Charlottesville police have released a wanted poster in their search for Jesse "LJ" Matthew, the person they say was last seen with missing Northern Virginia native Hannah Graham.

Matthew, 32, was last seen speeding away from state police troopers Saturday after showing up at the Charlottesville police station. He left without talking to detectives after asking for a lawyer, police Chief Timothy Longo said Sunday.

He is wanted for two counts of reckless driving, and is possibly using his sister's light blue Nissan Sentra with Virginia license plate VAC-4575.

Police say Matthew has associations to the D.C. area, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.

Charlottesville police say they are awaiting forensic lab results today after searches of Matthew's apartment and car. The chief has said police are aware of the similarities between the disappearance of Graham, an 18-year-old West Potomac High School graduate and University of Virginia student, and the 2009 murder of 20-year-old Morgan Harrington, who disappeared at a concert in Charlottesville.

Investigators have matched DNA  in the Harrington case to an unsolved rape in Fairfax city in 2005. The suspect in that case matches Matthew's description. Click here for the FBI's composite sketch.

Anyone with information is asked to call the 24-hour tip line at 434-295-3851.


Previous story posted Sept. 21

In an emotional Sunday afternoon press conference, the parents of missing Northern Virginia native Hannah Graham talked about their nightmare and pleaded for information that will help bring their daughter home.

Meanwhile, Charlottesville police Chief Timothy Longo said person of interest Jesse “LJ” Matthew showed up at the police station Saturday, but left “at a high rate of speed” after talking to a lawyer — and now he’s wanted for reckless driving.

“We need to find out what happened to Hannah and not let it happen to anyone else,” John Graham said, his wife by his side. The family lives in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County.
Chief Longo said he’s convinced Matthew was the last person to see Graham, but Matthew’s not talking.
Matthew, 32, was captured on video with the 18-year-old University of Virginia sophomore the night she vanished. After police confirmed his name, he came to the Charlottesville police station on Saturday afternoon and asked for a lawyer.
“Jesse Matthew showed up at the police station yesterday, walked right through the front door with a couple family members,” Longo said. “He got inside and asked for a lawyer. We found him one. He talked to a lawyer and … they walked out the door.  And I don’t know any more know than I did before about his interaction with Hannah Graham.”
Police said Matthew was seen speeding from the area within 15 minutes of leaving the station, and they have issued a warrant against him for reckless driving.
No charges have been filed against Matthew in connection Graham's disappearance. Police searched his apartment and 1998 burnt orange Chrysler coupe and sent potential evidence to the state forensics lab, but are awaiting results.
"I believe Jesse Matthew was last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the earth,” Longo said. “Let me repeat that. I believe Jesse Matthew was last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the earth. It’s been a week and we can’t find her. Someone knows where she is. Someone’s gotta know where she is.”
John Graham said the family has been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received in the seven days their daughter has been missing, and thanked the nearly 2,000 volunteer searchers out this weekend looking for any sign of her.
"I think the reason Hannah has such marvelous support is that this is every parent’s worst nightmare,” he said. "Everyone know’s what happened to Hannah could happen to their child.”
Graham talked about his daughter’s love for helping others and her love of life itself. He shared an email from a teacher at West Potomac High School, where Graham graduated in 2013. The teacher said in all her conversations with friends of Graham’s one theme resounded: hope.
"'Hannah is brilliant, resilient, determined and loves life more than anyone I know,’” John Graham quoted. "If anyone can get through this, it’s Hannah.' "Let’s hope today is the day."

Police say they are well aware of the similarities between Graham’s disappearance and the 2009 abduction and murder of 20-year-old Morgan Harrington, who vanished at a Metallica concert on the U.Va. campus.

DNA connected her still-uncaught killer to a 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax city, also unsolved. In that case, the attacker was scared off by a passerby. Based on the witness descriptions, a composite sketch of the suspect showed an African American male, about 25 to 35 years old and 6 feet tall.

"If you have child , especially a daughter, this type of disappearance should strike at your core,” Longo said.

A $50,000 reward, much of it made up from donations from individuals and businesses, is being offered for information in the case. A $150,000 reward is being offered in the Morgan Harrington case.


(29) comments

brandee we're issuing warrants for reckless driving now? Because he drive away at "a high rate of speed"?

Wow. They'll use any tactic to pin something on someone.


Phil- get a life and stop trolling! Seriously!

Phil Asheeo

It's not those jeans making your butt look big honey, it's your butt....


Lawyering up was the smart thing to do. In high profile cases such as this one, the police are under enormous pressure to close the case and sometimes some, not all, police will take shortcuts resulting in frames. Books are out there about the NYPD, LAPD and Philadelphia police framing innocents in order to close a case and take the heat off of them. In Philadelphia, one detective would dress up in a rabbit suit and then put a gun to a suspect's head until he signed a confession. The stories coming out about wrongfully convicted people spending years in jail should give anyone being questioned by the police reason for pause and they have an absolute right to have a lawyer and nothing should be inferred from exercising that right. Conversely, if the 'person of interest' behaves in a suspicious manner, the police have to follow up on all leads in cases like this.


great point


The police chief absolutely did not say he was guilty, Ive seen every news conference and about every story about this case and he never said that once. All he wants to do is talk to him and he was convinced jesse was the last person to see hannah that evening, nothing more was said.

Innocent people want to clear their names, it's the nature of the beast. They typically don't lawyer up that fast unless there are extenuating circumstances why he would not want to talk. His actions make no sense and only bring more heat on himself.

And as for small town cops, maybe but this chief is controlling communications very well in my opinion.


I think this police chief is doing a fantastic job... if God forbid I ever went missing, I would want this man on the case. I have never in my life seen more passion and professionalism from someone in that position.
I have been following this case from day one, and you are right... he has never once said he was guilty- this is an assumption made by the public, and it does not help that the POI is not cooperating with police.
I read another article that the choice not to chase the POI, but instead charge 2 counts of reckless driving was a tactical move. They want him to be on the run so that when he does finally turn himself in (or they find him), they can argue he is "a risk" to the judge. Someone who is simply pulled over for 2 counts of reckless driving will most likely not serve any jail time, but someone who has a warrant for this and does not turn himself in (causing police to have to search for him) gives a greater chance for jail time. What they need is him in custody so they can talk to him, apparently he will not talk on his own will... so they are having to do what they can. I think it's a very smart move.


finally someone who understands, regardless of what anyone says the innocent will always try to prove themselves innocent, even if they really do not have to. it's just human nature.

the only people that dont do this are psychopaths and guilty people. This police chief is rocking this case, and all you gotta do is some research to know this guy has the chops to do this job, anyone who says otherwise is not playing with a full deck.

this guy is a cop's cop, pure and simple and this is coming from someone who has spent over 23 years in law enforcement at both the city, state and federal levels.

Jane Doe

Are you serious? You think this Chief is using police tactics. WOW how many years did you go to GIBS ONLINE SCHOOL to get your 2 year degree?

If you saw all of the news conference then you must have noticed even with your Superman skills that he is taking this personally...

Which is fine, he is human...but he is also a supervisor and showing this kind of personal connection is ABSOLUTELY is what you do not do....

It well ABSOLUTELY be used by the Defense to help his client. The first thing his lawyer is going to say, is you looked no further then my client..Why help give the defense more leverage to help this prick out?

When you have officers who have worked their ass off to catch this bastard you don't need your boss crying on tv, no matter how bad the situation is..Grab your balls before you go on TV.

Before calling someone a COP I am curious if you even know where the word COP came from?

The word "COP" is something that is earned through nothing more then public you protect. Its that simple...Unfortunately today we have a lot of police officers and not enough COPS.

Phil Asheeo

Wow, Retired Cop. Before you rant about someone's 2 year degree, you may want to check your post. Retired Rent-A-Cop maybe?


and your also right, everything this police chief is doing is a tactic, he's choosing every word he says carefully and you gotta believe if they wanted this guy caught when they were chasing him, they would have.

when people watch this guy on TV you have to know that everything he's doing is thought out very carefully to make sure when the case is made, it sticks.


Professionals who have been dealing with investigations like this their entire life are the ones weighing in and voicing this was in fact a tactical move... so yes, I am serious (not based on my own assumptions, based on those with the knowledge and experience to point that out very easily). This chief is by far the most professional COP, police officer, investigator, chief, etc... whatever you want to call him, that I've seen in long, long time. He has passion in solving cases that take place in his territory, on his watch... what more can you ask for from a chief? I would be honored if he was in our area. Too many people go missing, and a lot of them end up as cold cases. To have passion for solving these type of cases is 'getting the job done', NOT something to be viewed as a bad quality in this type of field.

The Owl

I think Chief Longo is a perfect role model for all cops...kudos to him on this one...he absolutely got it right.

Jane Doe

As usual, most people in this country convict first before any kind of trial. The police Chief went on national tv and said he thinks he is guilty. So now the head of law enforcement made this kind of statement about a person that is not of the same race. What are the odds that this "reckless driver" is going to feel comfortable about telling the police what he knows in the event he is innocent? This police chief has had a bunch of young girls missing over the last few years on his watch. I would hope by now Missouri would be a lesson to small town cops to Shut the hell up and don't give your personal 2 cents on such a matter. The first thing I am going to do if I am the "reckless driver" is get a bunch of money for declamation in the event he is wrong. I may or may not agree why he left town..But I truly understand.


your comment is spot on


it's common sense (and taught in most criminal justice classes and the police academy (at least the one i attended) that innocent people will do almost anything necessary to clear their names and assist the police.

guilty people attempt to evade or otherwise hinder the investigation either because they are guilty in some way, covering for someone or have a guilty conscience about something else that may not be related to the crime that they want to keep hidden.

common sense would dictate that this dude should have been sitting at the police station trying to convince them he had nothing to do with this and go about his life, however he is giving the police a hard time and then creating more problems for himself. does not look very good for him and obviously paints himself in a bad light.

god forbid his DNA comes back as a match in the morgan harrington issue, then he's pretty much toast.


Well, his photo is all over Facebook. I think a whole lot of people out there are viewing him as a suspect....right or wrong.


The other guy in the video was also a person of interest at one point, but he voluntarily called into the tip line before the video footage of him was even released to the public. He cooperated with police and gave every bit of information he possibly could. Had Jesse Matthew done the same, there would be no need to release video footage and photos of him all over the internet. Jesse Matthew is NOT cooperating in the goal to find Hannah Graham... whether he is innocent or guilty, it's creating a major problem for himself AND the investigation. The police will do everything in their power to find out information from Jesse, if that results in the public viewing him as a suspect... I'm sorry to say, but he dug his own hole. Had he cooperated, things would have most likely remained more private... as far as him 'appearing' as a suspect. The police cannot control what the public view him as, they have only referred to him as a POI throughout this entire investigation.

Comment deleted.

nice to call them PIG's..they are doing a job you probably wouldnt have the huevo's to do.

Comment deleted.

His name was never mentioned until his grandmother came forward and spoke his name to the media. Until then, police had kept his name private information and did not plan to release it themselves unless he was actually charged. Now, it is public information because it was released by a family member.

Martin Geter

Who observed him leaving the station in a reckless manner? If it was a cop(s), then why not arrest him then vs issuing a warrant for reckless driving?


because..they were following him and at that time he was doing nothing wrong, also the officers that were following them were federal and state, unless he's breaking a state or federal law there was no reason to arrest him by local authorities.

he didnt break the law until he started bolting on the highway, thus would have been a state issue. the VSP is the ones who have the warrant out since he broke their laws, not that of the municipality.

unless i'm mistaken, he's not wanted as a suspect in hannah graham case...yet.
however this could change if something shows up in the forensic analysis of the stuff they took from his car and apartment. if that happens, then the charlottesville PD will have probable cause to issue a warrant for his arrest. according to the news conference this stuff should be analyzed by the crime lab by tuesday.

all this info can be garnered from the press conference, that's pretty much the latest info we have at this point other than the fact they re-searched the apartment today with another warrant.


oh and forgot to add, this is called "police work" ever think they were letting him go to figure out what he's going to do next? it was overt pursuit, they were winding him up so he'll make a mistake. people make mistakes when they are stressed and know they are being watched and do stupid things as well.


Yes investigating anyone of a different race than your own or the victim's is now racism in this country.


Bugmenot, UPDATE: 2 black girls are missing too.

Whether the person of interest is considered to be a policeman or a serial killer, the same federal investigative scrutiny should be allotted to young female murder victims as young male victims::


Yeah, it's just gotta be racial "sarcasm". Way to inject a racial issue where there is none


So they've search his home and car, said he's not in custody but imply he's the only suspect? This reeks of racial prejudice.


No, they have not implied he is a suspect. They have stated he's a person of interest- that has been clear from day 1... he is the last known person to speak to Hannah before she went missing, he is VITAL to possibly solving this case whether he is guilty or not. Whether he parted ways with Hannah or not, he holds key information that could advance this investigation... such as her state of mind, where she planned to go after their meeting, any other suspicious persons around that night, etc. They need to speak with him and he is refusing to do so at this point. They need information from him in order to continue their investigation in the right direction.

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