Kathy Stewart and Amanda Iacone, wtop.com
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The night Hannah Graham went missing, the man suspected in her disappearance went bar-hopping alone and was reportedly seen hitting on women, according to a timeline compiled by a Charlottesville talkshow host.
Mounting interest in the man who may have been the last person to see the missing University of Virginia student has spurred both the police and reporters to focus on Jesse Matthew’s whereabouts the night of Sept. 12 and the early morning hours of Sept. 13.
Matthew, 32, left a Galveston, Texas, jail Friday for Charlottesville where he faces a felony charge of abduction with intent to defile in connection with Graham’s disappearance. Investigators have asked the public to provide any details about Matthew’s movements in an effort to both prosecute him and to finally find the Fairfax County teen.
The host of a Charlottesvile radio news program says he’s pieced together a timeline of Mathew’s movements in the hours leading up to his fateful meeting of Graham along the Downtown Mall. Coy Barefoot’s story for Inside Charlottesville paints a picture of a socially awkward man, who over- aggressively flirts with women and who is unnecessarily physical even with men.
“I’ve been troubled by the fact that we seem to know so much about Hannah’s movement’s that night, with video surveillance and eye witness accounts,” Barefoot says. “We have known nothing about where Mr. Matthew was in the hours leading up to that moment when he first appears on the Sal’s restaurant video camera.”
The people he spoke with, some anonymously, all said they had already spoken with police.
The timeline touches on key events that police have discussed publicly but provides further details from witnesses who saw both Graham and Matthew that night.
Barefoot says he was struck that “there were some incidents, which really gave a lot of people pause, people who were with him that night, men and women.”
One man Barefoot interviewed says that his friend Matthew is more likely to put his arms around the waist of a woman he didn’t know than a woman he knows. The friend also described an incident involving another man Matthew had just met. The former football player put the other man in a wrestling-style chokehold, injuring the other man’s leg.
A woman who worked the door at the Tempo restaurant on the night of Sept. 12 told Barefoot she remembers seeing a young woman, whom she believes was Graham, with Matthew near closing time. The young woman appeared intoxicated and Matthew was holding her upright.
The Tempo employee remembered that Matthew had been there earlier in the night and had bumped into a woman, angering the man who was with her.
Another woman told Barefoot that Matthew had inappropriately touched her legs, put his arm around her waist, touched her hair and even followed her to the Tempo that night – all of it unwanted attention.
Brice Cunningham, owner of the Tempo, says he remembered seeing Matthew late Friday night and described him to police in the following days. But he did not see Graham inside the restaurant and denies that she was there.
A witness told police that Graham entered the Tempo with Matthew while he bought drinks at the bar. They two left a short time later, according to police.
Police would not confirm whether the details contained in Barefoot’s report match their own findings.
The next step for investigators is to figure out where Matthew went in the hours after he left the Downtown Mall, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Long has said. They want to narrow the time frame between when Graham encountered Matthew and the time she was reported missing more than 24 hours later.
- Live Blog: The search for Hannah Graham
- Va. police: Suspect in abduction due back Saturday
- Arrest site is at road’s end
Iacone contributed to this report from Washington. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on Facebook.