Human remains found in Virginia have been confirmed to be missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, ABC News reports.
Graham had been missing since Saturday, September 13. The 18-year-old sophomore disappeared by the school’s campus after a night of drinking with her friends.
She was last seen around 1:00 am that Saturday morning with Jesse Matthew — a 32-year-old lifelong Charlottesville resident who worked as a operating room technician at the UVA hospital.
Matthew was named as a person of interest in the investigation a week after Graham disappeared, and was apprehended by the FBI in Galveston, Texas after a lenthy manhunt. He has been charged with abduction with intent to defile Graham.
No court date has been set for Matthew.
Graham’s parents released the following statement Friday afternoon:
When we first met Chief Longo he promised to find our precious daughter, Hannah, and during five long weeks his resolve to fulfil that promise never wavered. When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending. Sadly that was not to be, but due to the tenacity and determination of Chief Longo, Hannah is coming home to us and we will be eternally grateful to him for this.
The search for Hannah would not have been successful were it not for the many, many people who helped, including Mark Eggeman and VDEM, local, state and federal law enforcement officers, the staff of the City of Charlottesville, and the dedicated members of numerous volunteer search and rescue groups. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We also give our heartfelt thanks to all those who took part in the community search, to the citizens of Charlottesville, and to the individuals, businesses and organisations, both local and national, who provided untold resources to help support the search for Hannah. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to those who provided support to us and to our family throughout this ordeal, including the staff and students of the University of Virginia, our friends, neighbours and work colleagues, the staff and students of West Potomac High School, Hannah’s friends, and the countless kind people who have sent us messages of support. We thank you all.
We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Hannah. Over recent weeks Hannah has been described by those who know her as bright, witty, thoughtful, loyal and fun to be around. She was all those things and more. Put simply, Hannah lit up our lives, the lives of our family and the lives of her friends and others who knew her. Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished. We will hold it in our hearts forever and it will help sustain us as we face a painful future without her. We are so very proud of Hannah and all that she achieved. Although only 18 years old, Hannah had just started her second year at the University of Virginia when she disappeared and was excelling academically. She loved U.Va. and the City of Charlottesville, and was very happy to return there after the summer break. Hannah had intended to pursue a career in global public health, she wanted to help others, and it is heart-breaking for us that she was robbed so tragically of the opportunity to fulfil her dream.
In closing we would like to draw attention to the fact that, although the waiting has ended for us, there are other families both in Virginia and beyond who have not been as fortunate in that their loved ones are still missing. Please continue to hold these families in your thoughts and prayers.
We do not intend to make any further statements at this time, nor to comment on the ongoing criminal investigation. We ask the media to respect our privacy and that of our family as we continue to grieve.
John and Sue Graham
October 24, 2014
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