Find Hannah: Arrest Warrant Issued for Person of Interest in Missing U.Va. Student Case

Jesse Matthew sped away from a police station and is now wanted for two counts of reckless driving, authorities said

There are now two searches underway in Charlottesville: one for Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old University of Virginia student missing for more than a week -- and one for the last person known to have seen her, 32-year-old Jesse Matthew.

On Monday, Charlottesville Police released a Wanted poster in their efforts to locate Matthew, whom they call a "person of interest" in the disappearance of Hannah Graham.

Matthew sped away from a police station in neighboring Albemarle County Saturday and is now wanted for two counts of reckless driving, authorities said.

On Monday, Charlottesville detectives again searched Matthew's apartment, bringing out three more bags of evidence. They first searched there Friday, before Matthew had been named as a person of interest.

Police have not charged Matthew in Graham's disappearance, but Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he believes Matthew was the last person to see Graham.

"We're taking every effort that we know of to try and determine his location today. We'll continue to pursue him until such time as he is located," Longo said in an interview on NBC's "Today" show Monday morning.

Security video shows Matthew at the downtown mall in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 13. Soon after, the two were seen entering the Tempo Restaurant, and they also left the restaurant together.

"We are not excluding anyone in this," said Capt. Gary Pleasants of the Charlottesville Police Department. "As far as we can find right now, he is the last person that was with Hannah, so certianly he is the focus of our investigation."

Police especially want to know if anyone saw the two enter Matthew's banged up, burnt orange car.

"I believe Jesse Matthew is the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face off the earth," Longo said at a media briefing on Sunday. "But somebody knows where she is. And we want to know who that person or persons are."

It's been three days since Matthew's landlord, Frances Lee-Vandell, has heard from him.

While she said Matthew is far from an ideal tenant, she's surprised to hear him called a person of interest in Hannah Graham's disappearance.

"I'm horrified... I'm in shock..." she said. "He seems a mild man... not violent, but I don't know."

For the first time since the search for Hannah Graham began more than a week ago, the U.Va. student’s parents spoke out about their missing daughter. Her mother, Sue, wept at points during the press conference while her father, John, discussed the disappearance.

Longo said Matthew and two of his family members arrived at police headquarters Saturday and asked for a lawyer. After speaking to the lawyer, Matthew left the station without talking to detectives.

"To be clear, this high speed exit that he took was somewhat after he left the station. He went to a location in Albemarle County," Longo said. "He was surveilled at that time, not covertly but overtly. He got into a car and he sped off."

Longo said Matthew's speed was so high that police disengaged from the pursuit.

Volunteers began a search Saturday for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. News4’s David Culver reports.

Hannah’s father, John Graham, spoke publicly for the first time Sunday, appealing to anyone with information to come forward.

"Who saw Hannah?" he asked during the press conference, as his wife, Sue, stood next to him. "Somebody knows what happened to Hannah."

John Graham expressed gratitude to more than 1,000 volunteers who combed Charlottesville, where Graham was last seen, on Saturday and Sunday.

"We have been utterly overwhelmed by the generosity of the spirit of all the people we’ve met," he said. "This is every parent’s worst nightmare. We need to find out what happened to her so it doesn’t happen to anyone else."

Graham expressed hope that his daughter would be found alive.

"Hannah is brilliant, resilient, determined and loves life more than anybody else I know," he said.

He read an email from Hannah's former teacher, who wrote: “If anybody could get through this, it is Hannah."

Charlottesville, Va. Police Chief Timothy Longo issued a passionate plea to the public as they continue their search for Hannah Graham, a second-year student from Alexandria, who disappeared last weekend.

The chief, in an emotional statement, said Sunday that Matthew was the person seen in surveillance video walking with Graham before she disappeared more than a week ago.

He wants anyone who saw Graham or Matthew that evening to contact police as soon as possible.

 Longo thanked people who were involved in the search this weekend as well as those who emailed him from all over the country, saying “you rose to the occasion, you stepped up to the plate.”

Virginia Department of Emergency Management’s Mark Eggeman said nearly 2,000 people searched for clues into Graham’s disappearance. Eggeman said he spent his daughter’s birthday with searchers, saying, “No place I’d rather be.”

Hannah Graham has been missing since early on September 13. She was seen in surveillance video along the city's Downtown Mall.

A man, who police believe is Matthew, is later seen on the video wrapping his arm around Graham's waist. Police say the two then entered a Charlottesville restaurant during the early morning hours of Sept. 13, where the man bought alcohol and later left in a burnt-orange car.

"We have every reason to believe Ms. Graham was in that vehicle," said Detective Sgt. Jim Mooney of Charlottesville police.

Police searched the man's apartment and car and even talked to him — but stopped short at calling him a suspect. When asked if the man had a criminal history, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said he has "had contact with police."

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