Virginia State Police disputes a report by NBC29 in Charlottesville, Virginia, that the prime suspect in the September 2014 disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham had been interviewed by police five years ago in connection with another missing young woman.
Sources tell NBC29 that Charlottesville Police interviewed Jesse Matthew after Morgan Harrington disappeared.
"According to the Virginia State Police case agent for the Morgan Harrington investigation, Jesse L. Matthew Jr. was never interviewed by local, state or federal law enforcement in 2009 after or in connection with Miss Harrington’s disappearance," state police said in a statement. "There is no record in the case file of any such interview ever having taken place."
Matthew, 32, who was arrested in connection with Graham's disappearance last month, has been linked to the 2009 unsolved murder of Harrington. Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, was last seen after attending a rock concert in Charlottesville. Her remains were found three months later.
Matthew had worked as a cab driver in the Charlottesville area the night Harrington vanished, according to NBC29's Henry Graff. Two weeks ago, as the search for Graham expanded to areas outside Charlottesville, police found Matthew's abandoned cab on a farm.
Following Harrington's disappearance in 2009, police had interviewed dozens of cab drivers, including Matthew. Virginia State Police said their officers did not interview Matthew.
A cab driver said a Charlottesville detective told him Harrington had gotten into a taxi the night she vanished, according to NBC29.
"[They] said yes, she did jump into a taxi cab her last time being seen alive," Melvin Carter, Jr. of Carter's Taxi told NBC29.
Since Matthew's cab was discovered, Charlottesville police have interviewed about 20 taxi drivers who were also working the night of Harrington's disappearance, asking them if they remember seeing her or noticing a change in Matthew's behavior, NBC29 is reporting.
Though police have not yet commented on the newest developments, Harrington's father told NBC29, "This is what we hoped for, that more pieces of the puzzle would come together."
Graham, 18, was last seen during the early morning hours of Sept. 13 with Matthew on Charlottesville's downtown mall. Matthew was arrested in Texas on Sept. 21 and charged with abduction with intent to defile in Graham's disappearance.
Two years ago, the FBI said DNA evidence showed that Harrington's killer also was responsible for a 2005 rape in Northern Virginia. City of Fairfax police have declined to comment, citing their ongoing investigation.