02:27 - Source: CNN
Warrant issued in missing student case

Story highlights

NEW: An arrest warrant is issued for 32-year-old Jesse Matthew

NEW: He is wanted on suspicion of abduction with the intent to defile

Videos provide a timeline of Hannah Graham's movements on night she vanished

She disappeared September 13; police believe Matthew was last person to see her

CNN —  

An arrest warrant has been issued in the case of 18-year-old Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia student who disappeared more than a week ago.

The warrant is for Jesse Matthew, who police believe was the last person to see her. He is wanted on suspicion of abduction with the intent to defile, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo told reporters Tuesday.

One day earlier, a new search warrant was issued for Matthew’s apartment.

Authorities found specific clothing they were looking for, Longo said on CNN’s “New Day.” The clothing was sent to a lab for analysis.

The Charlottesville Police Department has also issued a wanted poster for the 32-year-old Matthew, saying he is wanted for two counts of reckless driving.

Many questions remain unanswered, but here is what CNN knows and doesn’t know so far:

What we know

Who is Graham?

She’s a second-year University of Virginia straight-A student, her parents say.

“Hannah is beyond precious to us,” John and Susan Graham said in a statement released shortly after her disappearance. “We are truly devastated by her disappearance. It’s totally out of character for us not to have heard from her, and we fear foul play.”

Holding a stuffed bunny named BB, his daughter’s favorite plush toy and “guardian angel,” John Graham pleaded this weekend that someone come forward with information on his daughter, who he said loved helping people.

“Last spring break, instead of hanging around on the beach, she spent a week in Tuscaloosa rebuilding houses,” her father said.

The 18-year-old Northern Virginia native is 5-feet-11 inches tall with a skinny build and has light brown hair, blue eyes and freckles. She was last seen September 13 wearing a black crop top, according to a UVA news release.

Where was she before her disappearance?

On the evening of September 12, she was seen at a party before friends saw her at an apartment complex a couple blocks away from the party. That was shortly before midnight, according to a timeline compiled by CNN affiliate WVIR.

About 12:45 a.m. on September 13, a surveillance camera caught her outside of a pub, about three-quarters of a mile from the apartment complex. A doorman turned her away at the pub, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said Sunday.

Ten minutes later, she is seen running past a gas station – no one appears to be pursuing her – and witnesses say they saw her five minutes later roughly four blocks from the gas station, WVIR reported. She was at a restaurant in an area known as Downtown Mall, witnesses said.

The surveillance camera at an Italian cafe captured her walking along the mall about 1:06 a.m. The camera at a jewelry store recorded her passing two minutes later, WVIR reported.

At 1:20 a.m. she texted her friends to say was lost and trying to find a party, WVIR reported. She and a man were seen having drinks at a bar between 1:30 and 2 a.m., WVIR reports.

Police believe she may have been under the influence of alcohol, Longo said, and may have been vulnerable or unable to defend herself.

What are police doing to find her?

“I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth,” the police chief said Sunday. “We want to talk to him.”

Anyone who saw Matthew’s burnt orange 1998 Chrysler coupe that night should call the police tip line at 434-295-3851, Longo said.

Police had previously said they were looking for a man who did not fit Matthew’s description, but rather, was a black male in his 20s or 30s with a shaved head and goatee. Matthew has dreadlocks.

“I hope and pray that we might have an opportunity to talk to Jesse Matthew again because I think he can help up find Hannah Graham,” the police chief said.

In addition to Monday’s search warrant, authorities previously searched Matthew’s apartment and car but have declined to say what – if anything – was found.

They’ve interviewed 50 people and received more than 100 tips in the case, police said. This weekend, more than 1,200 volunteers and Virginia Department of Emergency Management officials spent the weekend searching for clues that would lead them to Hannah, CNN affiliate WTVR reported.

As time passes, the search area grows, investigators say.

Authorities are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to Graham’s safe return.

What we don’t know

Where is Matthew?

Matthew willingly went to a police station last weekend, along with several family members, walking through the front door and asking for a lawyer, the police chief said. There was no warrant for his arrest at that time.

Matthew and the lawyer spoke and then left, Longo said, giving detectives no clearer picture of what may have happened the day Graham disappeared.

Police executed a new search warrant at his home Monday, and Matthew’s landlord told WVIR that police took two items.

She also told WVIR that she hadn’t seen Matthew since Thursday, and two of his roommates had moved out.

The University of Virginia Medical Center confirmed to WVIR that Matthew has worked there since August 12.

Are there links to other cases?

The short answer is no. However, the Route 29 corridor where Graham disappeared has a peculiar history.

According to WTVR, Graham is the fourth woman to disappear from the area since 2009. Morgan Harrington of Charlottesville, Alexis Murphy of Lovingston and Samantha Clarke of Orange also went missing there.

All the women were between 17 and 20 years old, WVIR reported.

In July, Randy Taylor, 43, was sentenced to two life terms for Murphy’s 2013 abduction and murder although her body was never found, WVIR reported. Clarke’s mother is still looking for answers more than four years after her 19-year-old’s disappearance.

Clarke’s mother is still looking for answers more than four years after her 19-year-old’s disappearance.

Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, went missing after attending a Metallica concert in Charlottesville in October 2009. Her remains were found on a farm months later.

Police have yet to track down her killer, and her family has long said they suspect there could be other victims. The T-shirt Harrington was wearing when she disappeared was found near where Graham disappeared.

“Certainly the question has arisen. It’s certainly a legitimate question,” Longo told reporters this month.

Harrington’s mother told WTVR the Route 29 has an “infamous reputation.”

“I don’t know. Either there is a commonality or a crime spree,” Harrington told WTVR. “We have long passed a critical mass that needs looking at. If you look at the map of missing and abducted along Route 29 – it’s not a normal pattern.”

CNN’s Ashley Fantz, Dana Ford, Catherine Shoichet, Chelsea J. Carter and Eric Fiegel contributed to this report.