Albemarle neighbors recall Jesse Matthew and his family

Published: Oct. 20, 2014 at 3:49 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 30, 2014 at 3:49 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (AP/WWBT) - At this moment, detectives for the Hannah Graham case are still vigorously combing the area where remains were uncovered Saturday.

Jesse Matthew and his family lived at a home on Ponderosa Trail, just a few years ago, according to the neighbors and people who live here now. And this spot is just four miles away from where the remains were found by investigators scouring for any trace of evidence left at the scene.

Neighbors along this rural stretch are shaken. "It's kind of scary because we have two young kids here, and you have to be cautious of them," said Jason Lily, who lives near where the remains were found.

Detectives are hoping to pinpoint forensic evidence tied to the remains, still not confirmed to be those of Hannah Graham, the missing UVA student.

"This morning I've seen some people, two officers, clean the ditch lines out.. checking for things," Lily said.

This area is known to suspect Jesse Matthew, who is charged with Graham's abduction with intent to defile.

Matthew's former neighbor Bernard Blue said Matthew, his sister and mother lived in this home just miles from where search crews made the gruesome discovery Saturday. Blue says he's unsettled that the man he knew is now the main suspect in a high-profile case. "Never dreamed he'd do something like that if he is guilty," he said. "Never dreamed about it, because he was a fine boy when he was up here."

Blue said Matthew's mother also worked at UVA hospital, and that she's stayed in touch. "She was a sweet lady. She came up to see me about four or five months ago," he said. But Bernard says Matthew left a somewhat different impression. "He was a little strange. But, fine guy, all I know."

Investigators believe Matthew is also forensically linked to the death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington and possibly another rape case. Meanwhile, the remains discovered after 35 days and thousands of man hours of searching are awaiting a positive identification.

"Investigators are asking anyone who lives along Old Lynchburg Road who might remember anything suspicious about the night of September 13 to come forward and call the Albemarle County Police Department. That includes any sign of someone who looked like Jesse Matthew.