Updated 2:37 p.m.
Police released a “Wanted” poster of Jesse Matthew Jr. on Monday afternoon asking for the public’s help in finding the 32-year-old, who authorities believe may be driving his sister’s light blue 1997 Nissan Sentra.
Authorities said Matthew may have had access to the car, which has the license plate number VAC4575, as recently as 5 p.m. Sunday. Matthew has contacts in Virginia, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, police said.
The release came within an hour of investigators serving another search warrant on Matthew’s Hessian Hills apartment unit.
Albemarle County police officers walked out of the unit in the 100 block of the complex at the intersection of Georgetown and Barracks roads carrying several items. Police declined to say what led them back to the unit.
Matthew’s landlord, Frances Lee-Vandell, said she was “horrified” when news broke that police wanted to speak with Matthew, about Hannah Graham’s disappearance.
“I’m just as shocked as everybody else,” Lee-Vandell said.
Lee-Vandell last spoke to Matthew on Thursday, she said, about bills he intended to pay.
Matthew’s two roommates have moved out, she said. Also absent was Matthew’s pit bull, Popcorn.
“We just don’t know enough [to jump to conclusions] yet,” she said, of Graham’s disappearance. “I’ll be very interested in what happens.”
Updated 12:44 p.m.
Authorities refocused their efforts on the area of Jefferson Park Avenue on Monday morning as the search resumed for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.
On the heels of an emotional plea from Graham’s parents Sunday for any information that may lead to their daughter, police say they are working on leads and waiting on lab tests of evidence they collected in Graham’s case.
Forensics workers at the state lab in Richmond worked through the weekend to process items authorities seized from the home and car of the man they say was the last person to see Hannah Graham, said Charlottesville police Capt. Gary Pleasants.
“We’re expecting those results possibly today or maybe tomorrow,” Pleasants said.
Meanwhile, authorities continue to search for Jesse “LJ” Matthew Jr., Pleasants said.
Virginia State Police issued two misdemeanor reckless driving warrants for Matthew on Saturday evening. An officer following Matthew witnessed him driving away from the Charlottesville police station at a high rate of speed, city police Chief Timothy J. Longo told reporters Sunday.
Matthew, a patient technician at the University of Virginia Medical Center, has not been named a suspect in the disappearance of Graham, 18, who was last seen Sept. 13. Longo said police want to question Matthew about what happened after he and Graham left Tempo restaurant on the Downtown Mall just after 1 a.m. that Saturday.
Pleasants would not say whether police are considering anyone else in Graham’s case.
“We are discounting nothing at this point,” he said.
Anyone who saw Graham or has any information on her whereabouts is encouraged to call a tip line at (434) 295-3851. Tips also may be called in to police at (434) 970-3280.
Virginia State Police issued arrest warrants for Jesse L. “L.J.” Matthew, a man seen with a University of Virginia student before her disappearance, on two misdemeanor reckless driving charges.
The warrants stem from Matthew, 32, driving away from the Charlottesville police station Saturday afternoon at a high rate of speed, city police Chief Timothy J. Longo said Sunday.
Surveillance footage showed Matthew on the Downtown Mall with Hannah Elizabeth Graham, 18, on the morning of her Sept. 13 disappearance, police said. Longo said little information was gleaned from Matthew’s appearance at the station Saturday and investigators want to question him again.
“I don’t know any more about his interaction with Hannah Graham than I did when he walked in,” Longo said during a Sunday news conference.
Longo said Matthew entered the station with family members and asked for and spoke to a lawyer. He left roughly an hour later.
About 15 minutes after Matthew departed the station, state and federal authorities who had been “overtly” monitoring Matthew’s movements saw him drive through Albemarle County at a speed and in a manner that was “reckless and placed others in danger, so much so that they had to disengage for their protection and protection of other people,” Longo said.
Longo said police now are “aggressively pursuing” Matthew and will arrest him when he is found.
“I believe that Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth,” Longo said at the news conference. “Because it’s been a week, and we can’t find her.”
Eyewitness accounts and some surveillance video show that Matthew and Graham were together just after 1 a.m. Saturday, first going to the Tempo restaurant on the Downtown Mall, ordering drinks and leaving some time later. It is still unclear whether Graham continued with Matthew after that.
“Somebody knows what happened to Hannah,” John Graham, her father, said Sunday as he read a statement while standing next to his wife Sue. “We don’t know who that is, but somebody knows what happened to Hannah.”
Matthew has not been charged in the disappearance of Graham, who arrived at the Downtown Mall after walking from a party in the Venable neighborhood, according to police.
“I don’t want to get tunnel vision just because we have a name, just because we saw her with a particular person,” Longo said.
Authorities executed search warrants on Matthew’s Albemarle County apartment and his vehicle, a 1998 burnt orange Chrysler coupe. Law enforcement is still awaiting results from the state Department of Forensic Science to find out whether any evidence of Graham being in the car was recovered, Longo said.
Photos of the car were shown and disseminated at the news conference, and Longo urged anyone who might have seen the car Sept. 12 or Sept. 13 to contact police.
“If you saw somebody get in that car around 1:20 [a.m.], 1:30, 1:40, we really need to talk to you,” Longo said. “Because this is critical piece of a puzzle where there’s lots of pieces missing.”
UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan released a statement Sunday reiterating the university’s commitment to “provide both emotional support and physical assistance” in the search for Graham.
“As you heard from Hannah’s parents, … our shared goal as a community is to locate Hannah and to return her safely to her family,” Sullivan said.
Mark Eggeman of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said that, by the end of searching Sunday, approximately 85 percent of Charlottesville has been scoured following a community effort that brought more than 1,200 volunteers into the city .
While the community effort proved successful and encouraging, Eggeman said, searching now will be scaled back solely to trained volunteers.
As investigators continued to follow leads, John and Sue Graham asked the community to continue coming forward with more information about their daughter in her last hours before she disappeared, no matter how “insignificant” it might seem.
“We need to find out what happened to Hannah, and make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else,” John Graham said.
Graham is white, about 5 feet, 11 inches tall with a slender build, blue eyes, light-brown hair and freckles. Surveillance footage captured three hours before she went missing shows Graham dressed in black slacks and a gold and black, bare-midriff top with mesh cutouts.
Anyone who saw Graham or has information on her whereabouts is encouraged to call a tip line at (434) 295-3851. Tips also may be called in to police at (434) 970-3280.