'One tip': Harringtons launch 'Next Girl' campaign

Approaching the second anniversary of their daughter's disappearance, the parents of murdered student Morgan Dana Harrington are unveiling a new campaign aiming to raise awareness about the vulnerability of young women to predators and to offer support to other victims' families.

Dubbed Helpsavethenextgirl.com, the multi-media campaign includes not only that website but also a Facebook page, and it launches with a series of bold online ads placed on media websites from Blacksburg to Northern Virginia aimed at sparking new leads in a case that appears to be running cold.

"Spit out Morgan Dana Harrington's killer," says one of the animated ads, featuring an airline "barf bag" bearing the composite image of a bearded black man linked by DNA to a 2005 rape in Fairfax and to Morgan's case.

Another features a photo of Morgan with the stark words: "20 years old. 5'5" tall. 6 feet under." And a third ad features images of a smiling Morgan followed by the grim composite sketch. "She was the girl next door," it reads. "Is this the guy next door?"

The ads are intended to be harsh, says Morgan's mother, Gil Harrington.

"Something ugly happened here, and I'm not going to sugar-coat it for him," she says, referring to the man she believes is responsible for killing her daughter. "From the beginning, I've tried to use clear words. I don't use 'her death,' I use 'her murder.' The softer words," she says, "give him a pass, and I'm not going to make nice about this."

As extensively reported in the Hook and other media, Morgan Harrington was last seen on the Copeley Road Bridge after leaving and then being denied re-entry to a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena on October 17, 2009. Her decomposing remains were found three months later neary 10 miles away on a remote corner of an Albemarle County farm. At this time, the best if not only lead is a DNA connection to a 2005 brutal sexual assault in Fairfax. That victim survived, perhaps because her assailant was scared away by a passerby, and was able to provide police with a description.

While Helpsavethenextgirl.com launches with Morgan's case, Gil Harrington says the goal is to have links to resources in all 50 states and to provide support including ad and video templates for other families who hope to quickly create a multi-media PR campaign to increase awareness in their own cases.

"To even know how to find a PR person is a lot to expect a regular person, even smart and educated," says Stephanie Koehler of SAKinterMedia, who, like everyone involved with creating the "Next Girl" campaign, donated her services.

Koehler says within 24 hours of the ads going live on Media General sites across Central Virginia, traffic to Helpsavethenextgirl skyrocketed, from just 23 visitors one day to 1,600 the next.

Gil Harrington hopes just one of those visitors will know something.

"It takes one tip," she says, "and maybe we'll get what we need."

Read more on: Morgan Harrington

14 comments

I admire the Harrington's for the public outreach effort they have launched. They have managed to turn a personal tragedy into a public act of service and set an example for us all . Thank you !

It does seem like a good deed / a worthy effort. However, Mrs. Harrington lost all credibility in my opinion when she said every man in Charlottesville is a suspect.

@JB If you are a man, and live in Charlottesville, and do not want to be a suspect, just turn in your DNA.

@AICBond Would you say the same thing if the comment were about all African-American men? I contend that her remark was unnecessarily broad. I didn't realize others thought every single man in Charlottesville could be a suspect. Shame.

This is for anyone who has been "following" Morgan Harrington's case for a while, and for those who quit long ago. It'll give you some insight into the Scaredmonkeys/Blinkoncrime sites...the ones who have used Morgan and many other missing or murdered people to their financial advantage. Old stuff but still interesting.

hook reader October 7th, 2011 | 4:03pm

Bravo!

Thank goodness she limited it to "every man in Charlottesville"

It is unfortunate that the Harrington's have aligned with Boink on Slime . Boink openly brags about being devoid of ethics and it is readily apparent her misdirected witch hunts are simply a ruse to make a buck from tragedy. Boink's meddling which caused the clumsy premature release of the composite drawing and link to the 2005 rape case is proving to be very damaging . LE needed time to investigate rather than tip the rapist/murderer off on their knowledge .

It's a shame they didn't go after her for obstruction of justice or interfering with an investigation for the boneheaded move of releasing the sketch before the police had completed their behind-the-scenes work. How far it set things back, or whether it completely compromised the investigation by letting the perp slip through the net, we'll never know. Maybe they would have had him. Not to mention that she erroneously tried to connect it to Vanessa Pham's murder (btw, she's going down with that ship by claiming it's not been disproven, lol). Ah, well, anything for a buck. I'm sure she's more than satisfied with the clicks it earned her -- cha-ching. That's all that matters. Thank god she's never come to cville. Who knows, maybe UVA has a restraining order on her to keep her away before she does any more harm.

Forgot to add AJMO.

Truthiness October 12th, 2011 | 8:51pm

hook reader October 7th, 2011 | 4:03pm

Frank Speaker October 12th, 2011 | 3:31pm

I read she is coming to C'ville and has been there recently.

Roll out the carpet, please keep us posted!

Especially when she has a cup of tea with the Breedon's and Bass's.

I wish GBSO would have chat with her about the work she does in honor of young women and high-school girls. How nice it was to post his daughter's rout to school. Now that is really helping, post on a board for the whole world to see after pointing a finger at Gasbag and printing his real name.

That is teaching predators, right? Just give them the girl's name, route and blast her farther after she prints it.

Michael Sutton,

Undoubtedly coming to town to conduct genealogy on slaves. Now really, how could that FAIL to unearth the real killer?