After a widespread manhunt, the suspect alleged to have abducted missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham has been taken into custody in Galveston, Texas, on Wednesday. The man is now going to be moved to Charlottesville and face charges in the sophomore’s disappearance case.
On Tuesday, Jesse L. LJ Matthew Jr. was accused of having kidnapped 18-year old Hannah Graham with the intent of sexually abusing her. The girl vanished on September 13th after having attended a party with friends.
Police has suggested that they are in possession of evidence linking Matthew to Hannah’s disappearance. The charges also imply that the 32 year-old took her against her will (or that Hannah wasn’t in a state that would have made her able to consent). The evidence hasn’t been made public yet.
Police Chief Timothy J. Longo is now wondering why the suspect was found in the Galveston area, which lies southeast of Huston, 1,300 miles from Charlottesville, on the Gulf of Mexico. Adam S. Lee, FBI special agent heading the Richmond division told reporters that the suspect had been taken into custody by the Galveston County Sheriff’s office.
“It’s a positive close to this chapter of this very important case, and we look forward to more positive developments,”
Lee told reporters.
According to the Galveston County Sheriff’s office spokesman, Maj. Raymond Tuttoilmondo, Matthew was arrested around 3:30 PM on Wednesday, on a beach in Gilchrist. Officials declined to offer any other details of Matthew’s arrest or if the man might have been heading somewhere.
The reward for the U-VA student’s safe return has been increased to $100,000, Longo said, as he noted that the search for Hannah Graham is nowhere close to being over.
“We are asking every person within the sound of my voice to find Hannah Graham,”
said Longo during a press conference.
Police now hope that Matthew will provide them with information on Hannah’s whereabouts, as an extensive search hasn’t produced any traced of the 18-year old. Police decided to press charges against the 32 year-old after police had collected evidence from his apartment and car and after the evidence from the crime lab in Richmond had been reviewed. Until now, police hasn’t revealed whether this evidence included traces of Graham’s DNA.
Matthew is charged with “abduction with intent to defile,” and if convicted, the 32 year-old may be facing a potential maximum life sentence in prison.