Suspect in Hannah Graham Disappearance Arrested in Texas
According to the Galveston County Sheriff's Office, Matthew was arrested on the beach in Gilchrist on the Bolivar Peninsula around 3:30 p.m. central time Wednesday. Someone reported a suspicious person camping in a tent on the beach. A Galveston deputy ran the license plate on the person's car and realized it was Matthew's sister's light blue Nissan Sentra, which he was driving when he fled police Saturday. Police say he did not resist arrest Wednesday.
The extradition process is underway, and investigators from Charlottesville will go to Galveston Thursday. Matthew is expected to go before a judge Thursday morning.
The reward for information on Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old, University of Virginia second-year student who hasn't been seen since September 13, has reached $100,000.
At a press conference Tuesday, Charlottesville police announced the abduction with intent to defile charge. Matthew was already charged with two counts of reckless driving.
Police believe he was the last person seen with Graham the night she disappeared. Graham was last seen on surveillance video on Charlottesville's downtown mall between the hours of 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on September 13.
UVA spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn confirmed Wednesday that Matthew, who has been employed as a nursing assistant at the UVA Medical Center since August 2012, has been suspended without pay as a result of the criminal charge filed Tuesday.
The Covenant School also confirmed Wednesday that Matthew is no longer associated with the school in any capacity. Matthew was a part-time volunteer with the school's football team. The school released a letter to Covenant School parents Tuesday regarding Matthew's involvement with the school.Police have seized and searched Matthew's car and have searched his apartment twice. Lab results of the second search are expected to be back Friday. Police were back at Matthew's apartment Wednesday.
Following the announcement of Matthew's charge of abduction with intent to defile, Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Martin released a statement addressing the concern that Matthew may somehow be related to the Alexis Murphy case. Murphy, a Nelson County teen, disappeared last August. In May, Randy Taylor was convicted in her abduction and murder.
In the statement Martin says, “there is no credible evidence at this time that suggests any third party was involved in the Randy Taylor case and certainly no evidence at this time exists that Jesse Leroy Matthew, Jr. had anything to do with the disappearance of Alexis Murphy."
Wednesday, Charlottesville lawyer James L. Camblos III confirmed that he has been hired by Matthew. According to the Washington Post, Camblos met with Matthew on Saturday after Matthew voluntarily went to the Charlottesville police station. According to the Post, Camblos declined to discuss the case or his client.
In addition to the abduction charge, Matthew faces two reckless driving charges. He fled Saturday while Virginia State Police were following him in Albemarle County. He drove away at a high rate of speed and police had to end surveillance.
Police stressed at Wednesday's press conference that they're still searching for Graham. Police Chief Tim Longo made a plea to residents in surrounding counties such as Greene, Augusta and Orange to search their properties. Police ask that anyone with information regarding this case call the tip line at 434-295-3851.