Police won't give up search until Hannah Graham is found

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WUSA9) -- Charlottesville police won't give up their search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham until they find her, Chief Tim Longo said at a press conference Tuesday.

It's been more than three weeks since the 18-year-old sophomore went missing on Sept. 13 from the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.

"I don't see an end in sight until we find Hannah. Maybe that's naïve, maybe that's not the most efficient way to use the resources we have but we're gonna continue as long as it takes," Longo said.

Imaging analysts will assist searchers Wednesday by using pictures that were taken by an aircraft with a high resolution camera over the weekend.

Police will also get a bump in numbers, with searchers from Stafford and Spotsylvania counties and some on horseback joining the search.

"We have no substantive basis in which to believe that her body left the Commonwealth of Virginia let alone the area," Longo said when asked why searchers aren't looking between Charlottesville and Galveston, Texas where suspect Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was arrested.

Longo said only professionals can search because the evidence needs to be preserved as they prepare for a criminal trial. Matthew has been charged with abduction with intent to defile for Graham's disappearance.

Matthew was arrested on a beach in Galveston, Texas and extradited back to Charlottesville to face those charges. Police will not say what evidence they have against Matthew, but a warrant for his arrest was issued after police removed clothes from his car and apartment for DNA testing.

Forensic evidence also connects the 32-year-old Charlottesville man to the 2009 slaying of Morgan Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student and a 2005 rape in Fairfax. Since Matthew's arrest, several police departments have looked into other missing persons cases and murders in Virginia for possible connections.

Graham's parents made an emotional plea over the weekend, asking for anyone with information to come forward.

"Somebody listening to me today either knows where Hannah is, or knows someone who has that information. We appeal to you to come forward and tell us where Hannah can be found," Sue Graham said in an emotional taped statement while sitting next to her husband, John. "John has already said that this is every parent's worst nightmare. ... Please, please, please help end this nightmare for all of us. Please help us to bring Hannah home."

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, the Hannah Graham tip line received 3,878 tips. Call 434-295-3851 or email CPDtips@charlottesville.org if you have any information.


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