Investigators collect evidence at home of Hannah Graham abduction suspect

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Federal and state authorities are on the hunt for Jesse Matthew, the primary suspect in UVA student Hannah Graham's disappearance. Investigators were back at Matthew's apartment, mere hours after officers took out an arrest warrant for "abduction with intent to defile" against Matthew.

Detectives questioned neighbors who live in the same building as Matthew. Those residents say they were asked not to talk about the case.

The charge "abduction with intent to defile" means officers believe Matthew kidnapped Hannah Graham, intending to sexually assaulting her. That felony charge carries a 20-year minimum sentence, with a maximum of life in prison.

Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo announced the break in Hannah Graham's case Tuesday evening, during a packed press conference. The main person of interest, Jesse Matthew, had become the main suspect.

"This afternoon, we reached that point, where the Commonwealth thought we had sufficient probably cause to seek an arrest warrant," said Longo.

Police say Matthew sped off with another person Saturday after talking with a lawyer at the Charlottesville Police Department. Investigators didn't detain him; Matthew was still just a person of interest.

On Monday, detectives searched Matthew's apartment for a second time, taking clothing. Investigators say they're still waiting for test results from the forensics lab.

Regardless, ten days after Graham's disappearance, Charlottesville police believed they had enough evidence to charge Matthew in the 18-year-old's kidnapping. However, exactly what detectives have uncovered is still under wraps.

"Between now and the time this goes to trial, we need to be very sensitive about the information that we share," continued Longo.

Meantime, UVA students say that hearing of the new charges only makes the reality of the situation scarier.

"I feel like it's definitely made people more aware of walking home and just being safe," said Meaghan Hart, a second year student at UVA.

"I just hope they find him. It's really scary to walk around grounds knowing it could have happened to anyone," said Megan Knight, another student walking on campus.

Chief Longo says the department is still waiting on information regarding the case, expected in the next couple days. That information could be the forensics results on the evidence confiscated from Matthew's apartment and car.

Longo also made it clear, the search for Hannah Graham is still in full force.

As investigators continue to track Matthew, they understand the possibility he is no longer in Virginia. Investigators are focusing around the northeast. Matthew reportedly knows people as far north as New York State. He also has associates in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

There is now a $50,000 reward for information leading to Matthew's arrest and conviction.

Matthew may be driving his sister's 1997, light blue Nissan Sentra. It has Virginia Tags: V-A-C 4-5-7-5.

If you think you've seen him, don't approach, but call police immediately. The 24-hour tip line for both Jesse Matthew and Hannah Graham is (434) 295-3851.

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