The person of interest in the hunt for Hannah Graham, 18, has been identified by police as Jesse Matthew.
The man who is being sought in connection with the disappearance of Hannah Graham, 18, in Charlottesville, Virginia has been identified as Jesse Matthew. Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo announced in a press conference on Sept. 21 that police want to talk to Jesse, who they believe was the last person to be seen with Hannah the night she disappeared.
Hannah Graham: Person Of Interest Identified As Jesse Matthew
“I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth,” police chief Longo said in a press conference on Sept. 21, according to CNN. “We want to talk to him.”
Authorities have searched Jesse’s apartment and car, but did not reveal any information. Jesse went to a police station and immediately asked for a lawyer, the police chief said. Jesse and his lawyer spoke and then left the station.
Police have obtained an arrest warrant for Jesse on suspicion of reckless driving, the outlet reports.
“I hope and pray that we might have an opportunity to talk to Jesse Matthew again because I think he can help up find Hannah Graham,” the police chief said.
Jesse, who is reportedly a University of Virginia nursing assistant, allegedly confirmed he met the UVA sophomore in Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall on the night she went missing, Sept. 12, and bought her drinks at a local bar, Daily Mail reports.
Jesse allegedly told his mother that Hannah did not get in his car and that the pair “went their separate ways” after having drinks together at the bar.
“I have been talking with his mother. He said he went his way and she went hers. He told his mother he bought her some drinks. He said she did not get into his car. The girl went her way and he went his,” Jesse’s grandmother, Christine Carr, told Daily Mail on Sept. 20.
Christine says she instantly recognized her grandson, who is often referred to as “LJ,” when she watched the video released by police investigating Hannah’s disappearance.
“I saw the video tape. That is him, that is LJ. The police went through his car and his apartment. They took away his car and three bags out of his apartment,” she allegedly told the site.
Other acquaintances reportedly confirmed Christine’s story.
“That’s definitely him!” one close friend said, Daily Mail reports. “He is always wearing those dumb shorts.”
Catherine also says she’s confident her son had nothing to do with Hannah’s disappearance.
“LJ would never hurt anybody,” the 82-year-old woman said. “I know he is a good boy. I have known him all his life. I’m sure he had nothing to do with it. He is a good boy. He has worked ever since he was able to work. He has never been in trouble. He would do anything to help anybody. I practically raised LJ. His mom was working and I looked after him and his sister, Nicky. He had a live-in girlfriend but I don’t know what happened. They lived together at his apartment.”
Catherine said she last saw her grandson on Sept. 18, when he visited her house along with his mother.
During a press conference on Sept. 19, Chief Longo identified a 6’2″ black man with dreadlocks, who weighs about 270 pounds, as the “person of interest” in the hunt for Hannah.
This person of interest, who has since been identified as Jesse, was spotted in surveillance footage with Hannah before they allegedly vanished in his 1998 burnt orange Chrysler coupe together, police said.
Police believe Jesse bought the underage Hannah an alcoholic drink and have “every reason to believe” that she was with him when he left 15 minutes later.
Hannah has not been seen since Friday, Sept. 12.
Our thoughts go out to Hannah’s family and friends during this difficult time. We are hoping for Hannah’s safe return.