Updated at 5:45 p.m.
Charlottesville police searched the home and car of a man last seen having drinks in a downtown restaurant with University of Virginia student Hannah Graham prior to her going missing, but officials do not have enough evidence to file any charges against the man, Police Chief Timothy J. Longo said at press conference.
Longo said police briefly talked to the man and want to talk with him again but said they had no legal reason to keep him in custody or charge him with a crimes. He declined to go into whether the man had a criminal history but did say the man was "known to police."
"I'm not calling him a suspect," Longo said. "We're interested in him. We're interested in talking with him. We're interest in learning more about his interactions with Hannah."
An emotional Longo reiterated the man's description several times; a black man, about 32 years old, 6 feet, 2 inches tall and about 270 pounds with long dreadlocks wearing a white shirt and white knee-length shorts.
Videos released by police from various Downtown Mall businesses -- there are no city-owned surveillance cameras on the mall -- show a man matching that description walking westward on the mall. Graham is then seen going east and the man crosses over the mall and follows behind.
Longo said the man and Graham were later seen in the Tempo restaurant together where the man purchased alcohol. They left in about 15 minutes and the man's car was seen driving away later.
"Hannah Graham was on the mall that night," Longo said of the early morning hours of Sept. 13. "She went from one end of the mall to the other and we have reason to believe that she and this individual were together. People saw Hannah. People saw him. People saw them together. Hannah Graham likely got into his vehicle and people likely saw that vehicle. We need to hear from those people who saw something."
When police arrived to search the man's car, a burnt-orange colored Chrysler, and the man's apartment, Longo said he did not have much conversation with the man.
"I spoke to him earlier this morning and I want to speak to him again," Longo said.
Updated at 4:08 p.m.
Missing student Hannah Graham's parents today released a statement to the University of Virginia community thanking students and officials for Thursday night's candlelight vigil.
Graham's parents also asked students to be vigilant when relaxing over the coming weekend.
"We found the vigil to be extremely moving and would like to offer our sincere thanks to the students for arranging the event and to the University for enabling our attendance," the message, released by John and Susan Graham states.
"We were comforted by the evident high esteem in which our cherished daughter is held by her many friends at the University of Virginia and beyond," they wrote.
The Grahams said they are optimistic that their daughter will be found safe.
"We repeat our previous appeal to contact the Charlottesville Police Department if you have any information that could help the department’s inquires," they wrote.
"Lastly, it is now Friday, a week since Hannah’s disappearance. For those students planning to unwind this weekend, please be extra vigilant when you are out and walk with a buddy."
Updated at 3:05 p.m.
Two University of Virginia students were sexually assaulted near Wertland Street the weekend of Hannah Graham's disappearance from the Downtown Mall, according to UVa police.
In a late Thursday message to UVa staff, faculty and students, UVa Police Chief Michael Gibson wrote that he was told by city police of the assaults.
"The first incident involves a female UVa student who reported being sexually assaulted near Wertland Street in the early morning hours of Sept. 14," Gibson wrote. "The second incident is believed to have occurred in the 200 block of 15th Street NW during the early morning hours of Sept. 15."
Gibson wrote that police "discovered an unconscious female who is a local resident. The circumstances regarding her injuries are unclear and are being investigated as a possible sexual assault."
The assaults have not, at this time, been connected to Graham's disappearance.
Search and rescue crews are continuing to scour Charlottesville neighborhoods, including kayaking along the Rivanna River.
Police are still searching a Hessian Hills apartment after information gathered overnight led them to an early morning search of a car in the Hessian Hills apartment complex. That search led police to get a search warrant to search an apartment at 164 Hessian Hills Way
Updated at 11:17 a.m.
Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo says a police search of a vehicle led to the ongoing search of a Hessian Hills apartment in the investigation of Hannah Graham's disappearance.
Longo told reporters that police obtained a search warrant for a vehicle on the property last night. While they were taking it out of the parking lot to be searched later, they found probable cause to obtain a warrant to search the apartment.
He did not specify the cause.
Longo said police are searching all four units at 164 Hessian Hills Way, which he said is connected to a person of interest in the case. He said he didn't know whether that person lives in the apartment.
Updated at 10:59 a.m.
Charlottesville police investigators are searching a Hessian Hills apartment and car as part of their probe into the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.
Police, including Charlottesville's forensic officers and officers from the Albemarle County police, began the search about a half-hour ago and said the search could take an hour or more.
Neighbors said police in unmarked cars were in the neighborhood early this morning and took a man from the apartment who matched the description of a man whom police were hoping to question regarding Graham.
Officials at the scene told reporters that Graham is not in the home nor in the car, but that their investigation led to the car and the car led them to the home.
While police search the apartment and vehicle, search crews are continuing to comb areas of the city east of downtown.
Updated at 9:40 a.m.
With no new developments overnight in the investigation into Hannah Graham's disappearance, search teams are expecting to hit various Charlottesville neighborhoods later this morning looking for clues.
Searchers have spread east from downtown after surveillance video from several businesses showed the 18-year-old University of Virginia student walking east from 10th Street NW down Preston Avenue and east onto the Downtown Mall.
Police are still hoping to talk with a man seen on one of the surveillance videos and the last known person to see Graham before her disappearance.
Investigators have talked to one man and are seeking information on another man seen walking with missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham early Saturday morning on the Downtown Mall.
One man who was seen on surveillance video following Graham as she walked east on the mall just after 1 a.m. talked to police late Wednesday.
The witness told police a second man walked up to and put his arm around Graham’s shoulder before they continued walking east. That man is described as black, in his late 20s or early 30s, about 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighing between 250 and 285 pounds. He has a close-shaved head, a goatee and a slight potbelly He was wearing black jeans and a white T-shirt.
Police said the man is not seen in videos that came from cameras at Sal’s Caffe Italia and Tuel’s Jewelers.
“He told police that he was following Ms. Graham as she looked to be somewhat physically distressed, and he wanted to make sure she got safely to wherever she was going,” said city police spokesperson Lt. Ronnie Roberts.
Between 40 and 50 searchers from the city police, the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia Department of Emergency Management scoured city neighborhoods Thursday. On Wednesday, officers also searched the Albemarle County location of where Morgan Harrington’s body was discovered in January 2010. Harrington disappeared in 2009 after walking away from John Paul Jones Arena.
City and university officials, along with several local businesses and individuals, also announced a $50,000 reward for any information leading to the cause of Graham’s disappearance.
Police said they are also hoping to uncover more surveillance footage from businesses. City police Capt. Gary Pleasants said many private businesses downtown either don’t have surveillance equipment or only have internal systems that don’t show the outside walkways where Graham was last seen.
There are no city cameras in the area.
The 18-year-old second-year student went missing early Saturday morning after walking from 14th Street Northwest to Preston Avenue and then onto the Downtown Mall. The mall surveillance video is the last time Graham was seen, at about 1:08 a.m., and her last communication came as a series of text messages sent from her phone just before 1:30 a.m., when the phone died.
Search teams plan to continue to look around houses, through car windows and inside of trash cans for the next few days, setting up a new search command center at the Carver Recreation Center in downtown Charlottesville, a location authorities said is more accessible for their wide search.
“We’re gearing up to sustain this search for a longer duration,” said Albemarle County Sheriff J.E. “Chip” Harding. “The anticipation is [it will go on] at least through Sunday, unless something turns up.”
On Saturday, the Department of Emergency Management plans a mass volunteer search for Graham.
Back on Grounds, university students painted Beta Bridge and rallied Thursday night to raise awareness for their missing peer. The vigil held in the McIntire Amphitheatre dubbed “Bring Hannah Home.”
“We will join to demonstrate our ongoing support for Hannah’s search and loved ones,” said a press release sent out to by the UVa Student Council. “We will join to celebrate the unyielding hope that Hannah will come back to us.”
During the event, students performed some of Graham’s favorite music, distributed her favorite candy, pink Starbusts, and friends shared their memories of Graham.
Authorities describe Graham as white, 5 feet, 11 inches tall, with a slender build, blue eyes, light brown hair and freckles. Anyone with more information is urged to contact the police tip line at (434) 295-3851.
To join Saturday’s search, register online at helpfindhannah.brmrg.org no later than 5 p.m. today. Anyone unable to register online may sign-up in person at John Paul Jones Arena by 7 p.m. The search is open only to those who have registered, and all volunteers are subject to a background check.
Searchers must be at least 18, carry no weapons, bring a copy of the registration form and a photo ID, wear proper footwear and clothing, bring water, be in shape for up to four hours of searching and indicate any military, search-and-rescue experience or both.