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As search continues, chief promises to ‘honor commitment to find Hannah’

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Posted at 11:23 PM, Oct 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-06 00:18:38-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – As the search for a missing University of Virginia student drags into a third week, Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo encouraged crews to continue looking for Hannah Graham.

Since Graham vanished from the Downtown Mall last month, police have charged Jesse Matthew Jr. with her abduction.

One member of the search team likened the hunt to searching for the bread crumbs that will lead them to Hannah in this puzzling case. For example, any clue could help find her. From her cell phone to shoes, investigators said those things would point crews in the right direction.

There were about 60 Virginia State Troopers on the ground searching alongside other specialized teams out for another daylong search for the missing student on Sunday.

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Chief Longo said the search will not end until they find Graham.

“If you have a well on your property, search it. If you have an abandoned structure or abandoned car on your property, search it,” Longo said. “We have made the commitment to her parents and we will honor the commitment to find Hannah.”

The department has received 3,300 tips and has covered 700 square miles

"Every square inch of Albemarle County will be searched this weekend,” Longo promised.

Through dense terrain and open fields, officers from all over the state were on foot and on ATVs.

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Some had four-legged partners, like K-9 Handler Sharon Johnson. She said the last three weeks have been trying, but that those searching re committed to the cause.

“He's cross trained, Johnson explained. “These dogs are human scent specific. In urban settings it's difficult but out in the wilderness or rural areas they do better."

There is a lot of ground to cover and some searching are frustrated.

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However, Chief Longo said they have quickly refocused as  Graham’s mother’s message resonates with every one of them.

Graham's parents  released an emotional video statement on Saturday pleading for help bringing their missing daughter home.

“Somebody listening me today either knows where Hannah is or knows someone who has that information,” Sue Graham said fighting back tears. “We appeal to you to come forward and tell us where Hannah can be found.”

Additionally, Graham praised everyone involved in the search for their tireless work.

“We would like to again express our enormous gratitude to all those who have been involved in the search for Hannah,” Sue Graham said. “The police, the professional search teams, the people staffing the telephone tip line, UVa. students, our friends, neighbors and work colleagues — as well as the citizens of Charlottesville and the surrounding area."

While police have a suspect in custody in connection to Hannah’s disappearance, they have not been able to locate Hannah.

Graham was last seen in Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall on Sept. 13. Investigators believe suspect Jesse Matthew, 32, was the last person with her. He is charged with abduction with the intent to defile.

Anyone with information about Graham’s whereabouts is asked to call a special tip line at 434-295-3851. All surveillance videos can be seen here. All reports filed on this case can be found here.