Since initiating its investigation into the October 17, 2009, disappearance of 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, Virginia State Police have pursued hundreds of tips and leads as investigators continue to aggressively pursue the ongoing case. State police are also still encouraging the public to come forward with information. Harrington‘s skeletal remains were later discovered January 26, 2010, in a remote field on an Albemarle County farm along Route 29.
“We are especially interested in hearing from those individuals familiar with the Anchorage Farm property, and observations of unusual behavior in that area between Oct. 17, 2009, and Jan. 26, 2010,” said Lt. Joe Rader, Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office. “A detail that may seem insignificant to one person may well be of critical importance to investigators and the information needed to advance this investigation even further.”
On the evening of October 17, 2009, Harrington was attending a METALLICA concert at John Paul Jones Arena on the University of Virginia (UVA) campus in Charlottesville. At approximately 8:30 p.m. she left the arena and was unable to re-enter the facility. After talking to her friends on her cell phone, she then walked through the University Hall parking lot and was seen in a parking lot next to Lannigan Field. At around 9:30 p.m., she was seen walking on the Copeley Road Bridge and then hitchhiking for a ride from passing traffic.
Harrington was dressed that night in a black T-shirt with the word “Pantera” spelled out in tan letters, black mini-skirt, black tights, and knee-high black boots. She was wearing a distinctive Swarovski Crystal necklace made up of large crystal chain links, which investigators have yet to recover. Harrington’s PANTERA T-shirt was found November 11, 2009, in front of a row of apartments along 15th Street NW near Grady Avenue in Charlottesville.
DNA evidence was recovered during the course of the Harrington investigation that forensically links it to a 2005 City of Fairfax sexual assault of a young Northern Virginia woman. Fairfax City Police were able to develop a composite sketch of the assailant. State and Fairfax City police are still working to identify the suspect.
Virginia State Police continue to work with the University of Virginia Police, Charlottesville Police, Albemarle County Police, City of Fairfax Police and the FBI on this investigation.
Morgan‘s father Dan told local TV station CBS 6, “This may sound strange, but we have found some peace in [the discovery of Morgan‘s body]. It wasn’t the outcome that we wanted but we know now where our daughter is and there is peace in that.”
Her disappearance led to national attention and an extensive search. METALLICA offered $50,000 for information about her whereabouts, in addition to the $100,000 reward that had been offered by her parents.
In a statement posted at their official web site, called “The Loss Of A Fan,” the band wrote in part, “We are profoundly saddened by the news of the discovery of Morgan Dana Harrington‘s body . . . Mere words cannot express the anguish and grief that we know her parents Dan and Gil are feeling, and our thoughts are with them.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000; or the Virginia State Police at 434-352-3467 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.