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Have Hannah Graham’s Remains Been Found?
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Summary: A team searching for Hannah Graham discovers a skeleton, and police now regard her case as a “Death investigation.”

A search party discovered a skeleton eight miles from where Hannah Graham was last seen. Though the skull and bones scattered amidst a creek bed may not be Graham’s. police now consider the case a “death investigation,” as of Saturday, when the discovery was made.

  
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Sgt. Dale Terry of the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Department was nearly calling it a day when he decided to press on a bit more. That’s when he found the remains.

“It was not buried, and its location was not far from the road,” he told a local television station. “There was not any crushing of any bones. As far as the skull, everything looked in tact to me.”

If investigators want to use DNA to identify the body, we can expect a few week interim before we know if it is Graham’s. If dental records are used, we would know within a few hours.

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“If it is Hannah Graham, 100 percent, then at least they have their child home,” said forensic psychologist Mike Banks in an interview with WTVR.

Others are chary to make the connection. Forensic expert Jonathan Arden notes that given the climate and time frame, it is unlikely Graham’s body would have skeletontized by now.



“This is a level of decomposition that is far in excess of what I would expect for roughly a month in this climate,” he said, as WUSA-TV reported. “I’m highly concerned that these may be the remains of a different person because in this kind of climate, it commonly takes six to nine months and sometimes longer for a body to skeletonize essentially completely.”

This is mixed news for those searching for Graham. On the one hand, they want to hold to the hope that she might be alive and well somewhere. On the other hand, many think she is probably dead, and it would be comforting to have some closure.

Only one man has been charged regarding her disappearance, suspect Jesse Matthew, who was last seen with her. He has been charged with abduction with the intent to defile, and so was required to give DNA samples as part of his arrest. That lead to him being connected to the case of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who was found dead in 2009.

“Today’s discovery is a significant development,” said County Police Chief Steve Sellers. “We have a great deal of work ahead of us. We cannot and we will not jump to any conclusions.”



 

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