A police bloodhound detected traces of slain University of Virginia student Hannah Graham inside the apartment and on the car door of the man charged with Graham’s 2014 murder, according to a former detective’s testimony in Albemarle County, Virginia on Jan. 11.
Former Louisa County Sheriff’s Office Detective Buck Garner testified Graham’s scent was also found at an industrial site about a mile from downtown Charlottesville, where she was last seen.
The new details emerged in a daylong pretrial hearing for Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., 34, who is charged with capital murder in Graham’s 2014 disappearance and death and potentially faces the death penalty.
In a lengthy testimony during the pretrial hearing, Garner discussed his involvement in the early days of the Graham investigation while working with his “partner,” a 7-year-old bloodhound named Shaker.
Garner -– who has nearly three decades of experience as a K-9 handler –- described following Shaker follow Graham’s scent to Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Following Graham’s early morning disappearance on Sept. 13, 2014, surveillance footage emerged showing the U.Va. sophomore walking downtown with Matthew. This is the last known footage of Graham while she was alive.
Garner also said Shaker traced east from the mall to the industrial site.
During a subsequent search, Shaker detected Graham’s scent on the passenger door of Matthew’s vehicle, in the doorway to his home and near a dumpster at his apartment complex, but the dog did not find Graham’s scene near any other apartment, according to Garner’s testimony.
Graham’s body was found Oct. 18, 2014 on an abandoned property in Albemarle County, about 12 miles from the U.Va. campus.
Judge Cheryl Higgins ruled police had probable cause to search the apartment of accused murderer Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. after the tracking dog picked up Graham’s scent. Higgins denied a motion to suppress evidence brought forth by Matthew’s attorneys on Monday.
Matthew also faces first-degree murder charges in the 2009 death of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. He is serving a life prison term for a 2005 attempted murder and sexual assault in northern Virginia.
Online News Editor, Maura Mazurowski
Maura is a junior cinema and journalism student. She’s interested in combining investigative journalism with filmmaking, and is a contributing writer for the online publications Elite Daily and Literally Darling. Before transferring to VCU, Maura was an editor for the student newspaper at Virginia Tech, the Collegiate Times. // Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Portfolio