Hannah Graham: High School to Hold Celebration of Life Ceremony - NBC4 Washington

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Hannah Graham: High School to Hold Celebration of Life Ceremony

Hannah's parents: "The light she radiated can never be extinguished"

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    Remains found in an abandoned property in Albemarle County have been identified as missing U.Va. student Hannah Graham. News4's David Culver and Jackie Bensen report. (Published Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014)

    Hannah Graham's Fairfax County high school will remember her during a Celebration of Life ceremony Saturday morning.

    Graham, an 18-year-old University of Virginia student, graduated from West Potomac High Schoo in 2013. Her disappearance made national headlines when after she went out for a night with friends Sept. 12 and never came home.

    Her remains were found more than a month later.

    "We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Hannah," Graham's parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement last month. "...[T]he light she radiated can never be extinguished. We will hold it in our hearts forever and it will help sustain us as we face a painful future without her."

    West Potomac High School's remembrance of Graham will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Springbank Auditorium, according to a message on the school's website. A reception will follow in the school's cafeteria.

    Graham had planned to pursue a career in global public health, her parents said.

    The suspect in her disappearance, Jesse L. Matthew, Jr., was charged in September with abduction with attempt to defile. He is also charged with attempted murder stemming from a 2005 case in the city of Fairfax.

    Graham was last seen on surveillance videos early Sept. 13. The videos show her walking unsteadily, and later running, in downtown Charlottesville. She is also shown with a man police have identified as Matthew, who is shown wrapping his arm around Graham.

    Investigators believe Matthew, a hospital worker and former taxi driver, acted alone and didn't know Graham before her disappearance.

    Matthew was arrested in Texas two weeks after Graham's disappearance and was extradited to Virginia.

    He was held in an Albemarle County jail until Wednesday, when he was taken to Fairfax County for a hearing in a 2005 attempted murder case. Matthew pleaded not guilty in that case Friday morning.

    Authorities have previously said that DNA evidence links the 2005 Fairfax crime to the murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in fall 2009.

    Harrington disappeared after attending a concert at the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. Her body was found in January 2010, a little more than five miles from where Graham's body was found Oct. 18.

    Matthew is not due for a court appearance in the Graham case until December.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.