Sept. 23, 2014
Police are charging 32-year-old Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. with abduction with intent to defile in connection with Hannah Graham's disappearance.
Police held a press conference on the search for missing University of Virginia 2nd-year student Hannah Elizabeth Graham on Tuesday evening.
Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo addressed the media and the public at the City Transportation Center on Avon Street.
Longo says the investigation is ongoing, and that law enforcement is trying to locate Matthew.
Chief Tim Longo did not discuss Tuesday night what evidence led to the charge.
"Between now and the time that this matter goes to trial we need to be very sensitive about the information that we share," Longo said. It is a change from the early days of the case, when police shared as much as they could to aid in the search for Hannah Graham.
Legal expert Scott Goodman says the new abduction charge puts police in a new position.
"The police are going to be releasing very little information from this point on," Goodman said. "Now that it's in court, the police have to be very careful not to taint their case, not to taint the possible jury pool."
Police have been expecting forensic lab results back from evidence they took from Matthew's car and home. They would not confirm Tuesday night whether the lab results are back, but Goodman is confident they are.
"Sometime (Tuesday) they got information from the lab that something connected Hannah to Mr. Matthew," Goodman said. "And I'm sure it's very frustrating for the police officers because they had (Matthew) in their office. He was in the police department on Saturday. This does show how important it is to have quick lab work."
Matthew asked for a lawyer on Saturday, then left the police department. Police who were monitoring him then say he drove away recklessly and could not be safely followed.
The felony abduction charge will make it easier to extradite Matthew if he is arrested in another state. Goodman says, any police department that finds him will likely detain him until someone from Charlottesville Police can pick him up and bring him back to Virginia. If he had only been facing a reckless driving charge, as he was before Tuesday, other departments may have let him go on bond.
Despite the increased focus on locating Matthew, Longo stressed Tuesday night that they have not lost sight of finding Hannah.
"We absolutely are continuing our search for Hannah, even as we speak," Longo said.
Graham was last seen in the area of the Downtown Mall around 1 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13.
If Matthew is arrested and convicted of felony abduction with intent to defile, he could face from twenty years to life in prison.
"He's out on the run," Goodman said. "It makes it very dangerous because somebody who is that desperate certainly is not going to be easily taken into custody."