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Forensic Evidence Links Hannah Graham Suspect To Murdered Virginia Tech Student

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(WTVR) –  The man suspected of abducting 18-year-old Hannah Graham from the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month is forensically linked to the 2009 disappearance of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, sources close to the investigation confirmed to CBS 6 reporter Laura French.

Those sources indicated that forensic evidence belonging to Graham suspect Jesse Matthew Jr., matched forensic evidence collected during the Harrington investigation.

The sources would not indicate what Matthew may or may not have done with Harrington, however the sources indicated that the forensic evidence match showed Harrington had some sort of contact with Matthew the night she disappeared outside John Paul Jones arena on October 17, 2009. Her remains were found in January 2010 on an Albemarle County farm.

“We worked five years to get to this point, so we are relieved,” Morgan Harrington’s mother Gil said. Harrington added it was now time for her to take a step back and let investigators do their job and find Hannah.

“We are heartbroken for her family. We know what they’re going through,” Harrington told WTVR.com in the days after Graham disappeared. “Police need information. They need to process tips. Please reach out to police and do not be the filter. Even if you think it does not make sense, let police be the filter.”

Two years after Morgan Harrington’s remains were found, the FBI released a sketch of the man they said had contact with the Virginia Tech student. The sketch was released after investigators found forensic evidence that linked a 2005 sex assault in Fairfax to Harrington’s disappearance.

Where is Hannah?

Hannah Graham was officially reported missing on September 14, though she was last seen the early hours of September 13.

Jesse Matthew’s car and apartment were searched five days later, on September 19, after police reviewed video and spoke with witnesses. The next day Matthew was reported to have sped away from the overt surveillance Virginia State Police had on him.

He was next named a suspect, after police received more forensic evidence.

On September 24, police in Texas were alerted to a suspicious man camping on the beach in Gilchrist on the Bolivar Peninsula, approximately 1,300 miles from Charlottesville. When they ran his license plate number around 3:30 p.m., they found out he was wanted in Virginia.

Matthew was charged with giving false information to a police officer. A federal law enforcement source confirmed a phone call made from a borrowed cell phone in Louisiana, to Virginia, is how police first discovered Jesse Matthew was out of the state and on the run.

Matthew was flown back to Virginia on September 26 and taken to Albemarle County Jail. He is expected to make an initial court appearance on Thursday where he will face an abduction with intent defile charge.

Anyone with information regarding Graham’s whereabouts should call (434) 295-3851 or 1-800-THE-LOST.

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