CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — A man authorities believe is the last person seen with a British-born student before she disappeared is being sought on arrest warrants charging him with reckless driving.
But they say they also want to talk to him about missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, 18.
Authorities say more than 1,000 volunteers participated in a weekend search for Graham, whose family moved from England to Virginia when she was 5.
Virginia State Police issued warrants for Jesse Matthew on a charge of misdemeanor reckless driving, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said at a news conference. Matthew has not been charged in the disappearance of the teen, who was last seen early on Sept. 13 in Charlottesville.
Longo said police want to talk to Matthew, who was seen with Graham before she disappeared.
Longo said Matthew had stopped by the Charlottesville Police Department’s station Sept. 19 with several family members and asked for a lawyer. He was provided with a lawyer but left in a vehicle, driving at a high rate of speed that endangered other drivers, according to the police chief. He said Matthew was there for about an hour.
Virginia State Police spokeswoman said in an email that State Police officers were conducing “surveillance” of the vehicle at the time but did not pursue Matthew.
Police said they have focused on Graham’s movements the night of Sept. 12 and into the early morning hours of Sept. 13. Graham met friends at a restaurant for dinner, stopped by two parties at off-campus housing units and left the second party alone, police have said.
Surveillance videos showed her walking, and at some points running, past a pub and a service station and then onto the Downtown Mall, a seven-block pedestrian strip lined with shops and restaurants.
Graham’s parents appeared at the news conference and her father, John Graham, appealed for anyone with any information to call a police tip line.
“This is every parent’s worst nightmare,” John Graham said. “We need to find out what happened to Hannah and make sure it happens to no one else.”
Graham’s disappearance has sent a ripple of fear through the quiet college town of Charlottesville. Students have said they’ve begun walking in pairs at night and are paying closer attention to their surroundings.
At least three other young women have disappeared in the area in the last five years, though police have said they do not think Graham’s disappearance is linked to that of any of the other missing women.