CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. ― Police prepared Tuesday to adjust their search area for a missing University of Virginia student, at least the fourth young woman to go missing in the area in the past five years.
Charlottesville police Capt. Gary Pleasants said authorities received a new report of a possible sighting the night 18-year-old Hannah Elizabeth Graham disappeared.
He said the tip prompted officials to move the search area farther east, though he could not provide details about the possible sighting. Police used a bloodhound to search a large area northeast of the university on Monday and found no trace of Graham, who is from Alexandria, Virginia.
Virginia State Police and the Albemarle County Sheriff’s Office were assisting as officials plan to resume the search. He said police have turned down many offers from the public to help with the search but are asking anyone with information to call the Charlottesville Police Department. Graham’s parents are in Charlottesville, Pleasants said.
Police said Graham’s friends reported her missing Sunday after realizing nobody had seen or heard from her since early Saturday morning, when she sent a text message to a friend after leaving a party.
At least three other young women have disappeared in the area in the last five years. Nineteen-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke, who vanished after leaving her Orange County townhouse in September 2010, and 19-year-old DaShad Laquinn Smith, who disappeared in Charlottesville in November 2012, remain missing.
Morgan Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, disappeared from the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena while attending a rock concert in October 2009. Her remains were found three months later in a rural area. No arrests have been made.
According to university officials, Graham is 5-foot-11 with blue eyes, light brown hair and freckles. Police released surveillance photos showing Graham dressed in the black slacks and gold and black crop top she was believed to be wearing when she disappeared.
University President Teresa A. Sullivan issued a statement saying the community is “united in our deep concern” for the first-year student.
A “Help Find Hannah Graham” page was established on Facebook.