CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Chesterfield sheriffs discovered human remains while searching for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, authorities announced Saturday.
Police have not yet identified the remains, but say they were found just before noon at an abandoned property on Old Lynchburg Road in southern Albemarle County. Hannah Graham's parents were notified of the discovery.
, the site is believed to be in the general area where Jesse Matthew once lived. Matthew is the only named suspect in the case and remains behind bars. Investigators spent the afternoon processing evidence at the scene.
"Right now we have the discovery of human remains and a great deal of work ahead of us," said Col. Steve Sellers, Albemarle County Police chief in a press release. "We cannot and will not jump to any conclusions regarding today's discovery. I ask for the public's patience as we move forward and pursue what is now a new, ongoing death investigation."
The remains will now be sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination, identification and an autopsy. Authorities say the discovery is significant, but do not want to jump to conclusions. The Albemarle County Police Chief said the search is now shifting into a death investigation.
The discovery comes five weeks after Graham went missing. She was last seen early on September 13 on Charlottesville historic Downtown Mall.
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effort to find the missing University of Virginia student on Thursday. Teams have been searching for anything that will lead them to her ever since, following up on more than 4,000 tips sent in by the public.
after hearings on two charges were continued. A bond hearing on the abduction charge is now set for December 4. He was arrested in September on a charge of abduction with intent to defile in relation to Graham.
Crews used drones, a specialized airplane taking high-definition images and have also asked hunters to keep an eye out for clues.
Albemarle County Police are asking anyone who recalls seeing any suspicious activity or vehicles along or in the vicinity of Old Lynchburg Road, to call 434-296-5807.
A search involving 200 members of the public at Walnut Creek Park on Sunday is now canceled, as authorities are focusing on the new evidence and don't have resources for the public search.