CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WJZ) — Remains found last weekend are those of Hannah Graham, the University of Virginia student who vanished more than a month ago.
The remains were discovered Oct. 18 in a heavily wooded area in rural Virginia where Hannah Graham, the 18-year-old University of Virginia student, disappeared more than a month ago.
A pair of dark, tight pants–like those Graham was wearing the night she disappeared–were found near the body.
“I don’t know how else to explain it. Something inside me just told me continue to look. I do believe God wanted us to find what we found,” said Dale Terry, Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Department.
Graham was last seen in the early morning hours of Sept. 13. Surveillance video captured her with 32-year-old Jesse Matthew Jr.
Police tracked him down in Texas and charged him with Graham’s abduction.
Police say forensic evidence also connects Matthew to the death of Morgan Harrington, who vanished from Blacksburg, Virginia in October 2009. Her body was found three months later.
Hannah Graham’s parents, John and Sue Graham, released the following statement:
When we first met Chief Longo he promised to find our precious daughter, Hannah, and during five long weeks his resolve to fulfill that promise never wavered. When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending. Sadly that was not to be, but due to the tenacity and determination of Chief Longo, Hannah is coming home to us and we will be eternally grateful to him for this.
The search for Hannah would not have been successful were it not for the many, many people who helped, including Mark Eggeman and VDEM, local, state and federal law enforcement officers, the staff of the City of Charlottesville, and the dedicated members of numerous volunteer search and rescue groups. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We also give our heartfelt thanks to all those who took part in the community search, to the citizens of Charlottesville, and to the individuals, businesses and organizations, both local and national, who provided untold resources to help support the search for Hannah. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to those who provided support to us and to our family throughout this ordeal, including the staff and students of the University of Virginia, our friends, neighbors and work colleagues, the staff and students of West Potomac High School, Hannah’s friends, and the countless kind people who have sent us messages of support. We thank you all.
We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Hannah. Over recent weeks Hannah has been described by those who know her as bright, witty, thoughtful, loyal and fun to be around. She was all those things and more. Put simply, Hannah lit up our lives, the lives of our family and the lives of her friends and others who knew her. Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished. We will hold it in our hearts forever and it will help sustain us as we face a painful future without her. We are so very proud of Hannah and all that she achieved. Although only 18 years old, Hannah had just started her second year at the University of Virginia when she disappeared and was excelling academically. She loved U.Va. and the City of Charlottesville, and was very happy to return there after the summer break. Hannah had intended to pursue a career in global public health, she wanted to help others, and it is heart-breaking for us that she was robbed so tragically of the opportunity to fulfill her dream.
In closing we would like to draw attention to the fact that, although the waiting has ended for us, there are other families both in Virginia and beyond who have not been as fortunate in that their loved ones are still missing. Please continue to hold these families in your thoughts and prayers.
We do not intend to make any further statements at this time, nor to comment on the ongoing criminal investigation. We ask the media to respect our privacy and that of our family as we continue to grieve.
Stay with WJZ and CBSBaltimore.com for the latest on this developing story.
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