(Reuters) – Police searching for a missing University of Virginia student said the suspect in the case was arrested in Texas with the help of FBI agents on Wednesday, a day after a warrant was issued accusing the man of abduction with the intent to defile.
Police said Jesse Matthew, 32, was seen entering a bar in Charlottesville, Virginia, with 18-year-old sophomore Hannah Graham in the early hours of Sept. 13. She has not been seen since.
Detectives identified Matthew as a person of interest in the case last week, searching his car and apartment, and issued the warrant on Tuesday for his arrest.
Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said the suspect was taken into custody on Wednesday more than 1,000 miles away in Galveston, on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
“By the grace of God and the good work of the Galveston sheriff’s office, it took place,” Longo told a news conference.
He said Matthew would be extradited to Virginia, and that FBI agents helped in the arrest, but he did not immediately provide more details.
Police released a new missing persons photo of Graham and announced an increased reward of $100,000 for any information leading to her whereabouts.
After Graham and Matthew were seen leaving the bar on Sept. 13, police said they got into his orange Chrysler coupe and drove away.
The disappearance of the teenager has shaken the college town about 100 miles southwest of Washington, with hundreds of residents turning out to help look for her.
Authorities said Matthew, who has worked as a nursing assistant at the University of Virginia’s medical center since 2012, appeared at a police station on Saturday. But he left after a brief discussion and took off at high speed, shaking officers who tried to tail him.
Following that incident, an arrest warrant was issued for Matthew on two counts of reckless driving.
(Editing by Daniel Wallis, Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)