ALBEMARLE COUNTY Family members of missing Nelson Co. teen Alexis Murphy partnered up with the family of Morgan Harrington to remind people of young women that have gone missing over the past few years.
The campaign is called "Help Save the Next Girl," and its beginnings date back four years ago after the disappearance and death of Morgan Harrington.
Morgan was attending a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena when she disappeared in October 2009. Months later, her body was found, but her killer is still unknown.
“Our children are not disposable goods,” says Gil Harrington, mother of Morgan Harrington. “Four years out, I'm still fighting. I want answers.”
“I want to know who killed Morgan Harrington and threw her out in the field.”
Now Harrington wants to help the family of missing Nelson County teen Alexis Murphy.
“These young people deserve to be found and families reunited, some way,” says Harrington.
The 17-year-old high school senior was last seen on Aug. 3 at a Lovingston gas station. Authorities have arrested one man, 48-year-old Randy Taylor, in connection with her disappearance. Taylor is charged with abduction and awaits his preliminary hearing, which is set for January.
“I hear a lot of people saying they are paying attention to their surroundings,” says Laura Murphy, mother of Alexis. “Not even the kids, but the older people too, this has really made the community look at things different.”
Harrington joined the Murphy family at Chandler's Bakery in Albemarle Square to highlight missing persons' cases throughout Central Virginia.
Orange County woman Samantha Clark was last seen in 2010 and 19-year-old Charlottesville resident Dashad "Sage" Smith went missing in November of last year.
“I know what the families are feeling and it's overwhelming,” says Harrington. “We are trying to band together and help support one another through this hard time as well as bring attention to the problem and bring attention to the community.”
With the efforts of the “Help Save the Next Girl” campaign, Gil Harrington hopes to find the other missing teens that have disappeared along Route 29 in the past four years and help bring support to Alexis Murphy's family as they continue to search for their daughter.
“Help Save the Next Girl” started in Central Virginia and has become a national nonprofit to promote media presence for missing people.