Infant dies after she’s left in hot car

Police made ‘tactical decisions’ handling missing UVa. student Hannah Graham case

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – On Monday Charlottesville Police released a wanted poster for Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., saying he has two warrants out for reckless driving.

Matthew’s face is shown, and the poster states that the police department would also like to speak with him regarding the disappearance of missing 18-year-old University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, who hasn’t been seen since early Saturday, Sept. 13. The poster has stirred debate.

Police said Graham was last seen with Matthew  on surveillance camera, as they left the Tempo restaurant in downtown Charlottesville. Witnesses said Matthew bought drinks.

matthew wanted posterMatthew, age 32, voluntarily showed up to the police station and asked for a lawyer, a week after Graham was last seen. He showed up later in the day after a European-based tabloid magazine published his name and place of employment.

The day prior to that police had obtained a warrant and seized his vehicle to search. There was enough initial evidence that then led to a search warrant of Matthew’s apartment in Hessian Hills.

Police Chief Tim Longo said that after Matthew spoke with a lawyer, he left the station, got into a vehicle with another person and drove off.

Federal investigators were keeping a close eye on Matthew, Longo said.

"Overtly monitoring his movement, saw him get into a car, leave a location in Albemarle County at a high rate of speed, driving in a manner that was reckless and put others in danger," Longo said at a press conference Sunday.

Police did not turn on their blue lights or initiate a pursuit. The Virginia State Police ended surveillance when he sped off, they said.

Mixed opinions on police tactics

The law enforcement decision to charge Matthew with reckless driving and put his face on a wanted poster has struck debate among many people.

“It's gonna be hard for him to get jobs and it's not like he's been prosecuted or they have evidence on this guy yet,” said Maderio Vanable; a Charlottesville resident who does not know Matthew personally.

Vanable questioned if the law enforcement's aggressive pursuit of Matthew is the right approach.

Defense attorney Scott Goodman says police must know something about Matthew that they are discussing. “Right now they are sure this is the person that has the information they need to lead them to Hannah Graham,” he said.

Goodman said the decision not to pull Matthew over for reckless driving, yet charge him for it, is tactical. It is a decision he said police hope will lead to him in jail without bond.

In most cases people that are charged with reckless driving don’t spend time in jail, especially if they have no past criminal history, Goodman told WCAV 19.

“As days go by [as police look for him] when he's charged, he is found, they'll be able to argue to a judge that he is a flight risk,” Goodman said.

On Monday police returned to Matthew’s apartment and left with three bags of evidence. His landlady said she had not seen him, his roommates, or his dog, in days.

"Mr. Matthew has indicated clearly that he wants to speak to an attorney before he answers anymore questions, so he will be able to invoke that right at such time when officers make contact with him," Goodman told WCAV.

Currently Matthew faces no charges related to Graham’s disappearance. Forensic evidence from his home and vehicle are expected back sometime Tuesday, police said.

“I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the earth,” Charlottesville Police  Tim Longo said during a Sunday news conference. “It’s been a week and we can’t find her. It’s been a week and someone has got to know something.”

Police said they had received over 900 tips in the case, and heard from at least 60 eyewitnesses. But they ask if you saw a burnt orange Chrysler coupe on the downtown mall on Saturday, Sept. 13, to please call the tip line at 434-295-3851.

Matthew is said to be in possession of his sister’s car, a blue Nissa Sentra with VA plates VAC4575.

Police said that in addition to his home state of Virginia, he has known associates in Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.

A $50,000 reward is now being offered in hopes of soliciting tips that could lead police to Graham.

 All surveillance videos can be seen here. All reports filed on this case can be found here.

34 comments

  • Alan L.

    if not involved why run.if I was a p.o.i. and innocent, I would want to help investigation to clear my name.Fleeing doesn,t help one bit.In fact it does the opposite. Taking time and effort away from investigation. if you,re seen stalking a person and are innocent ,explain yourself, don,t flee. help out,clear your name.stupid. people who have nothing to hide stand their ground.and clear their name.” Oh it wasn’ t me” Then running .. If he is cleared he wasted precious time and effort to find her.If you r seen stalking exspect to be guestioned and explain your actions.DON’T run and ACT LIKE A STALKER ….STUPID!!!!

  • G W

    Tell us what Grahams’ and Matthews online activities reveal! What about the bloodhound and the confiscated car? Has anybody checked this perp’s FB/Twitter or other social media?

    • N2RVA

      yes, they did check his FB page but it’s interesting that not a single word or mention has been made about the missing girl’s FB page. Which by omission indicates there’s something on her page her family does not want disclosed because it might caste a different light on the investigation. It makes no sense at this point that her online activities have not been disclosed, though it could very much be part of the active investigation while the police keep everyone mesmerized and focused on the :”person of interest”. This case is starting to sound an awful lot like the Alexis Murphy case.

      • bmujahid

        What are the chances that an 18 year old college freshman at UVA didn’t have a FB page.. what are the odds? As I said, it’s part of the investigation but they should at least disclose that to the public. If she had one, it may now be offline taken down by law enforcement.

  • marie

    I am in no way saying that he has nothing to do with or does have something to do with her disappearance; I don’t know. However, it is clear that the police at this time have NOTHING on him so they used the lie of him speeding away recklessly in a way that would harm others but they did not turn on their lights and try to stop him for speeding in a reckless manner. That makes NO sense. If anyone was doing that, they would be stopped or pursued at least. So let him speed a way recklessly and let him injure or possibly kill someone??? Him speeding away is a lie and just a way for them to get him back in their custody/put a warrant out on him.

    • B Addy

      Marie , If you take a minute and read the article , they explain why they did not pull him. If you think the police have nothing on him you are sadly mistaken. These people are good at what they do. At this point it does not look good for Hannah , but hopefully I am wrong.

    • marie

      I read the article—it says they did it so that they can put him in jail without bond via the warrant—that is BS. He did not speed, they lied so that they could use this tactic, that is what I was saying. You should re-read my comment. They let him speed off was a lie. He didn’t speed at all. The police concocted a lie t hold the guy while they gather evidence. Get it?

      • marie

        If he sped off the way they said, they would’ve chased him. If he sped off to the point that it could have injured people, possibly kill people, they would have chased him. The article states “Overtly monitoring his movement, saw him get into a car, leave a location in Albemarle County at a high rate of speed, driving in a manner that was reckless and put others in danger,” Longo said at a press conference Sunday. Key point, “driving in a manner that was reckless and put others in danger”. Do you all think the police risked people’s lives just for a warrant tactic? If they did, sad for them. If they are telling the truth about the speeding and someone would have died, that would have been an AWFUL tragedy and very selfish on the part of those policemen.

      • athynz

        They gave the reasoning behind not pursuing him at high speeds – it was to ensure the safety of others on the roadways. Fact is that him driving off the way he did paints a big red target on his back. It could be he is completely innocent however innocent people do not leave a police station driving recklessly. I am curious as to how you know he was not driving recklessly.

      • marie

        ok, some people are illiterate. I do not KNOW that he wasn’t speeding. That is my opinion based on the “facts” presented in the article. “Speeding off makes you look guilty.” I agree, it could. But people also speed off because of anger. He might have been angry as he left because of the accusations or what just happened at the department. My point is, if your prime suspect speeds off in a way that could danger others, catch him. He had no reason to speed off as if trying to get a way….he was free to go. All I’m saying is I believe the police lied so that they can put out a warrant. I am in no way defending this guy. He may well be the culprit and deserves whatever is coming to him for his crime.

      • Doug manning

        Marie, why don’t you go out partying with the next black thug you meet so they can find you like they’re going to find Hannah. Then we won’t have to hear your stupid excuses for black murderers. Go for it, they’re just like whites! No difference.

      • marie

        Doug, I’ll leave that to your drunk wife, daughters, cousins, grand daughters, aunts, etc. Basically just leave it to your white women like Hannah. They are the ones who party with the thugs, get drunk and meet such a demise. You see black women have common sense. You should teach your children this sometime. However, nice try…not! You should’ve kept your pathetic comment in your dumb mind.

  • Trecy

    I first wanna pray that Hanna is safe, but secondly, being a mother of three girls myself, feel something serious has to be done about crime in today’s society. Bring stricter punishment back to America, force people to fear the consequences of their action…please set the example, eye for an eye, or hang people who commit haneous crimes. Where does it stop! As a working citizen, its not societies job to support prisons filled with criminals. Once a person crosses that line to become a criminal, they should loose their american rights. Amen!!

    • Jim Ridgway

      She was ‘served’. The law says you cannot serve a minor. Therefore, the bartender (server) is liable and because he is acting as an agent for the bar/owner, the bar will/could lose its license. How the drink was paid for is irrelevant as it is not incumbent upon the person paying to card someone. As far as we know they may pursue this at a later date. But this is not the urgent issue.

  • jeffreykpearl

    I’m still not convinced that she is dead. What’s been in reports and what’s been left out of reports ( maybe for good reason) gives me the impression there is more to the story. I keep having the feeling that she will reappear in the near future.

  • Erin

    How is it a hate crime if this guy is shown on video with Hannah and is the last known person to be seen with her? There’s a reason he is being pursued. If he is innocent and wants this chase to stop then why not just give them what they want? If he did nothing to Hannah then why not tell them what you know so they can move on? Why?because he does know what happen to her. Thats the only reason why he would not cooperate and just answer they’re simple questions. Its not hard to figure that out.

  • peggy sue

    I think this young woman had a substance abuse issue and in the early stages, it had not affected her grades as of yet. I have been sober for a number of years and I can tell you that alcoholism/addiction skews your mind in ways you cannot imagine. There are many men, when they see a female, wasted, wandering around wearing what she was wearing that are going to try and take her for more drinks. It is just the way it is in our society. “Think of all the drunk women who are in someone’s basement” my sponsor said to me when I first got sober. And it is true, she probably stood out like crazy. I don’t think this guy did anything….but you can bet there were others on the streets that night. Women just do not get this. Why didn’t she text her parents if she was lost that late at night? Because, alcohol messes with you-that is why. Alcohol: equal opportunity destroyer.

    • Piscesgirl

      Peggy Sue, making that comment just shows your ignorance. Nobody can know someone has a substance abuse problem from one night’s activities. Why don’t you show some respect?

      Don’t push your issues off on Hannah!!

  • Guest

    I hope the PD is getting a warrant for her Snapchat, Tinder, and Whatsapp iPhone application usage. Teens barely send traditional texts, so messaging done through those apps isn’t going to show on a carrier history.

  • Yehuel Israel

    Please Somebody! Tell me why this white man who was on video following this student was not questioned as a suspect- When did stop following? Does he follow all persons who looked distressed around town? Does he know this Student? Does he wants to pick up on this student -who is says looked distressed or intoxicated? Did he see this student having drinks or with this Black Man- And wanted her himself-Jealous? Did the police search his home and car- since- He was seen Following this Student- Nobody but Him? Does he have a record for stalking women in his past? White does not at all make you Right! But a Black Man in the Wrong Place at the right Place is a perfect opportunity for Somebody Following a Now missing Student to point his finger at- After the video has come to the surface! Please somebody Tell me what you think?

  • Shana (@shanadkk)

    Tonight after work, I read an article where Graham’s old friends are saying what a perfect kid she was. Straight A’s, softball team, ‘most well rounded person I ever knew’, etc. Then I saw an article where her parents say, “She left her guardian angel at home” which turns out to be a stuffed animal.Look guys. The Hannah you knew was not the Hannah who was running from one party to the next alone on city streets. Meeting Jesse Matthew in a mall after midnight, so he could buy her liquour. People need to get out of denial. And if you want someone to remain the same, don’t send them off to a college campus at eighteen years old. Because the fact is, many 18 year olds cant handle the freedom. At best, you may wind up with a young adult alcoholic, at worst, you may have a mystery like Hannah Graham.

    • Paula

      Shana thank you. What you said is so true. People has no idea how this world change children after they leave home. Sure she did this & she did that but that was while she was in her parent home. We all did things wrong after we left home and so did she.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.