- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2005

RICHMOND — Taylor Behl’s friends are turning to the Internet to seek solace as police search for the 17-year-old freshman who has been missing from Virginia Commonwealth University since Labor Day.

“Come home hun. Vienna is waiting for you,” writes Hanna Revolution, posting a message on Taylor’s MySpace Web site. “We’re praying for you.”

Another friend, listed as “Captn Jak SparOw,” asks Taylor to come home safe. “Hey babe, if you don’t come back, look at all these people who are going to miss you,” he writes.

Another note is signed simply with a sad-face emoticon — :(

Online friend sites such as MySpace have allowed young people to communicate, but they also could help city police investigating Taylor’s disappearance, which has received national attention in recent days.

Kirsten Nelson, a Richmond police public information officer, said one detective is using these and other Web sites in the investigation, which has yet to yield a suspect.

“As much as she possibly can, she is trying to read all the blogs involved and looking at Internet to see if there is anything there,” Miss Nelson said. “That is one avenue of trying to get some information.”

Police think Taylor was abducted some time after she was last seen on the night of Sept. 5. Her white 1997 Ford Escort was found Saturday in Richmond’s Fan District near the campus, bearing stolen Ohio license plates.

Several Web logs have speculated on Taylor’s last known whereabouts and whom she might have been with.

A business major, Taylor last logged on to her MySpace account on Sept. 4, the day before she disappeared.

Yesterday, her family retrieved her belongings — including a brown teddy bear — from her dorm room.

Family attorney George Peterson said Taylor’s mother has been in touch with police, but he would not reveal details of the conversations.

“When Taylor comes home, she is not going back to VCU,” he said yesterday.

Mr. Peterson said the family is disappointed with the university’s response to her disappearance and will seek a refund of her tuition.

Asked whether he thought Taylor would return home, Mr. Peterson replied, “All you can ever do is hope.”

Meanwhile, local lawyer Chris Collins said his client — photographer Ben Fawley, 38 — is a “person of interest” in the investigation. But police have not publicly identified any suspects or persons of interest in the case.

Mr. Collins told local television stations that Mr. Fawley had a “romantic” relationship with Taylor and that his client is “distraught.”

Mr. Fawley took photos of Taylor and posted them on his Web site.

WDBJ-TV (Channel 7) in Richmond obtained a copy of a search warrant that revealed at least seven computers and several boxes of CDs and computer hardware were seized from Mr. Fawley’s home. The warrant states it was filed on suspicion that the photographer had child pornography.

In addition, Richmond police have issued a lookout message for a tan four-door Nissan Altima with Virginia plates JTE-6886.

A police spokeswoman told WRIC-TV (Channel 8) that they think Taylor had been in the car before she disappeared.

Authorities announced that the reward for information about Taylor has increased to $11,000.

VCU Police Department, Virginia State Police, the FBI and the attorney general’s office are aiding the investigation.

Students yesterday shuddered at seeing new “missing” fliers posted on the VCU campus. The fliers show a 17-year-old girl who last was seen walking her dog on Sunday.

Police did not return calls and e-mails seeking to confirm the girl’s status.

Information about Taylor continued to swell on the Internet.

On her MySpace site, Taylor — who graduated from James Madison High School in Vienna, Va., earlier this summer — described herself as a “bitter” person who would like to meet “someone who is kind.” She noted that she has broad taste in music, liking bands ranging from the Rolling Stones to Marilyn Manson. Johnny Depp starred in several of her favorite movies, including “Edward Scissorhands.”

Justin, a George Mason University student, has devoted much of his MySpace page to Taylor, whom he knows through mutual acquaintances.

He said his site gets more than 200 hits per day, and he hopes posting information about Taylor will lead to her safe return.

“This is strictly my way of doing what I can to help. Not only just for my friends, but for her and her family,” he said.

Justin said he uses only confirmed information. “There’s a lot of gossip out there. Be careful what you believe,” he said.

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