Crews Search for Hannah Graham in Nelson County
The search for Hannah Graham is reaching Nelson County Thursday. Police say the second-year University of Virginia student was last seen with Jesse Matthew on Charlottesville's downtown mall on September 13. Matthew has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in connection with the case.
Thursday, 30 people and two dogs searched Route 20 north of Charlottesville and in Nelson on ATVs and on foot for Graham.
"We still have teams out, we're still pushing to follow through with some things we did yesterday. We're still working an area north of town towards Stony Point and we're following leads yesterday. We're now in Nelson County a little bit further south and we've investigating following up to search activity down there,” said Mark Eggeman, search leader.
Crews also searched through a heavily wooded area near Stony Point Elementary School Thursday morning.
“It is discouraging when you go out every day and you have a mission and you come back at the end of the day and you haven't fulfilled the mission you can get discouraged really quick,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.
A drone, first used on Wednesday, took off after fog lifted to capture images and narrow the search.
“A PVC pipe was spotted by a UAS that from the air that looked a little unusual and out of place so we were able to get down there and converge on that area to confirm what that item was,” said Col. Steve Sellers of the Albemarle County Police Department.
A newly-donated plane with high-tech cameras and software remained grounded Thursday. It is scheduled to take off this weekend.
Along with new technology, crews hope to rely on 167,000 licensed hunters when deer season begins this weekend.
“A lot of people bow hunt and a lot of people don't, but as the weekends go on you will have a lot of people in the woods scattered around. They will find a lot more stuff than other people that ain't have been there,” said Glenn Spradlin, hunter.
Crews donned wristbands made by Graham's former highschool classmates. They hope her favorite color - blue - and initials will encourage crew members in what is now day 19 of the search.
“You walk these fields, these streets, these farms, these plots of real land, these trails, you walk them on behalf of John and Susan Graham. That should be encouragement enough,” said Longo.
Col. Sellers says more people are licensed to hunt in Albemarle than actually live in the county. Sellers says he hopes many turn out and remember to immediately report anything that may look unusual.
Police ask if you have any information regarding the case to call the tip line at 434-295-3851or emailCPDtips@charlottesville.org.