CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (TheBlaze/AP) — The man police believe is last person seen with a University of Virginia student before she disappeared is being sought on an arrest warrant charging him with reckless driving.
Jesse 'LJ' Matthew was identified by police as the person of interest in the case of missing student Hannah Graham, reported WVIR-TV in Charlottesville.
Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said Sunday at a news conference that Matthew came to the police station on Saturday, asked for and was provided a lawyer's name and then left. Matthew got into a vehicle and left the police station at a high rate of speed, endangering other drivers, Longo added.
Law enforcement authorities who had been monitoring Matthew chased the vehicle but abandoned the pursuit due to the high speeds, the Associated Press added, citing Longo. Virginia State Police issued an arrest warrant charging Matthew with reckless driving, a misdemeanor, Longo said.
Longo said he believes Matthew was the last person Graham "was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth."
His voice rising with anger, the chief added that "it's been a week and we can't find her. But somebody knows where she is. Somebody's gotta know where she is. And we want to know who that person or persons are."
The 18-year-old is described as white, about 5'11" tall, skinny, with blue eyes, light brown hair and freckles — and last seen early on Sept. 13 wearing a black crop top with mesh cutouts, WVIR reported.
On Saturday more than 1,000 volunteers participated in a search for Graham.
Volunteers talk with their team leader outside the John Paul Jones Arena before participating in a massive search effort by the community for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Charlottesville, Va. (Image source: AP/The Daily Progress, Andrew Shurtleff)
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On Friday police executed two search warrants in connection with the case at an apartment-condo complex located off Georgetown Road in Albemarle County. One of the search warrants was for Matthew's car, a burnt-orange 1998 Chrysler Coupe. The other was for his apartment in the 100 block of Hessian Hills Way.
When speaking of the person of interest in Friday's press conference, police said he was seen on surveillance video on the downtown mall walking west as Graham walked east. He then crossed the mall and followed her. That's the last time Graham was caught on video. The man was later spotted with his arm around Graham. Police said that the man went to Tempo, a restaurant on Fifth Street Southeast on the mall, with Graham between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Saturday and left with her. They say they have "every reason to believe" she got in his car.
Authorities are offering a $50,000 reward for "information leading to the cause" of Graham's disappearance, CNN reported.
Matthew reportedly told his mother than he bought Graham drinks at a bar but that she didn't get into his car and the pair "went their separate ways," the Daily Mail reported.