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Crews Double Resources for Weekend Graham Search

Posted: Updated: Oct 04, 2014 11:30 PM

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management says its staff and resources are doubling over the weekend to try to find any trace of Hannah Graham.

Graham, a University of Virginia student, hasn't been seen since September 13. Saturday, more than 100 trained searchers combed wooded areas in Albemarle County looking for her.

All-terrain vehicle teams and canine trackers were out in the far western and eastern parts of the county. VDEM coordinators say a geographic information systems specialist from the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office is now involved to help analyze and organize mapping data from areas they've already cleared.

“Over the last couple of weeks as we've had to move from one area to another, we've developed multiple versions of the planning map, so he's here to help us drive it all to one map and kind of help us collect all of our stats,” said VDEM search coordinator Mark Eggeman.

Search organizers say they're focusing on an eight-mile radius around the city of Charlottesville.

Police say the search is continuing and growing because they have not yet exhausted all of the leads that have come in from the public, which now range from 25 to 30 a day. This is why crews say the community's involvement is so important.

Crews that combed the woods in Keswick Saturday received help from residents they met along the way. One property owner, Marnie Johnson, helped by telling searchers something she saw on her property while horseback riding.

"Usually we have a very quiet ride out here, and we just saw a lot of funny birds circling. So then we told him that and he said well they were going to go look in the back where we couldn't ride, because there's a lot of areas we can get to and some we can't,” Johnson said.

Crews told her they didn't find any leads on the property, but that her help was appreciated.

Searchers even used an airplane fitted with a digital camera for Saturday's search. The plane was donated by the Wolford company and the photos will be analyzed by BAE Systems.

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