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Person of Interest Named in Charlottesville Investigation

: For a feature on people and their cars, a now-defunct weekly newspaper, The Hook, photographed Matthew in 2007

When Charlottesville police announced they had found the man seen with Hannah Graham on downtown mall security tapes, they refused to identify him.  This weekend a British newspaper named him and told his side of the story. 

The Daily Mail has named 32-year-old Jesse “LJ” Matthew as the person police believe was  seen with UVA student Hannah Graham early on the morning she disappeared.  He is, according to Police Chief Tim Longo, the guy who was seen on security videos following her, and later standing with his hands around her waist.

Credit Facebook
Jessie "LJ" Matthew

Matthew is a nursing assistant at the University of Virginia Hospital. Before going to work for UVA, he drove a taxi in Charlottesville.  His former boss, John Amato, told us:

“He was a nice guy, always in a good mood, always easy to talk to.  I never had any problem with him. He was always reliable to call.  The customers really liked him, so I’d be very, very surprised if he were tied into this negatively in any way.”

A neighbor, who’d had limited contact with Matthew, agreed.

“I met him at church, realized he lived next door, exchanged phone numbers.  We talked for maybe a minute or two.  He just seemed like a normal, nice guy.”

A man who looked like Matthew – tall and stocky, with his hair in dreadlocks -- was seen with Hannah Graham at the Tempo Restaurant, just off the downtown mall early on the morning she went missing.  The Daily Mail says he admits to buying her drinks but claims he did not drive off with her in his car, which has been confiscated by police.

Quoting Matthew’s grandmother, the Mail says he and Graham went their separate ways.  Matthew has not been charged with a crime, and police have not called him a suspect, but they do want to talk with Matthew, as perhaps the last person to see Graham alive. 

“I spoke with him early this morning, and I want to speak to him again, and I want to speak to anyone who has seen him since Friday, Saturday on this downtown mall," said Detective Jim Mooney at a news conference Friday.

Meanwhile, more than 1,500 volunteers have been searching a 14-square mile area in and around Charlottesville,  looking for anything that might help with the on-going investigation. 

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