The investigation into missing Hannah Graham has provided a “significant break” in a 2009 unsolved murder case, Virginia police have said.
The arrest of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., 32, accused of abducting Hannah Graham, 18, has led to forensic evidence related to Morgan Harrington’s murder.
Morgan Harrington was found dead three months after she went missing from a concert.
British-born student Hannah Graham was last seen on September 13 in Charlottesville, where she is a university student.
Police are still looking for Hannah Graham and have offered $100,000 for information on her whereabouts.
The arrest of Jesse Matthew, accused of abducting Hannah Graham, has led to forensic evidence related to Morgan Harrington’s murder
Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was taken into custody by police in Galveston, Texas, several days after he drove away from a Charlottesville police station.
He was seen walking with Hannah Graham on CCTV footage the night she disappeared from Charlottesville and has now been charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection with her disappearance.
On September 29, Virginia state police said Jesse Matthew’s arrest “provided a significant break” in the Harrington case with a “new forensic link for state police investigators to pursue”.
The statement did not give specifics about the forensic evidence.
Charlottesville police searched Jesse Matthew’s apartment and took several items of clothing.
Jesse Matthew, the man believed to be the last person to see Hannah Graham before she disappeared, was being sought on arrest warrants charging him reckless driving, a police chief said on September 21, adding authorities also want to ask him about the missing teen.
Virginia State Police have issued warrants for Jesse Matthew on a charge of misdemeanor reckless driving, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said at a news conference on September 21.
Jesse Matthew has not been charged in the disappearance of 18-year-old Hannah Graham, who was last seen early on September 13 in Charlottesville.
Timothy Longo said police want to talk to Jesse Matthew, who was seen with Hannah Graham before she disappeared.
“I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth because it’s been a week and we can’t find her,” Timothy Longo said.
“I’ve made no mistake about it. We want to talk to Jesse Matthew. We want to talk to him. We want to talk to him about his interaction with this sweet, young girl we can’t find,” he added.
Timothy Longo said Jesse Matthew had stopped by the Charlottesville Police Department’s station on September 20 with several family members and asked for a lawyer. He was provided with a lawyer but left in a vehicle, driving at a high rate of speed that endangered other drivers, according to the police chief. He said Jesse Matthew was there for about an hour.
Hannah Graham was last seen early on September 13 in Charlottesville
Virginia State Police said they have focused on Hannah Graham’s movements the night of September 12 and into the early morning hours of September 13.
Hannah Graham, a sophomore from northern Virginia, met friends at a restaurant for dinner, stopped by two parties at off-campus housing units and left the second party alone, police have said.
Surveillance videos showed her walking, and at some points running, past a pub and a service station and then onto the Downtown Mall, a seven-block pedestrian strip lined with shops and restaurants.
Hannah Graham’s parents appeared at the news conference and her father, John Graham, appealed for anyone with any information to call a police tip line.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” John Graham said.
“We need to find out what happened to Hannah and make sure it happens to no one else.”
More than 1,000 volunteers participated in a weekend search for Hannah Graham, according to authorities.
Hannah Graham’s disappearance has sent a ripple of fear through the quiet college town of Charlottesville. Students have said they’ve begun walking in pairs at night and are paying closer attention to their surroundings.
At least three other young women have disappeared in the area in the last five years, though police have said they do not think Hannah Graham’s disappearance is linked to that of any of the other missing women.
University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan issued a statement September 21 saying the university was committed to helping authorities in the search for Hannah Graham and “return her safely to her family”.