Hannah Graham is the latest name on a list of women who have gone missing in central Virginia. Graham, a second-year University of Virginia student, disappeared two weeks ago on September 13. Jesse Matthew is facing an abduction with intent to defile charge in connection to the case.
Eight women have gone missing in the last five years in central Virginia. It begs the questions of why and why so many?
“This is just in the last five years, I mean what's up? This is terrible,” said Gil Harrington, mother of Morgan Harrington who was abducted in Charlottesville and murdered in 2009. No one was charged in the case.
Graham is the most recent woman to go missing in central Virginia.
“I have had a few breakdowns this week just knowing that they are going through that same pain, that same suffering,” said Trina Murphy, aunt of Alexis Murphy who was abducted and murdered in August 2013. In May, Randy Taylor was convicted of Murphy's abduction and murder.
“It is horror for me. It is unfathomable when you look at this scatter pattern. Either there is a crime spree or there is one individual whose some of these are attributable,” said Gil Harrington.
The list also includes Bonnie Santiago and Janet Field who went missing this summer. Santiago was last seen on Carter Mountain in Albemarle County on July 12. Field was last seen in Scottsville on July 2.
Dashad “Sage” Smith, Pherbia Tinsley, and Samantha Clarke were all murdered or have disappeared since 2010. Smith was last seen at the Amtrak Station on West Main Street in Charlottesville on November 20, 2012. Tinsley was murdered in the 800 block of Prospect Avenue in Charlottesville on July 14, 2012. Clarke was last seen at her house in Orange County on September 13, 2010.
The Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Center for Missing Adults estimates about 115 children and over 100 adults are stereotypical abductions in the United States - meaning they are taken by strangers or people they barely know.
“Any information we've found that we believe is of any significance may be related to another case,” said Billy Chrimes of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
“I do not believe my niece was his first and I think that he has gotten away with this so many times that he just figured this would be the same,” said Murphy.
“I am no expert, but I think it is unusual it is either a cluster phenomenon. A crime spree or some of it is attributable to serial predator,” said Harrington.
Both Harrington and Murphy say they are pleased with the response they've seen from the Charlottesville Police Department. Police are not saying if any of the eight cases are connected at this point.
The search for Graham is aggressive and ongoing. If you have any information regarding the Hannah Graham case, police are asking you to call the tip line at 434-295-3851 or email tips to CPDtips@charlottesville.org.