By Ian Simpson
(Reuters) - Human remains found in Virginia were identified on Friday as those of missing university student Hannah Graham, and prosecutors are focusing on more charges against the suspect in her disappearance, authorities said.
Graham, a University of Virginia sophomore, was last seen on Sept. 13 in Charlottesville, site of the university. Searchers discovered the remains on Oct. 18 on abandoned property near the town, and Jesse Matthew Jr., 32, of Charlottesville, has been charged in her disappearance.
The disappearance shook the college town in central Virginia and drew national attention, especially after Matthew, the last person seen with Graham, was linked to sexual assaults and the disappearance of another woman.
The Medical Examiner's Office in Richmond "has confirmed that these are the remains of Hannah Graham, 18, of Fairfax, Va.," the Albemarle County Police Department said in a statement.
Police called for the cooperation of the public as they investigated Graham's death. Matthew was arrested in Texas last month and is jailed in Charlottesville on a charge of abduction with intent to defile.
In a statement, the Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said the focus of the investigation now was to determine what charges will be brought and when to make them.
The teenager's parents, John and Sue Graham, said in a statement that they were "devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Hannah."
They thanked police, emergency workers and hundreds of volunteers who searched until the remains were found. Other families in Virginia and elsewhere were still waiting for missing loved ones to be discovered, they said.
"Please continue to hold these families in your thoughts and prayers," they said.
Matthew, a hospital worker, was charged this week with attempted murder, abduction and sexual assault in a 2005 attack in Fairfax, near Washington. A Fairfax County judge signed a bench warrant on Thursday ordering him to appear on the charges.
Police have said forensic evidence links Matthew to Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who disappeared after leaving a Charlottesville concert in October 2009. Her body was discovered in 2010.
Matthew was also the main suspect in a 2002 campus rape investigation while attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. No charges were filed.
He attended Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, in 2003. A football player, Matthew left the team shortly after a report of an on-campus sexual assault, the university has said.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler, Mohammad Zargham and Eric Beech)