On the bridge: Morgan Harrington last seen over train tracks
The young woman whose disappearance during an October 17 Metallica concert touched off a national search was last seen on a bridge around 9:30 that night near busy Ivy Road. The information came in a Wednesday morning press conference in Charlottesville in which State Police Lieutenant Joe Rader expressed hope that a newly detailed timeline would provoke additional clues from concert-goers and other witnesses.
"Perhaps you saw someone stop a vehicle," said Rader. "Perhaps you saw this young lady get into a vehicle. Somewhere out there lie the answers or lies the vital link."
Rader described the timeline, pieced together from witness interviews, as fairly accurate, but he noted that it changed within the 30 minutes before the press conference began–- and that it remains subject to further refinement, particularly since some witnesses were not wearing watches.
"We believe that what happened from 8:30 to 9:30 is very relevant," Rader said, adding that subsequent info is also important. "Nothing is too trivial. If you think you saw something, let us determine after interviewing you the relevancy of that."
Rader said that Harrington was last seen walking on the bridge that carries Copeley Road over the CSX/Buckingham Branch railroad tracks, a site adjacent to the RV Lot. The Lot is where Harrington's black purse with two long straps was found, and Rader indicated there were other people nearby who must have seen Morgan.
"We need those people to contact us," said Rader. "We don't have all the information we need from the Charlottesville area. We believe those answers are around here."
The dominant use of the rail line running under the bridge is the slow–- at least in that stretch–- westbound return of empty coal and grain cars returning from Tidewater ports, although the line is also used for the three-days-a-week run of the Cardinal passenger train.
Declining to answer questions, Rader also qualified the following timeline as based on interviews with people who saw someone matching Harrington's description near the John Paul Jones Arena, which reportedly adhered to its no-reentry policy by barring Harrington after she left, ostensibly in search of a bathroom.
He urges tipsters, who may remain anonymous, to call at 434-352-3467 or email State Police.
8:20 - 8:30 - Harrington outside Arena at front and the side facing U-Hall
8:30-8:48 -Harrington at various locations outside arena
8:48 - friend calls and offers other entry door suggestions, but Harrington says she'll try to get a ride home from "friends around Charlottesville"
8:48 - 9:00 - Harrington still in the Arena area 9:00 - 9:10 - Harrington walking with purse through U-Hall parking lot "around" and "walking in the same direction"–- but not necessarily "with"–- other people 9:10 - 9:20 - Harrington in the RV Lot with "limited interaction" with witnesses 9:20 - some witnesses leave in vehicles 9:20 - 9:30 - Harrington walks on the Copeley Road bridge near Ivy Road
–updated 3:14pm same day (with a few minor word changes, rail, and tipster contact info) –updated 5:05pm November 2 (with photo of RV lot lighting unit and simpler map)