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Hannah Graham Case: More Than 1,000 to Search for Missing U.Va. Student

Hundreds Volunteer to Find Missing UVA Student Hannah Graham 2:06

The first wave of volunteers spread out around Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday to search for a missing University of Virginia student who disappeared a week earlier. More than 1,600 people gathered Friday night at the John Paul Jones Arena for a briefing on the massive search for 18-year-old Hannah Graham, who vanished a week ago after an off-campus party, said Jeffrey Stern, a state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Crews said the turnout was so large that volunteers would be split into groups with different start times, according to NBC affiliate WVIR. The first shift started at 8 a.m. ET.

Graham, a second-year student, went missing in the early morning of Sept. 13 and was last heard from when she sent a text message to friends saying she was lost, Charlottesville police said. Investigators released a description of a "person of interest" who was seen in surveillance video walking behind Graham the night she went missing. The unidentified man — described as having dreadlocks and in his 20s or 30s — was also seen by witnesses putting his arm around Graham and inside of a restaurant, according to police. A search warrant was served for the man's apartment and car on Friday, but police were unable to detain him or question him because they didn't have a sufficient legal basis, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said Friday.

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— Elisha Fieldstadt