Virginia missing student suspect charged in 2005 sex assault

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 20, 2014 1:23 PM

By Gary Robertson

RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) - A grand jury on Monday indicted the suspect in the recent disappearance of a University of Virginia student with attempted murder, abduction and sexual assault in a 2005 attack.

The suspect, Jesse Matthew Jr., 32, is jailed in Charlottesville, Virginia, charged in the disappearance of Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old sophomore.

She was last seen with Matthew on Sept. 13 and searchers discovered human remains on Saturday near Charlottesville, site of the university in central Virginia. The state medical examiner's office in Richmond is trying to identify the remains.

The three-count indictment by the Fairfax County grand jury charged Matthew with attempted murder in the city of Fairfax during or after an abduction with intent to defile on Sept. 24, 2005.

He also was accused of abduction with intent to defile, and sexual penetration with an object. The victim was identified only by the initials "R.G."

Virginia State Police have said forensic evidence links Matthew to Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech female student who disappeared after leaving a Charlottesville concert in October 2009. Her body was discovered in 2010.

Charlottesville television station WTVR, a CBS affiliate, has reported that forensic evidence in turn had linked the Harrington case to a 2005 Fairfax attack.

The human remains were found on an abandoned property about eight miles (13 km) from where Graham was last seen. Authorities were searching on Monday for clues along a road about 10 miles (16 km) south of Charlottesville.

Sergeant Dale Terry with the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office, who found the remains, told a local television station that they were unburied and not far from the road.

He said there was no crushing of bones and the skull appeared intact. A pair of black pants, similar to ones Graham was wearing, were nearby.

Matthew was the main suspect in a 2002 campus rape investigation while attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. No charges were filed in the case.

He also attended Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, from January to October 2003. A football player, Matthew left the team in September 2003, five days after a report of an on-campus sexual assault, the university has said.

Matthew was arrested outside of Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 24, a day after he was charged with abduction with intent to defile in the Graham case.

(Additional reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Eric Walsh)