The last person known to have seen Hannah Graham before her disappearance early in the morning on Sept. 13 is now in custody, charged with abducting the 18-year-old. CNN reported Sept. 24 that Jesse Matthew, who police believe drove off with Graham after leaving a Charlottesville bar with her, is accused of abduction with intent to defile, a felony that, according to Virginia law, indicates that the alleged attacker kidnapped the victim with an intent to have sex. Charlottesville Police believe that the story does not end there…
The Christian Science Monitor reported Sept. 24 that Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo told a news conference Wednesday night that Matthew, who had been a person of interest since investigators discovered that Hannah Graham may have gotten into his car when she went missing, was captured earlier in the day and was in police custody in Galveston, Texas. Authorities there arrested Matthew after getting a call that a suspicious person was camping on the beach, according to KPRC in Houston. A deputy checked the license plates of the individual and found that said individual was wanted.
It is as yet unclear why Matthew was in Texas, nor did Longo have an answer. However, Longo noted that authorities were working on getting Matthew extradited back to Virginia.
Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., up until his becoming a suspect in the Graham missing persons case, seems to have lived a somewhat unassuming life. Employed at the University of Virginia Medical Center as a patient tech, the 32-year-old appears to have a record with regard to driving violations. He once attended Liberty University, a Christian college, and was once charged with two counts of assault, although the case never went to trial.
But he was the last person witnesses saw with the missing UVA student, prompting police to obtain search warrants for his vehicle and apartment. Although police have not divulged any details of the searches, Chief Longo has said that evidence found in the searches gave authorities probable cause to issue the arrest warrant on Tuesday night.
But what of the missing young woman? Her whereabouts remain unknown.
In retracing the 18-year-old students steps the night she went missing, police say Graham met friends at a restaurant for dinner on the evening of Sept. 12. She then stopped for awhile at two parties at off-campus housing units. Investigators say she left the second party alone and sent a text message to a friend saying she was lost.
Several surveillance videos obtained by the police showed her walking, and at times running, during this time period. She is seen in videos going past a pub and a service station before making her way onto the Downtown Mall, which is a seven-block pedestrian strip in the city. This is where police believe she met up with Jesse Matthew and entered a bar with him, although it is still unclear if she and Matthew were acquaintances or had just met.
As a person of interest, Matthew had presented himself to Charlottesville police on Saturday. However, he only spoke to a lawyer, then drove away from the station at a high rate of speed.
“We have a person in custody, but there’s a long road ahead of us, and that long road includes finding Hannah Graham,” Chief Longo told reporters Wednesday, according to CNN.
Hannah Graham is described as 5 feet 11 inches tall with a slender build. She has light brown hair, blue eyes and freckles. She was last seen wearing a black crop top, according to a UVA news release. Anyone with any information regarding Graham or her whereabouts is urged to call the police tip line at 434-295-3851.