Police use drones in search for UVa. student Hannah Graham

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WUSA9) -- The search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham is reaching new heights as the Commonwealth does something they've never done before.

They're using a drone to help search for the missing 18-year-old last seen on September 13.

A Virginia Tech drone called a Skyranger is flying below 300 feet in places where the 50 people on the ground, some on ATVs, can't reach. The drone was approved specially by the FAA Tuesday to fly over spots where land owners have given their OK.

Searchers started at 9 a.m. Wednesday on ATVs, investigating some of the 3000 tips received so far. The tips range from someone noticing a smell, spotting a piece of clothing or even witnessing buzzards circling a specific area.

Police have scoured 175 square miles so far in their search, but they aren't giving up.

"We have to find Hannah Graham," Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said.

Even with eyes in the sky, actual eyes on the ground are still crucial. Police are asking anyone who might have seen something to email CPDTips@charlottesville.org.

Jesse Matthew investigated in 5 cases: http://on.wusa9.com/1nL99M3

Meanwhile, Graham's abduction suspect Jesse Matthew is being investigated in four other cases. Forensic evidence connects Matthew to the murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington and a 2005 rape in Fairfax.

Investigators are also looking into whether Matthew was involved in the 2009 murder of Cassandra Morton in Campbell County and the 2010 disappearance of Samantha Clarke.

Matthew is due in court Thursday morning to answer his reckless driving charges.


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