Virginia police may have located the remains of Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia student who has been missing since September.
Speaking to reporters Saturday evening, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said officers with the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office found what they believed to be human remains near Old Lynchburg Road about noon Saturday.
Forensic investigators in Richmond, Va., will have to conduct tests to confirm the remains belong to Graham, but Longo said her parents were contacted shortly after the discovery.
“This sadly is now a death investigation,” Albemarle County Police Chief Steve Sellers said during a brief news conference.
Graham, 18, was last heard from about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 13, when she sent a text message to a friend, campus officials have said. She had been at a bar in Charlottesville the night she disappeared, and police have released surveillance videos that show her running and stumbling.
Jesse LeRoy Matthew Jr., 32, was charged with abducting Graham in late September, and was arrested in Galveston, Texas, after fleeing from Virginia authorities.
The medical technician was the last person seen with Graham. He has also been identified as a person of interest in the disappearance of Morgan D. Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who vanished in 2009.
Sellers warned reporters that it could take days, if not weeks, for medical investigators to confirm that the remains discovered Saturday were those of Graham.
“We cannot and we will not jump to any conclusion with regards to this discovery,” he said.
University spokesman Anthony P. de Bruyn told the Los Angeles Times that it would be inappropriate to comment in detail until after forensic investigators confirm the identity of the remains discovered Saturday.
“Our thoughts and prayers continue to remain with the Graham family during this very difficult time,” he said in an email.
Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for breaking news