EXCLUSIVE: Where Hannah Was Found
3193 Old Lynchburg Road
The skeletal remains of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham are believed to have been found here, at 3193 Old Lynchburg Road— discovered in a dry creek bed behind this empty house, five weeks to the day since she was last seen.
This 2.5-acre, heavily wooded, rural property, which includes two residences, is located 11.5 miles from Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, where an eyewitness told me she saw Hannah in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 13. Hannah was reportedly seen with 32-year-old Jesse Matthew, who has since been charged with her abduction.
Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo announced yesterday evening that a volunteer search team from the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Department, coordinated by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, had located the remains of what they believed was Hannah Graham at an “abandoned property on Old Lynchburg Road” south of town.
According to this report by CBS 6 in Richmond, Chesterfield Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Dale Terry said “it was behind a vacant home, in a dried-up creek bed. Terry said he found a skull and bones, along with a pair of tight, dark-colored pants.Terry said the vertebrae bone appeared long and consistent with a tall person’s body. He said the body was not buried and its location was not far from the road.” The remains have since been sent to the State Medical Examiner in Richmond for a full autopsy and official identification. Albemarle County Police are now looking into the discovered remains as a murder investigation.
A number of sources confirmed to me that the location where the remains were found, behind an empty house on Old Lynchburg Road, was about a mile south of the entrance to Walnut Creek Park. This location is 1.5 miles from the park entrance. Click here for Google Map Street View.
Another source with whom I have spoken just this morning, confirms that on Sunday October 5, a long-time resident of Albemarle County drove by this residence and noticed an unusual flurry of buzzards behind the home.
Earlier the following morning, Monday October 6, this same man stopped his car at this residence and looked around. The buzzards had gone. This man knew the home to be a rental that was not currently lived in.
He walked the property, but only briefly since he felt odd that he was trespassing. He got back in his car and left.
Later that same morning, at exactly 9:45am October 6, he called the tip line, reported the address— 3193 Old Lynchburg Road— and said he’d noticed the buzzards. He also reported that he was concerned the property had not yet been adequately searched since the home was not currently lived in.
Albemarle County Tax Records list the property owner as Phyllis Campbell, who is noted as residing just a few miles to the south on Plank Road.
I called her home this morning. When I informed the woman who answered that I was a reporter, calling to ask about 3193 Old Lynchburg Road, she kindly replied, “We were told not to talk to the media about this.”
“Were you asked not to do this by the Albemarle County Police?” I asked.
“I’m not allowed to say,” she replied.
“Is this because it’s where they found the remains of the missing girl?”
“I’m really not supposed to say,” she answered. “We’re not allowed to talk about it.” I thanked her for her time and said goodbye.
3193 Old Lynchburg Road is a 2.5-acre property that includes two residences: a 1056-square foot, 3-bedroom home and a 672-square foot cottage. The main residence was built in 1983 and remodeled in 2006. The property has been listed for sale and de-listed a number of times in the last few years: Zillow. Trulia. Realtor.com.
It is interesting to note that in 2010 the residence was listed as the site of Mountainview Adult Home, Independent Assisted Living— and even had its own Facebook page, which does not appear to have been updated since that time.
A creek, the Ammonett Branch, flows behind the house and runs south into the South Fork of the Hardware River, which moves across Albemarle County, eventually feeding into the James River east of Scottsville.
Jesse Matthew, the 32-year old man last seen with Hannah Graham the night she went missing, was arrested near Galveston, Texas on Wednesday, September 24, and is currently in the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Jail. Virginia State Police have confirmed a forensic link between Mr. Matthew and the abduction and murder of Morgan Harrington, the 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who was last seen in Charlottesville on October 17, 2009.
Morgan’s skeletal remains were found 100 days later, on a farm south of Charlottesville— just about five miles from 3193 Old Lynchburg Road.
Jesse Matthew grew up in this rural part of Albemarle County south of Charlottesville. His mom’s house is just up the road, about 4 miles from where the remains of Hannah Graham are believed to have been found.
Coy Barefoot is a best-selling and award-winning author and investigative journalist. He is the host and producer of Inside Charlottesville, a radio and TV program. He also teaches history at the University of Virginia. You can learn more at coybarefoot.com.