Man Arrested in New Disappearance Case Linked to Murder of Metallica Fan Morgan Harrington
You may remember hearing about the 2009 disappearance of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. The female student vanished on Oct. 17, 2009 shortly after attending a Metallica concert and unfortunately, was found dead on Jan. 26, 2010.
The case remained unsolved for nearly five years, with Metallica themselves even offering a $150,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Harrington's killer and invested another $50,000 in beginning a scholarship in her memory.
A separate 2005 sexual assault case contained forensic evidence connecting the alleged offender to the Morgan Harrington case, but led to no answers. However, in a new story that has made national news, the recent disappearance of 18-year-old Hannah Graham has led to the arrest of 32-year-old Jesse L. Matthew Jr., who is now a top suspect in the killing of Morgan Harrington after forensic evidence linked Matthew Jr. to the crime.
“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. “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. We are heartbroken for her [Hannah Graham's] family. We know what they’re going through,” Morgan Harrington’s mother Gil said to WTVR 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.”
“Throughout the past nine years our detectives have worked continually and diligently to positively identify a suspect in this case,” Fairfax Police spokesman Sgt. Natalie Hinesley wrote in a statement about the status of the 2005 sexual assault investigation. “Details of the investigation and any related evidentiary information will not be disclosed at this time in order to protect the integrity of the investigation and any possible prosecution.”
As of this posting, Hannah Graham is still missing. She was reported missing on Sept. 14, which led to a Sept. 19 police search of Jesse Matthew Jr.'s car and apartment. The following day, Matthew Jr. was reported to have sped away from the "overt surveillance" Virginia State Police had on him. On Sept. 24, police in Texas were made aware of a "suspicious man" camping on a beach in Gilchrist. After running the man's license plate number, Texas police found that he was wanted in Virginia.
Matthew Jr. was charged with giving false information to a police officer, was flown back to Virginia on Sept. 26 and was locked up on Albemarle County Jail. WTVR reports that the suspect is expected to appear in court on Oct. 2 where he will face an abduction with intent defile charge.
If you think you have any information on the whereabouts of Hannah Graham, please call (434) 295-3851 or 1-800-THE-LOST. Stay tuned for more on this developing story.