Unexplained injury: Tips flood in, but still no Morgan
Morgan Harrington, the young woman who disappeared during the October 17 Metallica concert, received a facial injury before she left the John Paul Jones Arena, according to multiple sources.
According to the sources, Harrington was seen inside and outside the Arena with blood on her chin prior to her disappearance, say witnesses who wish to remain anonymous. Thirteen days after her disappearance, a police spokesperson confirms the accounts but says investigators doubt the injury points to any altercation.
"It was a minor injury," says Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller. She explains that police chose initially not to release the detail because the injury was "consistent with what someone would suffer from slipping and falling, not with any kind of assault."
Contacted about the report of the chin injury Thursday, Harrington's father, Dan Harrington said he had not been informed of it. That seems to confirm the notion that investigators hold information they're not telling the family.
On Wednesday, October 28, police revealed that the last sighting of the 20-year-old Virginia Tech junior occurred between 9:20 and 9:30pm when she was walking on the Copeley Road bridge near Ivy Road. They say that the timeline of her movements outdoors helped generate "several new tips and leads."
Harrington reportedly left her friends to find a bathroom, but between 8:20 and 8:30pm, she ended up outside, according to the timeline, where she was spotted in front and on the southern side facing U-Hall. Like most arenas, John Paul Jones policy prohibits re-entry, and police have confirmed that Harrington was turned away by security when attempting to get back inside.
Over the next 20 or so minutes, Harrington was seen at various locations outside the arena before a phone call with her friend, who suggested she try other entrances. Harrington reportedly assured her friend she'd find a ride home from "friends around Charlottesville."
According to the Weather Underground, the temperature in Charlottesville was just 42 degrees with six-mile-per-hour winds at the time Harrington was outside. Although no precipitation was recorded, event attendees and other Charlottesvillians recall a "misty" evening while Harrington was clad only in a t-shirt, mini-skirt, and tights.
Another discrepancy between what police and the family seem to know revolves around the vehicle that transported the young woman and three other concert-goers to Charlottesville. Police spokesperson Geller says that although driven by a friend, it was definitely Morgan Harrington's own vehicle. Dr. Harrington has maintained, however, that his daughter's 2006 Honda Civic, along with its keys, remained in Harrisonburg until retrieved Sunday by his daughter's roommate who drove it back to the family home in Roanoke.
Whether such details matter remains to be seen, but the case has sparked an avalanche of national attention since Harrington's parents, Dan and Gil Harrington, began appearing on televised news programs including Today, The Early Show and Nancy Grace.
A Facebook group has swelled to more than 21,000 members, as armchair sleuths from around the world, amid well wishes for a safe return, weigh in with myriad theories about what happened.
The two friends with whom Harrington attended the concert–- her Blacksburg roommate Amy Melvin and JMU student Sarah Snead–- have not responded to the Hook's repeated requests for interviews. A male who rode to the concert with the female trio has not been publicly identified.
The reward for Harrington's safe return has grown to $150,000, after Metallica frontman James Hetfield reportedly told Dr. Harrington the heavy metal band would add $50,000 to the fund.
The lead investigator, State Police Lt. Joe Rader, urges tipsters–- who may remain anonymous–- to call the tip line at 434-352-3467 or email information to email@example.com.