Hannah Graham searcher says ‘God wanted’ them to find what they found

Posted at 10:54 PM, Oct 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-19 19:13:49-04

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. -- The Chesterfield Sheriff’s Department sergeant who discovered human remains while searching for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham said he believed God wanted them to find what they found.

Sgt. Dale Terry said his five-person team had finished their search mission near Walnut Creek Park around noon Saturday when something came over him to check nearby properties. That is where the remains were located.

"I don't know how else to explain it," he said. "Something inside me just told me to continue to look."

Terry said his search team felt compelled to volunteer to find Hannah Graham in an effort to bring closure and justice for her family.

"We stayed positive, upbeat," he said. "We knew we were here for a mission to bring closure and hopefully that's what we've done."

Terry led the search team that found remains along an abandoned property off of Old Lynchburg Road in southern Albemarle County. Saturday’s discovery came more than a month after Graham was last seen walking along the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia on September 13.

The remains were taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Richmond to be autopsied and positively identified.

“These are human remains,” Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said at a press conference Saturday evening. “Forensic tests need to be conducted to determine the identification of those remains.”

The public search for Hannah Graham scheduled for Walnut Creek Park on Sunday was canceled, by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

“Authorities are focusing their attention on recent evidence, which limits law enforcement resources necessary to carry out a public search," a Virginia Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman said.

Anyone with information about Jesse Matthew, Hannah Graham or Morgan Harrington is asked to call the tipline at 434-295-3851. All Hannah Graham surveillance videos can be seen here. All reports filed on this case can be found here.

[Editor's note: A previous version of this story contained information from law enforcement that was later removed at the request of investigators in this case.]