Pastor killed in Richmond crash

Man calls Hannah Graham tip line after sighting ’20-30 buzzards’

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va.  -- Landscaper Bobby Pugh was heading to a job site outside of Charlottesville on Sept. 30 when he saw something he said was startling.

"There was buzzards on the rooftop, as well as on a tree on the back left corner of the property," said Pugh. "Not a normal amount, 20 to 30 at least."

Pugh knew he needed to do something.

"About an hour later I was like, you know, I need to make a call," he said.

Like Pugh, thousands of people called in tips with any bit of information that could help law enforcement find missing UVa. student  Hannah Graham.

Graham was last seen on Sept. 13, on  Charlottesville's Downtown Mall, a pedestrian thoroughfare lined by shops and restaurants.

Jesse Matthew Jr. has been charged with her abduction, with intent to defile.

Nearly three weeks after Pugh's phone call volunteers from Chesterfield searching for Graham discovered human remains near an abandoned property off Old Lynchburg Road.

"I wish it could have happened faster, but it couldn't," said Pugh, "They were getting 200-300 tips a day, my tip couldn't be the one on the top."

As of late Thursday night, the Chief Medical Examiner is still working to positively identity the remains. However, Pugh said he is heartbroken by what may have happened to 18-year-old Hannah Graham.

"That's not the way anyone should be left," he said.

Jesse Matthew once lived 4 miles from where human remains were discovered

Just four short miles from the abandoned Albemarle County property, now lined with police tape and full of detectives investigating the discovery of human remains, sits the house Jesse Matthew Jr. and his mother once called home.

“She wanted to try to keep Jesse out of the city away from gang activity — if there was any in the city. She was just trying to make it safe for her son,” neighbor Cliff Hunt told CBS 6 reporter Laura French Sunday evening.

The empty property is also just over four miles away from where Morgan Harrington’s remains were found.

Forensic psychologist Mike Banks told CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns Sunday that the investigation is likely intensive and expansive at the property.

“I’ve seen crime scene investigators crawling inch by inch with a magnifying glass,” Banks said. “You never know what you’re going to find in the bushes, you never know what you’re going to find near the body, under the body, on the body.”

Banks said that dental records could identify the remains, but that investigators want to be sure of their findings.

Anyone with information about Jesse Matthew, Hannah Graham or Morgan Harrington is asked to call the tipline at 434-295-3851. All Hannah Graham surveillance videos can be seen here. All reports filed on this case can be found here.

42 comments

  • Marsha

    I’m sure this is just what the family wants to read, but hopefully they have cut themselves off from what they read in the media.

  • Birder

    Too bad they didn’t follow-up right away, because bird activity like that is a good indicator, and they would have had more evidence, earlier. But they probably were leaving private property searches up to the owners that early in the search. This was only a couple of weeks after she went missing, when they were just figuring out who’d done it and getting him back from Texas.

  • fshs

    “obvious clue” give me a break…read “what the dog saw” by Gladwell, in one of the chapters he addresses why its so hard to solve crimes, prevent terrorist attacks etc…there is so much information to filter through, not to mention false information. When the crime is solved all people look at is the one important clue in thousands of pieces of information and leads and say “stupid, lazy police” just like Michael Moore did in his Bush conspiracy “movie”

    • Egghead

      I completely disagree. Tips about excessively large groups of vultures being sighted within a 20 mile radius of the kidnapping – and in the accused’s longtime neighborhood – should jump right to the top of the tips to be investigated. In fact, investigators should ASK the community to provide tips about large congregations of vultures. That is HOW bodies are discovered! That is how Alicia Showalter Reynolds body was discovered. If we FAIL to learn from this mistake, then it will be repeated. The discovery of Hannah Graham’s body PROVES that a large groups of vultures can lead to a body. To those who claim that large groups of vultures are regular occurrences in rural areas, I also disagree. I lived in a rural Virginia county for many years, and I only noticed a large group of vultures ONE time when a deer died in our woods.

      • findingmeg

        Absolutely. There is a family of turkey vultures who have lived for generations near my office. When they move outside their normal swooping circular patterns and conglomerate, we know there’s a felled deer or other wildlife. Now, if there had been a recent missing person and potential body search, and we saw something like that family of five turn into 30, I’d be making some phone calls, and if I were ignored or they were too busy, I would be afraid, but I might set up a small search party myself to go investigate. That is too big of a clue match for what they were seeking. It’s a shame it took close to 3 weeks to get to the tip.

  • Kaycie

    It boggles my mind how Hannah could have allowed this neanderthal-looking thug to put his arm around her. She did not resist or fight or kick at him or anything, according to the witness who was following her to make sure she was alright. He says when he saw the man put his arm around her, he thought she’d be okay, so this means she obviously warmly received the thug. According to the surveillance, Matthews looks like a total thug creep. What on EARTH would compel Hannah to warmly receive him? This is a perfect case where a woman SHOULD judge a book by its cover. He looks like a typical dark gangsta type (fill in the blank) in the surveillance. Parents: Groom your daughters to avoid men who look like this.

    • Jeremy

      You need to realize she was intoxicated(very). Everyone who saw her that night said this. Also an acquaintance of Jesse Matthew stated that this(arm around the prey) was how Jesse tried awkwardly to pick up girls. This person also stated that Jesse came to bars looking for the most intoxicated girls to target. You would know this if you read about the case more. But to do that you would need to get off your (high) horse.

    • Jeremy

      I am surprised that females aren’t calling you out for ‘blaming the victim’. Because a female goes shopping at 10:30 at night and some stranger (jesse) says something to start a conversation with her as she leaves the store(Fairfax case) doesn’t mean this woman is a whore out to score with any guy. And it certainly doesn’t mean her right to NOT BE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED has been abdicated by her. Because a college girl gets drunk doesn’t mean she should HAVE HER LIFE TERMINATED. I am not female but I can see why sanctimonious people like you keep females from reporting crimes against their person. You are a disgrace to your gender.

    • NRVA2

      Part of what you say is correct about proper parenting, but it also suggests you knew what kind of person Hannah was attracted to. Young college kids often experiment with the wild side of things once they get away from supervision. The tragic case of Taylor Behl, a beautiful young VCU freshman who was murdered in 2005, illustrates how college kids sometimes take a walk on the wild side when they get away from home. Sad and tragic lessons that should change outreach to vulnerable students on college campuses.

    • Julia Tran

      We still don’t know Hannah’s relationship with this dude. Since he did work at the UVA hospital, they might have encountered each other before which might be why she did not refuse his company that night.

    • GSmith

      You are vile, racist trash! Jesse Mathhew is a sociopathic monster and needs to be thrown away for life with severe punishment, but thug? Just because he’s tall, black and with dreadlocks makes him a thug? Apparently this guy had a job, own apartment, car, no criminal record, and was a coach on the football team. Ted Bundy, who was young, white, and attractive, killed over 30 women, yet you wouldn’t call him a thug. I bet if he had his arm around Hannah, you wouldn’t think twice about it and might probably think it’s her father or a relative.

      Young women need to be cognizant of their surroundings no matter the race, age, or physical appearance of these men. The Green River killer, Ted Bundy, and now Jesse Matthews all had ‘normal’ lives yet commited vicious crimes. To label Jesse Matthews a thug, when his lifestyle never suggested anything ‘thuggish,’ besides being an undercover sociopathic killer, proves what a racist you are and you need to stop hiding your racism in the anonymity of the internet.

      • KING

        GSMITH hit the nail on the head. You’re welcome to your disgusting racism, but keep it to yourself and your unfortunate family.

      • Egghead

        Jesse Matthew had a long and varied rap sheet – including hunting down a local Charlottesville lawyer with his car in a fit of rage and punching the lawyer in the nose for NO reason other than the lawyer was trying to call for help. It is VERY fair to say that Jesse Matthew was indeed a thug – as was – and WILL BE AGAIN documented by the Virginia court system.

      • GSmith

        Egghead, that was an alleged incident that he was never prosecuted or charged for. He doesn’t have a long and varied rap sheet – in fact, he doesn’t have any rap sheet at all. As I said, his criminal records are CLEAN.

        Yes, I am completely aware that he had some incident where a woman claimed he sexually assaulted her, and the incident where he punched a man in the face and then apologized and drove him to the hospital after, but these are all alleged incidences that the police and DA never prosecuted him for.

        Even then, when I think of a thug, I think of someone who is involved in gangs, and more importantly, doing illegal stuff for money, robbing, stealing, and trying to maintain street credibility.

        A man raping and sexually assaulting women is textbook sociopathic behavior and doesn’t display what a ‘thug’ actually is. Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer had suspect behavior never reported or instigated by the police but I’m sure, because they are young and white, you wouldn’t call them a ‘thug.’ I guess being big, black and having dreads qualifies someone as a thug no matter their behavior. Take your prejudices somewhere else and your lies. Matthew had no criminal rap sheet to speak of – this whole ‘varied’ rap sheet is pure and unmitigated lies on your behalf.

    • Josh Gilman

      Kaycie, what you’re missing from eyewitness accounts the way Jesse acts towards people (and was acting towards his friends’ new female friend that just moved to Charlottesville) is very aggressive and ‘touchy feely’ constantly touching on people without their permission. He pulled the girl’s shoes off and she eventually cursed at him in public telling him to leave her the heck alone. Jesse also wrestled his friend’s male friend without permission and pulled his hamstring at the bar on the same night as Hannah went missing. If it’s hard for people to get Jesse to stop touching them while they’re sober, imagine how easy it was for him if someone is smaller and inebriated.

  • Ludwig

    These Investigators are not rookies. So the body must have been moved from another location. Hope they can still rule out organ harvesting as part of this crime. The $$$$$ trail.

    • lt

      thats a fair assumption given his low paying jobs. what else would he use a woman for? did he have a girlfriend?wife?kids?

    • findingmeg

      Did something give you the impression the police had searched the area previously, and the body had been dumped since then? That happened with a tee-shirt on a different case. Just wondering what you heard that made you think along these lines.

      • Ludwig

        Within 2 weeks of her disappearance, one would think that there may be some scrutiny applied to the area where the only suspect had once lived. Especially when that area is well off the beaten track and ‘near’ where she was last seen. But no…I did not ‘read’ that. Getting a feeling (didn’t read it) that there are other people involved in this. AND…as a mathematician considers ALL possibilities, we can’t rule out a scam. Hopefully…it IS a scam.

  • NT LEO

    Now Jesse Matthew should be pinned to ground,and let buzzards eat him alive…thats what he deserve.
    I can come over with what happened to these girl,How can those parents bare it,its worse than death.
    Infact I have got so protective of my kids.
    I pray for God’s Protection for all people,to protect from Satans in human form.

  • Joe the plumber.

    I don’t believe these are Hannah’s remains. If the original description by the officer who found them is accurate, it seems to me these remains are from another one of the girls who disappeared in similar fashion and have never been found.

    It appears this guy has a long history of doing this and the more they look into it, the more bodies and answers they’re going to find.

    • findingmeg

      I have that weird feeling, too. It seems that the ID would have come through much earlier. I think we may be wrong because of the vultures, but I’ve wondered since Day 1 when they said that not even hair was left on the skeleton. We’ll have answers soon. /shudder

      • Joe the plumber.

        Personally, I think they’ve already confirmed through dental records it’s not her, but not wanting to rush things and screw things up, they’re waiting for DNA test results and that takes time.

  • SAM

    Well Mr. Pugh – I won’t want you to go out of your way to follow up further than just a phone call! Maybe go to local sheriff’s office in person? Oh – wait that would take away from heading to your job site!

  • Nellie pugh

    Think this tip should have caught some one’s eye long before it did. Seeing 20-30 buzzards on a roof tip is very unusual, if the tip had been checked on when first received the body would have been found much sooner.

  • Keebie

    This is not news. It is totally unnecessary. It’s what you would expect from a tabloid. I’m disappointed WTVR.

    • Burns

      Agree- disappointed that this detail was shared. I am sure we already had our own perception/ vision of the scene, but this adds nothing but further sensationalizes a already horrific story. Kaycie- I pray that you don’t pass judgment on too many people by “their cover”. There is more good in the world than evil. Why not take an opportunity to pray for the Graham family and even for the Matthew family as I am sure they are as devastated.

  • Andrew Lines

    Jesse Matthew has bodies pilled up over many active years of serial killing ! It is always notable , that serial killers slip through the cracks , just like Jesse Matthew did , and Gary Ridgeway and many others . With conscientious zero tolerance policing , and prosecutory authorities , many serial killers would be caught early on , or receive life sentences for pre serial killing crimes , and never get to kill their first victim , or pile up the bodies , like Jesse Matthew’s has undoubtedly done .

    One serious question remains , ” Did Jesse Matthew’s kill Hannah Graham , before he reported to the police station , or after the police let him get away and go on the run from the police station ? ” A very interesting question , that no one seems to be asking at present !

    GOD BLESS the victims .

  • Lawrence Miller

    This article is abhorrent. I can’t believe CBS 6 or anyone would publish this; this is not news. Chelsea Rarrick and her editor should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Egghead

      Wrong! It is important to note when law enforcement makes a mistake so that it might be rectified to better address the next situation.

  • Frumious K. Bandersnatch

    Hannah Graham — Justice Delayed May Be Justice Denied

    One more dismal aspect of a case that is just unspeakably sad:

    Coming on 30 September, just 17 days after she went missing, this citizen’s report of an unprecedentedly large gathering of buzzards on a vacant property just a few miles from where Hannah was abducted. Days later, another citizen made the same report.

    Although it would have taken only a few minutes to check out the site, local law enforcement never did anything to follow up on these tips. Apparently they were too busy with the clairvoyants, mediums, people who’d had strange dreams, etc., to address this basic, obvious, low-tech clue. (Not all tips should have the same priority. Hello!)

    In fact, authorities should have been searching for just such an occurrence from the early days, even without a citizen’s report. Guys, this is homicide 101.What an astonishing failure in basic criminal detection. It’ll haunt Hannah’s family forever. Moreover, the delay certainly allowed the obliteration of critical evidence needed to prosecute the monster responsible for this terrible tragedy.

  • Paula

    Nrva2 you have no idea of what you talking about. It doesn’t have anything about how her parent raise her. Once these kids leave home they are goinv to do what they not suppose to do. When teenager leave home some of them leave theirsense at home. Didn’t you did things you wasn’t suppose to? Hannah was NOT attracted to him. Her judgement was cloudy that nite. You need to read more.

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