Remains found in search for student

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Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Searchers found human remains that could be those of a British-born University of Virginia student who has been missing since September 13, police said.

Further forensic tests are needed to confirm whether the remains are those of Hannah Graham, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said.

The remains were found on an abandoned property in southern Albemarle County by a search team from the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office, Mr Longo said.

Thousands of volunteers had searched for the 18-year-old in the weeks since her disappearance.

Jesse Leroy Matthew, 32, has been charged with abduction with intent to defile Graham.

A week after Ms Graham went missing, Mr Longo described Matthew in detail without naming him, saying investigators wanted to talk to the “person of interest” and had searched his flat because he was the last person to see her.

Matthew showed up at police headquarters, asked for a lawyer, and then sped away, according to the police.

His exit prompted a warrant for “reckless driving,” a charge that Mr Longo cited as he named the suspect and appealed for information from anyone who saw him with Ms Graham the night she disappeared.

Matthew was arrested a few days later in Galveston, Texas.

While Matthew was a fugitive in Texas, Virginia police added a charge of abduction with intent to defile, a violent felony that under Virginia law compels suspects to submit to DNA testing.

Very quickly afterwards, Virginia State Police announced a “forensic link” to the 2009 killing of Morgan Harrington, whose body was found in a hayfield three months after she vanished.

That case, in turn, has been linked by DNA evidence since 2012 to the rape of a woman in Fairfax, Virginia, who survived after a passer-by startled her attacker, the FBI has said.

Following Matthew’s arrest, Christopher Newport University released a statement noting that he was named in a police file involving a September 7, 2003, sexual assault on the Newport News campus.

Matthew was a student there from January 2003 until October 15 2003.

Matthew had transferred to CNU after three years at Liberty University, where he also was briefly on the American football team.

When he was at Liberty University, he was accused of raping a student on campus. That charge was dropped when the person declined to move forward with prosecution, Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Doucette said.

Published: Sunday 19th October 2014 by The News Editor

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