VSP: Forensic Evidence Links Jesse Matthew to Harrington Case
According to Virginia State Police, Jesse Matthew, the man facing abduction with intent to defile charges in connection with the Hannah Graham case, has been linked to another high-profile disappearance.
Police confirm that forensic evidence links Matthew to the Morgan Harrington case. Harrington, a Virginia Tech student at the time, was abducted in Charlottesville on October 17, 2009 after leaving a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena. She was last seen on the Copeley Road Bridge at 9:30 that night. Her remains were found on Anchorage Farm in Albemarle County three months later.
No formal charges have been brought against Matthew in relation to the Harrington case at this point.
State police will not give details about exactly what linked Matthew to the Harrington case, but for the Harrington family, it doesn't change much.
"I am so pleased that this has happened but it doesn't change a lot for us in some ways,” said Gil Harrington, Morgan's mother. "Our bedroom is still empty upstairs; we're still not going to have the grandchildren, the wedding, those things."
DNA evidence was collected from the Harrington case. State police have previously confirmed that a DNA link between Harrington's case and a 2005 Fairfax City sexual assault exists. They have not released whether Matthew is connected to the Fairfax case at this point. Read the full statement from the City of Fairfax Police Department below.
Matthew was arrested last week in Galveston, Texas and has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection with the Graham case. Graham, a second-year student at the University of Virginia, was last seen on Charlottesville's downtown mall on September 13. Matthew is scheduled to make his first court appearance this Thursday, October 2 at 10 a.m. via video uplink in Charlottesville General District Court.
Matthew will also appear in Albemarle General District Court on October 2 at 9 a.m. on two reckless driving charges.
Virginia State Police said in a statement Monday, "Right now, the public's focus needs to remain on helping Charlottesville police locate and bring Hannah Graham home." Read a full statement from Virginia State Police regarding the link to the Harrington case below.
Anyone with new information concerning the Harrington investigation is encouraged to contact the Virginia State Police at 434-352-3467 or the Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000. Anyone with new information concerning the Graham case is asked to call the tip line at 434-295-3851 or email tips to CPDtips@charlottesville.org.
Statement from Gil and Dan Harrington
We are grateful for the widespread interest in this recent development in Morgan's murder case. We thank all the many individuals who have supported us or helped in Morgan's investigation. That investigation and the search for Hannah Graham are ongoing. Please continue to provide information to police and help find Hannah.
For the past five years, the Virginia State Police has been aggressively pursuing the investigation into the disappearance and death of 20-year-old Morgan D. Harrington of Roanoke, Va. Last week, the arrest of Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, of Charlottesville, Va., provided a significant break in this case with a new forensic link for state police investigators to pursue. There is a still a great deal of work to be done in regards to this investigation and we appreciate the public's patience as we move forward.
Anyone with new information concerning the Harrington investigation is encouraged to contact the Virginia State Police at 434-352-3467 or the Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
Meanwhile, state police continues to dedicate the necessary resources to assist the Charlottesville Police Department through the course of its investigation and with their efforts to locate Hannah Graham. In fact, right now, the public's focus needs to remain on helping Charlottesville Police locate and bring Hannah Graham home.
The City of Fairfax Police Department has issued the following statement in response to queries regarding the status of the investigation of a sexual assault which occurred in the City in September 2005:
The City of Fairfax Police Department is continuing its investigation of a sexual assault and abduction case which occurred on September 24, 2005 in the 3700 Block of Jermantown Road during the nighttime hours. A 26 year old woman was walking when a man grabbed her from behind and forced her into a nearby wooded area where he sexually assaulted her. The man then fled from the area after being startled by a citizen. The victim was treated at a medical facility for her injuries.
As part of our investigation, we obtained a physical description of the suspect, who was described as a black male in his mid-twenties to mid-thirties with a medium to heavy build.
Evidence was collected, and we followed a number of investigative leads. We will thoroughly assess any new information we may receive regarding this case. Details of the investigation and any related evidentiary information will not be disclosed at this time in order to protect the integrity of the investigation and any possible prosecution.
Throughout the past nine years our detectives have worked continually and diligently to positively identify a suspect in this case. We are following up on all new information we receive and are working with the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney and the Virginia State Police as we continue this active investigation.