Jesse Matthew is believed to be the last person seen with missing student Hannah Graham, and now the Virginia man has disappeared following a high-speed chase with police.
The 18-year-old Graham disappeared one week ago after a night on the town. Video surveillance footage showed her with Matthew, a nursing student at the University of Virginia, and last week Matthew voluntarily went to a police station with a lawyer for questioning.
During questioning, Jesse Matthew reportedly told police that he met Hannah Graham at Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, buying her drinks at a local bar. Matthew said the pair went their separate ways before the night concluded.
“I have been talking with his mother. He said he went his way and she went hers. He told his mother he bought her some drinks. He said she did not get into his car. The girl went her way and he went his,” Jesse’s grandmother, Christine Carr, told Daily Mail on September 20.
At some point during the interview Matthew left the station, and later sped away to lose police who were following him.
Police said they are now searching for Jesse Matthew for further questioning and to face reckless driving charges.
“I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth,” Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said in a press conference on September 21, according to CNN. “We want to talk to him.”
Police say they believe Jesse Matthew was still with Hannah Graham when she left the downtown area.
“I’ve made no mistake about it. We want to talk to Jesse Matthew. We want to talk to him. We want to talk to him about his interaction with this sweet, young girl we can’t find,” Longo said.
Police clarified that Matthew is not yet considered a suspect.
Last week, Hanna’s parents made a public appeal for information, also striking a tone of pessimism about her return.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” John Graham said. “We need to find out what happened to Hannah and make sure it happens to no one else.”
More than 1,000 people have now joined the search for Hannah Graham, while police said they are also searching for person of interest Jesse Matthew.