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Thousands of Volunteers Come Together to Search for Hannah Graham

Posted: Updated: Sep 20, 2014 08:50 PM
Search crews are working tirelessly to help find answers about what happened to missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Saturday nearly 2,000 volunteers combed parts of Charlottesville and Albemarle County searching for any trace of Graham.

Hannah Graham, an 18 year old second-year student at UVA, has been missing since the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 13. She is described as a white female, approximately 5'11" tall with a skinny build. She has blue eyes, light brown hair and freckles. She was last seen wearing a black crop top with mesh cutouts.  Click here for in depth coverage on the search for Graham.

Graham's classmates, community members, and people from her hometown were all out at John Paul Jones Arena early Saturday morning to get to work, trying to find any clue of where she is and what has happened to her.

Volunteer Searcher Valeria Niehaus said, "Being a parent myself, I couldn't imagine doing anything else today."

Parents who volunteered to search for Hannah Graham Saturday say they know that she could be their own daughter.  “You hope that you're never in that position and I certainly would want every parents, every individual out there to help me if I was in that position,” said Neihaus.

Volunteer Searcher Jane Kneuper said, “I have four kids, they've all gone through college and so I'm passionate about this whole search and I can't even imagine what her family's going through."

The task of organizing 2,000 searchers is immense.  Search coordinator Mark Eggeman said, "It's a lot of work. We worked to put this together over two days.”

Saturday morning, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management assigned team leaders to search groups in order to cover the most ground.

Search Team Leader Jim Reisweber said, "They've divided up the city into areas - six areas - so we'll go to one of those areas. We have a defined geographical area bound by streets that is our search area."

For volunteers, the mission for the day was simple. “It was really about showing the family that we are willing to put all of our needs to the side and help them out,” said Neihaus.

Eggeman says the tireless hours combing fields and brush for any trace of Graham are worth it.

"We're going to be finding all kinds things. Now a lot of it will probably have nothing to do with this search, but we have to sort through that, but you never know when its going to be that one thing that could turn this whole case on a dime,” said Eggeman.

For fellow UVA students, Graham's disappearance hits close to home. "I just think if this was one of my friends, I would want the whole community to come out and support her," said UVA student Claire Kealey.

Organizers say they will be launching another search effort Sunday morning looking again for any sign of Hannah Graham.
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