Human Remains Found in Search for Hannah Graham
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Human remains were found in Albemarle County Saturday that may be Hannah Graham.
Graham, an 18-year-old UVA student, hasn't been seen since September 13 on Charlottesville's downtown mall. The last person seen with her, and the suspect in her disappearance, is 32-year-old Jesse Matthew. Matthew is charged with abduction with intent to defile.
Five weeks after Graham was last seen, Chesterfield County sheriff's deputies were searching an abandoned property on Old Lynchburg Road in Albemarle County when they came across the human remains. Albemarle police closed Old Lynchburg Road for much of Saturday afternoon as they, along with the Charlottesville Police Department and Virginia State Police, took on the process of investigating and preserving the evidence.
Police have not confirmed whether the remains are Graham's but her parents have been notified of the discovery. At a press conference Saturday evening, police announced the remains are going to the chief medical examiner's office in Richmond and should be identified in the near future.
The property where the remains were found is near Walnut Creek Park, the starting point of a search scheduled for Sunday. As the search shifts to a death investigation, Albemarle County police, who are working with Charlottesville police and Virginia State Police, are still asking for information about the case. They urge anyone who saw anything suspicious near the site on Old Lynchburg Road to report it. The Charlottesville Police Department's tip line is 434-295-3851.
Graham was seen on surveillance video in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13. Matthew was seen by witnesses with Graham that night. Less than a week later, Charlottesville police searched his apartment and impounded his car. Once an abduction with intent to defile charge against Matthew was announced on September 23, a search for him began. He was found the next day on a beach in Galveston, Texas and was extradited to Virginia.
During Saturday's press conference, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo and Albemarle County Police Chief Col. Steve Sellers both thanked everyone who assisted in the search. Longo said, after Saturday's discovery, it's clear “they proved their worth.”
Albemarle County Police Press Release:
At approximately noon Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, a search team located human remains on abandoned property in southern Albemarle County. Albemarle County Police, City of Charlottesville Police and Virginia State Police have spent the afternoon preserving the scene and processing evidence.
At about 12 p.m. Saturday, a team of volunteers with the Chesterfield County, Va., Sheriff's Office was searching an abandoned property along Old Lynchburg Road when they discovered the remains. The remains will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination, autopsy and identification.
“Right now we have the discovery of human remains and a great deal of work ahead of us,” said Col. Steve Sellers, Albemarle County Police chief. “We cannot and will not jump to any conclusions regarding today's discovery. I ask for the public's patience as we move forward and pursue what is now a new, ongoing death investigation.”
Albemarle County Police are asking anyone who recalls seeing any suspicious activity or vehicles along or in the vicinity of Old Lynchburg Road, to contact the Albemarle County Police Department at 434-296-5807.
The public search for Hannah Graham scheduled for Walnut Creek Park tomorrow has been canceled. Authorities are focusing their attention on recent evidence, which limits law enforcement resources necessary to carry out a public search. Thank you for your consideration and patience.