Another story involving potential college campus crimes is in the news today. It involves what all parents fear…the disappearance of a child.
Hannah Graham, 18, a sophomore at University of Virginia, has been missing since September 13th. To make matters worse, at least three other young women have disappeared in the area in the last five years. While the police indicate that they do not believe that Ms. Graham’s disappearance is connected to the others, one cannot say for sure. After all, the disappearance of Ms. Graham remains a mystery.
The local police do have a “person of interest” with whom they would like to speak though. He is believed to be the last person to have seen Ms. Graham before she disappeared. While the police certainly want to question him, Jesse Mathew now faces charges for reckless driving.
He has not been charged in connection with the missing teen.
Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said at a news conference Sunday, ”I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth because it’s been a week and we can’t find her,” Longo said. ‘I’ve made no mistake about it. We want to talk to Jesse Matthew. We want to talk to him. We want to talk to him about his interaction with this sweet, young girl we can’t find.”
Longo went on to explain that Mr. Matthew had stopped by the Charlottesville Police Department’s station on Saturday with several family members. There, he apparently had the audacity to request a lawyer. When he was provided with a lawyer, he is said to have left the station in a vehicle, driving at a high rate of speed that endangered other drivers. Hence the arrest warrant.
One might wonder if the criminal charges would have been brought if the lad had not invoked his Constitutional right to counsel.
It would seem, though, that the Virginia State Police Department was not all that concerned about the threat to the streets of Charlottesville. A spokeswoman for the Department has indicated that the State Police officers did not pursue Mr. Matthew, but were conducing ”surveillance” of Matthew and his vehicle as of Sunday night.
Meanwhile, while the believed connection to Mr. Matthew has not been released, police say that they are focusing on Ms. Graham’s movements the night of September 12 and into the early hours of the next morning. They say that she had met friends at a restaurant for dinner, stopped by two parties at off-campus housing units, leaving the second party alone.
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.
Police Chief Longo observed that, ”Somebody’s gotta know where she is and we want to know who that person or persons are…I don’t want to get tunnel vision just because we have a name, just because we saw her with a particular person.”
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.
Ms. 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. Nonetheless, they have aided in the search. More than 1,000 volunteers participated in a weekend search for her, according to authorities.
The university president, Teresa A. Sullivan, issued a statement Sunday saying the university was committed to helping authorities in the search for the missing woman and ”return her safely to her family.”
”We are cooperating fully with law enforcement authorities as they continue their investigation,” the emailed statement added.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Complications Of Ongoing Police Investigations
There are various issues which are readily apparent from the thus-far released information.
First of all, did Mr. Matthew truly have the right to request an attorney? Could the police have tried to question him while he waited or after the attorney was provided?
Second, what was the point of issuing the arrest warrant for reckless driving? What part will that play in this investigation?
Third, do the police have requisite probable cause to detain or arrest Mr. Matthew?
Rather than posting a novel-length blog today, we will discuss those issues, and more, tomorrow.
In the meantime, you may have noticed we were unable to post our first Video Blog last Friday. All eyes now turn to this Friday…!
Will the third try be the charm???
For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/education/2014/09/21/man-seen-with-uva-student-faces-driving-charge/s2EpPS0NikU4SPSdzO6oGN/story.html