Arrest warrant issued after ‘person of interest’ in Hannah Graham case loses police during high-speed pursuit

Posted at 6:07 PM, Sep 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-21 19:07:31-04

Charlottesville, Va. – An arrest warrant has been issued for Jesse Matthew, the man with dreadlocks spotted on surveillance video that police believe has information about missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, after he sped away from police headquarters Saturday.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said that 32-year-old Matthew walked into the station and asked for a lawyer late Saturday afternoon. After talking with a lawyer, Longo said Matthew left the station after about an hour and got into a vehicle with another person and sped off, according to WTVR.

As a result, state and federal investigators followed the vehicle, but had to give up the pursuit because Matthew was speeding.

“They were overtly, not covertly, monitoring Matthew’s movement.  He left a location in Albermarle County at a high rate of speed, so much so that he put others in danger,” Longo said.

Accordingly, Virginia State Police have charged Matthew with two counts of reckless driving and warrants have been issued for his arrest.

On Sunday, Hannah Graham’s father held up his daughter’s favorite stuffed rabbit for reporters to see.

It was given to her by one of his friends when she was a baby, and it became her constant companion and friend.

The rabbit disappeared for a few months when Graham was around 3, he said, but eventually was found and returned.

“All we want to do now is to bring Hannah home safely, and I appeal to anybody who knows anything — please, please help us,” John Graham said Sunday.

More than a week has passed since his daughter disappeared, and police are certain that somebody must know something.

“Somebody’s got to know where she is, and we want to know who that person or persons are,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo.

Specifically, authorities want to talk to Jesse Matthew, a man Longo believes was the last person with Graham.

Graham, 18, was last seen September 13 in an area of Charlottesville known as the downtown mall.

Using surveillance video and witness statements, authorities have tracked Graham along the mall, where she was seen walking with a man Longo thinks was Matthew.

“I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth,” the police chief said. “We want to talk to him.”

Authorities have searched Matthew’s apartment and car but have declined to say what — if anything — was found. They are offering a $50,000 reward for “information leading to the cause” of Graham’s disappearance.

The police chief added: “I hope and pray that we might have an opportunity to talk to Jesse Matthew again because I think he can help up find Hannah Graham.”

CNN contributed to this report.