• U.S.

Suspect Charged With Abducting Virginia Student Hannah Graham

2 minute read

A man believed to be the last person seen with missing University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham is wanted on charges of abducting her, as police continue to search for both him and Graham, police said at a press conference on Tuesday night.

Police have obtained an arrest warrant and circulated a wanted poster for suspect Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., 32, who is charged with abduction with the intent to defile, Charlottesville police chief Tim Longo told reporters. The announcement of the serious charge follows two searches of Matthew’s home, the Washington Post reports.

Police released few other details about their investigation into the disappearance of Graham, 18. She was last seen leaving a bar with a man believed to be Matthew at around 2 a.m. on Sept. 13 in Charlottesville, Va., CNN affiliate WVIR reports. The young woman has not been seen or heard from since.

“We absolutely are continuing our search for Hannah,” said Longo at the press conference.

Graham had earlier that night left a party, where she had been with her friends, and was seen afterward on surveillance footage attempting to enter a pub, where she was turned away, as well as walking through Charlottesville’s downtown. She texted her friends at about 1:20 a.m. that she was lost and trying to rejoin them at the party. She was next seen at about 1:30 a.m. at a bar having drinks with the man believed to be Matthew, according to CNN’s timeline.

Matthew, a newly hired nursing assistant at the University of Virginia Medical Center, went to the police station on Sept. 20 on his own accord, asking for a lawyer and leaving without speaking to any officers, WVIR reports. There was no arrest warrant for him at the time.

Virginia State Police followed Matthew after he left the station but lost him when he took off at a high-speed, WVIR says. The suspect, who is also wanted on two counts of reckless driving, was driving his sister’s 1997 light blue Nissan Sentra.

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Write to Elizabeth Barber at elizabeth.barber@timeasia.com