CNU cooperating with law-enforcement agencies in missing U.Va. student case

NEWPORT NEWS—A 32-year-old man arrested in connection with the disappearance of a University of Virginia student is a former Christopher Newport University student and football player, a CNU spokeswoman confirmed in a statement from university administration Thursday.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. attended CNU from January 2003 to Oct. 15, 2003, university spokeswoman Lori Jacobs confirmed in the statement. He was a member of the football team from Aug. 14 to Sept. 12, 2003, it states.

"Students don't usually leave in the second month of the semester or leave the football team within a month. However federal student privacy laws (FERPA) limit the information we can provide," according to the statement.

"The university is fully cooperating with law-enforcement agencies," it states.

Matthew was arrested in Texas with the help of FBI agents on Wednesday, a day after a warrant was issued accusing him of abduction with the intent to defile.

On Thursday, a judge in Texas ruled that Matthew be held without bond pending extradition to Virginia.

Police said Matthew was seen entering a bar in Charlottesville with 18-year-old sophomore Hannah Graham in the early hours of Sept. 13. She has not been seen since.

On Thursday, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry ordered Matthew held without bond pending extradition to Virginia. Matthew waived his right to fight the extradition at a separate hearing and will soon be transported to Virginia.

Law enforcement officials told Reuters that Matthew was arrested after the Galveston Sheriff's office received a tip of a suspicious person. A deputy found a tent pitched on a secluded beach and a blue Nissan Sentra parked nearby. The car's license plates were registered to Matthew's sister and the vehicle was sought in connection of Graham's disappearance.

The Galveston Sheriff's office said investigators from Charlottesville would be in Texas on Friday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also was on the case.

Detectives identified Matthew as a person of interest last week, searched his car and apartment and issued the warrant for his arrest on Tuesday.

At a news conference in Charlottesville on Thursday, police asked property owners near the university campus to look for any signs of Graham, who last seen wearing a silver sequined halter top, black Capri pants and white shoes.

"The more time that goes by, the more difficult this is going to become for everyone," Longo said. "I can't lose hope. But we all know that as each day goes by that hope will diminish," Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said.

Police would not discuss evidence collected during two searches of Matthew's apartment and then sent to a forensics lab.

Authorities said Matthew, who has worked as a nursing assistant at the University of Virginia's medical center since 2012, appeared at a police station on Saturday. But he left after a brief discussion and took off at high speed, shaking officers who tried to tail him.

Staff writers Sarah J. Pawlowski and  Andrea Castillo contributed.

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