No DNA evidence linking Jesse Matthew to Alexis Murphy’s disappearance

Jesse Matthew  (Photo: Charlottesville PD)

Jesse Matthew

Alexis Murphy

Alexis Murphy

Nelson County prosecutors say there is no DNA link between Jesse Matthew and the disappearance of Alexis Murphy. The attorney for Murphy’s convicted killer, Randy Taylor, had speculated that Matthew may be connected to the Murphy case, but officials say Matthew’s DNA does not match any found in Alexis Murphy’s car. Matthew is charged with abducting Hannah Graham in Charlottesville.

Click here to read the full Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney news release

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Many area schools dismissing early with threat of afternoon winter weather

wfir-linkMany school districts in the region are sending students home early today, with rain, snow and sleet all in the afternoon forecast. Counties north and west of Lynchburg are under a winter weather advisory that goes into effect at 2:00 pm.

Click here for the latest list of school announcements.

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Natural Bridge Zoo says Humane Society allegations are propaganda to seek more donations

Natural Bridge ZooThe Humane Society of the United States accuses the Natural Bridge Zoo of abuse and neglect, leading to the deaths of a giraffe and other animals. Click here to see our earlier story. The zoo owner calls the accusations “slanderous”. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Click here to see the the Human Society of the United States report and video.

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Area home builders hope for a 2015 rebound after another down year

Associated Press photo

Associated Press photo

Roanoke region home builders are hopeful single family construction will rebound this year, spurred largely by lower gas prices and low interest rates. Building permits in the Roanoke region were down about 10% last year from the year before, but nationally, permits and housing starts reached a  6 1/2 year high in December. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Roanoke seeks $3.2 million state grant that could lead to downtown “multi-modal” facility

Roanoke-CityRoanoke City Council approved an application Tuesday seeking more than $3 million from the state for a downtown “multimodal” facility that could include a new train and bus station  — and accommodations for bicycle traffic. The money would be used mostly for land acquisition once potential sites are identified. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the latest.

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Botetourt County educator to watch State of the Union address in person

US CapitolA Botetourt County educator will have something very close to a front row seat tonight when President Obama delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. Lisa Barnett says the invitation caught her by surprise, but she looks forward to her unusual opportunity. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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State lawmakers keep one eye on next November during this year’s session

General-AssemblyThe General Assembly begins its first full week of this year’s session. And in the remaining six weeks, you can expect to hear plenty of debate with an eye toward this fall, when all Delegate and State Senate seats are up for election. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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Both parties favor ethics law changes, but some proposals have their critics

General-AssemblyEthics reform is one issue likely to gain bipartisan support in this year’s General Assembly session, but there are critics of some proposals to lower caps on gifts to state lawmakers. The story from WFIR’s Evan Jones.

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Va. launches health plan for uninsured with mental illnesses

WFIR Health NewsThe McAuliffe administration has launched a new program to provide health insurance for thousands of Virginians now without it. These are low-income residents with “serious and persistent” mental health problems. State health officials believe spending the money now on mental health care will save Virginians much more later on. WFIR’s Evan Jones has the story.

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As General Assembly reconvenes, some key agreements — and sharp divisions

General-AssemblyAs state lawmakers return to Richmond today, the two parties already appear to agree on a couple of key issues that include state spending and SOL changes. But sharp disagreements are likely once again on social issues that include abortion regulations and rewriting state marriage statutes to conform with court rulings declaring the same-sex bans unconstitutional. WFIR’s Evan Jones looks ahead to this year’s session.

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