The 18-year-old University of Virginia student vanished on Sept. 13

October 18, 2014 07:00 PM

Virginia police announced Saturday that they’ve made a discovery in the search for missing UVA student Hannah Graham.

Five weeks ago 18-year-old Graham, a sophomore at the University of Virginia, went missing from the Downtown Mall area of Charlottesville.

Charlottesville police chief Timothy Longo told reporters in a Saturday evening press conference, “Thousands of hours have been spent by law enforcement and civilian volunteers in an effort to find Hannah. We think perhaps today proved their worth.”

Longo continued, “Some time today a search team from the Chesterfield County Sherriff’s department was searching an abandoned property when they discovered what appears to be human remains.”

Though police did not confirm the remains are those of Graham, “[Detectives] reached out to John and Susan Graham to share with them this preliminary discovery,” said Longo. “Forensic tests need to be conducted to determine the identification of those remains.”

On Sept. 24, police arrested Jesse Leroy Matthew, Jr., 32, of Charlottesville, who was the last person authorities believe was seen with Graham. He was charged with abduction with the intent to defile in connection with her disappearance.

Since then, Matthew has also been forensically linked to missing Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, 20, found brutally murdered after attending a concert at UVA in 2009.

Police are now calling this a death investigation.

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