September 5, 2005
A man suspected of raping a UVA student over the weekend sits behind bars tonight. Charlottesville Police are looking into whether this rape could be tied to several others.
Christopher Lynn Matthew is who police believe raped a UVA graduate student along Sunset Avenue. Police say the woman was walking home from a party early Saturday morning when she was forced into the woods and raped.
Twenty-seven-year-old Matthew was arrested less than an hour later just a few blocks away from the rape scene. Police say the crime bears similarities to those of the serial rapist.
"Two of the most obvious similarities is the time of day in which this particular attack took place and also the area in which it took place," said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.
The areas surrounding the university have long been a target for sexual predators. Students have learned to be extra cautious.
"I never go anywhere by myself I never allow my roommate go anywhere by herself, I usually travel in a group," said Devin Reaves, a UVA student.
"I think if you're able to take the right precautions you can avoid [getting into] a lot of the situations that people get themselves into," said Michele Woodrum, a UVA student.
Since 1997, the serial rapist has been genetically linked to at least seven rapes near the JPA area. Yet he's never been caught, but with Matthews arrest Charlottesville police are hoping they could finally have their man.
"We're pleased and hopeful that this apprehension is not only the resolution to this case, but perhaps others," said Longo.
Matthews is charged with one count of sexual assault. Police are awaiting his DNA results to determine if they match that of the serial rapist. The results could come back as early as next week.