Remains found last Saturday on an abandoned property in Albemarle County, Virginia, were confirmed to be those of missing University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham. The remains were found 6 miles from where Graham was last seen.
“When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending,” said Hannah’s parents, John and Sue, in a press statement. “We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter.”
Graham, 18, had gone to a restaurant with friends on the evening of September 12th, then stopped by two off-campus parties. After leaving the last party alone, she texted a friend and said that she was lost.
Video surveillance footage from that night showed Graham in the area of Charlottesville Downtown Mall walking unsteadily and sometimes running.
Graham was last seen with 32-year-old Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., an operating room technician who worked at the hospital of the college Graham attended, according to Yahoo News.
Matthew was arrested on September 24th in Galveston, Texas, and was charged with abduction with intent to defile, according to CNN. Police searched his apartment and found forensic evidence linking him also to the disappearance and death of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who went missing in October of 2009.
Grahams disappearance has sparked a new focus on safety at University of Virginia, with many students walking in pairs at night. The university has also expanded its ride program for students to use.
University of Virginia president Teresa A. Sullivan released a statement Friday saying, “For Hannah’s young life to end so tragically, and for her destiny of promise to be left unfulfilled, is an affront to the sanctity of life and to the natural order of human events. This is a sorrowful day in the life of the university, and our entire community is grieving with the Graham family.”