CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Hundreds gathered at McIntire Amphitheater Thursday night, classmates joining together to face the unthinkable, one of their fellow university students missing.
A “Bring Hannah Home” candlelight vigil was held for second year University of Virginia student Hannah Elizabeth Graham, of Alexandria, who has not been seen by friends since late Friday night, Sept. 12.
The 18-year-old girl has been spotted on surveillance video in several places, with a path that seems to be eastbound, covering over a mile and a half in the time that she left friends and then sent a last text.
Just 90 minutes unaccounted for, but enshrouded in mystery.
Videos help, but raise more questions
The last video to be released shows a white male walk into the cameras view, look over his shoulder, then step into a doorway and Graham walks past him. He then begins to follow her.
This man reached out to police, saying he contacted the tipline before coming into the station, and told police that he was walking with her to make sure she was okay. He said Hannah seemed physically distressed and he “wanted to make sure she got safely wherever she was going,” according to police.
The man told police that he saw a black man approach Hannah, and that man put his arm around her. The unidentified man told police she didn’t react, and seemed to know him. Once those two started speaking, he said it appeared the black male was “was either known to Ms. Graham or was trying to help her.”
So he went on his way, he told police. He said the two were standing there talking when he left.
Other people are seen in the video and the videos have raised questions.
“We are not ignorant people, we don't dismiss anything out right,” said Captain Gary Pleasants. “I’ve reported what's been told to us, we are looking into every aspect of every person we deal with.”
Police now say they know who some of the people are in the video, but it's unclear if they've talked to them yet.
“I'm not going to get into what anyone may have told us yet,” Pleasants said.
Police are asking anyone who was out that night and may have seem something to contact the tipline.
Meanwhile this university town waits for answers about what exactly happened to Hannah Graham.
“People are just unsure, they want closure,” said Caitlin Adkins, a UVa. student who attended Hannah’s vigil. “You just hope and pray that she comes back.”
About fifteen hours after the man seen walking behind Hannah in the video came forward, police released a suspect description.
Police described the man as a black male in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing between 250-285 pounds. The man was wearing black jeans and a white t-shirt and was described as having a closely shaved head as well as a goatee and a slight “beer belly.”
A $50,000 reward is now being offered in hopes of soliciting tips that could lead police to Graham.
The City of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia are each offering $10,000. In addition, some local residents and businesses have contributed $30,000 to the reward.
If you have information that could help investigators, call the special Hannah Graham tip line at 434-295-3851.
Searches will continue throughout the weekend, with volunteer help requested.
All surveillance videos can be seen here.
All reports filed on this case can be found here.