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RICHMOND, Va. (WUSA9) -- Handcuffed and with his legs shackled, 48-year-old Randy Taylor of Lovingston, Va., was appointed a public defender to handle the most serious criminal charge he has faced. Abduction.

The FBI believes he kidnapped 17-year-old Alexis Murphy of Nelson County, Virginia.

Detectives tell WDBJ7 that they were both seen at a Lovingston gas station on August 3, the day of her disappearance.

Surveillance video caught them both there separately but during the same time frame.

Taylor, who has a lengthy criminal record of theft and burglary, is a person of interest in another Virginia teen's disappearance.

Nineteen-year-old Samantha Clarke of Orange, Virginia disappeared in September of 2010. She had recently met Randy Taylor, who officials say called her at least five times in the hours before she disappeared.

Orange County Commonwealth Attorney Diana Wheeler says divers searched a lake numerous times looking for clues, but so far nothing has come up.

She's hopeful with Randy Taylor's arrest in the Murphy disappearance, new information about Samantha's case will come to light.

"He's one of a few people that had quite a bit of contact with her in the two or three days immediately preceding her disappearance. And so we were looking very carefully at the people who were having contact with her. And of course, his phone contact with her is the last phone contact she had with anyone," said Wheeler.


There appears to be no connection between Randy Taylor and Alicia Showalter Reynolds, who was abducted and killed in 1996.

Taylor was incarcerated for burglary and grand larceny in 1996. He was also convicted of arson in June of 2011, but he was only given a two-year suspended sentence.

Looking for clues in the Alexis Murphy disappearance, FBI agents searched Randy Taylor's home and the woods along Route 29 near Lovingston. They removed a camper, bags of evidence, and Taylor's camouflage-wrapped suburban truck.

The clue which may have lead the FBI to Taylor was surveillance video from that Liberty Gas station in Lovingston where he lives. Both Taylor and Alexis Murphy were seen in the video, taken the day she disappeared.

Taylor's preliminary hearing is set for January 9. He's being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

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