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Human Remains Are Missing Student Hannah Graham

A skull and bones were discovered in a heavily wooded area five weeks after the 18-year-old vanished in Charlottesville, a college town about 100 miles southwest of Washington DC.

Her parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement: "When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending.

"Sadly that was not to be. We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter.

"Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished."

The University of Virginia student, who moved from Britain to the US when she was five, vanished on September 13 after a night out with friends.

She left an off-campus party alone and then texted a friend saying she was lost, police said.

In CCTV footage, she was seen walking and running unsteadily past a pub and a service station and then on to a block of bars, restaurants and shops.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr, 32, the last person seen with her, has been charged with abduction with intent to defile her.

The area where her remains were found is six miles (10km) from where 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington's body was found after she vanished in 2009.

Police said forensic evidence connects Matthew to Ms Harrington's killing.

DNA also allegedly links him to a sexual assault in northern Virginia in 2005.

On Monday, he was indicted with rape and attempted murder over that case.

Matthew, who weighs 270 pounds (122kg), was an operating room technician at the university's hospital.

Friends said they were shocked the "gentle giant" could be suspected of murder.

© Sky News, 2014