Missing cop, Randy Taylor’s request, and the city’s shrinking economy: News briefs

Kevin Quick's death came in "circumstances that could have touched any one of us," said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo. Photo: Waynesboro Police Kevin Quick’s death came in “circumstances that could have touched any one of us,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo. Photo: Waynesboro Police

Pick up a copy of C-VILLE each Wednesday for the latest stories and news briefs—this week’s are below.

Missing Nelson County man

Virginia State Police are searching for a Nelson County man who disappeared on Friday, January 31. Forty-five-year-old Kevin Wayne Quick, a reservist captain in the Waynesboro Police Department, left his mother’s house in Afton around 10:15pm in his 1999 Toyota 4-Runner, heading to a friend’s residence at the Turtle Creek Condominiums in Charlottesville. He never arrived. According to State Police, his vehicle was seen in Fork Union on Friday and in Manassas on Saturday, February 1. It was discovered abandoned in Louisa on Monday, February 3.

Police have released photos of one of two men they believe may have knowledge of Quick’s whereabouts. The grainy black and white photos show what appears to be a heavyset man wearing a white T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt with the hood portion obscuring part of his face. Anyone with information in the case should contact Virginia State Police by dialing  #77 on a cell phone or calling 352-7128.

Taylor seeks venue change

The attorney for the man accused of murdering Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy is requesting a venue change for the May trial, citing extensive media coverage as evidence that 48-year-old Randy Allen Taylor will not be able to get a fair trial in Nelson.

Hearings in the case have been closed since a judge issued a gag order last fall, and Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin has said only that a grand jury found probable cause to indict Taylor on first degree murder, murder during the commission of abduction, and abduction with intent to defile.

When Taylor was arrested on August 11, eight days after Murphy disappeared, he was initially charged only with her abduction. Martin and Taylor’s attorney, Mike Hallahan, have declined to comment on the evidence that supports the new indictments, but the family of Murphy seemed to confirm that Taylor has been charged with murder in the absence of a body.

“We still don’t have Alexis,” said the missing teen’s aunt, Trina Murphy, at a January 26 press event held to mark the fourth anniversary of the discovery of the remains of another murdered young woman, Morgan Harrington. Harrington’s killer is still at large.

C’ville’s incredible shrinking economy

Charlottesvillians love to boast about the lists the city has made, and it’s true, most of those lists contain the word “best.” A new ranking isn’t anything to smile about, since it places Charlottesville among the top 10 fastest shrinking economies in the country. According to the report on the online economic newsletter 247wallst.com, Charlottesville ranks No. 9 among the nation’s shrinking cities, with its Gross Metropolitan Product down 2.2 percent and employment down nearly 2 percent. The news isn’t all bad for the coming year.

Employment is projected to rise by 1.4 percent, while GMP is expected to grow by 2.3 percent, according to the report, which calls that below average growth “a step in the right direction.”