In a press conference Tuesday evening, Chief Longo announced that charges have now been filed against Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. Previously a ‘person of interest,’ he had been charged with two felony misdemeanors for speeding away from his residence while being monitored by the Virginia State Police, who made the judgement not to endanger public safety by pursuing Mr. Matthew at that time, which presumably would have entailed a high-speed chase.
The charges against Mr. Matthew have been revised to include “Abduction with Intent to Defile,” which is a Class 2 Felony, indicating that the police now have reasonable cause to suspect that he was directly involved in the sudden disappearance of Hannah Elizabeth Graham, a British-born University of Virginia student 18 years of age, who is last known to have been in the company of Jesse “LJ” Matthew, at the Tempo restaurant just off the Downtown Mall, in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13.
Charlottesville Police Captain Gary Pleasants confirmed that information had been developed that had led to a second search of Mr. Matthew’s residence on Monday, September 22. The forensics team had previously searched that residence the previous Friday, once information from the search warrant for probably cause had been obtained to have searched Mr. Matthew’s vehicle. Captain Pleasants explained:
“Through the investigation we determined there were other items we needed to look for and that’s why a second search warrant. We might not have known about those items during the first search warrant. Things change,”
On Saturday, Jesse Matthew walked into the Charlottesville Police Department with his mother and his uncle, voluntarily, after having previously contacted the “tip line,” the police had set up to assist them in their investigation. The Virginia State Police followed Mr. Matthew once he left the Police Department, en route to a location in Albemarle County. driving a light blue 1997 Nissan Sentra with Virginia license plates: VAC 4575 which police say belongs to his sister, and when he then fled at an excessive rate of speed, running through stop signs and traffic signals, the State Police were forced by the circumstances they believed to have posed a danger to others, to halt their surveillance.
At last night’s press conference, Chief Longo explained that Hannah had met some friends for dinner at the University Corner on Friday evening, September 12:
“About 11 o’clock she left the company of her friends. She was by herself and we believe that she proceeded to at least two other locations that were a short distance away, and when she left the second location, we believe that she lost her bearings. She was lost. She proceeded northbound on 10th St. Northwest, and eventually she was captured on video near McGrady’s Pub. We’ve had an opportunity to examine that video. We know that from the location at McGrady’s Pub, Hannah proceeded eastbound on Preston Ave. where she is captured again by cameras located at the Preston Ave. Shell and at The Crossings residence. A short while later, an eyewitness sees Hannah proceeding southbound on 2nd St. from Market, headed toward the Downtown Pedestrian Mall.”
The Chief then explained that new videos have been brought to light and investigators are reviewing them and they will also soon be posted for the public. He then moved to describe how folks came to find that Hannah was missing on Sunday, September 14, and that the police search for her began and included bloodhound that was brought in and used again as recently as Monday, September 29 to assist in the search downtown.
As he responded to questions from the press, one of the reporters asked whether in his opinion Hannah seemed disoriented. The Chief noted that early on, in one of the earlier press briefings, Captain Pleasants had shared that “we had reason to believe that she may have been under the influence of alcohol,” and that if so — from an investigative standpoint that information is important — “it suggests the fact that she was vulnerable that a she may not have been in a position to protect herself or defend herself and so we thought it important to get that information out publicly; secondly it also speaks to the fact that not only that she was vulnerable but have made good decisions.”
Chief Longo then read a statement that Hannah’s parents provided in which they acknowledge the possibility of foul play. They expressed their gratitude for those who have assisted thus far and urge others in the community to take the time to call the tip line.
The Chief of Police, Timothy Longo, noted that the search has now expanded to reach beyond our local area. If you have seen Jesse Matthew, or if you can provide any information at all relating to Hannah Graham’s disappearance, the police ask that you contact the tip line immediately, at 434 295 3851.