Alex Johnson had it all. He was brilliant, an avid outdoorsman, a talented chef, artist and botanist with friends all over the world. In 2013, days shy of his 33rd birthday, Johnson vanished after wrapping up a phone call with his girlfriend.
For more than a month, the Johnson family did everything to try and find him. They held vigils, organized searches, brought in specialized K-9's and put up billboards.
But Alex was dead. Beaten in the back of a Mercedes Benz, his body put in a barrel and rolled into a frigid Kentucky river. And one of his best friends named the prime suspect.
Ep. 8: Life without Alex
Dashed dreams, broken hearts, life-altering medical diagnoses and the end of the Johnson family name all followed Alex's death in 2013.
Time, has not made life easier for the family and friends he left behind.
In the final episode of "Taking Alex" his family offers a heartbreaking look at how their lives have changed since Alex was murdered- while friends share stories about what they miss most.
Ep. 7: The ALMOST pardon
When Mark Taylor was sentenced for the kidnapping and murder of Alex Johnson in the summer of 2016, the Johnson family thought they wouldn't hear from their son's murderer until a parole hearing decades later.
Boy, were they wrong.
Taylor has pulled every legal string he can think of to appeal his conviction. And using some "surprise" affidavits, he even asked an outgoing Kentucky governor for a pardon.
And, he ALMOST got it.
Ep. 6: Fran
Mark Taylor has got it pretty good in prison. He told me he has everything he needs. He eats well, works out often and keeps in touch with friends and family outside the prison walls.
...even across the ocean.
In this episode, find out how he met his pen pal turned wife, Francisca.
Ep. 5: The trial
This was it. Two and a half years after Alex Johnson's body was pulled from the bottom of the Kentucky River, Mark Taylor faced a jury at his murder trial.
For seven agonizing days, the panel of jurors and a packed courtroom, listened to all the twisted details of the case.
They even saw the muddy barrel that served as Alex's makeshift coffin, rolled into the courtroom.
Who would they believe? Prosecutors? Or Mark Taylor?
Ep. 4: Mark runs for the border
About a month into their investigation, Lexington Police knew where Alex was and had identified the two men suspected in his death.
One went easily to jail... the other led detectives on a cat and mouse chase through at least four states before his arrest just feet from the U.S. border with Mexico.
Ep. 3: Alex isn't with us anymore
Days of searching for Alex Johnson turned to weeks, with no luck. There was no sign of him despite all the news stories, social media posts, billboards and specialized K-9's brought in to try and track his scent.
Then the Johnson family got a phone call.
The detective on the other end told them Alex was no longer with us. And they had a good idea what had happened.