Hannah Graham's Family, UVA Students Mourn Her Death, Remember 'Kind and Selfless Spirit'

( [email protected] ) Oct 29, 2014 04:53 PM EDT
UVA students honor Hannah Graham
University of Virginia students honor their fellow classmate Hannah Graham, who disappeared on Sept. 13. (AP)

The family of Hannah Graham and University of Georgia students mourn the loss of the college sophomore who was allegedly abducted and killed by Jesse Matthew Jr. in September. 

Devastated UVA students have erected a memorial in the campus center honoring their fellow classmate. According to the University, the memorial is dedicated to Hannah's life and her impact on the community.

The centerpiece of the memorial, sitting on top of a fountain, is a chair constructed of skis and donated by Hannah's teammates from the Virginia Alpine Ski and Snowboarding Team. A chalkboard wall is also included at the site so students can write notes to their former classmate.

"Through your kindness and constant selflessness, you were an inspiration to everyone who knew you," wrote one student. "You will be missed every day."

"We miss you dearly, sweet Hannah, but we know you are in Heaven with the angels smiling down on us," wrote another.

Hannah Graham
Hannah Graham, a sophomore at UVA, was last seen with Jesse Matthew Jr, 32. (Facebook)

Both UVA students and the local community are left in shock after Hannah's remains were found in a shallow grave in Albemarle County, VA five weeks after the 18 year old went missing.

Matthew, who was reportedly drinking at the bar meeting up with the teen, was the last person seen with Hannah before her disappearance on September 13. According to Tempo Restaurant Owner Brice Cunningham, Matthew left the bar with the young girl with his arm wrapped around her, helping her walk.

Her remains were found on October 18 near where Matthew grew up. The 32 year old has been charged with abduction with the "intent to defile," or to sexually molest.

"The focus of the investigation now is to determine what charges will be brought and the appropriate time to make those charges," Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford said on Friday. "We are working diligently with local law enforcement on the investigation to ensure that we make the best determination for our community and the Grahams in the pursuit of justice."

Currently, Matthew is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail as police work to uncover what exactly happened to Graham. A preliminary hearing will take place on Dec. 4 on the abduction charge.

On Friday morning, Graham's parents, John and Sue Graham, reportedly visited the site where their daughter's remains were found.

The Grahams thanked police and citizens alike who helped search for their daughter - especially Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo, saying in a statement that it was due to his "tenacity and determination," that "Hannah is coming home to us and we will be eternally grateful to him for this."

"Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished," the said in a statement obtained by People.com. "Although the waiting has ended for us, there are other families both in Virginia and beyond who have not been as fortunate in that their loved ones are still missing. Please continue to hold these families in your thoughts and prayers."

Last month reports revealed that Matthew, who was was forced to leave Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia in 2002 after a claim that he sexually assaulted a female student, was recently forensically linked to the 2009 disappearance of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, Morgan Harrington.