Suspect in Virginia student abduction held without bond in Texas

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2014 10:27 AM

By Amanda Orr

GALVESTON Texas (Reuters) - A man suspected of abducting a University of Virginia student will be held without bond in Texas pending his extradition to Virginia, a Texas county judge ruled on Thursday.

Jesse Matthew, 32, was arrested in Galveston, Texas, on Wednesday, about 1,100 miles away from the University of Virginia campus. The arrest came a day after a warrant was issued accusing him of abduction with the intent to defile.

Hannah Graham, 18, a sophomore at the school, was seen with Matthew leaving a bar in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the early hours of Sept. 13. Police said they got into his orange Chrysler coupe and drove away. Graham has not been seen since.

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry ordered Matthew held without bond pending extradition to Virginia within the coming days. Matthew declined a court-appointed attorney to fight the Galveston County charge of providing false information to an officer.

Matthews waived his right to fight the extradition at a separate hearing held in Galveston and will soon be transported to Virginia.

Law enforcement officials told Reuters that Matthew was arrested after the Galveston Sheriff's office received a tip of a suspicious person. A deputy found a tent pitched on a secluded beach and a blue Nissan Sentra parked nearby. The car's license plates were registered to Matthew's sister and the vehicle was sought in connection of Graham's disappearance, they said.

The Galveston Sheriff's office said investigators from Charlottesville would be in Texas on Friday and the office would not discuss details of the arrest. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also was on the case.

Detectives identified Matthew as a person of interest in the case last week, searched his car and apartment and issued the warrant for his arrest on Tuesday.

Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo told a news conference after the arrest in Texas: "By the grace of God and the good work of the Galveston Sheriff's office, it took place."

Authorities said Matthew, who has worked as a nursing assistant at the University of Virginia's medical center since 2012, appeared at a police station on Saturday. But he left after a brief discussion and took off at high speed, shaking officers who tried to tail him.

Following that incident, an arrest warrant was issued for Matthew on two counts of reckless driving.

(Additional reporting by John Clarke in Washington; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)