Jesse Leroy Matthew, 32, was arrested Wednesday in the disappearance of a woman named Hannah Graham, 18, a sophomore University of Virginia, who is still missing. She has not been seen or heard from since the early hours of Saturday, September 13. He is the last person seen with her on surveillance footage before she disappeared. Matthew has been formally charged with abduction, with the intent to defile (rape).
Matthew, who was considered a fugitive, was arrested in Galveston County, Texas, after an officer recognized his car and license plate. He is currently being held in jail there, awaiting extradition. In addition to the abduction, with intent to defile, charges which he faces in Virginia, Texas has charged him with being a fugitive from justice and giving false information to a police officer. He is currently being held there without bond, due to his fugitive status.
Police have not said what evidence they have to charge Matthew with Graham’s abduction. However, police executed a search warrant and seized his car on Friday, along with some items in his apartment. On Monday, police came back with another search warrant and emerged holding three full bags of evidence, though it is not known what was in those bags.
According to the Charlottesville Police, when Matthew voluntarily arrived at the police station Saturday afternoon, it was originally assumed that he intended to talk to investigators about Graham’s disappearance. Instead, he asked for a lawyer, was provided with one, and then, left the police station an hour later. Police reportedly followed him, and that is when he allegedly sped away, for which Charlottesville Police decided to charge him with reckless driving. It is not known why he voluntarily went to the police station in the first place.
As a University of Virginia woman remains missing, Jesse Matthew has been arrested in connection with her disappearance. According to his landlord, Matthew lived with two roommates until Monday, when they both decided to move out. It is not known who they are or whether they were in the University of Virginia area the night Graham went missing, nor is it known whether they have been questioned by police. However, neither of them have been arrested, or charged with, any crime related to her disappearance.
Before this, Matthew worked as a patient technician at the University of Virginia hospital, where he had worked since August 12. He has also worked as a cab driver at some point in his life. According to his grandmother, Caroline Carr, Matthew has been able to hold a job ever since he was old enough to work. He had at least one live-in girlfriend in the past. He has at least a few close friends, if not more. In the past, he has been convicted of trespassing.
Graham is at least the fourth young woman to go missing from the University of Virginia area since 2009. All four were between the ages of 17-20 and all four disappeared between the months of August-October. Alexis Murphy, 17, disappeared on August 3, 2013. Her body was never found, but a man named Randy Taylor, 49, was charged and found guilty of her murder in July 2014. Her DNA was found inside his home.
Samantha Clarke, 19, disappeared in September 13, 2010. Randy Taylor was also a primary person of interest in her disappearance because he called her five times in the hours before her disappearance. He was never formally charged in her disappearance, however, and her body has not been found.
Morgan Harrington, 20, disappeared on October 17, 2009, while attending a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia. Her remains were found on a farm in January 2010. Police have not released details of her death, but her mother has publicly said that her daughter was abducted, raped and, murdered. Moreover, her mother described her daughter’s death as a very violent one, with many broken bones. Her killer has not been caught.
Unlike that of Harrington and Clarke, Jesse Matthew has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a University of Virginia woman, but that does not change the fact that she is still missing. Police encourage volunteers to keep looking for her.
By Lindsey Dow