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Hannah Graham: Deadly Connections

"48 Hours" goes inside the murder investigation of the UVA student, the evidence that links one man to three horrific crimes, and now, his punishment

Produced by Marcelena Spencer, Aimée deSimone, Josh Gelman and Ruth Chenetz

[This story first aired on Sept. 26, 2015. It was updated on June 11, 2016.]

The quaint, historic city of Charlottesville, Virginia, is home to the prestigious University of Virginia.

Hannah Elizabeth Graham, 18, loved it here. When she went missing on Sept. 13 2014, she had just started her second year.

hannah-graham-softball770.jpg
British-born Hannah Graham, 18, was described as vivacious, athletic and talented.


A few days later, her distraught parents, Sue and John Graham, appealed for help.

"This is every parent's worst nightmare. I am certain that everybody... knows that what happened to Hannah could happen to their child," Hannah's father, John Graham, addressed reporters at a press conference. "Please, please help us."

The disappearance outraged the entire community, from fellow students to the police chief, Tim Longo.

"We are gonna continue our work, we are gonna continue to work relentlessly until we find Hannah Graham," he told reporters.

WTVR reporter Laura French, a "48 Hours" consultant, has followed this story from day one.

"We knew at that time ... that she had gone out to dinner with friends that night and that ...you know, like most college students, she had gone to a couple parties," French told "48 Hours correspondent Susan Spencer. "We know that after she left that party no one had heard from her other than a couple of text messages ... and that text at 1:06 a.m. was, you know, 'I'm trying to get to a party,' I believe, and 'I'm lost.'"

"'I'm lost?'" Spencer asked.

"It wasn't completely out of character that she'd be lost," French explained. "...here she moved into off campus housing. School had just started ... we were just a few weeks into the school year, and you know you can lose your bearings especially in and out of that downtown mall area."

"So this is the mall in Charlottesville, this the last place really where we see Hannah Graham?" Spencer asked French as they walked in the area.

"That's right, this is known as the downtown Charlottesville pedestrian mall and it is the last known image that we have of Hannah Graham on this mall," she replied.

"Popular place with the kids?" Spencer asked.

"You definitely see kids down here, but this is not what we would call 'the hang out,'" French replied.

British-born Hannah Graham moved with her parents to Virginia when she was 5 years old. Her friend, Leila Nasser, remembers her as super smart, musically gifted, and with a dry sense of humor.

"...she's one of those people who just knew who she was. Very much a go-getter," Nasser said. "She was very confident and driven."

"Hannah is - witty. ...And much smarter than any coach that was on the field," said her high school coach, Craig Maniglia.

Just shy of 6 feet tall, Hannah was a standout on the softball field.

"... as time went on she moved herself up to her senior year when she became captain of the team," Maniglia continued.

Vivacious, popular and talented. It's no surprise that Hannah Graham's disappearance exploded on social media. WTOP radio reporter Neal Augenstein, who worked with "48 Hours" on this investigation, was tweeting details almost by the minute.

"We've been able to tell it as it's developing,"Augenstein told Spencer. "With Twitter and online ... you can tell the little bits ... that caught ... your attention ... and add color, and perspective, and context to a story."

And the story became even more intriguing as video began to surface. Hannah can be seen at a UVA event only 10 days before she went missing. It's an eerie contrast to the grainy images of her caught on tape by surveillance cameras the night she disappeared.

"Well, the Hannah Graham case--resonated so much more with Charlottesville because, you know, she was living here in Charlottesville," said attorney and longtime Charlottesville resident Lloyd Snook.

Snook has been following the case closely.

"...her disappearance was reported within a day. ...They could track through various video cameras where she had gone," he told Spencer. "She had been downtown and the trail goes cold. Then she just vanished."


Snook walked "48 Hours" through the videos of Hannah's last-known hours, starting as she leaves her apartment -- a normal kid out on Friday night.

"So, this is McGrady's, this was a restaurant and you'll see Hannah Graham coming in from the left, lower left. She's highlighted ... now I'm gonna stop that because, you know, that stumble to some people who watch this is very telling," Spencer noted to Snook as they watched surveillance tape.

"She seems a little unsteady on her feet both here and later in the video. She's coming from the direction that you would come from if you were coming from the University of Virginia," he replied.

"And then after a few minutes we see her, she re-emerges. And what do you think this was all about?" Spencer asked.

"My guess, purely a guess, is that she went by McGrady's to see if a friend was in there who might buy her a drink or somethin' like that," said Snook.

Police believe Hannah had been drinking that night. She's next seen on video from a nearby gas station.

"And this time, I mean she is running," Spencer pointed out. "...and who knows what that means."

"You know ... it is really hard to say," Snook replied. "It's not a particularly dangerous neighborhood; it's a well lit area."

"And I think the cops have looked at this and there doesn't appear to be anybody running after her," Spencer noted.

"Right," Snook said. "She's going down toward the mall."

The man believed last seen with Hannah Graham
The man believed last seen with Hannah Graham


Just seconds before Hannah next surfaces on security footage near a local pizzeria, its camera catches a man walking on the downtown mall.

"You'll notice he's a pretty distinctive looking guy. He's a big man and he's got dreads," Snook pointed out. "It's kind of obvious why people would notice him over the course of the next half hour."

"He disappears briefly and then we see Hannah. She's by herself," said Spencer.

But soon, the man makes a U-turn and then reappears -- now walking in Hannah's direction, keeping behind several other people.

"You see a pretty big guy there," Snook continued. "...and at that point he's probably 20, 30 yards behind Hannah."

The last video, from a jewelry store camera, shows Hannah and the unidentified man now walking side by side.

"And they seem to walking in sync, together," said Snook.

The last known video of Hannah Graham was taken at 1:08 a.m. outside of a jewelry store
The last known video of Hannah Graham was taken at 1:08 a.m. from a jewelry store. The video shows Hannah walking side by side with the same man who police say was following Hannah in the preceding video. Upon further review, police noticed his arm is around Hannah's waist.


By enhancing the picture, police note that his arm is around her waist.

"Very strange to ... watch two people on videotape and realize how much their lives are gonna change," Augenstein said. "You can only imagine what was going on in her mind. You can only imagine what was going on in -- in his mind. "

There is no video from Hannah's last known stop.

"So this is the Tempo bar, this is the last place that she was seen in public," Spencer said to French as they stood outside the building.

"In public, no images of her," she replied. "...but the police say that several eyewitnesses put her inside that bar with the suspect."

"...If that young lady's touched your life in any way, you have the responsibility to help us find her," a passionate Chief Longo told reporters.

"Somebody knows what happened to Hannah. We don't know who that is... but somebody knows what happened to Hannah," her father, John Graham, told reporters.

That somebody, police think, may well be that man on tape who made the odd U-turn to walk in Hannah's direction.

FORENSIC TIES

News of Hannah Graham's disappearance put normally peaceful Charlottesville on high alert.

"I definitely thought differently walking to my car at night, having worked in that area," WTVR reporter Laura French told Spencer. "You know, I wanna make -- to make sure-- you know, when I was leaving after a newscast at 11:30 at night, that there was someone watching me walk to my car. It was definitely on the back of everyone's minds."

Also on the back of everyone's mind, the events of five years earlier when another young woman simply vanished off these streets.

"2009, you have this Virginia Tech student, Morgan Harrington, who is last seen at a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena," said French.

Morgan Harrington, 20, a student at Virginia Tech, was known for her artistic, energetic and fun-loving personality.
Morgan Harrington, 20, a student at Virginia Tech, was known for her artistic, energetic and fun-loving personality.
Harrington Family


It was Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009. Morgan Harrington, 20, drove from her parent's home in Roanoke, Virginia, to the UVA campus arena to see one of her favorite bands.

It was the last time her parents, Gil and Dan Harrington, would see their daughter alive.

"Morgan had come to spend the weekend with us, which was not unusual, and was really excited about the Metallica concert," said Gil Harrington.

"How long was it before you were aware that anything at all was wrong?" Spencer asked.

"On Sunday morning, about 11:00 ... I received a call from the University of Virginia police who informed me that Morgan's purse had been found in a parking lot," said Dan Harrington.

"I knew that minute something terrible had -- had happened," said Gil Harrington.

"And Morgan, you knew, was gone," added Dan Harrington.

Lindsay Crisp grew up with Morgan. They were friends since elementary school.

"Morgan was like the moon. ...she was reflecting the light that was in the world," she said. "Wherever she walked in, there was a shift in the energy."

"Morgan was a lotta fun, you know?" her mother said. "She had -- finally reached that point in life where we had an adult relationship with her. And it was really an exciting, very gratifying point in time."

"She was someone who loved art and music, did not like math and science which is -- we are math and science people," said Morgan's father.

Crisp was in Europe when Morgan went missing, only to come home to a terrible shock.

"My parents stood me in the den and they said, 'We need to let you know Morgan's gone. She's been missing for 10 days,'" she said. "It felt like there was no hope in that moment. And so I just ran upstairs and cried."

Investigators had little to work with. At one point, Morgan had left her friends, something had happened, and she ended up outside the arena.

"Morgan left to go to the restroom and ... we have a witness that Morgan was bleeding from an injury on her face ... so we assume that at some point between the seat and the restroom, Morgan fell," Dan Harrington explained. "And then the next thing we heard was that Morgan had left the building ... and they wouldn't let her back in."

"There was a report that she was seen hitchhiking. Does that make sense to you?" Spencer asked.

"It does now," Dan Harrington replied. "She was reported to be confused ... and 'how's Morgan gonna get home?'"

Morgan Harrington was last seen on Copley Bridge -- alone, on foot, and possibly injured. Unable to get back into the concert, she may have decided to simply find her own way to her friend's apartment, a casual decision that likely cost her her life.

"I think Morgan was impaired," Gil Harrington told Spencer. "I think she-- she was injured. She was not thinking clearly."

"I think that someone driving a taxi cab stopped and Morgan felt safe and got in. And I think the rest is history," said Dan Harrington.

"But this is your theory about the cab driver?" Spencer asked.

"That's my theory," Dan Harrington replied.

"Nobody actually saw a cab?"

"No."

"Or saw her get into a cab?"

"No. No," he said.

Within days, Morgan's disappearance was dominating the local news and social media. And, as with Hannah Graham years later, the community responded.

The Harringtons used social media to help search for their daughter, Morgan
The Harringtons used social media to help search for their daughter, Morgan

"We had 2,000 people searching for Morgan over a weekend, each day," said Dan Harrington.

"Morgan's case was one of the first cases that used social media to solicit information and tips and as a crime-solving tool," said Gil Harrington.

"We felt that the only way that we could help Morgan was to not let Morgan's case be swept under the rug," said Dan Harrington.

"I'd like to say, if Morgan is out there and hears us, please come home," Dan Harrington said at a press conference.

"We are trying to find you. We will never stop. We are trying honey, hang on," said Gil Harrington.

Even Metallica tried to help, appealing for the public's help for any information in her disappearance:

James Hetfield reward announcement: Any information no matter how small you might think it is could be that crucial piece investigators need to help solve the case.

"You are basically swinging on a pendulum between hope and despair," Gil Harrington told Spencer.

"It becomes pretty clear after a couple days that, you know, it's probably not gonna turn out good," said Dan Harrington.

Tragically, Morgan's father was right. In January 2010, three months after Morgan disappeared, human remains were found on a farm just 10 miles from the UVA campus.

"She was found by a farmer who ... was checking his fences ... and saw what he thought initially was, you know, a deer carcass but it was not. It was our daughter," said Gil Harrington.

But a forensic exam of the remains apparently yielded no clues as to who her assailant was. That would come from a T-shirt found one day draped over a bush near the UVA campus.

"The T-shirt, I believe, was found in November ... a couple weeks after Morgan was killed," said Gil Harrington.

"Most disturbing to me was that ... it had been put out like a trophy," she continued. "And just the -- the nerve and cockiness of a perpetrator who would leave a trophy like that in the middle of a campus."

"They were able to actually pick up some of Morgan's DNA in the T-shirt," Dan Harrington explained.

Even more importantly, testing picked up "unknown" DNA. When police ran it through their database, they got a hit: not to a person, but to another crime four years earlier and 100 hundred miles away.

"They had foreign DNA in their case which was matched to my foreign DNA in my case," said Detective Michael Boone.

In the fall of 2005, a man attacked, beat and sexually assaulted a young woman in Fairfax, Virginia. Detective Boone was the lead investigator.

The woman, who asked to be identified only as "R.G." was walking home from her local supermarket sometime after 8:30 p.m., as captured by a security camera.

"She felt somebody behind her. And she turned and was face to face with the suspect and asked him if she could help him. And he stated something to the effect that he was waiting for a friend or something. And she felt uncomfortable. She had a vibe ... and just kept movin'. And when she reached the front of her residence, she said she heard footsteps coming quickly behind her and then she was picked up off the ground," Boone explained.

Asked how violent the attack was, Boone told Spencer, "You know you call it a blitzkrieg type of attack ... comes outta nowhere. And very fast, very violent."

"He takes her and carries her across the parking lot into the wooded area down where this large tree is," Boone explained at the site of the attack.

It was just blind luck that Mark Castro came along when he did.

"What was the reason that you were even here that night?" Spencer asked Castro.

"I was here to see a boxing match at my friend's house," he replied.

"When Mr. Castro pulled in and parked in this general area -- the lights from his car would have been shining into the area where they were," Boone explained.

Those lights may have saved the woman's life.

"That the suspect stood up, looked up and looked towards the parking lot, which is where Mr. Castro was standing. And she said he took off running," said Boone.

"Outta the corner of my eye I see a figure standing roughly in front of that trash can," Castro pointed out to Spencer while standing in the parking lot. "I was just shocked. And I'm-- you know ... Am I believing what I'm seeing right now?"

"What were you seeing?" Spencer asked.

"I was seeing a lady that was beaten nearly to death," he replied. "And she was covered in mud and covered with blood and she was walking towards me."

"What did she say?" Spencer asked.

"She said-- you know, 'There's a guy back there,'" he replied.

"Just, 'Back there,' meaning back in the woods?"

"Right," Castro affirmed. "After that, I sprinted back there screaming at the top of my voice, telling whoever it was to come out."

But the attacker was gone.

"I turned around and come back to her. And then made sure to get her to safety. I knocked on each and every house until someone answered the door," Castro continued.

"She went to Fairfax Hospital -- the emergency room ... where we bring in a forensic nurse who does the sexual assault exam," Boone explained. "They scrape the underside of the fingernails."

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"And -- there was DNA evidence," Spencer noted.

"Yes," Boone replied.

The next day, the victim, R.G., was able to describe her assailant to a sketch artist, who produced a composite.

"Approximately--6', 6'2"--maybe 200 pounds," Boone said. "Short hair with a moustache and beard."

But a description of the suspect, a sketch, and even his DNA, didn't answer the central question: who was he?

It would take another tragedy, and another lost life, to answer that question.

"The DNA evidence had been found in the Morgan Harrington case. And -- I just had a feeling on the Hannah Graham case," said Boone.

"AN UGLY LITTLE CLUB"

The days go by with no trace of second-year UVA student Hannah Graham, despite what would become the largest search in Virginia's history.

"Members of the Charlottesville community have turned out in force to help. Armies of Hannah's university friends have been helping," her father, John Graham told reporters.

Each day, hundreds of volunteers show up, including one who has lived through this all before.

"I read that Alexis Murphy's aunt, Trina, was helping. Thank you ma'am," John Graham continued.

Like the Grahams and the Harringtons, Trina Murphy knows the pain of having a child go missing -- she knows it all too well.

"When they had the big search for Hannah, I went out to help look for her. It's just heartbreaking," she told Susan Spencer.

Alexis Murphy, 17, loved dancing and making people laugh.
Alexis Murphy, 17, loved dancing and making people laugh.
Trina Murphy


On Aug. 3, 2013, four years after Morgan Harrington's murder, and a year before Hannah Graham went missing, Trina's niece, 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, left her home in Shipman, Va., on a routine errand. Shipman is less than 40 miles from Charlottesville.

"She was planning to go to Lynchburg to buy hair extensions, because she was getting her hair done ... for her senior pictures," Trina Murphy explained. "Her last tweet was 'burg bound !'"

"And this is a kid who tweets and calls all the time right?" Spencer asked Alexis's mother, Laura Murphy.

"All the time, yes," she replied.

"Constantly trying to stay in touch."

"Right," said Laura Murphy.

"She was a very happy child. Alexis loved makin' people laugh," Laura Murphy continued. "We had videos where she's dancin' and she -- she could dance."

Her mother and aunt knew something was seriously wrong when they heard nothing from Alexis for hours.

"There was not a single tweet, not a single text message, not a single phone call. No activity on her cell phone once she left Liberty," said Trina Murphy.

Alexis Murphy was last seen on surveillance footage at a gas station in Lovingston, Va.
Alexis Murphy was last seen on surveillance footage at a gas station in Lovingston, Va.
Nelson County Sheriff's Office


That's the Liberty gas station, where Alexis was last seen. Like Hannah Graham, her movements were caught on tape.

"What did you think then, when you saw that tape?" Spencer asked Trina Murphy.

"How could she go missing from the Liberty gas station? You know, what happened? What transpired in those minutes that we don't have her on camera," she replied.

In surveillance video not yet released to the public, Alexis's car is seen leaving the gas station, apparently following an SUV. Investigators identify its owner as one Randy Taylor, and witnesses say he often would just hang around the gas station watching people.

"I just think he had been stalking her, seeing her. He knew her routine," said Laura Murphy.

It didn't take much time to link Taylor to her disappearance.

"They found her hair extensions -- in his trailer," Trina explained. "She had a Monroe piercing. She had a nose piercing. ...she had false fingernails. They were found in there. And her blood on ... the shirt he was wearing that day seen in the video."

Police find her car in a movie theatre parking lot in Charlottesville. Inside the car they find DNA they can't identify from several sources. But none of it matches the unknown DNA from the Harrington murder and the Fairfax rape.

Even without finding Alexis, they arrest Randy Taylor and charge him with her murder.

His trial is attended by someone who truly understands what the Murphys are going through.

"Well, Gil reached out to us probably about three weeks after Alexis was abducted," said Trina Murphy.

Gil Harrington makes the three-and-a-half hour roundtrip every day.

"I also wanted ... to be there and shoulder and support them any way I could," she said.

"It means a great deal to us," Laura Murphy said. "Gil has really, really helped me."

The jury convicts Randy Taylor and he is sentenced to life. Alexis never has been found.

"When we left court, they said, 'we're never gonna give up searching for her,'" said Laura Murphy.

Graham, Harrington and Murphy families
The relatives of Hannah Graham, Alexis Murphy and MorganHarrington stand united in saving the next girl.
Jane Vance


And now the Murphys and the Harringtons join the Grahams in the search for Hannah.

"Trina Murphy and I converged on Charlottesville to -- to talk to the community, to ask for tips, to ask for participation in search because-- the-- the Grahams were unable to do that at that time. And we wanted to get as many people out there looking for Hannah as possible," said Gil Harrington.

"Just to hold their hand -- to hold her mother's hand and pray for their closure, you know, for them to find their daughter," said Trina Murphy.

"We're part of a ugly little club that we have some knowledge and some understanding of how to proceed," Gil Harrington told Spencer. "Once you know how bad it feels to have a murdered child, you wanna do whatever you can to help anyone else who's in the same terrible spot that you're in."

On day six of Hannah Graham's disappearance, acting on a tip, police identify and locate the man seen on tape with her in the mall.

"They search his apartment. They seize his car. They obtain something out of his wallet ... it's a tip that's used for cigars. And they take that into evidence. And they send it off to be analyzed," WTVR reporter Laura French explained.

Within a day, the man's name leaks out. He is 32-year-old Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. And before police can even confirm it to reporters, he simply walks into the police station -- voluntarily.

"So Jesse Matthew arrived at the Charlottesville police station ... and he said he wanted to get a lawyer," WTOP reporter Neal Augenstein explained. "Matthew didn't answer any questions, wasn't interested in telling police anything, and he left the police station."

With no concrete evidence, police can't hold him. But that doesn't stop them from following him.

"Several hours later while police were following Jesse Matthew, he took off from his grandmother's house," said Augenstein.

Driving his sister's car, he suddenly floors it.

"And they lose him," said French.

"Excuse me?" Spencer asked.

"They lose him."

Astonishingly, the only suspect in Hannah Graham's disappearance leaves police in the dust.

"Police did not have the authority to chase him," said Augenstein.

"They didn't have enough to arrest him, really at that point. But ... they really thought they had their suspect," said attorney Lloyd Snook.

"And he's gone," Spencer commented.

When news broke that Jesse Matthew was on the lam, Twitter exploded.

"We have all these people who were already deeply involved in this case, searching for answers, wracking their brains ... And they're coming up with ideas and saying, 'Well, why don't -- aren't police doing that? Why can't police do this?'"Augenstein said. "But things don't work as quickly in real life as they do on a ... TV show."

"I believe Jesse Matthew was the last person she was seen with before she vanished off the face of the Earth 'cause it's been a week and we can't find her, but somebody knows where she is. Somebody's got to know where she is," Chief Longo addressed reporters. "So I hope and pray that we might have an opportunity to talk to Jesse Matthew again because I think he can help us find Hannah Graham."

matthewswanted.jpg

And just days after fleeing, Matthew, still on the run, is formally charged in Hannah's abduction.

"The Commonwealth felt we had sufficient probable cause to seek an arrest warrant ... for Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., charging him with a class 2 felony of abduction with intent to defile," Chief Longo told reporters.

And, for the first time, Hannah Graham's mother, Sue, speaks out.

"Somebody listening to me today either knows where Hannah is or knows someone who has that information. We appeal to you to come forward and tell us where Hannah can be found," she appealed during a press conference.

"They only knew that Hannah was missing. They didn't know where she was. They didn't know if she was alive or dead. Everybody had their fears. But nobody knew," said Snook.

Now police aren't just looking for one missing person -- they are looking for two.

WHO IS JESSE MATTHEW?

In Albemarle County, searches had become daily events -- searches for both UVA student Hannah Graham and for the only suspect in her disappearance, Jesse Matthew.

"Days are going by and we don't know where Jesse Matthew is," Laura French told "48 Hours" correspondent Susan Spencer. "Not only do we have each day that's ticking by that the Graham family doesn't know where their daughter is ... But we also have the person that they say was last seen with her, we don't know where he is. There's no clues being offered. It was tense."

"This press conference and every press conference hereafter is about one thing and one thing only, and that is finding Hannah," Chief Longo told reporters.

"This was a very heated few days," Neal Augenstein said. "Chief Longo was obviously very involved in this."

"I'm hoping that they're hearing my words and and seeing my frustration ... And pick up the phone and tell us something regardless of how insignificant you think it might be," Longo went on.

"He was speaking to the press and speaking directly to Jesse Matthew," Augenstein continued.

"I've made no mistake about it. We wanna talk to Jesse Matthew," Longo said. "We want to talk about his interaction with a sweet young girl that we can't find. Cause he was with her."

Surely someone had information about Jesse Mathew. After all, the then-32-year-old grew up in Charlottesville, went to high school there and was working at the university hospital transporting patients.

"People have been trying to learn more about Jesse Matthew since they first heard his name," Augenstein explained. "People who've known him had called him a gentle giant. ...This was a guy who was a football player. ...This was a guy who was working in Charlottesville with kids. He was a volunteer football coach."

French says Matthew was "a quiet guy" and mentored high school students.

"In fact, the night that Hannah Graham went missing, he was at a game that Friday night ...helping these kids, cheering them on. So on the outside nothing seemed suspect," she said.

"I have talked to friends of his who said, 'I trusted him with my children,'" French continued.

"Nobody said, 'Yeah, you know, Jesse always had trouble. And we -- this is the kind of thing we would've expected,'" Spencer asked French.

"No. If anything, it was, 'He was not capable of premeditating anything. He may have been awkward socially, sometimes, and quiet. But never, never could he be capable of this,'" she replied.

William Haith knew Jesse Matthew when both played football at Virginia's Liberty University, which Matthew attended from 2000 to 2002.

"He was a team player. He was always there and, you know, participating in team activities," Haith told Spencer.

"He knew how to play football. And he was actually great at it. I thought he had potential to do some great things on the football field," he continued.

But off the field, information began to circulate that cast Matthew, or L.J. as his friends called him, in a much different light.

"My head coach ... let us know ... they were going to put L.J. off the team because apparently he had forced himself on a female student," said Haith.

"Did anybody ever say, 'Hey, you know, what happened? Is this true?'" Spencer asked.

"Once he was kicked off the team ... no one that I know of actually ... went out of their way just to get more detail. ...His roommate said that he may not have known that he was going too far. But again, that's speculation, hearsay from his roommate," Haith replied. "There were so many rumors going around, but there was no concrete evidence."

Lynchburg police did confirm they conducted an investigation of an alleged rape that occurred around the same time, but no criminal charges were filed. Still, Matthew left -- not just the football team, but the university. And teammates, says Haith, quickly put the incident, and Jesse Matthew, behind them.

"None of us came in defense of him," Haith said. "It lingered on for maybe a couple a days ... But then we kept it movin'."

After Liberty, Matthew attended Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va. Again he was on the football team, and again he left after just a few months amid allegations of another sexual assault.

Asked what happened to these cases, French told Spencer, "It went under the radar. They didn't press charges. So ... the next university did not know ... what they were getting. ...There was no requirement that ... they needed to alert the other university of why he was transferring. ...So there's these allegations. And next thing you know, he's transferred."

"They never had a determination by anybody that he was dangerous," said Charlottesville attorney Lloyd Snook.

"Looking back, you can't help but say, 'Gosh, if ... there'd been a requirement that the colleges make this public then ..." Spencer commented.

"It's probably more to the point that when there is no actual prosecution, that's where the system fails," said Snook.

"Not once, but twice," Spencer remarked.

"That's right," said Snook.

After college, Jesse Matthew lived and worked in the Charlottesville, Va., area.
After college, Jesse Matthew lived and worked in the Charlottesville, Va., area.
c-ville Weekly


After leaving his second college, Matthew came back to Charlottesville, driving a cab for a few years. He had a few minor run-ins with police; traffic violations and trespassing.

Matthew's father, like many, was bewildered at the thought Jesse could be involved in something as serious as Hannah Graham's abduction.

"To kill or hurt somebody, that's not my son," Jesse Matthew Sr. said. "I could see him maybe trying to give the girl a ride home or helping her out."

Frances Lee-Vandell was Matthew's landlady.

"Mostly, I am just really shocked," she said. "We don't know a thing yet, we don't know a thing. Everything seemed to be going well for Jesse; he had a promotion at the hospital."

TV Report: Charges are filed against the man authorities believe was the last person seen with the UVA student before her disappearance more than one week ago.

William Haith hadn't seen or heard from Matthew in years. When he learned that his former teammate was suspected in Hannah Graham's disappearance, his reaction was pure shock ... at first.

"I'm watching the news. I'm shocked; I'm like, 'Wow. It's -- just, is that L.J. that went to school with me?'" Haith said. "And then next thing you know, everything just started flashing through my head. The incident that happened at Liberty. ...Like, 'Wow. Could L.J. have done this?'"

"And how did you answer that?" Spencer asked.

"At first, you know, I'm, like, 'No,'" he replied. "He just seemed to be a caring person. But again, when you start looking at some of the other things ... I thought that, possibly."

"You almost get the impression of two Jesse Matthews," Spencer commented to Augenstein.

"Who was the real Jesse Matthew? ...Maybe this guy was OK. ...People were trying to get in touch with the family ... with his lawyer," Augenstein said. "Looking, asking, 'tell us a little bit about him,' you know, let us at least paint a picture that's fair. ... I think that everyone was trying to maintain hope that maybe this was a mistake."

But, as the days wore on with no sign of Hannah Graham or Jesse Matthew, hope was scarce with memories turning to those other young woman for whom searches had failed.

"They may not have all been connected, but it definitely was on the minds of people living in and around central Virginia, the Charlottesville area," said French.

"I think most people were beginning to think bleak thoughts ... you know, 'somebody give us some information about something,'" said Snook.

Soon, someone would -- and the twisted trail of Jesse Matthew would take a surprising turn into the past.


HANNAH GRAHAM: STALKED BY EVIL

WATCH PART 2


SUSPECT ON THE RUN

September 21, 2014. It's a week after Hannah Graham went missing and Jesse Matthew, the one person who may hold the key to her whereabouts, is missing as well.

"I hope and pray we might have an opportunity to talk to Jesse Matthew again...'cause I think he could help us find Hannah Graham," Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo told reporters.

"It was tense. It was already tense. And it was even tenser. 'Cause now we don't know where he is," said WTVR reporter and "48 Hours" consultant Laura French.

French wasn't the only one speechless to learn police had let their only suspect slip away.

"So Jesse Matthew is gone," Spencer commented.

"Jesse Matthew is gone. I even joked with one of the investigators and said, 'You guys really know where he is,'" French replied. "'There are some serious accusations against this individual. And you don't know where he is?"' He fled. And he fled far."

Remarkably, four days after he fled, Jesse Matthew is spotted in, of all places, Galveston, Texas -- on a near-empty beach 1,300 miles from Charlottesville.

"Fast forward to September 24th. We have a woman out on the beach looking just for a peaceful afternoon to watch the water," said French.

That woman was Karen Monk.

"His tent was about right here close to the grass and his car was parked on the other side," Monk pointed out of where she spotted Matthew.

"She's sittin' in the back of her car. And she sees this man in a tent, you know, a few yards down from her, doesn't think much of it, until he drives by her," French continued.

"This car came right in front of me and stopped," Monk explained. "And the fella sitting in the driver's seat, his windows were down and he leans over and looks, kinda glares at me."

Monk suddenly found herself face to face with one of the most wanted men in the country.

"When I looked up and I saw him. His facial features are unmistakable. I just held my breath. Hoping he would keep going. My heart literally probably stopped beating," she said. "I knew that was him. I'd seen his face on the news every morning."

"You mean to tell me that she recognized him on the beach from a wanted poster that she'd seen on television or what?" Spencer asked French.

"From a mug shot," she replied. "And she's like, 'OK, do I leave? Because I'm probably in danger. Or do I stay here so I can tell police exactly where he is?'"

Monk not only stayed, she called every law enforcement agency she could think of -- finally getting a response from the Galveston County Sheriff's Office. They found Jesse Matthew on the beach and arrested him without incident.

"How does she view what she did?" Spencer asked French.

"She's very humble. She views it as being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing," she replied.

"I really didn't want to make it a big deal at all. And I still really don't," said Monk.

"We're here tonight to announce that ... Jesse Matthew is in custody in Galveston, Texas" Chief Longo reported.

And apparently Matthew had bigger travel plans than Texas - a map of Mexico was found in his car. Now in custody, he was headed not south, but north ... back to Charlottesville, Virginia.

"He was locked up in Galveston for 40-some hours. Charlottesville authorities came and ... flew him back here. And they had him by their side at all times," said French.

But Matthew quickly dashed any hope police had that he'd give them information about Hannah Graham.

"He never cooperated with anybody ... as far as answering questions voluntarily," French continued. "Never has."

"We have a person in custody but there's a long road ahead of us and that long road includes finding Hannah Graham," Longo told reporters.

Now the search expanded out from Charlottesville and the university campus to the surrounding countryside. And despite the growing odds against this having a good outcome, no one was giving up; in fact, the volunteers just kept coming.

Neal Augenstein, a "48 Hours" consultant, covered this story both for WTOP Radio and online.

"It wasn't clear whether she was-- alive or-- or dead, at this point," Augenstein told Spencer. "I think people were -- as time went on, people were -- were thinking more and more that she probably had died."

"People wanted answers. People wanted closure. People wanted it now," Augenstein continued.

hgmissing770.jpg

But no one wanted the news that came on October 18 -- 35 days after Hannah disappeared.

"Sometime before noon today, a search team from the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department was searching an abandoned property along old Lynchburg Road in Southern Albemarle County when they discovered what appears to be human remains," Longo updated reporters.

"Where the human remains were found was -- behind a home that -- that nobody was living in at the time. And ... this was within a few miles of a home where Jesse Matthew had -- had grown up and spent time with his family," Augenstein explained.

"How far was this from Charlottesville?" Spencer asked.

"So this house was-- was five, six, seven miles out of -- downtown Charlottesville," he replied.

What also intrigued investigators: the site where Morgan Harrington's remains had been found four years earlier was only a few miles away.

"The remains will be taken to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond for examination, autopsy and official identification," Albemarle County Police Col. Steve Sellers told reporters.

CBS Evening News: Late today, a mother and father`s worst fear came true when an autopsy report identified remains found last week in Virginia as those of their daughter.

With the discovery of Hannah's body, the community that had searched so long and hard with John and Susan Graham now could only grieve with them.

"As a parent, it just-- my heart sank. Because it was final. Their worst fears had come to light. But at the same time, they were able to bring her home. And they were able to give her the proper burial that she deserved. And they at least knew where she was," said French.

The next challenge: building a solid case against Jesse Matthew. He wasn't talking, but science was about to do the talking for him.

A COLD CASE HEATS UP

"I have a lot of friends that go to UVA. ... my initial reaction was how could this be," said Hannah Graham's friend, Leila Nasser.

After a month of vigils and hopes and prayers for Hannah Graham, the reality of her murder was a horrific shock.

"This is our opportunity to create a silver lining in the tremendous cloud that Hannah's fate represented to us," John Graham told reporters.

"... when it comes to these sort of, girl-gone-missing stories, there's always this barrier of ignorance where you don't know the person who's on the other side of the screen ... and I did this time," Nasser continued. "It's something that's so overwhelming and so powerful and you can't understand or fathom why anybody would do this."

Law enforcement wanted to ask that very question to Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., who now sat in jail, formally charged with "abduction, with intent to defile" Hannah Graham. He was not charged with murder.

"People have been calling ... for death for Jesse Matthew before Hannah Graham's body was even found," Augenstein explained. "This is showing ... the power of Twitter and not necessarily for good. You know people were convinced ... of his guilt."

While Matthew was behind bars in Charlottesville, a case 100 miles away in Fairfax, Virginia, ice cold for nearly 10 years, was about to heat up.

"I was getting ready to go out of town to Georgia to a funeral ...I was watching the video of Hannah Graham going through the mall down there," said Fairfax Det. Michael Boone.

Detective Boone had never stopped working that unsolved rape case from 2005, involving the victim known only as R.G. He had little to go on but the composite sketch of her rapist.

But then one day he happened to glimpse news coverage of the Hannah Graham case.

"I saw the picture of Jesse Matthews ... and I saw a picture ... of the composite drawing," Boone said. "I mean I knew they had the right person."

"You knew the second you saw his picture?" Spencer asked.

"Yeah," said Boone.

Detective Boone had been looking at that composite for almost 10 years and his gut told him that, without question, his rapist and Jesse Matthew were one in the same -- that Matthew's DNA would match the unidentified DNA in his rape case. So Boone got a search warrant and speeds off to Charlottesville to meet with his suspect.

"What was his demeanor? How did he seem?" Spencer asked Boone.

"He didn't say anything, didn't show any emotion," he replied.

"So you take this sample and what did you do with the sample?" Spencer asked.

"I drove it to the Department of Forensic Science to the central lab in Richmond," said Boone.

A quick turnaround got an answer in a week.

"So the word was, 'Look, you know, we need this,'" Spencer remarked.

"Well they knew. They knew what we were dealing with," said Boone.

"What'd you think you were dealing with?"

"A very violent sexual offender," Boone replied.

The results were a bombshell. Boone was right. Jesse Matthew's DNA matched that of the Fairfax rapist.

"I held out hope every year that he was gonna get identified. It's just like, 'finally,'" said Boone.

But there was more. Remember, the rapist DNA matched DNA found on Morgan Harrington's T-shirt after her murder. Now investigators knew whose DNA it was.

WTVR report | September 29, 2014: We were able to confirm today that Jesse Matthew Jr. has been linked -- forensic evidence has linked him to the Morgan Harrington case from 2009.

Laura French broke the story.

"We know that Jesse Matthew, at some point, made contact with Virginia Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington, the night she disappeared and three months later was later found murdered," French told Spencer. "That's what we do know ... it doesn't mean he did something..."

Fast forward to 2014 -- to Jesse Matthew and the Hannah Graham case.

"...we know that police have forensic evidence that places her with him. What that is we don't know," said French.

"We know she was with him. ...She's on tape with him," Spencer noted.

"But the question is did she leave in his car? That's what's not been made public," French replied.

The key would be evidence showing what happened to Hannah after she was last seen at the restaurant with Matthew.

Police searched his car within days of her disappearance and will say only that no blood was found.

"...the state has in its possession digital records from a cell tower from Hannah Graham's phone. We also know that there are digital records from her Facebook account, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter -- all those different social media venues," French said. "But there's about 50-plus search warrants, so half of those we don't know about."

But on Oct. 20, 2014, two days after Hannah Graham's remains were discovered, authorities indict Jesse Matthew -- not for Hannah's murder, nor for Morgan's -- but for the attempted capital murder, abduction and sexual assault of the anonymous R.G. back in 2005 ... apparently feeling that the rape case was the strongest.

It was bittersweet news for Gil and Dan Harrington.

"Why have there been no charges filed in Morgan's case?" Spencer asked.

"I think they're trying to--they wanna finish prosecuting the Fairfax case," said Gil Harrington.

"So you fully expect that there will be?"

"Yes, I do," she replied.

To show their support, the Harringtons will be front and center at Jesse Matthew's upcoming rape trial. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, prosecutors are scrambling to build a solid case against Matthew for the murder of Hannah Graham -- and the pressure is building.

ON THE ROAD TO JUSTICE

Suspected killer Jesse Matthew was safely behind bars, but each passing day brought the question: when would he be charged with Hannah Graham's murder?

"On Monday, February 2, 2015, Jesse Matthew Jr. was indicted in Albemarle County for abduction and murder of Hannah Graham," Albemarle Commonwealth attorney Denise Lunsford announced to the press.

It was five months after she vanished before prosecutors had the evidence they needed.

"What we don't know is what they found in his apartment," Laura French explained. "We can report this much though. In the second search of his apartment, police went there for something very specific. And when asked if they got what they went in there for they said, 'Yes, we did.' ...Those details presumably will come out in court."

But relief that the Graham case was moving forward mixed with disappointment, especially, once again, in the Twittersphere.

"When Jesse Matthew was first charged with first-degree murder, people were outraged. Why weren't they gonna go for the death penalty?" Neal Augenstein explained.

That all changed three months later when the Commonweath attorney announced she would seek the death penalty after all:

"The Commonwealth received some additional forensic information in late February that led to this increase in charge," Lunsford told reporters.

Charlottesville attorney Lloyd Snook has been following the Graham case.

"Was upping the charges to capital murder a strategic move or was that based on some sort of bombshell that they had?" Spencer asked Snook.

"They haven't told us," he replied.

"There is some other evidence ... maybe there's some DNA evidence that ... hadn't come back from the lab yet," Snook explained. "In addition ... there is a second analysis ... and that is to weigh aggravating and mitigating circumstances."

"And what would those be?" Spencer asked.

"Well ... it's a long way of saying that it was a really, really awful crime. Not just awful because all murders are awful, but ... something really, really bad," said Snook.

Gil Harrington was at a pre-trial hearing in Hannah Graham's case the day the change to the death penalty was announced. She supports the move.

"I want to see what happens when evil intersects with justice," she told reporters outside of the courthouse. "I really don't know what the justification for changing the charge is ... but some bad things happened ... lives were lost."

As the years have gone by, her daughter's case seems to have been stalled. Despite that T-shirt DNA linking Matthew to Morgan.

"A trial for Morgan, we do want to have that day, but it really changes nothing in our lives. Our lives that are empty -- the pain that we'll have after a trial is the same pain that we have today," Gil Harrington told reporters.

By spring of 2015, Matthew faced two trials -- for the murder of Hannah Graham and for the 2005 abduction, sexual assault and attempted capital murder of the woman known as R.G.

And questions were raised about a Matthew connection to the Alexis Murphy case -- questions generated by attorneys for her convicted killer, Randy Taylor. They demanded evidence be tested for Matthew's DNA just in case.

"We're fine with that," Trina Murphy said. "Let's say by the off chance they do find Jesse Matthew's DNA in her car, it just means that he was also involved. It doesn't make Randy Taylor any less guilty than he is now."

"And what do you think the odds of that are?" Spencer asked.

"Honestly, I think it's pretty slim," she replied.

Alexis's aunt was right - no DNA link with Matthew was found.

Meanwhile, after nearly a decade, R.G.'s case was moving forward with hearings. And finally, June 2015, a trial, with Jesse Matthew's fate depending on the DNA and on testimony from the anonymous victim, R.G.

"She was hesitant. She was worried," Commonwealth attorney Ray Morrogh explained. "She is a very dignified woman ... from a different culture, very well educated, I might say, brilliant. And she wanted her privacy. She did not want anything to come out about her background. And so we tried to make sure that didn't happen. But at the same time, we tried to-- make sure she had the opportunity to get her voice heard."

Since the rape, R.G. had moved back home to Asia to a new life. Seeking justice meant not only traveling halfway around the world, but publicly reliving perhaps the most terrifying moments of her life.

"What do you think the specific impact was on her," Spencer asked Det. Michael Boone.

"The trauma, the trauma of it. It was just so violent," he replied.

Detective Boone had always kept in touch with her, contacting R.G. with any news about the case.

"I picked her up at the airport. I hadn't seen her in such a long time," Boone said. "She was nervous. ...She's gonna see him in court. And that's very stressful for a victim, very stressful."

"She did not want to be victimized again by some who might blame the victim," Morrogh said. "She didn't want people around her to know about it. And she didn't want it to define her."

"She did nothing wrong," Spencer noted.

"No, no," Morrogh said. "Here, we understand that, but some people don't."

And the composite sketch R.G. helped put together back in 2005 posed a problem. The attack was at night, she was traumatized, and, predictably, the defense insists neither it, nor an updated version, looks anything like Jesse Matthew.

"So going into this, then, you have the sketch ... and you've got a victim. You don't know how she's gonna testify," Spencer remarked to Morrogh.

"Right," he agreed.

"You're a little nervous as it starts?"

"I try not to be nervous," Morrogh replied. "But ... It's always a risk to have a jury trial. ...I was concerned."

Justifiably so, the outcome of this trial, like everything else in these tangled cases, would defy everyone's predictions.

THE WOMAN WHO GOT AWAY

"This wasn't just a rape case. This was a rape case that was tied to the Hannah Graham case," said Neal Augenstein.

The trial of Jesse Matthew for attempted murder, abduction and sexual assault takes place in the shadow of the Hannah Graham case. Although unlike Hannah, this victim, known only as R.G., does survive.

In June 2015, R.G. travels from her home in Asia to Fairfax, Virginia, for Matthew's trial. Hoping to help put him behind bars -- and not just for herself.

"We thought about our victim and our case and Hannah and Morgan pretty much every day from the day we found out that this was our man," Ray Morrogh said. "It strikes at your heart, you know, as a father myself, but just as a human being. I can't think of anything worse than attacking a woman or a child."

Commonwealth attorney Morrogh was happy to have his case against Matthew go first -- hoping to pave the way for future prosecutions for Hannah and for Morgan Harrington.

"We wanted to take him off the street. This is step one," he told Spencer.

"I think every bit of testimony that was heard in this case, you were listening with the thought that could this somehow be related to these other cases?" said Augenstein.

The judge allowed no cameras, but sketches and Neal Augenstein's tweets painted a vivid picture...from the first moment R.G. walked into the courtroom.

"This was the first time that she was in the same room with Jesse Matthew in 10 years," Augenstein told Spencer. "I and everyone else in the courtroom was ... looking to see who was making eye contact with who."

"Did she ever look at him?" Spencer asked.

"I never once saw her look at Jesse Matthew," Augenstein replied.

"Did he look at her?" Spencer asked.

"He looked at her the whole time," he replied.

"I think there was some expectation that at the trial, she would sit there and go, you know, 'that's him,'" Spencer remarked to Morrogh.

"Yeah, that was an issue ... But she hadn't seen him in 10 years. So I wasn't gonna press her on that," he explained. "She came just a whisper from being murdered and there in the courtroom, 20 feet from her, sits the man who tried to murder her. And she's, to this day, is obviously afraid of him."

R.G. takes the stand to tell the story of her brutal 2005 attac
R.G. takes the stand to tell the story of her brutal 2005 attack
Bill Hennessey


In a hushed voice, R.G. testified about that horrible night, saying her attacker picked her up from behind like a baby. And then she went on, "He put me on the ground and he sat on my legs. And he banged my head on the grass -- on the ground." "He hit my face, beat me. I was screaming and yelling."

"I think at first she was extremely nervous ... and admitted certain parts ... that she put in a part of her mind that she didn't want to bring back out but she knew she would have to," said reporter Laura French.

"I was punching him, I was trying to kick" ... "he sealed my nose and my mouth with his hands and he choked me," R.G. told the court. "He was pulling my pants down. And I was still struggling."

"She told the story. She didn't seek vengeance on the stand," said Augenstein.

"He said, 'I will kill you. If you scream again. I'll twist your neck."... "'Let me do this, I'll let you go.'" R.G. testified.

The nightmare only ended, she said, when he dragged her into a ditch and ran off. R.G. was a very good witness.

"I think she realized that the way that she could get her justice was by calmly recalling what happened on that violent night," said Augenstein.

Also testifying was Mark Castro, the passerby who heard R.G.'s cries that night. He found her confused and covered in blood. He got a neighbor to call 911 and stayed until the ambulance arrived.

"What did you feel was the most important thing that you needed to get across to the jury?" Spencer asked Castro.

"Her condition. ...It was not just a typical assault. This is attempted murder," he replied. "She looked like somebody that was near dead."

"You wanted to be sure they understood how badly hurt she was," said Spencer.

"That's right. That's right," said Castro.

"I'll look at the defendants to see if there's any emotion, expression. There wasn't any from him," said Det. Boone.

Unlike R.G., Boone did look Jesse Matthew in the eye as the lead detective testified about how he got the vitally important sample of Matthew's DNA.

"I went through and explained to them how I collected it, that I ... put on gloves and swabbed the inside of his mouth and took that back and submitted it to the Department of Forensic Science," he told Spencer.

DNA was pivotal to the trial. Experts testified that the sample from Matthew matched what was found under R.G.'s fingernail.

"How strong was the DNA evidence? What were the numbers?" Spencer asked Morrogh.

"It was one in 7 billion that it could've been anyone else but the defendant, so one in greater than the world's population," he replied.

"One in 7 billion is pretty clear."

"That's a pretty good number," said Morrogh.

After two-and-a-half days, the prosecution rested, and attention turned to the defense.

"The defense asked for a brief recess," Augenstein said. "The brief recess lasted longer and longer."

"What are you thinking during all this?" Spencer asked.

"At first, I just thought ... they were trying to decide whether they were going to put on a defense or not," he replied.

"Then you see Jesse's family get taken in the back. Then you see them go back and forth. But then you see prosecutors just sitting there. So you're thinkin', 'There can't be a deal going on.' Then you see his mom in tears. 'What's happening?'" said French.

It was at that point that Neal Augenstein, who at over six feet tall has a rather good vantage point, noticed something else.

"I watched the prosecutors walking down the aisle. And I looked at the paperwork, it said, 'Alford Plea,'" Augenstein explained. "So I went on Twitter and started tweeting that the defense and prosecution were handling printed copies of an Alford plea."

Augenstein's tweets broke the story that there would be no jury verdict - Jesse Matthew would plead guilty -- albeit a slightly qualified guilty.

"They kinda threw the towel in on it -- made a decision ... to plead Alford, which is a type of guilty plea, where the defendant is allowed to say, 'The evidence against me is overwhelming. I'm pleading guilty. But I do not admit that I committed the crime,'" Morrogh explained.

"You did not offer this," said Spencer.

"No, I never offered any plea agreement," Morrogh said. "We wanted the jury to decide it."

"The only thing he's gaining here by doing an Alford plea here is not having to look at his mother in the eye and say, 'This is what I did,'" said Snook.

The plea stunned everyone, including Gil Harrington, who attended the trial to show support.

"R.G. is one exceptional human being. I applaud her courage and determination in finding her justice in this court building today," she told reporters.

The trial did not end as expected, but the result was all that mattered.

"He's convicted. So we've done our job. He's off the street, we gave him no breaks," Morrogh told Spencer. "This is a good thing."

He could be off the streets for a very long time. A judge will decide in October if Matthew gets the maximum in this case: three life sentences.

For R.G., it was a difficult, but triumphant trip. Before flying home, she had some business to attend to with a man she'd not seen since the night of the attack.

"She said, 'Thank you-- for saving my life,'" said Castro.

"Did you say anything else to her?" Spencer asked.

"I said, 'You're welcome. I just did what I thought was the best thing to do,'" he replied.

R.G. also thanked Detective Boone, whose business card she kept in her wallet all these years.

"We went back into a conference room and she pulled it out. And she said, 'I guess I should give this back to you now.' And I told her, 'Keep it,'" he said.

R.G.'s case was closed, but suddenly, justice for another victim was moving with shocking speed.

SAVING THE NEXT GIRL

Reporters were stunned, but perhaps no one was more shocked than the Harringtons themselves at the Commonweath attorney's blockbuster announcement.

"Mr. Matthew was indicted ...for first-degree murder with intent to defile Morgan Harrington," said Denise Lunsford told reporters on September 16.

The charges coming, finally, nearly six years after Morgan's death.

"It makes more real the fact Morgan is dead and, yes, was murdered," Gil Harrington told reporters.

"He needs to know that justice is coming," added Dan Harrington.

To drive the point home, the Harringtons resolutely locked eyes with Jesse Matthew as he walked past them in court.

"I wanted him to see ... this is the face of justice for Jesse Matthew, because I've known and believed for sometime that he killed our Morgan," Gil Harrington told reporters.

Trina Murphy is there for support.

The trial date was set for October 2016 in the Harrington case.

"The maximum sentence in Harrington's murder is life in prison, if convicted in Hannah Graham's murder Jesse Matthew could face the death penalty," Augenstein told his listeners as he spoke into an iPad.

But the trial for Hannah Graham's murder was scheduled for July 2016 -- a capital case with plenty of time for a plea.

"He can plead at any time up until he's found guilty," Morrogh explained.

"What's he got to lose? He's facing the death penalty," Spencer remarked.

"It's a hard call," he replied. "I will say he's got some good lawyers. ...I think they'll fight it out."

And with much of the evidence in the Hannah Graham case sealed, it's unclear how strong a case the state really has.

"We don't know what the evidence is. And they've actually been very careful, in many ways, to not put a lot of stuff out there," said Lloyd Snook.

"Based on what you do know, would you be surprised if this ever went to trial?" Spencer asked.

"Let's think about some of the -- the circumstantial evidence issues here, OK? What we think we know is that -- they were seen together at 1:30 at night the night she was last seen," Snook said. "Supposing the defense argues there's no evidence that he did anything to actually hurt her. That's a problem."

Hannah's family has grieved in private, leaving comments about the case to others.

"They're strong and they will figure out a way to get around this. They won't get over it. But they'll go forward," Hannah's coach, Craig Maniglia said. "I can tell you the Grahams want justice."

As do friends like Laila Nasser.

"When you send your kids to college you send them there to chase their dreams. Hannah didn't get that chance ," she said in tears. "Her last moments were at the mercy of a murderer. Monster."

Hannah's dreams were on everyone's mind this past summer, when several of her UVA classmates took to the mountains and pausing on the majestic French alps and peaks of Tanzania to remember her.

"We had dreamed of going to hike Mountblanc, talked about this," friend Allen Qiu said. "So we figured in a symbolic measure we would do this and bring her memorial there."

On Kilamanjaro, a simple photo tribute, says Qiu, to an unquenchable spirit.

"She loved hiking, she loved skiing, so I always imagined her skiing through the clouds," he said.

Learning from these tragedies is of great importance to Gil Harrington.

"I think we are at a critical time. There's a critical number of girls who have been-- killed or missing from our area," she told Spencer.

To increase awareness, the Harringtons founded an organization called Help Save The Next Girl.

Gil Harrington believes that what happened to Hannah, Morgan, Alexis and R.G. hits close to home for many young women.

"That was always my intent to save the next girl, unfortunately we couldn't save Hannah Graham," Gil Harrington told reporters.

Her crusade to protect young women continues, and as usual, Trina Murphy is at her side.

"From the day we found her story while following the Hannah Graham story we have not seized to grieve and pray for you," Trina Murphy said

Alexis's body still has not been found.

"It's now become bigger than just Alexis. And it's not about any one case or any one girl or guy. We have to unify," Trina Murphy said. "She is out there somewhere and until we are able to bring her home, we don't have any closure."

Balloons are released in memory of Alexis Murphy
Balloons are released in memory of Alexis Murphy


By August 2015, the Murphys gathered for the second anniversary of Alexis's disappearance.

"It's been 720 days, one million 51-thousand minutes since the last time we got to see her beautiful face... her smile, hear her voice and all her unique ways that she had," Trina Murphy told the gathered crowd, who released balloons at 7:16 - the last time Alexis's cell phone pinged.

For her mother, it feels like yesterday.

"Just getting started in life. And I never got no pictures," Laura Murphy said in tears. "I always wanted to see her dress to go to prom; I'll never see that."

"Families have to understand you really have to work at keeping their story alive," Trina Murphy said. "You just have to beat the drum. And it's the only way that we're ever gonna affect change."

Morgan Harrington's friend, Lindsey Crisp, found her own way to keep memories alive in a raw and emotional piece she wrote and shared at an open mic event.

A few days after her video hit social media, Crisp was reunited with Gil Harrington on the Copley Bridge for the first time since Morgan's death.

"The last place where she was-- of her own volition. It's become kind of a memorial spot for us," Gil Harrington said.

"So now the bridge is full of color and pictures and a sign that says, 'Justice,'" Crisp said of the memorial. "It felt good to be able to do something for her."

And on the sidewalk, words of thanks to R.G., the anonymous rape victim whose testimony - and courage - helped take a predator off the streets.

"She's the one that got away and I'm sure she didn't feel like the lucky one, but thank God she did," said Gil Harrington.

"She is the hero. I mean she came back from far away and relived this thing. She didn't have to," Ray Morrogh said. "But at the end of the day ... This was something that she had to do for the next woman and for herself as a woman. And we're all just so proud of her."

Morgan Harrington, Hannah Graham and Alexis Murphy
Morgan Harrington, Hannah Graham and Alexis Murphy

But for those left behind without resolution, memories are tinged with heartache and with questions of what might have been.

"I really thought Morgan would be an artist," Morgan Harrington's father said. "She was just chock a block full of potential," said her mother.

"I mean she could just roll out of bed and be gorgeous," Alexis Murphy's aunt remembered fondly.

"... loved to laugh, she was really, really funny," said her mother.

"She achieved everything she could at the highest level she could achieve it," said Hannah Graham's softball coach.

"She was very, like smiley and silly too ... Which is what I want people to remember most of all," friend Leila Nasser said. "This warm, sunny, smiley girl, full of life."

EPILOGUE

On March 2, 2016, just a few months before the Hannah Graham murder trial was to begin, Jesse Matthew Jr. accepted a deal. He pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of Hannah Graham and guilty to the first-degree murder of Morgan Harrington.

In exchange for pleading guilty, Matthew no longer faced the death penalty. He will serve four consecutive life terms with no possibility of ever being released.

Both the Harrington and the Graham families supported the plea agreement.

"I would say the primary emotion is relief," Gil Harrington told reporters. "...finding justice for Morgan has been a burden on our family for six-and-a-half years."

"Todays events do not bring Hannah back to us of course we miss her every day," John Graham told reporters. "At times like this one has to draw comfort where one can."

After the announcement, the Harringtons returned to the Copley Bridge, this time to tie green ribbons on the railings as a symbol of new growth and going forward. Gil Harrington said it would be their final visit to the bridge where Morgan was last seen.

"You don't get over your daughter being murdered, but you can get past it and we want to do that," she said.

"Hannah's enduring gift to us all is that she enabled this wicked man to be apprehended and convicted. She did change the world but at a terrible price," her father said.


If alive today, Hannah Graham and Alexis Murphy would be 20 years old. Morgan Harrington would be 26.