ACCOMACK COUNTY, V.A. (WAVY) — A recent discovery made by the family of a missing woman from Virginia has them calling for more eyes on the case.
Alyssa Taylor, 25, was reported missing by her family on Sept. 20, nearly a week after they last heard from her. In text messages with her mom, she told them she would be traveling in a tractor-trailer with a friend.
Family members believe she died on Sept. 14 when the truck hit the side of a bridge, flipped over and caught fire on I-85 in North Carolina. The driver of the truck, Danny McNeil, died in the crash.
North Carolina agencies that responded to the accident previously said they found no evidence that Alyssa was in the truck at the time of the crash.
Family members like Alyssa’s aunt Sabrina Taylor, said they have not heard from her since the date and time of the crash. They went down to North Carolina last week to find answers about where she may be. Instead, they found Alyssa’s blanket and her flip-flop in the wreckage at a junkyard.
Before heading back to the Eastern Shore, they decided to go back to the scene of the accident.
“We wanted to do a memorial for her as well as for Danny,” Taylor said. “His family is six hours from that scene. I can’t imagine a loved one dying and being that far away.”
While at the scene, they made a shocking discovery, all of which was caught on camera.
About halfway through a Facebook Live video posted by Alyssa’s other aunt Shelly Payton, family members found Alyssa’s earring in a storm drain at the scene.
“Oh my God, that’s her earring! It’s definitely her earring,” said Alyssa’s mom, Krista, in the video. “Yes, that’s my baby’s earring.”
Taylor said she was on the phone with Accomack County investigators when they found the earring. Once she got off the phone, she immediately recognized the earring.
“As soon as I saw it, I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I’m pretty sure,’ because we were going through pictures recently, I’m like, ‘I’m pretty sure I have a picture of her wearing that.’ And so we pulled it up and sure enough, we do have a picture where she’s wearing that exact same pair of earrings,” Taylor said.
Taylor said she is going to meet with an Accomack Sheriff’s Office detective to give him the earring they found.
With this discovery, Taylor said the family would feel more comfortable if the case in North Carolina was handed over to another agency to investigate further.
She said the family spoke with FBI officials who said they would be willing to take over the case if it was handed over to them by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
Yet, after weeks with no answers, family members just want to know what happened to Alyssa.
“People don’t just vanish. So, she’s somewhere and, you know, we’re not going to give up. We’re going to fight to find her,” Taylor said.
While she was on the phone at the time the earring was discovered, she was told a cell phone was also recovered by North Carolina State Highway Patrol. At this time, however, they don’t believe the phone is related to the disappearance of Alyssa.
If anyone knows anything that could help authorities find Taylor, they are asked to call the Accomack County Sheriff’s Office at 757-787-1131.