US & Canada

Hannah Graham: Police charge Jesse Matthew with abduction

Wanted Poster for Jesse Matthew Image copyright Charlottesvile Police Department
Image caption Police released a wanted poster for Jesse Matthew as they charged him with abduction

A Virginia man sought for questioning about a missing British-born student has been charged with abduction.

Jesse Matthew, 32, was seen walking with Hannah Graham, 18, on CCTV footage on the night she disappeared in Charlottesville, where she is a student at the University of Virginia.

Mr Matthew was last seen speeding off from a police station on Saturday.

Police also said they were "absolutely" still searching for Ms Graham, who went missing on 13 September.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Hannah Graham, 18, went missing after a night out

On Saturday, after Mr Matthew came to the attention of the investigators who had seen him on the CCTV footage by Ms Graham's side, he visited a police station in Charlottesville accompanied by relatives, spoke briefly with officers, then asked for a lawyer.

He was allowed to leave, then drove away from the police station at high speed, prompting police to charge him with reckless driving.

On Tuesday, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo told reporters that investigators had "reached that point where [Virginia] had sufficient probable cause" to charge Mr Matthew with abduction with intent to defile.

Mr Longo said he could not offer further details.

Earlier, police said they had evidence that a man matching Mr Matthew's description entered a bar with Ms Graham and purchased alcohol during the night.

British-born Ms Graham went missing after attending a party in Charlottesville on that Friday night.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHannah's father John Graham: "Every parent's worst nightmare"

The second-year University of Virginia student, who appeared to be drunk, was seen on CCTV footage in several different locations throughout the town.

She was seen walking, and at some points running, past a pub and a service station.

In the last few sightings, Ms Graham is seen walking through the main shopping street in Charlottesville. At two separate points, Mr Matthew is seen walking beside Ms Graham .

At 01:20 Ms Graham sent a text message to a friend saying she was lost.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption CCTV footage captured Graham and Matthew walking together the night the student went missing

There were no subsequent sightings of the teenager.

On Sunday her British parents, who moved from the UK to Washington DC when Ms Graham was five, made an appeal for help in the search for their daughter.

"All we want to do now is to bring Hannah home safely and I appeal to anybody who knows anything please, please help us," said her father John Graham.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThere was ''a sombre feeling around the grounds'' say students

"This is every parent's worst nightmare. We need to find out what happened to Hannah and make sure it happens to no-one else."

On Saturday, around 1,000 people, among them some of Ms Graham's schoolmates, joined in a police search of the town.

Related Topics