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Death of Virginia college student ruled a homicide

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RICHMOND Va. (Reuters) - The death of Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia sophomore whose remains were found in October, has been ruled a homicide by the state’s medical examiner, police said on Tuesday.

Graham, 18, went missing on Sept. 13 after a night out in Charlottesville, Virginia, site of the university. Her disappearance sparked national attention and shook the college town about 100 miles southwest of Washington.

The state’s chief medical examiner has said the cause of death was “homicidal violence of undetermined etiology,” or cause. “The manner of death is homicide,” a spokesman for the Albemarle County police said in a statement.

“A final autopsy report has not been issued,” he said. The statement specified no cause of death.

Jesse Matthew, of Charlottesville, the last person seen with Graham, has been charged with abduction with intent to defile in the case. His first hearing has been set for Dec. 4.

Matthew, 32, also faces a sexual assault charge in Fairfax, Virginia, for a 2005 attack. He pleaded not guilty in that case last week.

Graham vanished shortly after surveillance video showed her and Matthew together. She had sent messages to friends saying she was lost, after a night of drinking and partying.

Matthew was arrested in Texas on Sept. 24, a day after he was charged in the Graham case.

He was also the main suspect in a 2002 campus rape investigation while attending Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, although no charges were filed.

Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Mohammad Zargham