Community search for missing student Hannah Graham will start near UVa.

Posted at 12:10 AM, Sep 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-20 00:10:08-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- It’s been one week since friends or family heard from or saw second-year University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Now, seven days later at least 1,500 people are assembled at John Paul Jones arena in Charlottesville. The volunteers are being prepped to search Saturday for any clues that may lead to Graham.

“I think it's really awesome to see the UVa. and Charlotesville community coming together.”

Those gathered heard first from Gil Harrington, whose daughter disappeared four years ago after attending a concert at the very place where volunteers were gathered Friday night.

Coordinator Mark Eggeman believes they may see up to 2,000 people attend the search Saturday.  The plan is to begin searching certain areas near the university.

"One of the areas that was not searched as well as we would like it to be would be the grounds around the university campus itself and heading out more west and north,” Eggeman said to NBC29.

On Friday, Charlottesville Police released new, major details in the case.  They believe Hannah was with a man inside a bar called Tempo, off 5th Street in the downtown mall.

Police say they are talking about the same man who lives in the apartment complex on Hessian Hills Way, where police executed two search warrants Friday morning.

The person police are interested in right now was described at Friday’s press conference as a black, dreadlocked male, 6’2″ and 32 years of age, weighing around 270 pounds.
Longo said that is the man seen in surveillance video with Graham.

“It's entirely possible that Hannah Graham may have gotten into his vehicle,” said Chief Longo.

Longo described the man's car as a burnt orange 1998 Chrysler coupe, and confirmed it is the same car police seized from the apartment complex.

“It was around five in the morning, we had heard notice around 4:30 and looked out and saw a tow truck with a lot of people,” said neighbors.

Neighbor Mark Bressan lives just across the way and recently had an interaction with the man police are interested in.

“He seems like a nice guy the only time I met him was probably about a two minute conversation about three weeks ago,” said Bressan.

Police did not take the man in custody, but say he is someone they are interested in speaking with more. They also emphasized they are committed to not just making an arrest, but making one that can lead to a conviction.

Police passionately pleaded that anyone who may have seen the dreadlocked man, Hannah or his car to call police.

Police thanked the community for responding and encouraged more people to come forward. Chief Longo asked for home and business owners to check their surveillance cameras and contact them, no matter what part of the county they live in.

“If you live in the city of Charlottesville, if you attend the University of Virginia, if that lady has touched your life in any way, you have the responsibility to help us find her,” he said.

If you have information that could help investigators, call the special Hannah Graham tip line at 434-295-3851.

All surveillance videos can be seen here.

All reports filed on this case can be found here.