CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Outside the police station in Charlottesville. there’s a sign with a yellow cross drawn on it.
Just past the front door, where a missing person flyer with Hannah Graham’s face is prominently displayed, behind the lobby where a TV screen asks for tips, there is a collage of Graham photos.
Those are just some of the reminders Police Chief Tim Longo says keep him and his officers focused as they continue the search for the missing University of Virginia student from the Alexandria, Virginia area.
Longo, who has served as chief for 16 years, says the case is “in the top three or five things I’ve been confronted with in 30-plus years of law enforcement that moves me.”
Graham was last seen during the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 13, on security camera footage with Jesse Matthew, the man charged in her disappearance. Matthew is being held in a Charlottesville jail and continues to invoke his right to remain silent.
The search for Graham continues with nearly 50 searchers — many of them volunteers from police departments around the state. Longo says search teams will no longer go out on Mondays and Tuesdays. Those days will be used as breaks for crews and a chance to develop a map of locations of interest.
Longo says he can’t say for sure when the searching will stop.
“We’re committed to finding Hannah Graham. It’s that simple.”
Wednesday’s heavy rain may make things more difficult, Longo says. Items such as her pink iPhone 5s may have potentially become submerged with the heavy rain.
In addition to the phone, police are looking for clothing from Graham and Matthew. In a search of Matthew’s home, the blue-checkered shirt, light- colored cargo pants and Crocs investigators believe he was wearing when Graham disappeared were not found.
Longo says this is not only a search for Hannah, but a search for more evidence in the case they are building against Matthew.
For now, the search remains in an 8-mile area around Charlottesville’s downtown, the last place Hannah was seen.
“Studies show that more often than not, that’s where you’ll find the person that you’re looking for,” Longo says.