Hundreds turn out for Morgan Harrington search

news-missingtechstudentharrington2A major search effort to find Morgan Harrington launches Friday morning, November 6, and continues through the weekend.
PHOTO FROM STATE POLICE

The Jefferson Room at the Cavalier Inn at the corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road was filled to capacity tonight–- and then some–-¬† as hundreds of Charlottesville residents and out-of-towners registered for a weekend search for Morgan Harrington, missing since an October 17 Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena.

The search is being organized by the Laura Recovery Center, a nonprofit search agency founded by the parents of Laura Kate Smithers, a 12-year-old Texas girl who was kidnapped while jogging and murdered in 1997. In addition to Morgan's parents, Dan and Gil Harrington, various law enforcement agencies are helping coordinate the search.

This weekend's searches will  begin Friday morning, November 6, at 9am. Interested volunteers, who do not need to have attended the pre-search presentation, should meet at the Forestry Center at 900 Natural Resources Drive behind the Fontaine Research Park. Would-be searchers must be 18 or over and have valid identification.

Laura Recovery Center founder Bob Smither, father of Laura, spoke at the hotel, just blocks from where Morgan was last seen on Copeley Bridge, to the hundreds of assembled volunteers– so many the presentation had to be given twice.

While most of those gathered will spend some portion of the next three days tromping through brush looking for any sign of Morgan, some made the trip just to show support.

"We were away and just found out what happened," said Ray Mayberry, whose wife, Carole, worked with Dan Harrington at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke. The retired pair said they are unable to participate in the rigors of a ground search, but drove from Roanoke to show support.

"We want to do what we can to help," Mayberry explained.

Starting Friday morning, groups of 10 will be assigned as-yet-to-be-determined search areas, Smither explained; any possible evidence discovered should not be touched. Volunteers are invited to show up throughout the day, as their schedules allow. The last groups will likely be sent out no later than 3pm.

"Our only priority," said Smither, "is finding Morgan.'

Anyone with questions about this weekend's searches can call (434) 960-0401.
Last updated Friday, November 6 at 3:27pm. Correction: Cavalier Inn is not a Best Western.–-ed
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Read more on: Morgan Dana Harrington

16 comments

mosaic, my heart goes out to you. This happened to my sister and she would be scattered and small if she hadn't risen above it. It's not what happens to you so much as how you react to it that matters most - least ways I believe it's the healthiest attitude in the short time we have.

I led a search team on Friday looking for Morgan and my husband participated today in the search... Morgan you are on our hearts even though we don't know you. We can see the pain in your parents faces and know that all they want is to know where their girl is. Please if you have Morgan, let her go. Morgan hold on.. we are looking!!!

This terribly sad story has been dredging up all kinds of difficult memories for me. I was a 23 year old blue-eyed, blonde, who was snatched from a SoCal roadside, but whom luckily lived through her ordeal spent in the clutches of a serial rapist/murderer. If I could survive it, then maybe she can too.

My prayers are out to Morgan's family. Cannot imagine the pain. God willing she will be found. Take comfort in knowing that there are so many of us that sincerely care and are willing to do what it takes to return her safely to your clutches. I will be out there today helping search for a fellow human being. Godspeed.

Casey, If you are the parent with young children attending a show, do you want your children subjected to someone who has made multiple trips to the parking lot to booze or use drugs. You probably think your young children wouldn't be treated to such behavior because you're going to a family friendly show, but I can tell you, it's very possible. Regrettably, some parents, older siblings, friends, etc. have no sense of responsibility to their own charges or to yours once they have dumped them in their seats. Compound the situation by 10,000 to 15,000 mostly adults at a country, hip-hop, heavy-metal concert, wrestling, you name the type of entertainment. Even if only 1% leave and re-enter after having consumed something, you could still have 100 to 150 potential troublemakers in the arena. Add these to people, who despite security's best efforts, are able to smuggle a banned item in, and the situation could get out of hand. What's to stop a disagreement that starts in the parking lot during intermission or half-time from erupting into a full-blown brawl inside the arena. There has to be some degree of control. Until there is a foolproof way to assure that someone leaving an arena is only doing so to get air, smoke a regular cigarette, or even drink water that's not $5.00 a bottle, then I don't know that there is any better policy than no re-entry. Sadly, it sounds like a tragedy could have happened here, but for now no one knows for sure. Scrapping a policy that is used by most large venues to protect concert goers and sports fans might be a knee jerk or even a feel good we're doing something positive action, but there are lots of possible scenarios and ramifications that have to be considered for the venue and 10's of thousands or even 100's of thousands of fans who attend events annually before making such a decision.

This policy they have about not letting someone back in the arena if they go outside evn with their ticket stub in hand, should be revisited. Kids and young adults go there in a group, witch affords them a degree of safety. To lock a young lady outside of the arena like that was not a good idea. Where is a statement from UVA? If they would have allowed that young lady to go back in with her friends....

To Morgan's parents, I am praying for the safe return of your beautiful daughter; I live in Perth, Western Australia, and my daughter is Morgan's age so I can truly empathise with you. I will continue to pray for her return and for you and your entire family.

God be with you all!! We'll be keeping you in our thought and prayers. We hope that they will find her soon.

my heart goes out to you dan and gil. i hope to come down sat. to help seach for your

precious morgan. GOD BE WITH YOU AND COMFORT YOU AND THERE ARE SO MANY PRAYING FOR YOU . i just cannot imagine what you are going thru at this time. dr. harrington you have always been there for me, as your pt, and i hope and pray that they find her soon.

I hope you find your daughter safe and sound.

Kudos to Joe Friday and his (I am assuming not a Josephine) brillant and satiric comments. Possibly indicates Joe is NOT of the Generation X or Y-Bother et al., but someone who came of age in the 60's/70's. Oh how I miss those days of people using logic instead of resorting to Prada! Thank you, again, Pseudo Jack Webb. Those days are sorely missed. We are living in a Gilded Age of Wackos. Enuff said.

Well here we go again, just another good old media frenzy to sell more copy, more advertising and to make the gullible public believe that the media is something other than a bunch of arrogant, shallow, prima donnas (and yes this does include the queen of shallowness, her majesty Katy Cowlick, oops, cloric.

Now lets look at the facts on hand, as painful as they may be:

1) Ms. Harrington allegedly left her seat and her friends to go find a bathroom. Question: Given that there are probably 50 bathroom INSIDE JPJ, why would Mr. H go OUTSIDE JPJ to respond to a call of nature? Is she such a greenie that she uses leaves for TP? Hmmm.

2) Having established that this "story" about going outside while searching for a bathroom is nothing but BS, what could possibly be the reason Ms. H went outside the doors at JPJ? Hmmm? Can you spell REEFER MADNESS? How are a little snort of coke? Anything's possible.

3) Now let's assume just for argument that Ms. H did go outside in search of illicit substances, what might possibly happen to her:

1) She gets tricked into the back of some dealer's van and is whisked away;
2) Some other stoner convinces her that they should both go to some safe house where they can get high;
3) Some "Deliverance" like dirtbag snares her and takes her off to some derelict trailer in Fluvanna.
4) She was tied up and put into a runaway balloon, except this time CNN didn't fall for the bait and film it for ten hours.

Okay now boys and girls, now you can vote on what might have possibly happened.

Just the facts sir.

Joe Friday

The JPJ Arena reentry policy must be changed ! If this girl had been allowed to reenter, this search would be unnecessary, and she would be safely at home. This is a university facility and the university should have an interest and liability in what happens here. Clearly a policy that is more thoughtful about those trying to reenter and their state of mind or body should be taken into account. Security knew she had an injury to her chin that was visible. If I were the Harringtons, I would be thinking about suing UVA to change this academic facilities policy, for the good of all those young people like their daughter, and for parents who could end up in the same situation. I hope Dr Harrington's position on the UVA faculty does not deter him from doing this. It would be a service to the community and a needed change in policy for a university facility on university grounds, even if the security is currently overseen by a company in Boston.

We must demand a higher ethical standard of our institutions of learning than making a buck.

My heart goes out to your family. I have a daughter almost Morgans age. I am praying that you find her safe. Don't ever give up. With God all things are possible. God says I am the God of all creation is anything impossible for me. May our sweet Jesus hold you in his heart and comfort you. Morgan WILL be found. Please agree with me in prayer that she will be found alive and well.

Seeing Morgan's parents sitting quietly at the podium, and then hearing Mr. Harrington speak haltingly at the microphone, brought tears to my eyes and made visible the enormous pain this couple is undergoing. May a miracle occur and may Morgan be found alive. Mr. Smithers said a prayer before the first group solemnly left the room.

WOW I Live In Richmond Va and There is a HUGH BILLBOARD On 64 with Morgan's Picture. We all want you home safe Morgan. God be with You, Your Familf, Friends and everyone who will be looking for you this weekend. Good Luck to all of you, Wished I could help look for Morgan this weekend but I have had both my Knees replaced an can't walk well enough. God Bless each an everyone of you.......