GALVESTON, TX -- The narrative of the arrest of Jesse Matthew has been that of an observant Galveston County deputy who found the fugitive camping on a Gilchrist beach Wednesday afternoon.
But there is more to the story -- that of a woman who felt compelled to drive to the beach with her dog, to relax and ponder her life. It was that decision that brought a nationwide manhunt for the alleged abductor of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham to an end.
She asks she be identified only as Karen. She was sitting on the tailgate of her truck, looking at the waves, when she says a car drove towards her on the beach.
Then she says, "He hit the brakes, throwing up sand and looked at me. He leaned over the console and stared. It was frightening."
That's because in those few seconds, she made the connection between the man looking at her, and the face in the mugshot that has been circulating nationwide since Graham's disappearance.
"I instantly knew it was him," she says.
And the reason he stared at her for what seemed like an eternity?
"I think there's a resemblance between Hannah and me," she says. And that frightened her even more.
There were several men fishing nearby her truck, so she knew she could scream for help. But then, Matthew drove off.
She says she first called a local Crime Stoppers number, but she says no one took her call seriously.
"I told them the guy you're looking for is on the beach where I am," she says.
A dispatcher at the Galveston County Sheriff's Office was more responsive. Karen waited on the beach for a deputy to arrive.
"He came up to my window, and I told him you've got to get down there now. He's on the beach in a blue tent, and it's him!"
She left, and waited, at times questioning her own judgement. Later Wednesday night, she was watching TV when she saw a breaking news alert that Jesse Matthew had been arrested in Gilchrist.
Looking back on it, she says she doesn't know why she felt led to go to the beach.
"As I was driving, I kept saying this is silly, I'm going to go back," she said.
In the end, she believes it was a case of "God leading her to be in the right place at the right time."
"You always have to listen to those messages," she said with a smile... and a sense of satisfaction.
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