Suspect in Hannah Graham disappearance arrives back in Virginia

Abduction suspect questioned in rape case
Abduction suspect questioned in rape case

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Story highlights

  • Jesse Matthew arrives in Virginia and is booked into jail
  • Vacationer says he spoke with Matthew before arrest; "he seemed real nice"
  • Matthew was never charged in 2002 case due to lack of evidence
  • University of Virginia student Hannah Graham was last seen on September 13
Jesse Matthew, a suspect in the disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, returned to Virginia on Friday, authorities said.
Matthew had been taken into custody this week in Texas, 1,300 miles away from the town where Graham disappeared.
Matthew agreed not to fight extradition from Texas, and arrived by plane in Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the university. Officials at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail said Matthew was being processed on Friday night.
He has also been questioned in connection with an alleged sexual assault nearly 12 years ago, authorities said Thursday.
However, no charges were filed because the woman didn't want to go forward with the case, and investigators determined there wasn't enough evidence to arrest Matthew back then, said Michael Doucette, the commonwealth's attorney for Lynchburg, Virginia.
What led up to Graham's disappearance?
What led up to Graham's disappearance?

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Reporter: UVA suspect called a 'prowler'
Reporter: UVA suspect called a 'prowler'

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Missing student suspect returning to Va.
Missing student suspect returning to Va.

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Suspect in Hannah Graham case in custody
Suspect in Hannah Graham case in custody

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According to a statement from Lynchburg police, a woman reported she was raped on the campus of Liberty University on October 17, 2002. Matthew was a student there for three years and played on the football team.
Matthew told authorities that the woman consented, Doucette said, adding that there were no witnesses.
On Thursday, Matthew was in a Texas court twice Thursday, once to determine whether he wanted to fight extradition to Virginia and once on a charge of giving false information to a Texas peace officer.
Jesse Matthew's father spoke out on his behalf on Thursday, saying his son would not have harmed Graham.
"For a big man, he's as gentle as they come," Jesse Matthew Sr. told CNN affiliate WTVR. "The only thing I could see, him, maybe trying to give the girl a ride or help her out."
"To kill or hurt somebody, that's not my son."
Found camping on the beach
Authorities found Matthew on a Galveston County beach after deputies got a call about a suspicious person camping there. A license plate check revealed he was wanted, CNN affiliate KPRC reported.
Matthew did not resist arrest, police said.
Mike Rodenberg, a vacationer who was fishing near the campsite when Matthew was arrested, said the big man came up to him to ask about why he was throwing some of his catch back.
"He seemed real nice. He was real soft spoken," Rodenberg said. "(He) said he was down here from New Jersey and was looking for a job. I told him if I caught another red fish he could have it."
Matthew told him that his name was George, Rodenberg said. Nothing really seemed out of the ordinary until the police showed up.
Lawyer: No comment at this point
Authorities had obtained an arrest warrant for Matthew on Tuesday, and police believe he was the last person with Graham.
Matthew willingly went to a Virginia police station over the weekend, when there was no warrant for his arrest, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said. He asked for a lawyer. They spoke and then left, police said.
Authorities are now offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Graham, 18, a second-year student at the University of Virginia.
The Northern Virginia native is 5 feet 11 inches tall with a slender build and has light brown hair, blue eyes and freckles. She was last seen September 13 wearing a black crop top and capri pants. She had an iPhone in a pink case.
Police have received 1,500 tips so far in the case and are urging anyone with information to call the police tip line at 434-295-3851.
Graham was last seen in an area of Charlottesville known as the Downtown Mall. Police have asked owners of large parcels of property in surrounding counties to search their land and report back.