- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - A hospital worker has been charged in the September abduction of a University of Virginia student and a 2005 rape that state police say has a forensic link to the five-year-old slaying of a Virginia Tech student.

Does that mean Jesse L. Matthew Jr. will now face charges in the 2009 killing of Morgan Harrington?

Harrington’s mother said Tuesday she hasn’t heard from Virginia State Police investigators on their next step in her daughter’s case.

“I am always the last to find out about something,” Gil Harrington said in an interview.

Harrington contrasted the stealthy state police approach to the tack taken by Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo, who has been the public face in the search for Hannah Graham, the U.Va. student who disappeared Sept. 13.

The 18-year-old sophomore from northern Virginia went missing after she ended up alone on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall after socializing earlier in the evening with friends. Matthew, 32, was the last person publicly seen with Graham.

Remains found within miles of where Harrington’s remains were found were discovered on Saturday. The remains, also found in the wooded countryside outside of Charlottesville, have not been identified but police have notified Graham’s parents.

Gil Harrington, who with her husband, Dan, has worked to keep her daughter’s unsolved case in the public eye, said she has not been told by state police whether they will seek charges against Matthew.

“Virginia State Police are really a very closed shop,” Harrington said. “Their culture and their approach is really different from Chief Longo. He’s really collaborative in the way he utilizes and engages with the media.”

A state police spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Criminal procedure experts said charges, if they are brought against Matthew in Harrington’s slaying, will likely emerge from a grand jury.

“The evidence is mounting, so they’ll just take the evidence to the grand jury,” said Ronald Bacisal, a University of Richmond professor of criminal law. “He’s already under arrest.”

Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford, when asked Tuesday if she would seek a special grand jury to hear possible evidence against Matthew, responded: “I’m not commenting on the Matthew case.”

Monday, Matthew was charged with a 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax County.

At a press conference, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh was asked about the passage of time between Monday’s indictment and the earlier established forensic link between the Graham case, the Fairfax rape and Matthew. Any delay, he said, was attributable to “just being thorough.”

“It took a little while because we were investigating the crime,” he said.

The same holds true in the Graham case, provided a medical examiner identifies the remains found Saturday as Graham’s.

“What’s happening now is they’re collecting evidence from the crime scene,” said Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security “There’s still a great deal of investigation going on.”

Matthew’s attorney, James L. Camblos III, said Tuesday he will not be representing Matthew in the Fairfax rape and abduction case. He also declined to say whether he told his client that the remains found Saturday are suspected of being Graham’s.

Morrogh said he will seek a bench warrant this week requesting that Matthew be brought to Fairfax for an initial appearance. No court date has been set.

Matthew, who is jailed in the Charlottesville area, has his first court date in the Graham case scheduled for early December.

___

Associated Press writers Heidi Brown in Charlottesville, Larry O’Dell in Richmond and Matthew Barakat in McLean.

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