Remains belong to missing Hannah

Published: Saturday 25th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Remains found in a rural area of Virginia are those of British-born university student Hannah Graham who disappeared last month, US authorities have said.

University of Virginia second-year student Ms Graham, 18, disappeared on September 13 after a night out with friends. Her remains were found on October 18 about 12 miles from the Charlottesville campus, in a heavily wooded area of Albemarle County that is home to rolling hills and horse farms.

A man with whom Ms Graham was last seen, Jesse Matthew, 32, has been charged with abduction with intent to defile Ms Graham. His lawyer Jim Camblos said he was not answering questions about the case.

Matthew, an operating theatre technician at the university’s hospital, was also a former college football player and sometimes cab driver.

The remains were discovered about six miles from where the body of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, 20, was found after she vanished in 2009. Police have said forensic evidence connects Matthew to Ms Harrington’s killing, which in turn is linked by DNA to a 2005 sexual assault in northern Virginia. Matthew has been charged over the sex assault case.

Ms Graham, of Alexandria, moved from Britain to the US when she was about six

“When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending. Sadly that was not to be,” Ms Graham’s parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement provided by Albermarle County Police Department.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter. Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished.”

Ms Graham’s parents also thanked those involved with the investigation and search efforts – singling out Charlottesville police chief Tim Longo for his “tenacity and determination – as well as those who have sent messages of support”.

They said they did not intend to make further statements or comment on the continuing criminal investigation.

Albemarle County commonwealth’s attorney Denise Lunsford said the focus of the investigation was now to determine “what charges will be brought and the appropriate time to make those charges”.

Ms Graham’s disappearance prompted many University of Virginia students to begin walking in pairs or groups at night and the university improved a ride service for its students.

“For Hannah’s young life to end so tragically, and for her destiny of promise to be left unfulfilled, is an affront to the sanctity of life and to the natural order of human events,” university president Teresa Sullivan said.

“This is a sorrowful day in the life of the university, and our entire community is grieving with the Graham family.”

Ms Graham met friends at a restaurant for dinner on September 12 before stopping off at two off-campus parties. She left the second party alone and eventually texted a friend saying she was lost, authorities said.

In surveillance video, she can be seen walking unsteadily and even running at times, past a pub and a service station and then on to a seven-street strip of bars, restaurants and shops.

Published: Saturday 25th October 2014 by The News Editor

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