Virginia Tech newspaper Morgan Harrington
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The man suspected of abducting 18-year-old Hannah Graham from the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month is forensically linked to the 2009 disappearance of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, sources close to the investigation confirmed to CBS 6 reporter Laura French.
The sources would not indicate what Matthew may or may not have done with Harrington, however the sources indicated that the forensic evidence match showed Harrington had some sort of contact with Matthew the night she disappeared outside John Paul Jones arena on October 17, 2009. Her remains were found in January 2010 on an Albemarle County farm.
"For the past five years, the Virginia State Police has been aggressively pursuing the investigation into the disappearance and death of 20-year-old Morgan D. Harrington of Roanoke, Va, " Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller wrote in an email following the CBS 6 News report. "Last week, the arrest of Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, of Charlottesville, Va., provided a significant break in this case with a new forensic link for state police investigators to pursue. There is a still a great deal of work to be done in regards to this investigation and we appreciate the public’s patience as we move forward."
"We worked five years to get to this point, so we are relieved, " Morgan Harrington's mother Gil said. Harrington added it was now time for her to take a step back and let investigators do their job and find Hannah.
“We are heartbroken for her family. We know what they’re going through, ” Harrington told WTVR.com in the days after Graham disappeared. "Police need information. They need to process tips. Please reach out to police and do not be the filter. Even if you think it does not make sense, let police be the filter."
Two years after Morgan Harrington's remains were found, the FBI released a sketch of the man they said had contact with the Virginia Tech student. The sketch was released after investigators found forensic evidence that linked a 2005 sex assault in Fairfax to Harrington's disappearance.