State Police confirm forensic evidence links Harrington, Graham cases

Police urge public to remain focused on bringing Graham home


Virginia State Police released a statement Monday morning confirming a forensic link between the death of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in 2009 and the disappearance of second-year College student Hannah Graham, who went missing Sept. 13.

"The arrest of Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, of Charlottesville, Va., provided a significant break in this case with a new forensic link for state police investigators to pursue," the statement said.

Matthew was arrested last Wednesday in Galveston, Texas and was brought to Charlottesville Friday.

Police said there is "still a great deal of work to be done" in the Harrington investigation.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo has declined in recent press conferences to discuss what forensic evidence was recovered in the searches of Matthew's car and apartment. At a press conference Thursday, he said he is not at liberty to discuss the evidence, but it would be helpful in a trial of Matthew — who has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in Graham's disappearance. 

Despite this development, Virginia State Police urged the public to remain focused on finding Graham.

"State police continues to dedicate the necessary resources to assist the Charlottesville Police Department through the course of its investigation and with their efforts to locate Hannah Graham," the statement read.

Harrington was attending a concert at John Paul Jones arena in Oct. 2009 when she went missing. Her body was discovered in Jan. 2010 on a patch of farmland about 10 miles from the arena.

Harrington's parents have since launched an advocacy group, "Save the Next Girl," which advocates for safety and prevention of violence against women.  

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