Police Dig for Details on Suspect as Search for Hannah Graham Continues

Posted: Updated: Oct 07, 2014 10:49 PM
Hannah Graham Hannah Graham
Jesse Matthew Jesse Matthew
Tape found in the car Matthew drove, photo tweeted by Jace Larson (KPRC in Texas) Tape found in the car Matthew drove, photo tweeted by Jace Larson (KPRC in Texas)
Envelope found in the car Matthew drove to Texas (KPRC) Envelope found in the car Matthew drove to Texas (KPRC)

Police are filling in vital gaps of information about where Jesse Matthew was the weekend of Hannah Graham's disappearance. At the same time, search teams continue to comb through areas in Albemarle County farther from Charlottesville.

The last time anyone saw Graham, a second-year University of Virginia student, she was on the downtown mall with Matthew at 1:40 a.m. Saturday, September 13. Police say they now know more about where Matthew may have been between that time and when investigators started searching for Graham on Sunday.

Police have repeatedly asked the public for any information about where Matthew went after 1:40 a.m. on September 13, when he and Graham last appeared on surveillance video.

Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo believes law enforcement is narrowing that time gap. “I think the more we gather with respect to investigative leads the more sense, the more idea, we get as to when we believe that time period that becomes most relevant took place and how much time we are dealing with between her disappearance and where that need to search would have otherwise began,” Longo said.

There is also new information about the reason Longo says investigators believe Graham is in Virginia: there is no substantive basis to believe she left the commonwealth.

Meanwhile, more than 55 trained search and rescue personnel pushed farther into Albemarle County Tuesday. They climbed fences, walked around the edges of ponds, and waded through thick, thorny thistle.

Mike Johnson, who works on a farm that was searched Tuesday, says emotions and his sense of obligation will lead him to search again every week. He encourages others with property to do the same thing.

“I figured it was my duty to the parents of Ms. Graham,” Johnson said. “I can just imagine what they are going through.”

Matthew is charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection to Graham's disappearance. After that charge was filed, he was extradited from Galveston, Texas, where he had fled in his sister's car. That car, a Nissan Sentra, was searched by police, who found the ashtray filled with cigarette butts and a Charlottesville police detective's business card on the back seat. 

In the front seat was a cassette tape with "Jesus" written on the front and "Raising the Spirit" written on the label. A yellow envelope was also found in the front seat. Written on the front was "Open this envelope first before you read my letter. Enclosed: 3 Powerful Faith tools to release God's power." Inside the envelope was a cross.

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