The remains of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham who vanished last month have been positively identified, police said today.
The remains were found in a field on Oct. 18 about 10 miles from Charlottesville, where the UVA sophomore was last seen.
Surveillance footage recorded Graham walking around the downtown area shortly after 1 a.m. Sept. 13 with a man named Jesse Matthew.
Matthew, 32, was named the suspect in the case a week after she vanished and he was arrested days later in Galveston, Texas. He was charged with abduction with intent to defile, although now that the remains have been identified as Graham's, the charges will likely be increased.
Prosecutor Denise Lunsford said new charges against Matthew are being evaluated.
"The focus of the investigation now is to determine what charges will be brought and the appropriate time to make those charges," Lunsford said in a statement.
Police asked that anyone who saw suspicious activity around Old Lynchburg Road, where the remains were found, around the time of Graham's disappearance to call police.
Graham's parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement, "We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Hannah... Put simply, Hannah lit up our lives, the lives of our family and the lives of her friends and others who knew her."
"We would like to draw attention to the fact that, although the waiting has ended for us, there are other families both in Virginia and beyond who have not been as fortunate in that their loved ones are still missing. Please continue to hold these families in your thoughts and prayers," the parents said.
"Hannah showed great promise as a student and as a young woman," University of Virginia president Teresa Sullivan said in an email sent to all students and faculty this afternoon. "She brought immense energy and delight to her learning at the University, and she was a source of friendship and joy for so many people here at the University and abroad, particularly her friends on the ski team."
Matthew was indicted last week for a 2005 sex assault on a woman in Fairfax City, Virginia. The victim in that case, a 26-year-old woman, survived the assault and has not been publicly identified.
Police have said they found a forensic link between Graham's case and the abduction and murder of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who vanished from a concert in Charlottesville in 2009. Her body was found months later.
In 2010, police said they had a forensic link between the Harrington murder and the 2005 sex assault in Fairfax City.
Several other police jurisdictions have opened cases on missing women to see if there is any link to Matthew.
Matthew’s hearing has been pushed back and he has not entered a plea in the Graham or Fairfax case and his lawyer has declined to discuss any possible links to other cases.