Just hours after remains found in rural Virginia were identified as those of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, relatives of the prime suspect in her death — Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. — have issued a statement expressing their condolences and offering prayers to Graham’s family.
The following was issued by Matthew’s attorney, James Camblos, on behalf of the Carr family, Matthew’s relatives.
“On behalf of the Carr family and speaking for myself as well, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Graham family in their time of bereavement. The Carrs asked me to convey that they will continue to pray for the Grahams and the Harringtons throughout this ordeal.”
The Harrington family was mentioned in the statement because Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student raped and murdered in 2009, has been connected to Matthew through forensic evidence. Hannah Graham’s remains were discovered scattered across a dry creek bed, just six miles from where Harrington’s body was found.
Jesse Matthew, 32, was taken into custody after he was reportedly spotted in surveillance video recorded on September 13, the day Graham disappeared. The footage shows a man suspected to be Matthew following the 18-year-old Graham.
Matthew is being held in the Albemarle Regional Jail, and is currently charged with abduction with intent to defile. A preliminary hearing on that charge is slated for early December.
Meanwhile, authorities are considering adding additional charges against Matthew. Albemarle County Attorney Denise Lunsford said the following.
“The focus of the investigation now is to determine what charges will be brought and the appropriate time to make those charges… We are working diligently with local law enforcement on the investigation to ensure that we make the best determination for our community and the Grahams in the pursuit of justice.”
Matthew has also been charged with attempted murder, abduction, and sexual assault in connection with a 2005 attack in Fairfax, Virginia. In that case, a 26-year-old woman was dragged into a wooded area and assaulted as she walked home at around 10 p.m.
Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington are two of five young women who have vanished in the vicinity of Charlottesville, Virginia, in recent years. The women have all disappeared near Route 29, the main highway in the area. While the fates of Graham and Harrington are now known, the three other women — who were all under 20 when they disappeared — are still missing.
What do you think of Jesse Matthew’s family offering prayers and condolences to Hannah Graham’s family?