- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Authorities in Virginia said Tuesday that evidence in the recent disappearance of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham may help solve the 2005 sexual assault of a 26-year-old Fairfax City woman — the third case linked to the suspect, Jesse L. Matthew Jr.

The news came a day after authorities said that the evidence had provided a “significant break” in the 2009 slaying of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, 20.

Former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt noted similarities between Harrington’s disappearance and that of Ms. Graham, 18 — saying both women were alone in areas they appeared to not know well, and might have been offered assistance by a predator.

“Their looking for help was turned against them,” Mr. Van Zandt told The Associated Press.

Harrington, an aspiring teacher, went missing after an October 2009 Metallica concert in Charlottesville. Her skeletal remains were found about three months later in a field roughly 10 miles from the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena.

Ms. Graham, 18, was last seen Sept. 13 in the downtown mall area of Charlottesville. Security footage from the area showed Ms. Graham with Mr. Matthew at about 1 a.m., and several witnesses told Charlottesville police they last saw Ms. Graham speaking with Mr. Matthew.

Mr. Matthew was arrested Sept. 24 in Galveston, Texas, after police received calls about a suspicious person camping on a nearby beach. He had fled Charlottesville earlier in the month.

Mr. Matthew was arrested and charged with abduction with intent to defile, and is scheduled to appear in court for a bond hearing Thursday in Charlottesville.

Mr. Matthew’s attorney, James Camblos, said Tuesday that police have not told him what the evidence is against his client involving either the Ms. Graham disappearance or the Harrington murder.

“Because everything is under seal, I have not been provided with any evidence that links him to either of these cases,” he told reporters.

When Mr. Matthew attended Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, from 2000 to 2002, he was accused of raping a fellow student, but the charge was dropped because the student refused to go forward with the prosecution, authorities said.

On Tuesday, Harrington’s mother, Gil Harrington, appeared on NBC’s “Today” show and pleaded with Mr. Matthew to tell police what happened to Ms. Graham.

“I would like to appeal to him to please give the family information where Hannah is,” she said. “We need to find Hannah.”

Authorities are offering a $100,000 reward for anyone with information leading to Ms. Graham’s safe return.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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