Find Hannah: What to Know About the Hannah Graham Case - NBC4 Washington

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Find Hannah: What to Know About the Hannah Graham Case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia reporter David Culver with word that investigators are connecting three cases involving women to Jesse Matthew. (Published Monday, Sept. 29, 2014)

    A desperate search has unfolded since University of Virginia student Hannah Graham went out for a night of fun with friends and never came home.

    Surveillance video shows her walking unsteadily, and later running, in downtown Charlottesville in the early-morning hours of Sept. 13. She is also seen with a man investigators say is 32-year-old Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr.

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    Matthew was arrested in Texas last week and was extradited to Virginia. He is not speaking to investigators.

    Graham's father has described his daughter's disappearance as every parent's "worst nightmare." More than two weeks after she vanished, questions remain. Where is Hannah? What happened? And who is Jesse Matthew?

    Hannah's Last Known Whereabouts

    According to authorities, Graham met friends at a restaurant for dinner on Friday, Sept. 12 before stopping by two parties at off-campus housing units. Officials said she left the second party alone and later sent a text message to a friend saying she was lost.

    Surveillance videos showed her walking unsteadily, and at some points running, past a pub and a gas station and then onto Charlottesville's downtown mall, a seven-block pedestrian strip where police believe she entered the Tempo Restaurant with Matthew.

    Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said that police have no reason to believe the two knew each other before that night.

    The video that has been publicly released does not show the two entering the bar together; instead, "witnesses place them in the bar together," wrote Charlottesville Police spokesperson Miriam I. Dickler in an email.

    However, Tempo Restaurant owner Brice Cunningham told the Associated Press, "She was not seen and she was not served" inside the restaurant.

    Hannah Graham Search Expands Outside CharlottesvilleHannah Graham Search Expands Outside Charlottesville

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    Tempo Restaurant released a statement last Thursday, urging patrons to report anything they may have seen that night.

    "We do this in the hope that reviewing these details might help anyone who might have seen Hannah that night recall any information... that could help police," the statement read.

    Cunningham told the AP that Matthew briefly entered the bar, where credit card records show he ordered what appeared to be two beers before rejoining the teenager outside.

    An employee then watched them walk off with Matthew's arm around her, he said. Tempo staff told police Graham could barely walk without support when she left with Matthew.

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    Longo, who had said Graham entered Tempo with Matthew, declined to challenge Cunningham's version, but added: "I will tell you we have at least one witness who will put her in that restaurant."

    Who Is Jesse Matthew?

    Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. had been employed at the University of Virginia Medical Center since Aug. 12, 2012, as a patient technician in the operating room, according to the university.

    The university issued a statement last week that Matthew has been suspended without pay as a result of the abduction charge against him.

    Matthew attended Liberty University from 2000 to 2002, said officials with the Lynchburg school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. The school's athletics website listed him as a defensive lineman on the football team.

    He was accused of a sexual assault on Liberty's campus in October 2002, but charges were never filed, according to Lynchburg's deputy commonwealth's attorney.

    More recently, he served as a volunteer for the football team at The Covenant School, a private Christian pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school in Charlottesville. Officials said his involvement began in August following interviews with the athletic director and football coach, as well as normal background and reference checks.

    After Matthew was named a person of interest in Graham's disappearance, school officials said in a letter that he will "no longer be working with our football program while this matter is being clarified and resolved.''

    While Matthew has had past brushes with the law, the details of those cases are not clear.

    Online court records show Matthew was convicted of trespassing in 2010, but provide no details about the incident. Details also were unavailable for two other charges of assault and attempted grand larceny relating to a 2009 incident that were not prosecuted.

    Matthew, who had a taxi permit from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles from 2007 to 2010, also has several traffic infractions, records show.

    The abduction charge against Matthew surprised Dave Hansen, who first met him about 11 years ago when Hansen served as an assistant pastor at an area church.

    "I always thought he was a gentle giant, just a nice guy," Hansen said. "He seemed genuine with his faith and spirituality... I don't see him doing this at all, but that's usually the case, I guess."

    Links to Other Cases?

    On Monday, as the search for Graham entered its third week, police said they believe there's a link between Graham's disappearance and the 2009 slaying of another Virginia college student, 20-year-old Morgan Harrington.

    Harrington, a Virginia Tech student, disappeared after attending a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia on Oct. 17, 2009. Harrington had left the arena and was not allowed back in to find her friends. She called friends and said she would try to find her own way home.

    Witnesses said a woman fitting Harrington's description was seen on a bridge that crosses railroad tracks, attempting to hitchhike.

    Harrington's remains were found three months later. Her death was ruled a homicide.

    During an appearance on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday morning, Harrington's father said he was struck by the similarities in his daughter's death and Graham's disappearance, but hadn't thought the two were linked until recently.

    "I thought it seemed very similar to Morgan's situation with sort of the question of her maybe being somewhat impaired, someone just picking her up and trying to take care of her," Dan Harrington said. "But it really came to light to me about two weeks ago when I saw a picture of the sketch as compared to Jesse... I thought, 'Oh my God, I think it's the same person." 

    The latest development may also help solve a 2005 sex assault in Fairfax, Virginia. In that case, a 26-year-old woman had just left a Giant supermarket when a man grabbed her from behind and forced her into a nearby wooded area, where he sexually assaulted her, said City of Fairfax police. The assailant fled after being startled by another person.

    The FBI previously said DNA from Harrington's attacker matched that of the Fairfax assailant.

    Virginia State Police said in a release Monday that the arrest of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., the suspect in Graham's disappearance, "provided a significant break in this case [that of Morgan Harrington] with a new forensic link for state police investigators to pursue."

    Police have not said what kind of evidence links Jesse Matthew to both Harrington and Graham.

    Matthew's attorney, James Camblos, told NBC News on Tuesday that authorities had "yet to provide me with any evidence of links to those two cases.

    Camblos said he would not comment on any possible links to other unsolved cases in the area, such as the 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax.