Update: Hannah Graham: Five missing in Charlottesville in five years

The missing girls of Charlottesville

WASHINGTON, September 29, 2014 — UPDATE: The Virginia State Police says the arrest of Jesse L. Matthew Jr. has provided a “significant break” in the investigation into the death and disappearance of Va Tech student Morgan Harrington who went missing during a concert in Charlottesville, VA.

The statement from Virginia police public relations director said, “Last week, the arrest of Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, of Charlottesville, Va., provided a significant break in this case with a new forensic link for state police investigators to pursue. There is a still a great deal of work to be done in regards to this investigation and we appreciate the public’s patience as we move forward.”

What this link is, has not been publicly released yet.

Although Harrington’s family had told the press that the connection was found during the search of the suspects home and car.

Update: Jesse Matthew has been detained in Galveston, Texas and is being extradited to Virginia charged in the disappearance of Hannah Graham. Until he is in Virginia, and formally charged, actual charges are not ascertainable.

Police reported during a press conference that evidence taken from Jesse Matthew’s home and car will also be compared to any evidence from the other missing women cases.

Matthew was questioned in 2002 in connection to a sexual assault case at Liberty University but was never charged. Lynchburg police have reported that Matthew said that the encounter was consensual and that there were no witnesses to back up the woman’s claim. The student decided not to pursue charges.

Police are asking for everyone’s help because at this time, they have “no idea” where Hannah Graham is.

READ ALSO: Examining the night Hannah Graham disappeared; $100,000 reward offered

September 23, 2014  – Charlottesville police are still trying to figure out what happened to Hannah Elizabeth Graham that caused the 18 year old University of Virginia student to disappear over a week ago.

A timeline has been put together through sightings and store surveillance video to account for Graham’s whereabouts from 11:50 pm Friday night until 2 am Saturday morning, when she left a local restaurant with Jesse Matthew.

Although all of the attention is currently on Graham and the urgent investigation for the hope of finding her alive, she is not the only young woman to disappear from Charlottesville without a trace.

Hannah Graham is just one of five similar girls who have gone missing over the past five years.

Morgan Harrington

On October 17, 2009, Morgan Harrington, a 20 year old Virginia Tech student, went to Charlottesville with friends to attend a Metallica concert.

During the concert, Harrington somehow found herself outside of the concert venue without her ticket or car keys when going to the restroom.

Harrington explained to her friends during a phone call around 8:45 pm that she was unable to get back in to the concert due to the arenas policy and that they should not worry about her as she would find her own way home.

Morgan encountered three members of the UVA male basketball team in the parking lot. Harrington asked them for a ride but they declined as they had somewhere else they were expected that evening. The basketball players have been extensively questioned and ruled out as suspects.

A UVA student and her father reported seeing Harrington around 9:30 pm hitchhiking, presumably attempting to make her way across the 150 miles back to Blacksburg Virginia and Virginia Tech. When the father passed the same location a few moments later after dropping his daughter at her dorm, the hitchhiker was gone.

On January 26, 2010 the remains of Morgan Harrington were discovered in a remote field, ten miles from the John Paul Jones Arena.

Her parents told the media that their daughter had been raped and died a violent death.

The rape sketch
The rape sketch

There has never been any arrest for the death of Morgan Harrington, but in 2011 it was confirmed that the person who killed her was linked to a 2005 rape in Fairfax, Virginia by DNA. The rape victim survived and worked with a police artist on a composite sketch. She described her attacker as an average sized African American man between the ages of 25 and 35.

Samantha Ann Clarke

The disappearance of Samantha Clarke has not received the same attention as the cases of Harrington or Graham, although there are similarities between the cases.

On September 13, 2010, 19-year-old Clarke told her then 14 year old brother that she was going out and would be back, but Samantha Clarke never came back.

Clarke left the house without taking any personal items or identification.

Clarke and her brother, Hunter, were home alone that night at their home in Orange County, about 40 minutes north east from University of Virginia, while their mother worked the night shift.

Clarke’s mother received two phone calls around 12:30 am from the home number but their mother, Barbara Tinder was not allowed to use the phone until a break at 1:30 am. When she called, Hunter answered and reported that he had not made the phone calls.

The family of Clarke believe that she went to meet some new “friends” who they had never met.

Orange County police say that all clues in this case led to Greene County, an area 30 minutes north of Virginia’s flagship University, but Samantha Clarke is still missing.

Just this September, almost exactly four years after Clarke disappeared, police divers spent days in a lake in Greene county searching for the missing teen but once again, they came up empty handed.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the Samantha Clarke case is her friendship with Randy Taylor, a man who plays a central role in another young woman’s disappearance.

Alexis Murphy

On August 3, 2013, 17 year old, Alexis Murphy left her home in Shipman, Virginia and headed to Lynchburg to get her hair done.

Murphy was last seen at a gas station in Lovingston, Virginia, 30 minutes south of Charlottesville.

Surveillance video shows Randy Taylor holding the door to the gas station shop for Murphy. Taylor had been parked at the gas pump next to Murphy, although he did not buy ant gas that day.

When walking out of the store, Murphy turned her head as though someone said something to her then approached Taylor’s SUV and spoke to him.

After the brief conversation Taylor headed toward Charlottesville, followed by Murphy in her car.

The next night, Murphy’s car was spotted by another camera parked at a Charlottesville movie theatre. It is too dark for the camera to capture the driver.

Taylor is spotted at an Applebee’s Restaurant near the theatre 30 minutes later.

A torn fingernail, hair, fake eyelashes and blood on a tee shirt are found three days later and, according to police the DNA results, matches Alexis Murphy.

Taylor was found guilty of murder in the commission of an abduction and abduction with the intent to defile.

The judge sentenced Taylor to two life terms, but through his attorney, he insisted that there was a third man involved who actually did the killing. He said that for a sentence of 20 years, he would reveal the location of Murphy’s body.

The family of Alexis Murphy declined the offer saying that they would not bargain with a murderer.

DaShad Laquinn Smith

Smith is a transgender woman who has not been seen since November 20, 2012 when she was just 19 years old.

Smith was last seen on the 500 block of west Main Street in Charlottesville, Virginia around 6:30 pm.

DaShad, who dressed as both a man and a woman, was supposed to meet up with a man at an Amtrak Station on November 20 but never showed up.

After a few days without contact and a missed Thanksgiving dinner, her family notified police.

Police have searched the Charlottesville area to include a landfill but no clues have been found.

Erik McFadden
Erik McFadden

Investigators would like to speak with Erik T. McFadden, who Smith was expected to meet the night she disappeared.

McFadden told police he had traveled to New York City the week Smith went missing and then stopped responding to calls.

He had attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and had just moved to Charlottesville in 2012.

The police are not clear about the relationship between McFadden and Smith, and McFadden has not been charged with a crime but is a person of interest in the case.

It is as if McFadden has also disappeared.

This case remains unsolved.

Hannah Graham

Now Hannah Graham has gone missing from the same area.

On September 23, an arrest warrant was issued for Jesse Matthew for abduction with the intent to defile, the same crime Taylor was charged with in the Murphy case.

Jesse Matthew
Jesse Matthew

Matthew has not been seen since he eluded police over the weekend after telling them he had bought Graham drinks but then they left separately the night she disappeared.

It is also worth noting that two sexual assaults took place in Charlottesville the weekend Graham went missing.

One involved another UVA female student and the other a Charlottesville resident. Both instances occurred in the areas Graham was last seen.

Police as well as volunteers are continuing their search for Graham and for any clues of the unsolved cases.

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  • trac ingr

    One of these girls had a penis, so, thats not a girl, her birth certificate and license says MALE

    • And what possible difference does it make if he was transgender – that gives no one the right to rape or torture. If an individual identifies as a female, or male, doesn’t really matter. As to the alleged prostitute, again, this gives someone the right to murder her? And if one of the girls was murdered, she was still missing until she was found.

  • trac ingr

    One of these girls was hooking on craigslist and was last seen going to meet a john

    One of these girls is a guy, has a penis

    And one of these girls was murdered and her killer charged

    So really only TWO girls are missing, hannah and another

  • kat

    The last: if she was dressed like a girl she could have easily been targeted the same as the other women…use your head people

  • Researcher

    Morgan Harrington began to have bizarre behavior at the time she walked out of the Metalica concert. She disabled her phone then abandoned it. People in the parking area noted her bizarre behavior.

    Hannah Graham should have sobered up while walking for an hour but news reports are that her texts became erratic. Why didn’t she phone someone or 911?

    There is another possible connection for these two. Both were college students and susceptible for a little known problem capable of causing an episode of psychotic-like confusion, Subliminal Distraction.

    The mental event would not have killed her unless it was so severe it caused a suicide; not the case here. But it would have created a confused altered mental state to put them both at risk.

    • USA HasLostItsWay

      If your’e as drunk as they say and she kept drinking she was NOT going to sober up in an hour. Even if she didn’t drink more she would still be getting drunker for an hour or more after her last drinks. Her texts got more erratic because the alcohol was doing what it does, no “episode of psychotic-like confusion, Subliminal Distraction” as you say.

      • Researcher

        If she was as drunk as you claim she would not have been able to walk and run. We don’t know her ability to absorb alcohol and metabolize it There have been other students who vanished like this, recovered enough to realize something was wrong and sought help to find out who they were and where they should be.

        Did you not Google Subliminal Distraction. Visit the incomplete Mysterious Disappearances page. Are you using a computer where there is movement nearby in peripheral vision without peripheral vision blocking protection?

        • USA HasLostItsWay

          Well she should wake up any minute and come home.

  • Had Enough

    Just another misguided little suburban slut committing Suicide By Ni&&er. Yeah, that’ll teach daddy.

  • Tbone

    The only cases that have similarities are Hannah and Morgan Harrington. Both are white women one late teens and other early twenties. Both girls were evidently intoxicated and by themselves. The killer seemed to choose vulnerable young white women who were already compromised by alcohol. Both women were near Charlottesville and within the turf of this killer.

    He gained the confidence of both women, possibly drugged them further. It sounds like Hannah drank a beer suspect Jesse Matthew ordered. So, she had really poor judgment. Morgan was hitchhiking at night by herself outside a concert venue. That was really poor judgment. We don’t know if the suspect in Hannah’s murder is the same as Morgan’s until they do the DNA test.

    It’s no doubt the suspect looked for certain type of women, young, white, compromised, alone with nobody looking out for them.
    The Alexis Murphy case has no similarities.

  • Rufus, UK

    Did the suspect in Hannah Graham’s case not also work as a taxi driver for at least 5 years in the time the other women disappeared ? Are there any caves or abandoned quarries in that area ? It is about time that GPS become mandatory for all vehicles.

    • Fred Hotel

      Any caves, quarries or soil?

  • Michael

    People disappear every single day. Hannah Graham’s disappearance is absolutely tragic but what exactly makes her case different from the other 900,000 people who go missing every year? I don’t mean to sound cold, I live in Virginia and am very saddened by her disappearance but I feel this is nothing but main stream media sensationalism. They do the same thing with every tragedy. A mass shooting, they must dissect every single minutiae when people are killed en masse every weekend in Chicago. They fail to let people know that these events are actually on the decline while at the same time failing to cover the fact that, during many months, more people were killed in Chicago than in the same month during the Iraq war. It isn’t about news or informing the public anymore. It hasn’t been for a long time. It is about ratings, about getting the most simple minded viewers who can no longer get their fix from day time soaps. What the hell happened to us? We used to be informed about issues, not simply events. I fear for Hannah’s life but I fear more for the future of our once informed republic. Laugh all you want but your indifference, apathy, and dismissiveness of what used to matter greatly will be our downfall. There is nothing more important in a democracy than an informed public and sensational stories about an 18 yo girl disappearing demanding all of our attention is not conducive of that. Big media is to blame but we are as well. Take it for what it is or go back to your facebook, twitter, T.V., video games, and your cell phones.

    • katie

      Just because cases in other states are not all over our local news does not mean it is not on their news. They can’t possibly put every single missing person or murder on every news channel in every single state.