Police identify Matthew as person of interest in Graham investigation, are "aggressively pursuing" his location

Matthew walked into police station Saturday, police have issued two reckless driving arrest warrants


Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo identified Jesse Matthew as the person of interest in the investigation into missing second-year College student Hannah Graham. He said they believe he was the last person to see her on the night she disappeared.

Update 2 p.m: Charlottesville Police Captain Gary Pleasants confirms police are conducting another search at Matthew's Hessian Hills apartment. Police have also released a wanted poster for Matthew — which can be seen at the bottom of the article. The poster reports Matthew is believed to be in possession of a 1997 light blue Nissan Sentra with Virginia tags and a license plate number VAC-4575.

Update 12 p.m.: University spokesperson McGregor McCance confirmed Matthew works as a patient technician at the OR in the Medical Center. He was hired in Aug. 2012.

Police have identified the man seen walking with missing second-year College student Hannah Graham on the night she disappeared as Charlottesville resident Jesse Matthew. Graham has been missing since the early hours of Saturday, Sept. 13.

State police issued two arrest warrants for Matthew for reckless driving, a class-one misdemeanor under Virginia law. Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said officers, who were overtly monitoring Matthew's movement, watched him flee the county at a high rate of speed Saturday afternoon. Longo said the officers following Matthew were forced to disengage “for their protection,” and have said he was not the only one in the vehicle.

Longo said authorities are “aggressively pursuing” Matthew's location.

Matthew voluntarily walked into the Charlottesville Police Station with family members earlier in the afternoon Saturday and asked to speak with a lawyer. Matthew remained within the station for about an hour, but was not questioned by police, who have maintained they do not have probable cause to arrest Matthew in connection with Graham’s case. Police have not identified Matthew as a suspect, though he remains a person of interest in the investigation.

“I don’t know whether that lawyer was ever retained,” Longo said. “I know they talked for a little bit. And I know they walked out that door. And I don’t know any more about his interaction with Hannah Graham than I did the moment he walked in.”

Longo said police believe Matthew was the last person seen with Graham before her disappearance. Surveillance footage obtained from Tuel Jewelers on the Downtown Mall shows Matthew and Graham walking together at 1:08 a.m. last Saturday morning.

Eyewitnesses told police they saw Graham and Matthew at Tempo Bar & Restaurant, located just off the Downtown Mall, shortly after they walked past Tuel Jewelers. The two stayed at the bar for 15 minutes.

Police said they believe Matthew left the Downtown Mall between 1:20 a.m. and 1:40 a.m. in a 1998 burnt orange Chrysler Coupe and have reason to believe Graham was in the vehicle. Police obtained a warrant for Matthew's vehicle Friday morning and upon searching the vehicle found probable cause to obtain a warrant to search his Hessian Hills apartment.

Longo said they are waiting to hear back from the Department of Forensic Sciences about evidence yielded during these two searches. He said he expects these reports to come in Monday or Tuesday morning at the latest and is prepared to put pressure on the department to expedite the process.

Graham’s phone has not been recovered, and authorities are still working with phone companies to obtain records which may validate time stamps on text messages sent by Graham that night.

John and Susan Graham also spoke in their first public appearance since their daughter's disappearance. Visibly distraught, they thanked the Charlottesville community for its help in massive search efforts held this weekend, and implored anyone with information to come forward and speak with police.

"We have been utterly overwhelmed this week by the generosity of spirit," John Graham said as his wife stood beside him. "I think that the reason Hannah has such marvelous support is that this is every parent's worst nightmare."

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management's community search this weekend drew more than 1,200 volunteers. The search is expected to have comprehensively covered 85 percent of the City of Charlottesville by Sunday night.

Detective Sergeant Jim Mooney said police have received more than 900 tips in connection with Graham’s case so far, and have spoken with between 50 and 75 eyewitnesses.

Longo emphasized that police are pursuing Matthew, but will continue to follow all leads in the case.

"I don't want you to get tunnel vision just because we have a name," he said.

Anyone with information on Graham’s disappearance should call the police tip line at 434-295-3851.

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