Grief renewed: Gil Harrington returns to Charlottesville amid new homicide

news-harringtononbridge-zambiaUnlike the Yeardley Love family, Gil Harrington knows of no suspect in her daughter's slaying.

Gil Harrington brought her murdered daughter Morgan's ashes to Africa and brought an African stone back to Charlottesville, she told a group of reporters gathered on the Copeley Road Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, May 5, before she placed the stone among the memorabilia that covers the northeast corner of the Copeley Road bridge to commemorate the life of the 20-year-old killed after disappearing from a Metallica concert in October.

"We're trying to make something positive of this loss," says Gil, who described the three-room wing in Morgan's memory that will be added to a school in Zambia and talked about how Morgan had dreamed of traveling with her mother to the impoverished country.

While construction won't likely begin until November, Harrington says, on her recent 11-day humanitarian trip to the country with the nonprofit Orphan Medical Network International (OMNI), she mixed Morgan's ashes into the school building's foundation so that her daughter may, even in death, become a part of the growth and education of African children, as she'd dreamed of doing while she was alive.

Speaking to eight media members–- a group smaller than at her previous visits, perhaps, because of the intense focus on this week's UVA lacrosse killing–- Harrington expressed her sympathy for the family of Yeardley Love, allegedly slain May 3 by fellow student and men's lacrosse teammate George Huguely, whose lawyer maintains his innocence.

"We are devastated," said Gil Harrington, her eyes welling and urging Charlottesvillians to consider why violent crimes like those committed against Morgan and Yeardley are happening and what can be done to stop them.

"The powers that be," she says, "need to look at what's happening and not continue a policy of complacency."

Harrington says she and husband Dan remain convinced Morgan's killer lives in the Charlottesville community and says healing will be difficult to begin until there's an arrest in Morgan's case. On that front, she says, a recent meeting with investigators offered some hope.

"They're cautiously optimistic," she says, "of where the case is going."


That the neatly spreading out of Morgan’s shirt over that bush was a very risky, brash ââ?¬Å?taunt” on someone’s part, someone who perhaps remains a solid citizen within the Community and who has gotten away with murder before.

That LE is ââ?¬Å?cautiously optimistic” is encouraging. Still we should continue asking for God’s help in giving that one very special person the strength to come forward with what he or she knows.

Cat Thank You so much for all of us who haven't known Morgan you have painted a great picture of her.

Cat- that post is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.

As much as I understand these parents grief, I don't understand why this spot on a public ground has to be turned into a memorial site to morbidly remind us all of this horrible incident. We here in Charlottesville understand your pain and will long remember this murder without a constant visual reminder. If every place in town that a person was murdered or last seen missing had a memorial we'd look like a graveyard. No disrespect, I feel the same about highway markers...

She's not really gone you know... She lives on in memory and from what i'm reading, she is one of your guardian angels.


Hello everyone. I have been following this site and forum since day one but haven't posted anything before because of my highly sensitive emotions during the time she was missing when people who didn't know her were posting ridiculous things on here. I'm sorry I am just now posting but I posted a response to the "why did she change high schools link" and have been getting a lot of positive feedbck and wanted to repost it here so that more could see it.

Thank you all for our dedication to Morgan.

here it is:

Morgan Harrington was one of the greatest people I could have ever had the chance to meet and have in my life. This is something I would have easily said long before she went missing. I remember in 2nd grade, we had to stand up before the class and read a report. She went before me and she was so intelligent and graceful with her report, even at the age of 8, and she made my report look pathetic in comparison. But the thing about Morgan is that she didn't realize things like this...she would have told me I did great if I had asked and wouldn't have been cocky in how great hers was. I wasn't what you would consider "cool" in elementary school and was often known as the weird girl. I guess I grew into that and my weirdness started being seen as me just being unique and funny...but until this happened, a lot of people made fun of me and left me out. Morgan on the other hand, was definitely considered cool. She was so beautiful and fun and people were just drawn to her. Even with her status, she never treated me like some people did. She made me feel like I was her friend and always treated me like such. Morgan was always a giver. She dedicated herself and time to many great charities and causes and volunteered with many organizations. She played sports when she was younger and although she remained athletic in appearance and still had skills, she didn't do much past middle school track. Teachers loved her. Her parents were always very involved and easily recognizable. Morgan was known for her hugs: the "Morgan Hug" because she just wrapped you up and held on so tight. A hug from her was always very special and she gave me one everytime I visited her in Blacksburg. She was studying to become a teacher: something she would have been great at. So many kids would have had a better education that they would otherwise by being her student because of her passion and confidence she would have offered to people. Morgan and her parents have been saying and writing 241 to each other since she was little...leaving notes in her lunchbox, she'd throw her hands out the window when she left the drive way throwing up the 2 4 1 with her fingers, as she did the night she drove away from her house never to return. It means I love you too much, forever, plus one more. Morgan didn't know how beautiful she was, which made her more beautiful. She has THE hair...everyone knows what I mean, long blonde perfect hair. She wore it well. She wasn't one of those girls who thought she needed to get super tan to be beautiful, in fact Morgan's paler skin (compared to the rest of us) was always so beautiful to me. Girls think tanning makes you look better, but Morgan clearly made that false...but tan or pale, she was beautiful. She had some of the most gorgeous eyes and her smile lit up her whole face. I don't ever remember Morgan having a serious boyfriend, even though she could have easily had any guy she wanted. Although I'm not one of he "9" girls, I am very close to a lot of people in that group and that group was obviously close and special. I have so much more I can say..and I will when I have more time. I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone has.

Thank you all for everything you're doing. I want to bring Justice to Morgan and her family and for all of us. I also want to honor Morgan and grow and learn from her even after her death. I wish you all could have known her...she's a life changer. Let her change your life now can be done. She would have loved you all so much, I can tell you that and I know she would be very thankful for everything you guys have selflessly been doing in her honor. Don't think she's not around though...I can see her in the trees and flowers when the wind blows through them, in the stars at night, in a rainbow after it rains, she's everywhere helping keep everything beautiful.


One solution might be to place a marker there. It would serve as a more permanent memorial or reminder long after the current crop of students is gone and memories fade. For awhile, people would still leave items in memorial, but as the memory faded among most people, there would still be something to remind people of what happened.

To everyone above. I did NOT write the memorial of Morgan Harrington that I posted. I do not know who did, she posted on the website. Whooever she is, she is one fine writer and one gracious human being. What a great memory to have of Morgan and how wonderful of this anonymous person to post it. I dont write that well--wish I did.

To Arthur in my opinion, and no disrespect meant to you at all, I don't know what the Harringtons are planning about the bridge. However, right now, I do know that they return to the bridge to continue to remind c'ville that the murder remains unsolved, and that there is a murderer loose in the area. This is still raw to them, but a much bigger concern of theirs is the loose cannon who took Morgan's life, and the fact that he is (probably)still in Charlottesville. You are right, especially in a place as historic as Charlottesville, there would be a lot of memorial markers. Perhaps, someone will come up with a gracious marker to memoralize Morgan. She would have liked that. You certainly have a point, and I cannot imagine that the Harringtons want to devote their lives to grief and morbidity. They are trying not to do that, they just want people to remember the crime and the criminal. You were most gracious about your comment. Thank you.

Giving the family & friends peace, I meant to say.

I think it's far too soon to be considering the removal of the memorial on Copley Bridge. If it is giving the family, friends and those trying to honor her memory and make sense of this tragedy, then let it be...for now at least. It is hurting no one.

I do think this was done very well and for all of us here it is very important for the Harrington's for closure for this person to be where he or she needs to be, and for them to be able to see this person that took their child. If it was ours we would still be the same way I know, and for the Love family as well my heart goes out to them, this i two young people beginning their lives and it was taken from them, which is so wrong, and it is hard and the courts I know all to well is over run with abuse cases everyday, but when we see this coming in young adults the system needs to put a stop to it then instead of letting it wait, my prayers are with the family's may someday you find the peace you so deserve.