Suspect captured in case of missing student



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RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) — A man charged with abducting a missing British-born student has been captured in Texas and is awaiting extradition to Virginia — but there is still no sign of the University of Virginia student, authorities said.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was arrested on a beach Texas, police announced Wednesday night.

The capture came less than a full day after police announced they had probable cause to arrest Matthew on charges of abduction of Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old who went missing on Sept. 13 in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said an intense search for Graham continues.

"This case is nowhere near over," he told a news conference late Wednesday. "We have a person in custody but there's a long road ahead of us and that long road includes finding Hannah Graham."

Matthew was captured at a beach in the sparsely populated community of Gilchrist around 3:30 p.m. after police received a call reporting a suspicious person, the Galveston County Daily News reported. The newspaper quoted Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset as saying a deputy responding to the call found a man who had pitched a tent on the beach with his car parked nearby. Trochesset said a check of the car's plates revealed it was the vehicle sought in connection to the case. Authorities were trying to get a warrant to search the car, he added.

Matthew was being held Thursday morning in Galveston County.

A dispatcher at the sheriff's office in Galveston referred questions about the arrest and timing of Matthew's extradition to Charlottesville police, who did not provide details at the news conference and did not immediately respond to telephone messages afterward.

The case has spread fear through Charlottesville, a quiet community nestled around the University of Virginia. Authorities have increased patrols and a late-night transportation program for students, who also have begun walking in pairs at night and are paying closer attention to their surroundings.

Graham moved from England to Virginia at age 5. She was an alpine skier and alto saxophone player who had earned straight A's six years in a row, according to family members and police. Graham met friends at a restaurant for dinner on Sept. 12 before stopping by two parties at off-campus housing units, authorities said. They said she left the second party alone, and sent a text message to a friend saying she was lost.

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 where police believe she entered a bar with Matthew.

The university said Matthew had been employed at the University of Virginia Medical Center since Aug. 12, 2012, as a patient technician in the operating room.

Matthew attended Liberty University from 2000 to 2002, said officials with the Lynchburg school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. The school's athletics website listed him as a player on the football team.

The latest revelations came late Tuesday, when police, who have searched Matthew's car once and his apartment twice, decided they had probable cause to charge him in the disappearance. Longo declined to say what new information police had, but authorities sent several items, including clothing, to a state forensics lab for testing.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Michael Felberbaum

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