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World & Nation

Suspect in Hannah Graham case linked to similar disappearance in 2009

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr.
Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. is escorted into a courtroom in Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 25 for a hearing about extraditing him to Virginia.
(David J. Phillip / Associated Press)

The arrest of the man suspected of abducting University of Virginia student Hannah Graham this month has provided a break in a similar case from five years ago, Virginia state police announced Monday.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., 32, was arrested in Texas on Sept. 24 on suspicion of abducting Graham with intent to defile. The 18-year-old vanished the morning of Sept. 13.

Matthew’s arrest provided “a new forensic link” in the disappearance and death of Morgan D. Harrington, police said in a statement published by the Washington Post.

Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, disappeared Oct. 17, 2009, during a Metallica concert on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, police said at the time. Her remains were discovered the following January in a field elsewhere in the county.

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Police described the break in the Harrington case as significant, but the statement did not give details about the nature of the forensic link.

Meanwhile, the search for Graham continues. She 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.

In connection with the Graham case, Matthew is also charged with a fugitive count and with giving false information to an officer.

He was extradited from Texas, arrived in Virginia on Friday and has a bond hearing scheduled for Thursday, Charlottesville city spokeswoman Miriam Dickler said.

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Times staff writer Michael Muskal contributed to this report.

For more news from the U.S. and beyond, follow @raablauren on Twitter.


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