips continue to come into Virginia State Police.  If you have information that could help, call 800-572-2260. You can also email at bci-culpeper@vsp.virginia.gov  or call the FBI at 888-300-0156.

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