|Missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham,human remains was found 8 miles from where she was last seen.|
Authorities looking for Hannah Graham found human remains Saturday on an abandoned property eight miles
from where University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham, was last seen five weeks ago, police said.
Chesterfield County Sheriff's Department members participating in the search made the discovery before noon in southern Albemarle County in central Virginia, according to Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo.
Shortly thereafter, a detective relayed the news to Graham's parents.
"These are human remains and forensic tests need to be conducted to determine the identification...," Longo told reporters. "But nonetheless we wanted to be quick and timely to share that information with the Graham family."
The discovery comes 35 days after Graham was last spotted, on several surveillance cameras, in Charlottesville's Downtown Mall area. That footage showed her leaving the Tempo Bar at around 2 a.m. on September 13, as well as a man -- later identified by authorities as Jesse Matthew, 32 -- following her.
On September 24, Matthew was taken into custody while camping on a beach in Galveston, Texas, some 1,300 miles from Charlottesville. Jesse Matthew is the only person detained in connection with Graham's disappearance, charged with abduction with the intent to defile.
Matthew has also been linked by forensic evidence to the case of Morgan Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who was last seen hitchhiking along U.S. 29 outside of Charlottesville in October 2009. She was found dead on a nearby farm the following January.
No arrests have been made in Harrington's case, and the cause of her death still is under investigation. Police, though, did recently seize a cab owned by Jesse Matthew that he was driving in Charlottesville in 2009, a source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.
Jesse Matthew's next court appearance in relation to Graham's disappearance is scheduled for December 4.
Albemarle County Police Chief Steve Sellers did appeal to anyone who was in or knows the area in which the remains were found to contact authorities if they saw "any suspicious activity" or "an individual fitting Jesse Matthew's description in that area about that time."
"Today's discovery is a significant development, and we have a great deal of work ahead of us," said Sellers, noting Hannah Graham's case is now considered a "death investigation." "We cannot and we will not jump to any conclusions."
The 18-year-old Graham was in her second year at the University of Virginia -- a member of the ski team and making straight A's, her parents say -- when she was last seen.
"She was extremely smart, very witty, very athletic," said Craig Maniglia, the coach of the high school softball team that Graham co-captained in Northern Virginia.
Graham's last contact with friends -- telling them she was lost and trying to find a party, according to CNN affiliate WVIR -- came via text message at 1:20 a.m. the morning of September 13.
Hannah Graham disappearance prompted a massive search involving more than 1,200 volunteers, not to mention emotional appeals from officials like Longo and Graham's parents.
Sunday's scheduled public search of Walnut Creek Park -- not far from where the remains were found -- was canceled, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management said in a statement.
"Authorities are focusing their attention on recent evidence, which limits law enforcement resources necessary to carry out a public search," the agency said
culled from CNN