Police Chief: Person of Interest 'perhaps' no longer in Charlottesville area

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Police say the person of interest in the disappearance of Hannah Graham may no longer be in the Charlottesville area. Jesse Matthew is wanted on reckless driving charges.

The charges were issued after he allegedly sped away from Charlottesville Police Headquarters on Saturday. He hasn't been seen since.

"I don't know for sure that he is out of state," said Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo. "We know that he has connections, relatives, and acquaintances in other parts of this region of the country. It would be logical to think that perhaps he is, but we don't know that for sure."

We do know digital billboards have gone up across the state in 12 cities including Richmond, Colonial Heights, and Hopewell. Police are also circulating wanted posters of Matthew in an effort to expand the search for the man last seen with Hannah.

"If he is watching tonight what would you say to him?" we asked Chief Longo.

"What I would say is I need to talk to you," said Chief Longo. "If there came a point in time where the two of you parted ways then I need to know that, and I need to know where that was because that might lead me to another person who could be helpful in this investigation."

Chief Longo says the department has received 1200 tips, and they are asking for the public to continue sharing any information they might have about this case.

"We are making progress," said Chief Longo. "But not enough progress."

We are learning Matthew and Graham were likely complete strangers before meeting on the downtown mall.

"You don't think they knew each other beforehand?" we asked Chief Longo.

"No sir," replied Chief Longo. "I have no reason to believe that."

The chief is stressing that Matthew, a patient technician at the University of Virginia Medical Center, is not a suspect.

"What I would say is that this is, we believe, the very last person that saw this young lady," said Chief Longo.  "We have to talk to him."

Have you seen Jesse Matthew?  Police believe he is driving his sister's 1997 light blue Nissan Sentra with a Virginia Tag of: VAC4575.

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