Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia police this week announced that a body found could be missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Graham’s disappearance on September 13 prompted a month-long search for the student.
On Saturday police provided an update on the Graham case. Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo called the search for Graham “unprecedented,” stating that “thousands” of hours have been spent looking for the missing woman. That search now seems to have paid off.
According to Longo a search team in southern Albemarle County found human remains in an abandoned property on Saturday. The body has not been identified and Charlottesville police are referring to the it as a “preliminary discovery.” Albemarle County Police have since stated that authorities will not be answering any questions about the discovery until the body has been identified. Police said they do not have a timeline for when the medical examiner’s test results will be available.
“These are human remains and forensic tests need to be conducted to determine the identification of those remains, but nonetheless we wanted to be quick and timely to share that information with the Graham family,” said Longo.
Hannah Graham was an 18-year-old student at the University of Virginia at the time of her disappearance. According to a USA Today report she was last seen at a downtown Charlottesville restaurant with a 32-year-old man police initially identified as a person of interest.
One week after Graham disappeared police identified the man as Jesse Matthew, Jr. Police issued an arrest warrant for Matthew on September 21 and searched his apartment the next day. Matthew was arrested days later in Galveston County, Texas.
Since his arrest Matthew’s has been linked to a 2005 sexual assault on an woman in Fairfax, Virginia. He has been charged with attempted murder, abduction with intent to defile, and sexual penetration with an object. Police say that Matthew’s DNA has also been linked to the murder of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in 2009.