Richmond Police have found the car of a Madison High School graduate who has been missing since Monday, Sept. 5, and have identified a person of interest in the case.
On Saturday, Sept. 17, at about 8:30 a.m., an off-duty Richmond Police officer was walking his dog in the 500 block of Mulberry St. in the city of Richmond when he saw a white Escort with a Town of Vienna sticker on it, said a police release. The license plates did not match those belonging to Taylor Behl, 17, of the 200 block of Commons Drive in Vienna, said the release.
The officer checked the VIN number of the car, which matched Taylor's, and determined that it was the missing car. The Ohio plates that had replaced Taylor's Virginia plates were off a car that was reported stolen by a VCU student before Taylor's disappearance, said Richmond Police spokesperson Kirsten Nelson. The plates were not registered to Taylor's car, said the release.
Police conducted surveillance on the car for 12 hours, waiting for someone to approach it, but no one did. On Saturday, at 9:15 p.m., police turned the car over to the FBI for processing. Since then, said Nelson, officers have been canvassing the area where the car was found.
Police are interviewing a 38-year-old Richmond man who was one of the last people to see Taylor before she disappeared, said Nelson. The man, a photographer, had a relationship with Taylor, said Nelson, and police have searched his house and taken items that might help with the case.
"He had very definite ties to [Taylor], and was one of the last people to see her," said Nelson.
The Richmond man is not a suspect, she said, but a "person of interest." The police are "talking to a lot of people" like this one, said Nelson.
Richmond Police took over the leads on the case on Thursday, Sept. 15, from police at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Taylor was a student, said Nelson.
"The investigation is still in full force," said Nelson. "We are talking to anybody who was in contact with [Taylor]. We are going to the places she had been."
The search was upgraded to criminal investigation status, said a Richmond Police Department release, because the case involves a juvenile, the length of time that has passed without solid leads, and the increase in leads caused by media coverage. A task force of Richmond and VCU Police, Virginia State Police, the state Attorney General's Office, and the FBI, is now following leads.