Written by Andrea Martin, Media by Jack Wang
Authorities searching for Hannah Graham reported to have found human remains Saturday, Oct. 18, on an abandoned property 8 miles from where Graham was last seen five weeks ago. Charolettesville Police Chief Timothy Long, in addressing the media, said, “These are human remains and forensic tests need to be conducted to determine the identification… But nonetheless we wanted to be quick and timely to share that information with the Graham family. Countless hours, thousands of hours have been spent by law enforcement and volunteers in an effort to find Hannah, We think they have proved their worth.”
This discovery takes place 35 days after the disappearance of Graham in which surveillance video captured her near Charolettesville’s Downtown Mall area. Footage showed Graham leaving the Tempo Bar at around 2 a.m., and also showed a man leaving as well, later to be identified as Jesse Matthew, 32, following her. Matthew was detained on Sep. 24 in Galveston, Texas. So far he has been the only person to be taken into custody in connection with Graham’s disappearance. He has formally been charged with abduction with the intent to defile. Forensic evidence has also connected Matthew with another disappearance of a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student named Morgan Harrington, whom went missing in October 2009 while hitchhiking on the U.S. 29 outside of Charolettesville. She was then found dead that following January at a nearby farm.
Harrington’s disappearance is still under investigation with no arrests having been made. Hannah Graham was a second-year student at the University of Virginia where she was a straight-A student and a member of the ski team. The 18-year-old’s last contact with friends took place via text message at 1:20 a.m. of Sep. 13. Her disappearance prompted a massive search that involved more than 1,200 volunteers and included emotional appeals from her parents and police officials. Earlier this week, John and Sue Graham pleaded for help in finding their daughter, saying, “It is heartbreaking for us that the person or persons who know where Hannah is have not come forward with that information. It is within their power to end this nightmare for us all.” In relentless hope for Graham to be found, friends have made a Facebook page to get the news out. Some have chimed in with their regards as they begin to face the very reality they hoped would never come true.