Human remains found in southern Albemarle County have been positively identified as missing second-year University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.
That confirmation came Friday evening as the Medical Examiner’s office has confirmed the identity of the remains found in the county in Saturday October 18.
Graham has been missing for over one month, with hundreds of searchers making their way through the densely wooded areas of the city of Charlottesville and the surrounding counties in an effort to bring Graham home.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Graham family and Hannah’s friends during this incredibly difficult time. We ask that you respect their privacy,” said Albemarle County investigators in a statement Friday evening.
Investigators said that they are now moving into a death investigation and that, “Since the discovery along Old Lynchburg Road, officers and detectives have been working around the clock to process the scene and preserve evidence.”
“Our focus is on the investigation and therefore, we will not be answering questions regarding the case or investigation. We do ask that people continue to call in with tips or information. We are asking to hear from individuals who live along Old Lynchburg Road or who might have seen suspicious behavior in the area following Hannah’s disappearance,” investigators said.
Jesse Matthew is currently in jail, charged with abduction with the intent to defile in connection to the disappearance of Hannah Graham. He has also been charged with attempted capital murder, abduction, and sexual penetration with an object for a rape on September 24, 2005 in the city of Fairfax.
John and Sue Graham expressed their emotions about the devastating news in a statement to media Friday evening.
“We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Hannah,” Hannah’s parents said. “Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished. You can read the Graham’s whole statement here.
Later Friday evening, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe & Congressman Robert Hurt issued statements following the news.
“Words cannot express Dorothy’s and my sorrow over the news of Hannah Graham’s passing, or the sympathy that we feel for her family, friends and all of the Virginians who have kept them in their thoughts and prayers,” said the Governor “I want to thank the sheriff’s deputies, police officers, emergency personnel, and volunteers who searched day after day in the hope of finding Hannah. Our hearts are broken by today’s news, but that will not diminish our resolve to get justice for Hannah and her family,” he closed.
“I was deeply saddened by the news confirming the tragic loss of UVa student Hannah Graham,” said Hurt. “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Graham family and friends and the University community during this very difficult time. I join the Graham family in expressing my gratitude to Chief Timothy Longo of the Charlottesville Police Department and Chief Steve Sellers of the Albemarle County Police Department for their unwavering leadership throughout the last several weeks. I also commend all the local, state, and federal law enforcement and emergency response personnel, as well as the hundreds of volunteers, all of whom worked tirelessly to find Hannah. I trust that our public servants will find the person responsible for this unspeakable act and bring swift justice and closure to the situation,” the congressman closed.
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Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond