Drone used in Hannah Graham search

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WJLA/AP/CNN/ABC News) – The search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham now includes the use of an aerial drone — the first time, according to authorities, one has been used in the search for a missing person in the state of Virginia.

The addition of the drone to the search effort comes more than two weeks after Graham disappeared from Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall area.

The drone has a high-quality camera, and it will “look closer” at objects of interest, said John Coggin, chief engineer of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and one of the members of the team operating the drone.

As the drone worked from overhead Wednesday, more than 50 law enforcement personnel participated in the ground search of an area.

Police still aren’t saying much at all about their evidence against the suspect in Graham’s disappearance, but they seem to be working systematically to link his DNA to an expanding circle of attacks on women, a criminal defense expert suggested.

Between searches of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr.’s car and apartment and his arrest on a charge of abducting Graham last week, police had ample opportunity to obtain genetic evidence connecting him to multiple attacks, said Steve Benjamin, past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Matthew’s lawyer, James Camblos, said he met with his client for about 2½ hours earlier this week, but still doesn’t know what evidence police have.

Already, police said they have linked Matthew via DNA to Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington’s 2009 death, and previously, authorities had said DNA in Harrington’s case was connected to a 2005 abduction and sexual assault in Fairfax City.

At least two additional sheriffs’ offices in Virginia – Campbell County and Montgomery County – said they are now reviewing old murder cases to see if they are connected to Matthew.

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