We all suspected the ending would be this way when human remains were found last Saturday at a remote house in Albemarle County which prompted police to call off all future searches and notify eighteen-year-old Hannah Graham’s parents. What, we wondered, had there been that made them so sure their hunt for the missing University of Virginia student was over?
Today officials escorted Hannah’s parents to the Old Lynchburg Road crime site in the morning, and then released the information that Hannah had, indeed, been found. Her parents have closure as opposed to wondering where she is, but what a sad way for this six-week journey to end (see Hannah Graham’s parents visit Old Lynchburg Road crime scene and Medical examiner confirms Hannah Graham’s remains found in Albemarle).
If anything good is to come of this, it’s that Jesse Matthew, the “gentle giant” as he was described by his friends, has been stopped in his alleged raping and murder spree against young women. Charged with abduction with the intent to defile in Hannah’s case, he has also been formally charged in a 2005 rape and attempted murder in Fairfax, and linked to Morgan Harrington, the Virginia Tech student who went missing during a Metallica concert in Charlottesville in 2009. Her remains were found three months later in a remote corner of a large farm in rural Albemarle County.
Now that Matthew has been caught, some dots are beginning to be connected. The isolated areas where both Hannah and Morgan’s remains were found were within four miles of where Matthew grew up, and where his mother still lives. He was said to roam the Charlottesville Mall, looking for the most helpless girls. He attended school at Liberty University on a football scholarship in 2002 where he was accused of rape but it was never pursued, and where a girl was found murdered and dumped on Candlers Mountain in 2009. Did he do it? After dropping out of Liberty, he attended Christopher Newport University for a brief time and had another charge of rape against him. Two young women in that area disappeared while he was there; were they victims?
Route 29 running through central Virginia has seen more than its fair share of unsolved murders over the past decade which made some whisper “serial killer” as the years passed and no one was apprehended but the crimes continued. With the arrest of Jesse Matthew, have police found the one responsible? If so, it would bring closure to many and peace of mind to all.