The sergeant who found human remains in Albemarle County, Virginia on Saturday while searching for Miss UVA student Hannah Graham credited the discovery to "divine intervention."
Sgt. Dale Terry of the Chesterfield Sheriff's Department discovered human remains scattered in a shallow grave on an abandoned property, just eight miles from where Graham was last seen.
Authorities notified Graham's parents before going public and have called off the search for the missing student as they await results from forensic tests. They did, however, continue searching for clues and evidence. The search team, made up of volunteers, was preparing to wrap up a long day of searching yesterday, but Terry insisted that they continue and shortly after, he found the remains. He discovered a skull and bones scattered across a creek bed.
"We were on our way back to our vehicle and I just decided to keep going and we swept a different area and luckily we came upon what we came upon," Terry told Fox5. "Divine intervention is the only thing I can think of … I do believe God wanted us to find what we found. I don't know how else to explain it other than something inside me told me to just continue to look."
The remains were found not far from where suspect Jesse Leroy Matthew, 32, grew up. The nursing assistant is charged with abduction with the intent to defile, which means sexually molest.
He is currently being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail and experts believe the case could become a death investigation.
"These are human remains and forensic tests need to be conducted to determine the identification ...," Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo told reporters. "But nonetheless we wanted to be quick and timely to share that information with the Graham family."
Graham, 18, has been missing since Sept. 13 and she was last seen on that day with Matthew in an area of Charlottesville known as the Downtown Mall.
Matthew, who was reportedly drinking at the bar before his encounter with the teen, was seen with his arm around her helping her walk, Tempo Restaurant owner Brice Cunningham told the Associated Press.
Last month reports revealed that Matthew was forced to leave Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia in 2002 after a claim that he sexually assaulted a female student. No criminal charges were ever filed. He reportedly won a sports scholarship to the Christian university after he was named Charlottesville's "Athlete of the Year" in 1999.
His father previously defended him in the press.
"For a big man, he's as gentle as they come," his father Jesse Matthew Sr. told CNN affiliate WTVR. "The only thing I could see, him, maybe trying to give the girl a ride or help her out. To kill or hurt somebody, that's not my son."
Matthew was recently forensically linked to the 2009 disappearance of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, Morgan Harrington.