Details Emerge about Matthew on Night of Harrington Disappearance
ORIGINAL 10/09/2014: Details are emerging Thursday about Jesse Matthew, the prime suspect in the disappearance of University of Virginia second-year student Hannah Graham.
Police say Graham was last seen on surveillance video with Matthew on the Charlottesville downtown mall in the early morning hours of September 13. Matthew has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection with the case.
Matthew, who police confirmed is also linked by forensic evidence to the Morgan Harrington case, was working as a cab driver the night Harrington was last seen. Harrington, a student at Virginia Tech at the time, disappeared on October 17, 2009 after leaving a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Her remains were found on an Albemarle farm three months later.
One taxi driver says a Charlottesville detective told him back in 2009 Morgan got into a cab the night she vanished. "From when I went back and talked to the city and I asked which taxi cab, she said 'yes she did jump into a taxi cab her last time being seen alive,'” said Melvin Carter, Jr. of Carter's Taxi.
Two of Matthew's former taxi co-workers have told federal and state authorities Matthew was working the night Harrington disappeared. We have learned that authorities have recovered the taxi cab Matthew was driving. It was found two weeks ago on a farm.
We learned that authorities interviewed Matthew in 2009, following Harrington's disappearance, along with dozens of other cab drivers working on October 17. Virginia State Police say they did not interview Matthew.
We also know at least 20 people involved in Charlottesville area cab businesses have been interviewed by federal and state authorities. Several of those interviews happened Thursday. We're told investigators are asking about who was working that night, if they have seen photos of Harrington, and if they noticed a change in Matthew's behavior.
Dan Harrington, Morgan's father, released a statement Thursday, saying,"This is what we hoped for, that more pieces of the puzzle would come together. It's exciting, it's encouraging to hear but it's still sad for us too. It will hopefully open up more doors for us [as investigators build their case]."
UPDATE 10/10/2014: Virginia State Police say that there is no record in their case files of Jesse Matthew - the suspect in the Hannah Graham case - having been interviewed in 2009 in connection to the Morgan Harrington murder by state, local or federal law enforcement.
This contradicts the story NBC29 first reported Thursday - citing a source familiar with the Harrington case - who says police did talk with Matthew back then.
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