Hannah Graham’s Remains Identified

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 “When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending. Sadly that was not to be,” Graham’s parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement provided by the Albemarle County [Virginia] Police Department. “We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter. … Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished.”

This profoundly sad statement followed today’s announcement that 18-year-old Hannah had been positively identified., Her remains were found on October 18th during a search conducted by Sheriff’s Deputies. They were prepared to call it a day when they gave it one more try and found scattered human remains in a wooded area of Albemarle County. Jesse Leroy Matthew, Jr., age 32, is reported to have previously lived not far from the spot where he dumped the body of this beautiful, brilliant University of Virginia student.

HannahGrahamStandingHannah was last seen in his company leaving a bar/restaurant in the early morning hours of September 13. Witnesses said she appeared physically impaired, barely able to stand, leaning into Matthew who was noted to have had a tight grip on her opposite arm.  Although Hannah had been drinking earlier at a party that night, surveillance cameras later captured her walking normally, at times running, prior to her encounter with Matthew, who approached her as she walked along The Mall, a popular avenue of restaurants, bars and nightspots.

I’m aware that the law considers Jesse Matthew innocent until proven guilty. My own opinion is that there’s sufficient evidence pointing to Matthew as her killer, and I will refer to him accordingly. As a monster.

Morgan Harrington

Morgan Harrington

Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, age 20, who disappeared in 2009, was murdered, her remains found only six miles from where Hannah’s were recovered. Forensic evidence has linked both Morgan and Hannah to Jesse Matthew,

Meanwhile, yesterday a judge issued a bench warrant for Matthew’s transfer to Fairfax County to face charges on a 2005 sexual assault case. The details of the assault reveal a brutal assailant. I believe it’s a certainty that Morgan and Hannah endured the same unspeakable torture prior to death.

JesseMatthewBenchWarrant

Charges for the murder of Hannah Graham are pending.

I think it’s safe to say that this fiend will be locked up for life, never to see the light of day again.

Read my prior post Is Jesse Matthew a Serial Killer.

RIP Hannah

Until next time, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter

CaliDeeva


Anni Hindocha: Husband Shrien Dewani’s Cape Town Trial Commences

Nearly Four Years After Murder of Anni Hindocha, Shrien Dewani’s Trial Starts Monday, October 6, 2014

AnniAndShrienIn what has become known as the Honeymoon Murder, Shrien Dewani, a 34-year-old British citizen, will stand trial in the Western Cape High Court, South Africa.  Charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, kidnapping, and defeating the ends of justice, Dewani’s lawyers had fought a drawn-out legal battle to prevent his extradition from the UK to South Africa. In November, 2010, he and his bride, 28-year-old Anni Hindocha, a Swedish citizen, were honeymooning in Cape Town, staying at the five-star Cape Grace Hotel. Two weeks prior on October 27, the two had been married in a traditional Hindu ceremony in Mumbai (Bombay) India. Anni’s family states that a civil ceremony was planned the following March.

No Cameras Allowed in Court

Outside High Court Cape Town

Outside High Court Cape Town

Unlike the Oscar Pistorius trial in Pretoria, Dewani’s trial will not be televised. Personally, I’m disappointed. Gag orders could be issued restricting media commentary (opinions) while at least the public could view the proceedings. But presiding Judge Jeanette Traverso has spoken and I fully and completely respect that decision.

Dewani’s Mental Health, Good Lawyers, Extradition

CCTV captured Dewani numerous times in hotel hallway. Here he's seen making "gunslinger" gestture to Anni

CCTV captured Dewani numerous times in hotel hallway. Here he’s seen making “gunslinger” gesture to Anni

Extradited in April from the UK to South Africa, Dewani was immediately placed under the care of physicians at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital where he received a 30-day evaluation. I believe the process is similar to the Oscar Pistorius mental health review. Anyway, he was found competent to stand trial and that is what counts.

Also similar to Pistorius, Dewani is rich. His high-powered legal team successfully delayed his extradition for years, arguing that he was mentally unfit to stand trial. Diagnosed with depression and PTSD following Anni’s murder, his lawyers were prepared to take his appeal all the way to the High Court but ultimately a judge ruled that he was fit to stand trial in South Africa.

Take Note Amanda Knox Supporters: The Reality of Extradition Process

Taking a brief detour here, anyone following the Amanda Knox case knows about the social media wars raging on the topic of extradition. Her supporters insist that she will never be extradited should Italy file such a request. All their arguments fall apart under scrutiny. Granted, Dewani’s extradition was in accordance with UK law, but the following excerpt from the wiki summarizes a key principle of extradition:

Following the initial stages of the extradition process, the court had to decide whether there was evidence which would be sufficient to make a case requiring an answer by the person if the proceedings were the summary trial of an information against him.[63] The mere suspicion, reasonably justified, by the South African prosecuting authorities would be sufficient.

And off he went to South Africa upon order of a British judge before his appeal was even heard by the Supreme Court. Continue reading

Is Jesse Matthew a Serial Killer?

Investigators Link Abduction of Hannah Graham with Abduction and Murder of Morgan Harrington

JesseMatthew-harrington-graham-connectionSeptember 29, 2014

Investigators Release a Statement

 

“For the past five years, the Virginia State Police has been aggressively pursuing the investigation into the disappearance and death of 20-year-old Morgan D. Harrington of Roanoke, Va. Last week, the arrest of Jesse L. Matthew Jr., 32, of Charlottesville, Va., provided a significant break in this case with a new forensic link for state police investigators to pursue. There is a still a great deal of work to be done in regards to this investigation and we appreciate the public’s patience as we move forward.

Anyone with new information concerning the Harrington investigation is encouraged to contact the Virginia State Police at 434-352-3467 or the Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.

Morgan Harrington

Morgan Harrington

In my prior post, I asked: Is there a serial killer in Virginia? Convinced of the connection between the murder of university student Morgan Harrington, 20, and the abduction of Hannah Graham, 18, my mind immediately sought similarities: same city, same victimology, both young women abducted from public venues. 

Flight to Texas as Fugitive from Justice, Extradition to Virginia

Suspect Jesse Matthew was initially charged with a traffic violation — the latest in a lengthy history of similar charges — after speeding away from the Charlottesville PD. A Wanted notice was subsequently posted when Matthew disappeared from his home and place of employment, becoming a fugitive from justice.  Discovered and arrested without incident on a Texas beach, he was charged with lying to police by the County of Galveston. Denied bond on the arrest warrant for federal charges of abduction and intent to defile, Matthew was quickly extradited to Virginia. He’s not talking to investigators.

Extradition

Extradition

Within days, federal and local investigators made a forensic connection between Matthew and the two abducted young women. We don’t know specifically what the link is, but fortunately there was sufficient forensic evidence in Morgan’s murder to connect that crime to Hannah and their mutual abductor, Jesse Matthew. 

A Tale of Horror and Grief for Two Families

Hannah Graham in surveillance video captured in hallway of apartment party on September 12, 2014

Hannah Graham in surveillance video captured in hallway of apartment party on September 12, 2014

It’s a fine day for justice but a day of heartrending grief for Hannah Graham’s parents. Hannah is still missing and she must be found.  My thoughts are with her family, and with Morgan’s. Hannah’s parents are subjected to the intense anxiety of not knowing where she is. Morgan’s family now possesses information they have sought since her abduction and murder five years ago. In a gesture of solidarity and support, Morgan’s mother, Gil, reached out to the Grahams:

“We are heartbroken for her family. We know what they’re going through,” Harrington told WTVR.com in the days after Graham disappeared. “Police need information. They need to process tips. Please reach out to police and do not be the filter. Even if you think it does not make sense, let police be the filter.”

Charlottesville Afflicted with String of Abductions of Young Women

In an excellent Mail Online article, I learned that an additional five young women have gone missing in the Charlottesville area within the same time period, specifically identified as the Route 29 Corridor. Only one, Morgan Harrington’s, remains were recovered in January 2010. Jesse Matthew may face additional charges for a 2005 rape reported to police by the victim who later decided not to press charges at that time. Matthew insisted it was consensual sex. The Mail provided a concise list:

  • If the link between Morgan’s disappearance and Matthew is confirmed, the 32-year-old will be accused of the abduction, rape or sexual assault of at least four young women over a 14-year period.
  • The abduction ‘with intent to defile’ (a legal term for sexual assault) of UVA student Hannah Graham in September 2014.
  • The murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in October 2009
  • Sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman in Fairfax, Virginia, in September 2005, [My notation: Lynchburg Police department case file 2002071459]
  • Rape of a Liberty University student in October 2002

Continue reading

Hannah Graham Still Missing, Jesse Matthew, Jr. Extradited

Suspect Jesse Matthew Charged with Abduction, Attempt to Defile; Extradited from Galveston TX to Virginia

Missing student Hannah Graham, Alleged Abductor Jesse Matthew's mugshot

Missing student Hannah Graham, Alleged Abductor Jesse Matthew’s mugshot

 “We don’t know where Hannah Graham is and we have to find her,” Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said at a press conference Wednesday.

Is there a serial killer in Virginia? A bright, beautiful young university student has vanished, while her shattered parents plead for her return. University of Virginia student, 18-year-old Hannah Graham — missing since September 13 — was last seen in the company of suspect Jesse Leroy Matthew, Jr., 32.

JesseMatthewCCTVThe two were captured on local businesses’ video surveillance throughout the late night and early morning hours. In the sequence of the surveillance,  Hannah is seen walking alone, even running, and appeared disoriented. This disorientation is alarming considering Hannah’s familiarity with the area. She attracted the attention of at least two men, one of whom is the suspect in her disappearance. The second man, an unidentified white male, later contacted police to explain that he was following Hannah because she seemed in trouble and might need help. Additional information about this second man has not been released. I want to know more about this guy who was spotted lurking in doorways, waiting for her to pass by, then following her. Call me skeptical, but a mature man lurking and following is not very likely to nurture fatherly feelings of concern for an attractive young woman. If indeed he believed she was “in trouble,” the solution is self-evident: Call The Police!!!

Earlier in the evening, Hannah was last seen by friends leaving a party held in an off-campus apartment. Captured by surveillance in the apartment building hallway, Hannah disappeared into the night carrying only her iphone. Video surveillance cameras along the way captured Jesse Matthew following her — hair in dreadlocks and wearing white board shorts. Witnesses saw him with Hannah at Tempo Restaurant and Bar, where he bought her a drink, according to what he told police. Hannah was seen after 1:00 a.m. leaving the bar with Matthew’s arm around her. The frightening aspect is Hannah’s inability to walk unsupported.

According to witnesses, Hannah was incapacitated, barely able to walk.  Her obvious state of vulnerability was a sign of distress. Were there no Good Samaritans? If just one person had contacted authorities at the sight of this young woman’s erratic behavior, would there have been a happy conclusion?

Police Focus on Finding Hannah, $100,000 Reward Offered

Hannah_Graham_RewardNoticeCharlottesville Police Chief Timothy J. Longo has given brief pressers from the start, emphasizing the focus on finding Hannah. There now stands an award of $100,000 for information leading to her return.

I encourage readers to study the details and contact authorities if you have any knowledge or suspicion concerning Hannah’s whereabouts. Considering that her possible assailant, Jesse Matthew, drove the 1,200 miles from Charlottesville to Galveston, it compromises the investigation. 

The Abduction and Murder of Morgan Harrington

MorganHarringtonOn October 17, 2009, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student named Morgan Harrington disappeared from a Metallica concert held in the arena of the University of Virginia. Morgan left her friends to go to the restroom. When she didn’t return, her friends called her cell phone. She told them she’d gotten locked out of the arena (due to the re-enter policy, probably requiring a hand stamp or some similar identifying mark), said she was ok and would find her way home. She was reportedly seen with a few men, and an artist’s rendering of one man was released. Three months later in January 2010, Morgan’s remains were found miles away in an isolated area of farmland. Although police still won’t release many details of her murder, she was known to be raped and suffered broken bones. It is reported that police also have a forensic link to another unsolved case.  Continue reading

Holly Bobo’s Remains Found, TBI Aggressively Investigating Murder

Several Arrests Have Been Made in the Nursing Student’s Murder

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After nearly three years from that day in April, 2011 when 20 year-old Holly Bobo was snatched from her home in Darden, Tennessee, her family received the bittersweet news they’d been awaiting. The young nursing student’s remains were found in heavily wooded property in Decatur County.  Anyone following this case in all its horrific details can only grieve with this family who has waited so long to be reunited with Holly.

Zachary Adams

Zachary Adams

The Tennesse Bureau of Investigation (TBI), County Sheriffs, police officers and investigators united to perfom a thorough investigation resulting in several arrests. Law enforcement across the country should take note. THIS is how an investigation is conducted. If necessary, arrest a suspect on unrelated charges to keep him behind bars, to prevent evidence tampering and/or a disappearing act while the investigation continues.  

John "Dylan" Adams

John “Dylan” Adams

Dylan Adams, 26, younger brother of Zachary Adams, 30, was already in custody on federal firearms violations. Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on charges related to Holly’s kidnapping and murder, but he hasn’t yet been indicted. Older brother Zachary was indicted on charges of First Degree Felony Murder and Aggravated Kidnapping.

Detained in different jails, earlier this year Zachary was charged with trying to coerce Dylan into silence.  The older brother reportedly attempted to deliver a menacing message to Dylan.  

“Tell my brother he is the one who started this (expletive) and if he don’t shut his mouth he will be in the hole beside her [Holly],” according to the warrant. Adams gave the message on March 4 to an inmate who was going to be transferred to Obion County, the warrant says. 

After the discovery of Holly’s partial remains, Decatur County Sheriff Keith Byrd had announced at a news conference that additional arrests in the case would be forthcoming. Continue reading

Caylee Anthony, RIP August 9, 2005 – June 16, 2008

Caylee Marie Anthony, We Will Never Forget You

CayleeAnthony3Along with thousands of other trial watchers, I followed the Orlando trial of Casey Anthony starting May 24, 2011, lasting six weeks. Starting with jury selection in the neighboring county of Pinellas, I watched and listened to voir dire with a sinking feeling that the jury was ill-chosen for such a high-profile crime. Some had brushes with the law and/or had family members who did, and one juror stated clearly that she couldn’t judge, only God could. Not a good mix. Factor in the frustration and loneliness of being sequestered far from home, and you have a defense lawyer’s dream jury.

Caylee Anthony's final resting spot after flooding by Hurricane Fay

Caylee Anthony’s final resting spot after flooding by Hurricane Fay

Casey Anthony, then aged 22, had been indicted by a grand jury for capital murder (which carried a possible death penalty in the state of Florida), aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter and four counts of lying to law enforcement. CaseyAnthonyCourtThe trial was televised, and it was maddening to watch the defendant play to the cameras and to the jury. In the presence of presiding Judge Belvin Perry, Jr., but always outside the presence of the jury, Anthony smirked, giggled, flirted, gave middle finger salutes, and bantered with her attorneys Jose Baez and J. Cheney Mason, otherwise known as her “boys.” It’s inconceivable, but Judge Perry allowed such behavior without even a single reprimand delivered to “Miss Anthony.”  In the jury’s presence, she sobered up, and intermittently poked at her dry eyes with a tissue in an attempt to squeeze some water out which became a bizarre ritual.  In the escalating courtroom drama, Jose Baez ensured that his client was portrayed as the only victim and a great mom.

Grief Expert Testifies, Dr. Sally Kerioth

Grief Expert Testifies, Dr. Sally Kerioth

To explain away the 31 days that she didn’t bother to report her daughter “missing,” Baez waited until his opening statement to deliver the bombshell that was guaranteed to instill doubt in the minds of a handpicked jury too mentally-challenged to grasp the calculated timing and theatrics. In a performance straight out of an actors’ workshop, Jose Baez announced that Caylee never was missing; she had drowned in the above-ground family swimming pool. The logical question then became why did HE allow his client to sit in jail for three years for an accidental drowning?

To maximize the impact, Casey Anthony sat in her permanently lowered chair (to look more vulnerable) and did her best to cry. To further convince the jury, his backup plan included the testimony of an expert witness, the eccentric “Grief Specialist” Sally Karioth, who did a lot of arm-waving, reminiscent in demeanor and speech patterns to Seattle lawyer Anne Bremner. Continue reading