Body believed to be Hannah Graham found in Albemarle County

hannah grahamHuman remains have been found near an abandoned residence on Old Lynchburg Road in Albemarle County, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo announced at a 5:55 p.m. news conference Saturday.

Police believe it is the body of Hannah Elizabeth Graham, 18, a second-year student at the University of Virginia, who went missing in the early-morning hours of Sept. 13. She was last seen on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Search crews have combed Charlottesville for more than a month in search of her body.

It was an “unprecedented search in an effort to find her and return her to her family”, Longo said.

Graham’s parents were notified by telephone this afternoon that a preliminary discovery had been made. The remains will be sent to the Chief Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond for an autopsy and positive identification, said Albemarle Police Chief Col. Steve Sellers.

Walnut Creek Park was closed around noon on Saturday after Chesterfield County rescuers made the discovery, according to police. All traffic was stopped at the rural location and tape was put up around the heavily wooded area.

The suspect in her abduction, Jesse Matthew, apparently lived near this location previously, according to reports on social media. Matthew’s business license and mother’s address was on Old Lynchburg Road, according to Coy Barefoot, an investigative journalist from Charlottesville who has been relentless in his coverage of the search for Graham.

jesse matthewMatthew, 32, is in jail on a charge of abduction with intent to defile in connection with the disappearance. Matthew has now also been linked to the disappearance of another young coed, Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who went missing in 2009 after attending a Metallica concert on Grounds at the John Paul Jones Arena. Harrington was found dead on a farm south of Charlottesville in 2010.

No questions were taken by police following the news conference. Albemarle County Police will now take the lead in the death investigation, according to Sellers, and no further details are expected to be released. Sellers said they will continue to work closely with the Charlottesville Police Department and the Virginia State Police on the investigation.

         
 

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