Out-of-State Online Learning Reciprocity

nc-sara-approved-logo-mdImagine being a Virginia resident obtaining an Ivy League education at a school such as Harvard—without having to pay all the costs associated with an out-of-state college experience. While that may not be possible at that specific university right now, a new state law authorizing on-line education reciprocity agreements between Virginia and other states could make that a reality in the near future. Tommie McNeil explains.

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Insanity Bid? Experts See Bleak Options for Matthew

Jesse Matthew

Jesse Matthew

Experts suggest that Jesse L. Matthew Jr., the man authorities link to the Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington cases, stands no chance of bail and little chance of a life outside of prison– even if he attempts an insanity defense. Hawes Spencer has this report ahead of Matthew’s court appearance Friday, October 31st.

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Predicting US Energy Policy in GOP Senate

election2014What would the nation’s energy policy look like if Republicans capture the Senate this fall? Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo caught up with Virginia lawmakers and energy analysts to find out the potential impact on the commonwealth.

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Proposed Amendment to VA State Constitution

Ballot QuestionWhile the U.S. Senate and congressional elections have garnered most of the news headlines, Virginia voters will also see something else on the ballot when they go to the polls next week.  It’s a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would enable local property tax relief for the surviving spouses of members of the military who were killed in action. It’s a measure that sailed through the General Assembly without ANY “no” votes.

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Issues in VaNews from VPAP: Privacy Violation, Historic Property Tax Bill

VPAPnewPrivacy advocates are unhappy that five Hampton Roads police departments are collecting–and sometimes sharing – information about telephone calls made in the area

The board that oversees a pair of historic Richmond theaters got an October surprise in the form of a hefty property tax bill on the publicly owned buildings.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.

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Governor-Appointed Panel Examines State and Local Ethics Laws

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and former Rep. Rick Boucher chair the commission

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and former Rep. Rick Boucher chair the commission

A blue-ribbon panel created by Governor McAuliffe to probe state and local ethics laws and recommend reforms met for the first time Monday and got right to work. After approving a statement of principles, the Governor’s Commission on Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government then plunged into a discussion of current laws among the states … and ethics policies that are thought to be “best practices” nationwide.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, with the governor’s December 1st deadline for their proposals just around the corner, the members speedily reached a consensus on a number of concepts.

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Is Matthew’s Defender Ready For His Closeup?

Attorney Jim Camblos Photo: Neal Augenstein, WTOP

Attorney Jim Camblos
Photo: Neal Augenstein, WTOP

The lawyer now tasked with representing Virginia’s most embattled criminal suspect has a long track record, primarily on the prosecution side of the courtroom. Is Jim Camblos the right lawyer for the man charged in the case of Hannah Graham, the 18-year-old University of Virginia student whose remains were publicly identified on Friday, October 24?

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FBI Warns Media May Be ISIS Tragets

FBIYou may have heard rumors, grumblings, and conspiracy theories about planned attacks by ISIS or ISIL militants on American soil—but nothing credible. While the news media are NOT in the business of creating panic, we are raising awareness as it’s passed on to us. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, a recent FBI bulletin sent to media outlets warns that the terror organization is trying to persuade noncombatant sympathizers to execute or kidnap specific groups of American citizens.

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T-Shirt in Harrington Case: A Link? a Clue? or a Taunt?

 Morgan Harrington's t-shirt was found 10 miles from her body at this 15th Street apartment building. Credit: Hawes Spencer

Morgan Harrington’s t-shirt was found 10 miles from her body at this 15th Street apartment building. Credit: Hawes Spencer

For nearly five years, a rock band t-shirt that mysteriously appeared near the University of Virginia has been one of the most connective yet perplexing clues in the death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington.  Hawes Spencer reports.

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Charges Against Jesse Matthew, Jr: Strongest Case Goes First

Veteran Charlottesville Defense Attorney Dave Heilberg

Veteran Charlottesville Defense Attorney Dave Heilberg

With charges starting to pile up against the man blamed for one woman’s rape and another’s disappearance, who decides where to prosecute first?  Hawes Spencer has this report.

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Scary Movies & Appalachian Stereotypes

Dear AppalachiaHalloween reminds us that it can sometimes be fun to explore the dark side. And the rise in popularity of horror movies of the last couple of decades seems to confirm that. A Virginia Tech Professor of pop culture is taking a closer look at scary movies to see what they tell us about the stereotypes that drive them.  Robbie Harris has more.

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Investigating Unlawful Adoptions

Virginia Commission on Youth Examines ReportThe Virginia Commission on Youth is scrutinizing the practice of finding new homes and transferring custody of adopted children—while bypassing state oversight and safeguards.  The practice—known as “re-homing”—was uncovered through last year’s Reuters and NBC News investigation, which found an underground market for adoptive parents who no longer wish to care for their adopted child.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the panel’s focus is  on mitigating the reasons that some adoptive parents change their minds.

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Jesse Matthew Indicted in Fairfax, Tip to Law Enforcement about Vultures

Jesse Matthew

Jesse Matthew

Jesse Matthew, the suspect in custody for the abduction of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, has been indicted on charges related to a 2005 rape in Fairfax.

Forensic evidence links Jesse Matthew to the 2009 disappearance of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in Charlottesville, which had previously been linked to the Fairfax rape, officials said.

Meantime, the man who called in a tip that led to the discovery of human remains behind an empty house in southern Albemarle, says that it was the sheer number of vultures that caught his eye.  Hawes Spencer reports.

 

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Virginia Tech Research: Anti-Smoking Vaccine

Stubbed Out CigaretteA vaccine aimed at helping cigarette smokers quit, is entering the next phase in testing. A Virginia Tech professor who’s been working to develop the vaccine got a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to test the vaccine.  Robbie Harris has more.

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Issues in VaNews from VPAP: Older Drivers, Loss of Farmland

VPAPnewA Virginia family wants the state look more closely at older drivers after a fatal highway accident…and the  issue of loss of farmland in the Commonwealth is at the center of a debate in York County.  Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.  Fred Echols reports.

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Albemarle County Neighbors React to Death Investigation

Photo Credit: Hawes Spencer

Photo Credit: Hawes Spencer

Police in Albemarle County are waiting for results from the state’s crime lab – hoping to learn whether remains found over the weekend are those of missing UVA student Hannah Graham. Sandy Hausman reports on the discovery and what it may mean for the only suspect in the case – Jesse Matthew, Jr.

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Missing in Virginia

Missing Person Photo01With the disappearance of Hannah Graham, Morgan Harrington, Alexis Murphy, Dashad Smith and other young adults, some people wonder if a serial killer is at work in and around Charlottesville.  Sandy Hausman talked with law enforcement experts  who say that’s possible – but other factors may account for these tragic cases, Central Virginia isn’t the only place reporting missing people, and such things have occurred in the past.

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Ebola: Health Care Professionals on the Front Lines

CDC Safety Training Course Credit: Centers for Disease Control

CDC Safety Training Course
Credit: Centers for Disease Control

While state officials express confidence, health care professionals are preparing on the front lines. Sandy Hausman paid a visit to the University of Virginia Medical Center where staff was invited to a lunch-time discussion of ebola. That presentation suggests one of Virginia’s premiere teaching hospitals could handle a couple of cases but maybe not a major outbreak. Sandy Hausman has the story.

 

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Health Commissioner Discusses Ebola Preparedness in VA

Ebola CDC

Centers for Disease Control

The possibility that a now-deceased Ebola patient could have spread the virus to fellow travelers as he waited in a Virginia airport has prompted several state lawmakers to ask Governor McAuliffe to use his authority to impose travel restrictions on Dulles Airport. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the state’s Health Commissioner cautions against overkill … and says Virginia’s health professionals are doing everything they can to keep the situation under control.

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Behind the Scenes in the Search for Hannah Graham

Graham Search 02Police have a suspect in the disappearance of Hannah Graham, but their investigation continues. They’re not saying much, but in the first of a two-part series, Sandy Hausman looks at what may be going on behind the scenes and why.

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Warner & Gillespie in Final Debate

PD_DVDLoop-182x162Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner and his Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie, squared off  in their final debate of the campaign season.

Although the two men are vying for the U.S. Senate seat held by Warner, the Virginia General Assembly and ethics questions surrounding the resignation of former state Senator Phillip Puckett were drawn into the debate.

Federal investigators have been looking into allegations that some Republicans may have offered Puckett a job on the Virginia Tobacco Commission in exchange for his resignation, which switched control of the state Senate to the GOP.  Gillespie brought up a recent Washington Post story reporting that Warner had called Puckett’s son and discussed job possibilities for Puckett’s daughter.

Warner explained that he has been a friend of Puckett and his family for nearly 20 years:  He  added that he spoke with Puckett himself the next day and it was clear that he had made up his mind. Warner later told reporters that he was asked to call Puckett’s son by Democratic state Senator Dick Saslaw and Governor McAuliffe’s chief-of-staff, Paul Reagan.

The “People’s Debate” in Richmond was televised statewide and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Virginia, AARP of Virginia, WTVR-TV, and WCVE-Public Television.  The Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis, was not invited to participate in the debate.

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New Findings on College Costs in VA

JLARCSpending on support functions at Virginia’s public colleges and universities is one reason that higher education costs have escalated over the last two decades.  That’s the conclusion of the latest report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, which has been studying why the costs of a college education have soared.  The study also found that improving organizational structure and purchasing strategies could help rein in those costs.

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Tobacco Commission Considers Southwest Medical School Again

tobaccocommission2When critics question how effectively the Virginia Tobacco Commission is using hundreds of millions of dollars the state received from the National Tobacco Settlement there’s one project that always seems to come up.

It started five years ago as a $25-million grant to establish a medical school in Bristol. Since then the only two things that have been consistent about the plan are the absence of any apparent progress and the Tobacco Commission’s continuing support.  Fred Echols reports.

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VMFA’s Forbidden City Exhibit

Credit: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Credit: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

This week, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts  will paint the town red, opening a massive new show from China.  Sandy Hausman reports on The Forbidden City – a look inside the palace that two dozen Chinese emperors called home.

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VaNews for 10.13.14

VPAPnewDanville City Council must decide whether the Confederate flag will continue to fly over the site of the final cabinet meeting of the Confederacy…and gun rights activists are angry after the sheriff of Stafford County moved to prevent the open carrying of firearms at a National Night Out event. Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.

 

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Top Searcher In Hannah Graham Case Moves On

HannahGraham at restaurantWhile Charlottesville Police have received thousands of leads in the case of a missing student, they now have a new responsibility: running the search for the young woman.  Hawes Spencer has this update.

 

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Redrawing Virginia’s Congressional Districts

Congressional District MapAccused of unconstitutional gerrymandering, Virginia’s General Assembly was told last week by a federal district court in Richmond that it must redraw its Congressional map next year because too many black voters are “packed” into one majority-minority district.  But state lawmakers could actually avoid a contentious debate and not address the issue at all during their next session. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, it is possible.

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Obstacles to Oral Health Care

DentalWhile it is true that many Virginians do not have health insurance, that number is dwarfed by those who don’t have affordable access to oral health facilities and dentists. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, because poor dental hygiene also leads to other health problems, Virginia lawmakers are now studying the most feasible ways to address the problem.

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Same Sex Couples Embrace Marriage Recognition in Virginia

Attorney General Mark Herring and Plaintiffs Carol Schall and Mary Townley celebrate.

Attorney General Mark Herring and Plaintiffs Carol Schall and Mary Townley celebrate.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is already having an impact.  The 4th Circuit issued its mandate early Monday afternoon, and same-sex couples began lining up at local courthouses to get married.  One of the couples who successfully sued to overturn the state Constitution’s marriage provision renewed the vows that they had first taken in another state.  Anne Marie Morgan reports.

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Lead Found in VA Well Water Tests

Virginia Household Water Quality Program

Virginia Household Water Quality Program

There’s no argument about the fact that any amount of lead in drinking water is unsafe. No matter how much, it’s too much, of this potent neurotoxin. But lead has been showing up in well water tests around Virginia. About a fifth of the state’s residents get their water from wells. As Robbie Harris reports, the findings are new evidence of a problem many thought had been solved.

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Virgina’s Voter ID Law

VoteHereVirginia’s new voter I-D law has Virginia Democrats worried after the state board of elections found nearly two hundred thousand registered voters don’t have a driver’s license. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story on how Republicans say Democrats are overreacting.

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Sen. Kaine Pushes for Indian Recognition

Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine is urging the Bureau of Indian Affairs to loosen requirements for federal recognition because six Virginia tribes remain locked out. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story.

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Parents of Missing U.VA Student Reach Out for Help

Graham ParentsThe parents of missing UVA student Hannah Graham, John and Sue Graham, released a heartrending video over the weekend pleading for information to the whereabouts of their daughter.

More than 100 law enforcement officers from across central Virginia joined trained search and rescue teams to search  rural areas of western and eastern Albemarle County Sunday. Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo says, “Every square inch of Albemarle County is being searched this weekend and we’re going to find Hannah Graham.”

 

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Virginia Science Festival: “A Party where Science is the Guest of Honor”

Science-Stacked-REV-2It’s billed as a party where science is the guest of honor… this Saturday, the Virginia Science Festival kicks off its week-long celebration of science, technology, engineering, math – and everything in between. Hundreds of events and demonstrations are scheduled in locations all over the commonwealth – from a “brain scavenger hunt” in Alexandria to “rat basketball” in Richmond. Kelsea Pieters and Robbie Harris have more.

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The Financial Benefits of Weatherizing

imagesMany Virginians at or below the poverty level are struggling with utility bills and looking for any possible way to cut costs.

As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil report, one way to save could be the free Weatherization Assistance Program administered by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

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VA Congressman Weighs In on “Inevitable” Resignation of Julia Pierson

julia-pierson_custom-1c3b3e0955dbac30a7b97f38e86dedc068a768c1-s4-c85Virginia Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly says the resignation of Julia Pierson as director of the Secret Service was “inevitable” after she failed to tell lawmakers about a man with a gun riding an elevator with the president. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story…

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Agencies Debate how to Address Feral Cat Problem

800px-Herd_of_CatsWhile cat- and dog-lovers sometimes have contentious debates over which beloved animal is smarter, more adoring, and the overall better pet, a much more serious debate is taking place in Richmond about the two.  And that is—when it comes to feral and stray cats, why aren’t they afforded the same rights as dogs? 

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House Member from VA Criticizes Secret Service

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANorthern Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly accuses the Secret Service of failing its duties long before an intruder was able to enter the White House. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story on how Connolly says a previous incident should have barred the intruder from ever getting that close…

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State Lawmakers Work to Revise Child Pornography Laws

Crime Commission Legal Affairs Director Stewart Petoe addresses the panel (1)Lawmakers on the Virginia Crime Commission have been working to fine-tune the state’s child pornography statutes.  The members began combing through the law after a judge and two prosecutors were drafting model jury instructions and noticed some ambiguities. The commission’s goal is to help ensure that innocent people are not inadvertently entrapped—and that guilty perpetrators don’t escape conviction.

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Forensic Evidence Links LJ Matthew to Harrington Case

Matthew's Booking Photo

Matthew’s Booking Photo

State police say the arrest of Jesse “LJ” Matthew has provided a forensic link to the case of Morgan Harrington, the 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who disappeared from the University of Virginia during a concert there in 2009.  Sandy Hausman talked with experts on science and the law to find out what that might mean for Matthew, who’s now accused of kidnapping Hannah Graham.

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Economic Gardening

imgresWhile state and economic development officials often focus on attracting new companies to create jobs and spur the economy, some business experts say another novel approach may be even more effective in achieving those goals.  The Small Business Commission composed of lawmakers and business leaders learned the details about “Economic Gardening” during its Richmond meeting on Monday. And as Anne Marie Morgan reports, the entrepreneurial strategy targets small businesses that are on the verge of becoming high-growth companies.

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VaNews for 09.29.14

VPAPnewA Hanover County supervisor is upset because students are seeing a film in which Muslims say U-S actions abroad were among the causes of the 9-11 attacks…and growing numbers of state employees in Virginia are on public assistance while working full time. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.

 

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Matthew Caught, Search for Graham Continues

Missing_Person_PhotoThe search continues today for missing UVA student Hannah Graham, and the man accused of kidnapping her could return to Virginia in police custody today. Charlottesville’s police chief took questions from reporters Thursday, and they had plenty as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Chief Longo: “I Can’t Lose Hope Until I Have To”

article-matthew-2-0924Jesse Matthew Junior appeared in a Texas courtroom today and agreed to return to Virginia without a fight. The sheriff of Galveston County announced plans to search Matthew’s car, and Virginia police are preparing to bring him back. Meanwhile, Charlottesville’s Chief of Police agreed – for the first time in 48 hours – to answer questions about the case. Sandy Hausman reports on what he had to say.

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Suspect Jesse Matthew Arrested in Texas

1411649272107_Image_galleryImage_jesse_matthewThere’s been an arrest in the case of that missing UVA student.  Police would provide no details, but WVTF’s Sandy Hausman talked with T.J. Aulds —  a reporter for the Galveston County Daily News.

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Civics and Social Studies in Question in VA Schools

Picture1Many teachers, parents, and policymakers have agreed that the state’s Standards of Learning have forced classroom instruction to be geared toward test-taking, rather than developing more comprehensive learning skills. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, as the SOLs are being revised, some are concerned that Social Studies—and ultimately the lessons that teach children civic engagement—are being minimized too much.

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Friends of Jesse Matthew Continue Their Support

Matthew's Booking Photo

Matthew’s Booking Photo

With the arrest of Jesse Mathew, friends are coming to his defense. People who went to school with him for years cannot believe he’s guilty of abduction with intent to defile. More likely, they say, he left town because he was terrified. Sandy Hausman has more on that story.

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Commission to Ensure Integrity and Public Confidence

Commission members in Richmond

Commission members in Richmond

Citing the embarrassment that Virginia is still suffering from recent events—which referred to the convictions of former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife on federal corruption charges—Governor McAuliffe has signed an executive order creating the Commission to Ensure Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the commission is tasked with making recommendations that do not just pertain to gift-giving, but also how judges are appointed, and legislative district lines are drawn.

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VP Biden in VA to Talk Transportation

BidenToday (Wednesday) Vice President Joe Biden is speaking in Norfolk, Virginia to highlight federal transportation spending. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the details.

 

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Authorities Continue to Wait for Forensic Evidence in Missing Student Investigation

Richmond, VA

Richmond, VA

Charlottesville police may be frustrated this hour. Their only person of interest in the Hannah Graham case remains at large, and Sandy Hausman reports they’re still waiting for results from evidence sent to the state’s crime lab on Saturday.

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