CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ― Police said Thursday they are seeking to talk to a male who was seen by a witness with a University of Virginia student the night she disappeared.
Charlottesville police Capt. Gary Pleasants said the witness came forward Wednesday night after two more grainy surveillance videos were released of Hannah E. Graham from the Downtown Mall.
The 18-year-old freshman was last seen at the mall, a popular row of shops and restaurants, on Friday night.
Pleasants said one video shows Graham outside a pizza shop. The witness was captured on the video as he exited the store and followed Graham. Another video from a jewelry store two minutes later also shows the witness following Graham.
The witness told police that he followed her because she looked like she was in distress.
“It looked like she was at least in some physical distress and he was concerned for her,” Pleasants said.
The witness, whose name wasn’t released, told police that before he could catch up with Graham, another male approached her and put his arm around her.
“From the interaction, he [the witness] thought they knew each other, so he thought she was fine and he left,” Pleasants said.
Pleasants said police want to talk to the second male. He wouldn’t describe what the male was wearing.
“We certainly need to talk to this person and see what his interaction was,” Pleasants said.
The male isn’t seen in either video. The second video appears to show someone next to Graham, but Pleasants said it’s her reflection in the store window.
Two other videos released earlier show Graham walking past a pub and, minutes later, running past a service station.
The university’s student council has scheduled a “Bring Hannah Home” candlelight vigil on the Charlottesville campus Thursday night.
She was last heard from early Saturday morning, when she texted a friend after leaving a party to say she was lost. Her friends reported her missing on Sunday. Police have searched a wide area northeast and east of the campus without success.
Her parents, John and Susan Graham, have said that they fear foul play, but Police Chief Timothy Longo said police have no substantial evidence to support that.
Longo said Graham met friends for dinner at a restaurant Friday night, dropped by parties at two off-campus housing units, and left the second one alone. Longo said Graham had been drinking.
Graham is 5-foot-11 with blue eyes, light brown hair and freckles. The search has involved local police, the Virginia State Police, University of Virginia police and the FBI, which is processing leads, Pleasants said. The search has also included canine teams and helicopters.
Police have interviewed about 50 people and have established a designated tip line for information on Graham. The number is (434) 295-3851.