Hannah Graham case: Suspect investigated for alleged sex assault in '03

Story highlights

  • Suspect Jesse Matthew was investigated for sexual assault while in college in 2003
  • Hannah Graham, 18, disappeared on September 13
  • Authorities have charged Jesse Matthew, 32, in connection with the case
  • A drone mounted with a camera will ''look closer'' at objects of interest, an official says
The man charged with the abduction of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham was also investigated for alleged sexual assault when he was in college over a decade ago.
A "criminal incident information" report released Wednesday by Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, said the alleged incident involving Jesse Matthew took place on September 7, 2003.
Matthew quit the school's football team five days later and left the school in mid-October.
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The university said federal student record privacy laws limited the amount of information it could provide publicly.
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Hannah Graham joins growing missing list
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What led up to Graham's disappearance?
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"The University is fully cooperating with law enforcement agencies," a statement said. "The success of the criminal investigation is paramount at this time."
Last person with Graham
Investigators believe Matthew, 32, was the last person with Graham, who was last seen September 13. He has been charged with abduction with the intent to defile in the case, and he is being held in jail in isolation, according to Charlottesville police.
Authorities are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the 18-year-old, a second-year student at the university.
More than 3,000 tips to Graham's possible whereabouts have poured in, Carter Johnson, a police spokesman, said.
As part of the search effort, police have asked owners of large parcels of property in surrounding counties to search their land and report back.
Aerial drone search
The search for Graham now includes the use of an aerial drone -- the first time, according to authorities, one has been used in the search for a missing person in the state.
The addition of the drone to the search effort comes more than two weeks after Graham disappeared from an area of Charlottesville known as the Downtown Mall.
The drone has a high-quality camera, and it will "look closer" at objects of interest, said John Coggin, chief engineer of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and one of the members of the team operating the drone.
The drone is expected to help with the search of vast tracts of land in the area.
As the drone worked from overhead Wednesday, more than 50 law enforcement personnel participated in the search in Fairfax County.
Authorities check unsolved cases for ties to Hannah Graham disappearance
'New forensic link'
The search of Wednesday also included U.S. 29, outside of Charlottesville, where another woman reportedly disappeared.
The search follows reports that Virginia State Police found a "new forensic link" between the Graham case and the death of Morgan Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, who went missing after attending a Metallica concert in Charlottesville in October 2009.
Harrington was last seen hitchhiking along U.S. 29, and her remains were found on a farm months later.
Almost from the start, speculation was raised about the possibility of a connection between Graham's disappearance and Harrington's death.
No arrests have been made in Harrington's case, and the cause of her death is still under investigation.