NELSON COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- More than seven years after she disappeared, the body of a missing 17-year-old has been found in Nelson County. 

Alexis Murphy was last seen alive at a Lovingston-area gas station on Aug. 3, 2013.

Randy Taylor was convicted to two life sentenced in prison for her murder.

Following her disappearance, posters and signs asking “Where is Alexis Murphy?” were seen all along Route 29 in Nelson County.

She was last seen on surveillance video at a Liberty gas station while on her way to Lynchburg.

Until now, her body had never been found, though investigators were able to collect physical evidence, such as Murphy’s cell phone, on Taylor’s property.

He was convicted in 2014 and was denied an appeal in 2016 by the Virginia Supreme Court.

Since that time, the case remained open.

Then in December, investigators found human remains on a piece of private property along Route 29 near Stagebridge Road, north of Lovingston.

On Wednesday, Nelson County Sheriff David Hill did not say much about that led officials to that location.

“It’s been continuous searches through the years that have continuously led in that direction,” he said. “And with all searches with rising persons, there are a lot of factors that come into play as to how those are looked into.”

Murphy’s remains were taken to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Richmond for identification, and her family was notified earlier this month.

The family released a statement saying, in part: “While we have been grieving the loss of Alexis since 2013, we remained hopeful that she would be found alive and well.”

The family thanked law enforcement officials for bringing Murphy home.

Hill says it has been a community effort since day one of the investigation.

“No one gave up. It’s been continuously family, friends, the agencies that have been involved,” he said. “Federal agencies, state agencies and the community as a whole.”

The case is now considered closed, and officials say they have no doubt that the person responsible is behind bars for life.

A news release from the sheriff's office below:

Immediate Release: 2/17/2021

Kidnapping/Murder Investigation Update:
Law Enforcement Recover the Remains of Alexis Tiara Murphy

After more than seven years of search efforts, the Nelson County Sheriff's Office, the FBI's Richmond Division, and the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Appomattox Field Office announce they have located and recovered the remains of missing 17-year old Alexis Tiara Murphy of Nelson County, Virginia.

Alexis went missing on August 3, 2013, after visiting a local gas station in Lovingston, Virginia.  Local, state and federal law enforcement pursued multiple leads and conducted numerous searches, at the time, in an effort to locate Alexis.  The searches have continued periodically since her disappearance in 2013, with law enforcement expanding the search area each time.

On December 3, 2020, remains were located on private property near Stagebridge Road, along Route 29 in Lovingston.  The remains were transported to the Central District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) in Richmond for positive identification.  Positive identification was received from the OCME on February 5, 2021.  With careful consideration for Alexis' family being paramount, notification to the community was delayed to allow them 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.

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.

Alexis' family has asked for privacy, and does not wish to speak to the media.  They have 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’.”

Respectfully,
Family of Alexis Murphy