CHARLOTTESVILLE — The man who allegedly abducted missing University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham was taken into custody Wednesday in Galveston, Tex., after a widespread manhunt, and police said he now will be taken to Charlottesville to face charges in her disappearance.
Jesse L. “LJ” Matthew Jr., 32, was charged Tuesday with kidnapping Graham with the intent to sexually assault the 18-year-old student, who vanished after midnight Sept. 13. The charge implies that police have evidence that Matthew took Graham against her will — or while she was in a state that left her unable to consent — but police have not laid out that evidence.
Police want to speak with Matthew in the hopes of learning Graham’s location; an extensive search has turned up almost no trace of her. Police have collected evidence from Matthew’s car and apartment. Longo said that prosecutors decided to press charges against Matthew after reviewing evidence from experts at the crime lab in Richmond, but he did not say what investigators found or whether it included Graham’s DNA.
An arrest warrant for Matthew, issued Tuesday and released Wednesday, said only that he was wanted for “abduction with intent to defile,” a felony charge that carries a potential maximum life sentence upon conviction.