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UVA suspect's DNA to be tested
02:35 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: Authorities check other unsolved cases for possible ties

Hannah Graham, a student at the University of Virginia, went missing last month

Police have Jesse Matthew in custody as a suspect in Graham's disappearance

DNA links the same suspect to 2009 case of Morgan Harrington, source says

CNN  — 

DNA evidence links Jesse Matthew, a suspect in this month’s disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, to the death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who disappeared in 2009, a law enforcement source told CNN Monday. And state authorities are checking other unsolved homicide and missing person cases for possible connections.

Virginia State Police had said earlier that the two cases were connected by a “forensic link” but did not elaborate. Almost from the start, speculation was raised about the possibility of a connection between Graham’s disappearance and Harrington’s death.

“Certainly the question has arisen. It’s certainly a legitimate question,” Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo told reporters last week.

In a statement, James L. Camblos III, Matthew’s lawyer, said he met with his client for 2½ hours Monday but declined further comment.

“Because everything is under seal, I have not been provided with any evidence that links him to either of these cases,” he said, referring to Graham and Harrington.

Matthew will have a bond hearing on Thursday.

In addition, authorities said they are studying other unsolved homicide and missing person cases in Virginia: In Campbell County, the sheriff’s office is investigating a possible link to the case of Cassandra Morton, whose body was found in a wooded area near Lynchburg in November 2009; in Orange, police are checking for possible ties to the missing person case of Samantha Ann Clarke, who was last seen September 13, 2010; and in Montgomery County, the sheriff’s office is looking for possible links to the unsolved 2009 shooting deaths of two Virginia Tech students, Heidi Childs and David Metzler.

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

No arrests have been made in Harrington’s case, and the cause of her death is still under investigation.

Parents: ‘This person might be involved’ in Morgan Harrington’s murder

Graham, a student at the University of Virginia, was last seen September 13 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.

Authorities are offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Graham, 18, who was a second-year student at the university.

Where is Hannah Graham?

Investigators say they believe Matthew was the last person with Graham. He is charged with abduction with the intent to defile in the case, according to Charlottesville police.

The last major development in the Harrington case came in 2010, when her slaying was connected to the kidnapping and sexual assault of another woman in Fairfax, Virginia, in 2005.

That woman, who survived her ordeal, was able to provide police with enough of a description to make a sketch. That sketch is the closest thing to resolution that Harrington’s family has had.

Police at the time did not give the name of the woman who gave the description and said only that “forensic evidence” linked the two.

Hannah Graham disappearance suspect questioned in 2002 alleged rape case

The revelation that Matthew may be linked to Harrington’s death, and the fact that Harrington’s death was linked to the kidnapping and rape of the woman in Fairfax, raises even more questions. Police have not publicly connected the dots except to say that Matthew’s arrest has given them a break in the investigation of Harrington’s death.

Matthew was being held in isolation in a Virginia jail.

CNN’s Pam Brown and Mary Kay Mallonee contributed to this story