Last year, I followed the news about the unfortunate case of Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old, second year student at the University of Virginia. 5’11” with a slender build, light brown hair, and blue eyes, the last time any of her friends saw her was at an apartment complex on September 13, 2014 after she left a party.
Her body was discovered roughly 5 weeks later.
The suspect in the homicide has a hearing date set for March 26, 2015.
This post discusses the case.
A surveillance camera captured Hannah running past a gas station just before 1 AM on the September 13, although it did not appear as though anyone was chasing her at the time. Witnesses said that they saw her later, about four blocks from the gas station and about 3/4 of a mile past the apartment complex where her friends saw her. This was near a restaurant in the Downtown Mall area. More security cameras saw her passing several stores in the area.
At 1:20 AM, she texted friends and told them that she was lost and trying to find the party. A later report has her in a bar having drinks with a man between 1:30 AM and 2 AM. Police believe that she was inebriated and could have been vulnerable to attack at that point.
Police released the name of the man believed to be having drinks with Hannah, 32-year-old Jesse Matthew. Charlottesville detectives began searching his apartment and brought out several bags of evidence. They searched his apartment both before and after naming him as a person of interest in the case. While they did not yet charge Matthew, police believed he was the last person to see her alive.
Matthew went to the police station with two of his relatives and requested an attorney. After he spoke to his attorney, he left the station without speaking to the police. They followed him openly. Eventually, he got into his vehicle and sped off at such a high rate of speed the police deemed it unsafe to follow.
Security video shows Matthew in the same area as Hannah and it shows the two of them entering and leaving the Tempo Restaurant together. This led police to believe that Matthew likely knew something about Hannah’s disappearance.
Shortly thereafter, Matthew vanished. His landlord said she’d always thought Matthew to be a “mild man… not violent”, and that she was surprised to learn he was a person of interest in the case.
On October 18, 2014, the remains of Graham were discovered at an abandoned property in Virginia, and it was later determined that Graham had died by homicide.
Matthew was located and arrested on September 24, 2014. Forensic evidence linked him to the rape and murder of another woman, Morgan Dana Harrington.
A hearing for Matthew has been set for March 26, 2015.
I did not know Hannah, and our investigative agency was not involved in this case. I post this because I find that cases like this sometimes fall through the cracks when we have a focus on only our local media stations, and this case struck a chord with me. Graham had a bright future ahead of her. My deepest sympathy and prayers are with her family and friends.