NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — After spending more than seven years searching, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI’s Richmond Division, and the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office announced on Wednesday they located and recovered the remains of a missing Nelson County teen, Alexis Tiara Murphy.

The sheriff’s office says 17-year-old Murphy went missing on Aug. 3, 2013, after visiting a gas station in Lovingston.

At the time, local, state, and federal law enforcement followed multiple leads and conducted numerous searches to track down Murphy.

Randy Taylor was charged in September 2013 in connection with Murphy’s disappearance and is currently serving two life sentences for abduction and first-degree murder.

Since 2013, those searches have reportedly continued periodically, with law enforcement expanding the search area each time.

On Dec. 3, 2020, the sheriff’s office says remains were found on a private property along Route 29 near Stagebridge Road in Lovingston.

Authorities say they received positive identification of the remains from the Central District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in Richmond on Feb. 5. However, the notification to the community was reportedly delayed to give Murphy’s family time to grieve and make proper arrangements.

“With the comprehensive investigation, successful prosecution by the Nelson County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the recovery of Alexis, this case is now no longer active,” the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Wednesday, Feb. 17. “Law enforcement did not work this investigation alone. We would like to thank Alexis’ family, friends, classmates, teammates and the community for their continued assistance and patience as we worked to find Alexis.”

Officials say Murphy’s family has asked for privacy, but they provided the following statement:

“Our family is so grateful for the continuing love, support and prayers for Alexis and our family over the past 7 years. While we have been grieving the loss of Alexis since 2013, we remained hopeful that she would be found alive and well. Alexis was the fashionista, athlete and joker of our family; we were blessed to have loved her for 17 years and her memory will continue to live on through us all. Our family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to the citizens of Nelson County, the FBI, the Virginia State Police, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office and all of the search and rescue teams for your commitment and unwavering support to find Alexis. You all kept the promise made in 2013, to bring Alexis home!

During this time, we ask that you continue to lift our family up in prayer and in the words of Alexis, ‘Keep Hope Alive’.”

Family of Alexis Murphy