Reward increased: Father believes attacker was local

cover-findmorgan-vacationMorgan Harrington, center, with her father at left and her mother at right, on a recent family vacation. PHOTO COURTESY HARRINGTON FAMILY

The father of Morgan Dana Harrington believes that the person responsible for abducting her outside the October 17 Metallica concert is someone from the Charlottesville area.

"If I had to bet my guess," says Dan Harrington, "this is someone local."

He expressed his theory Saturday morning in a living room interview, sandwiched between visits from the top television network morning news programs and a visit from two members of the Virginia State Police. While investigators continue to express a desire for tips, photos, and video from concert-goers, Metallica has reportedly added $50,000 to bring the reward up to $150,000.

cover-findmorgan-rvlotThe RV lot is shrouded by trees and other plants. PHOTO BY GOOGLE MAPS

In a quiet house where a yellow ribbon adorns a front yard tree and a pair of candles burn on the kitchen counter, Dr. Harrington also confirms that he's been told that his daughter's purse and phone were found in the RV lot, a small gated parking area alongside Copeley/Alderman Road, the CSX/Buckingham Branch train tracks, and the UVA athletic fields.

Dr. Harrington bases his perpetrator theory on the idea that a local attacker would have the confidence and familiarity with the landscape. He says that his daughter, who was born at UVA medical center in 1989 when he was on the psychiatric faculty, is no stranger to Charlottesville concerts, having also attended shows at the Charlottesville Pavilion.

State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller says that troopers and agents spent last night, October 24, handing out fliers and interacting with passing motorists and pedestrians in the John Paul Jones Arena, in the hopes of encountering someone who habitually passes that way and might have seen something.

–last updated 11:13am Sunday (with Geller info)

Read more on: Morgan Harrington


They need to get on her myspace page and see if the girl had talked to someone about meeting them there. Why haven't they checked her myspace account..

That doesn't necessarily mean he's local -- sounds like he just tossed the stuff out of the window as he was driving her away. May have pulled into a side street to avoid people seeing him do that. Probably was afraid of being tracked by her cell phone or something similar that he may have missed seeing in her purse. Could have been a local though, in that he knew the concert was going on, and to look for victims in the parking lot. It gets me that criminals are so professional these days, almost like they're following the same field manual on how to get away with it.

I'm kind of down on cops in northern Virginia, even though the perp in this case may not have been from there -- almost 2 years ago, I was drugged and sexually assaulted in my own home, and the cops up there didn't even want to do a rape kit. And from the remarks of the receptionist at the hospital AND the cop who showed up at the ER, they habitually DON'T do rape kits. I assume they save rape kits for the worst cases that they can easily win, but whatever their logic is in this, he didn't share it with me. The worst part is, I'm pretty sure I know who did it to me, and the perp is still out there, free to continue raping women. That's what sloppy police work does to a community -- and all the communities surrounding it. I'll be so disgusted if it turns out he's from Northern Virginia and still out on the streets.

ernied, I'm not an idiot, and the court will support me. :-)-
WILL THEY also support you? Bad choice of words!

The Perp. Had to have "struck out" once or twice perhaps even more, before running into Morgan!.......Please ANYONE who attended the concert, who noticed ANYTHING , ANYONE even the slightest bit might not think it was important at the time ....might have been as simple as someone you thought odd, being alone, looking out of place.... asking for a light.....where you were from....ask to borrow your cell phone....these creeps are NOT perfect.....they do slip up! The tip line is (434) 352-3467. Call and report ANYTHING...Let the police sift through and find the consistancies......tall guy, short older guy...Mustang...Yellow ford truck...whatever! And every chance you get....ask the Good Lord to be with Morgan and bring her home safely!

Col. Forbin... if Charlottesville is full of such wonderful people then why are volunteers having a hard time getting them to put up flyers? Most local businesses have said 'no'. That tells me either they aren't concerned and aren't good people OR they just want to forget about this and go back to earning the almight dollar. WTH??

Well, all I'm saying,Charlottesville is unique. A death penalty is never allowed here. People should at least know such.

I'm glad to see Metallica has offered up money in the search. I know its not much money to them, but they also didn't have to do that. I'm not a fan of their music either - but good for them

This city will not execute. That is a fact.

The collective good will and prayers for her well-being and freedom may now be put to the test. May we all focus on seeing her made free and happy.

Good plan... let's just forget that whole "trial" charade and replace courthouses with fire pits.

Best wishes for Miss Harrington.

LazinessHurts, I hope you are able to find peace and justice for your horrible experience. I'm so sorry.

I would hope local police have checked atm camera footage from the BB&T bank thats located across the RR bridge from the lot where her belongings were found? Its camera faces toward the street which one would have to take if heading south from the RV lot. And maybe the Suntrust on the northwest corner of that same intersection or the Wachovia on the southwest side? Maybe there's something there and certainly worth a look. Since there's a light at that corner and any car heading through it might get stuck sitting there, its not quite a needle-in-a-haystack scenario. And interview tow truck drivers too. They're always around at events like this one to tow cars illegally parked. Not saying one did anything, but maybe they saw something?

Generally, once you find yourself outside a concert area, no one tells you that you can't be readmitted. The doors are just locked and you can't get back in. If this girl wasn't a stranger to concerts, like her dad said, then she would know this. I've been to hundreds of concerts and I don't know one single instance where you can re-enter once you have left, unless you are dealing with a small club type atmosphere. We are talking THOUSANDS of people attending these things, and there simply isn't enough manpower available to monitor everyone who leaves and who wants to get back in. You can't tell if they have real tickets, you can't tell if they have a legit hand-stamp, and you can't station people at every single point of entry. So the doors are just locked. Anyone who has ever been to an arena show would know that.

How do you end up outside when you are trying to find a bathroom? They are in the building. I don't necessarily think that someone would lure her outside, but it would almost have to be a choice to go out there. Was she sick or feeling ill and needed fresh air? To me, that seems like the most logical explanation of how she ended up out there, and then couldn't get back in.

Also, odd to think that she would tell her friends she would wait for them or find a ride. Finding a ride at a big concert like that has got to be scary. Would she be calling someone who knew her to come and get her? I can't imagine just picking someone at random from a parking lot to give you a ride home. Wouldn't you just sit yourself somewhere that seems safe and wait for your friends? Even if its a drag to wait for 3 hours outside, it seems much preferable than trying to find a ride with some stranger at a concert. Perhaps she called someone to come and get her...

To add to what Belle said, Morgan was supposedly going back to Harrisonburg. What 20-year-old woman is going to assume she can depend on the kindness of a complete stranger to get her safely to a destination 45 minutes away, and what kind of friends would let her? Perhaps JPJ's policy needs to be revisited, but I'm not buying the story that this all unfolded because of JPJ's policy. Too many things don't add up.

I don't see anywhere that she actually even tried to re-enter the arena. I don't recall her friends saying she tried to get back in. No public accounts of pleading by her with arena officials.

It appears she willingly left the arena and told her friends not to expect her to ride back with them. It suggests that she knew, or thought she knew, what she was going to be doing next, and with whom--though she may not have communicated that to her friends.

I believe she got outside willingly and on her own--who she met there or went out with holds the key to the rest of the story.

@Be patient: Have you ever lived anywhere but Charlottesville? It actually is a great town, full of good people. There's bad in people everywhere, (consider your ignorance, for example.) But I digress, because this isn't about you and your politics, this is about figuring out what happened to Morgan.

They ought to check her cell phone records.

Anyone think the photo of the fam looks photoshopped?

Nope. It only appears so because there is no background. And there's no background because it was taken right at the edge of the sea somewhere. Look to the left of the guy's blue shirt, you can see the ocean.

I am not sure I agree with the person being local, but I certainly do think we should heighten the possibility. I know of a few kooks who were recently doing some naughty peeping Tom stuff After all, epole come from all over to go to these concerts, and I am sorry to say that the parking lots for concerts are all of all sorts of people peddling things. I don't like to attack Metallica, but the groupies attracted to that are not going to be the same as for say, Lorretta Lynn in what they get up to for recreation.

I agree with shempdaddy about this girl having a 'plan'. Scotts Stadium is not exactly a maze when it comes to finding bathrooms, and you aren't in danger of ending up outside. But even if you do, somehow manage that, a wise young lady would say, " hey, I am going to walk to such and such restuarant, and eat something waiting for you guys. Give me a call when you get out, and I'll tell you where." Then you take the bus. You don't go down to the parking lot, and hang out.

She met someone she either knew, or who lured her, and she consciously made the choice to essentially take off from her friends.

All you right wing capital punishment, buzz off. Get off the name calling. Handing out the death penalty is more expensive than locking someone up for life. Maybe if you guys weren't so busy screaming ' socialism' and Marxism' some unmedicated kook wouldn't be stalking young women at concerts.

You guys all have this belief that if you just dump everyone on the streets and pretend they aren't there you are all somehow protected. I hope you all get the swine flu so badly you spend weeks in the hospital and lose your homes.

This is ridiculous. I cannot believe ya'll are blaming the arena for these events. You cannot exit your seats in JPJ WITHOUT seeing a bathroom, so there's no way she ended up outside accidentally while looking for one. Furthermore, if I know the event staff, they told her as she left that she could not re-enter, not to mention that every single ticket had this policy clearly written on it. Do not blame the arena staff or its policy (which is almost universal at concert venues) but focus on the task at hand: finding Morgan and her attacker.

I'm still in shock that this happened in Charlottesville, as I myself have attended probably a hundred basketball games, a few concerts, and every baseball game for the past 5 years (and park in the so-called "RV Lot.") During these events, there are police on every corner to deal with traffic, tow trucks, UVA buses... unbelievable. All of this leads me to consider that in fact Morgan did know her attacker, or at least was lured out of JPJ by him.

Sending all my thoughts and prayers to her and her family. I hope we can all be so lucky as to never experience this with our own families.

I am following this because I have 4 children and this is a parent's worst nightmare. Just a thought....I went to the VA State Police site and searched the violent sex offenders....there are quite a few in the general C'ville area. I assume the cops have interviewed them....the other thing I thought of is the steam tunnels....I wonder if they have looked there. OH how I hope she is found alive.

Virginia, along with Texas and Florida is always in the top three in number and speed of capital punishment. Now as far as certain judges giving the death sentence less often here than in other locales, I think each case is individual. Frankly, the death penalty seems less horrible than life without parole to me.

What jurisdiction do you think imposes a sentence, Ernied? Maybe you're the one who should do some homework. When's the last time a Charlottesville jury or judge imposed the death penalty?

Carolina girl,
What local businesses have said no, and did they give a reason? I would certainly be interested to know, especially with the holiday shopping season coming up.

How do you know businesses aren't allowing fliers? That sounds like a crock to me...

Stop blaming Charlottesville, stop blaming the people of Charlottesville, stop blaming the Venue, stop blaming the band or their crew....

No one knows what happened. Until we do - pointing fingers isn't going to solve a thing.

As far as the death penalty and liberals - are you serious?? There is a girl missing and you're pointing fingers and politics?? We don't even know what happened. Maybe instead of sitting on your butt pointing fingers - you should go out there and be proactive in the search for this girl

The sad part, IF he is a Charlottesville resident, and IF they catch him, the most he'll ever get is life in prison. My lord, someone recently murdered a little kid in cold blood and recieved LIP. Yep, this is the place to be for any criminal wanting to avoid the death penalty. The Charlottesville "justice" officials will provide the lawyers who are more than willing to set the stage.
I know LIP is no picnic. As Charlottesville pushes away any death penalty, the nasty killers gain way too much of a break.
This is so tragic. Hope she can come home alive.

I am praying and thinking of you everyday,Morgan. Let her return to her family.

I pray that Morgan be returned to her very loving family, unharmed and peacefully.

Who was the person(s)that actually denied her re-entry? Morgan certainly would have explained to them that she had no keys, no ride and no one close to come get her. Was their response "Not my problem." or "It's policy." (I love that one, my personal favorite, "It's policy." - People get positively stupid with the "It's policy." garbage.) So they just turned away a 20 year old young woman into the night with no way to leave without any concern under the "It's policy" routine. What a bunch of "ginguses". The Arena ought to have its license stripped. They obviously don't have enough brain cells to be in charge of public or private events. The Arena also out to be required to forfeit all proceeds to help find Morgan. Morgan is mising because NO ONE gave a rip! The Arena people that said -"It's Policy." (If there was a policy that said jump over a cliff -they would do it.) Her friends - "Okay, see ya later." - so what if your going to miss the show and have nowhere to go and are stuck in the parking lot - no biggie. The Grandmother - who WATCHES an assault on a young woman - and DOES NOTHING! (What she is sitting in a parking lot by herself at night, waiting and she doesn't have a cell phone?!!!). This is pitiful! This is why there are predators - because they can get away with it! - NO ONE CARES! Had one person along the chain of events of that evening given a rip, Morgan would not be missing - she would be at home with her family.

So, the thread starts with the father wanting to blame a resident of Charlottesville for this terrible crime. Then, it naturally devolves into right-wingers wanting to blame "liberals" for the state of crime and punishment in America. It's a shame that, even in a case like this where everyone wants only the best possible outcome, the urge to blame and point fingers is so strong.

Charlottesville is a good town full of good people. Let's try to point out the good things where possible. For instance, the state, local, and University police departments for working so hard to find Morgan. All of us want a good outcome here if there is one to be had.

Also, thank you to the guys in Metallica for putting more reward money out there.

I don't speak for all victims of sexual predators, but as far as the punishment goes -- I don't need to see the death penalty to be satisfied. To me, once they reveal themselves as predators, it's most important to remove them from the streets whether they die or are locked up for a really long time. That way I'd feel safer, and at least while they're in prison they can't victimize other people. A long sentence (all the way up to life for the worst offenders) is important for a sense of justice, but I don't think that a death penalty discussion adds anything to the discussion here, as much as we'd all like to see these kind of people permanently removed from society.

damon, I agree 100%. And hope our prayers work.

Northern Virginia cops are idiots and I recently experienced their idiocy. Rather than doing real investigative police work they stereotype, profile, and end up targeting the wrong people because of their lack of inductive thinking. Case in point - I checked into a hotel recently and was accused of being a Craigs List hooker. They had no proof, only that the male I was with was older and I changed to go to lunch with him the next day and came back within an hour. They thought we went and had ourselves a quickie. Funny thing is, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if what they said was true, we would have gone to my room, not to lunch.

I pray that Morgan's family has investigators that are ten times more intelligent than the ones I encountered. Maybe they'll just finger a black man since they're so into stereotyping. Sad bunch of cops.

I think Morgan had this all planned out, I really believe this. I think maybe she met someone online maybe and this was a date she set it all up and why would an attacker toss her purse and cell in the parking lot why not wait and toss it in the wood somewhere far out of this area. it all seems planned and set up to me from her mother picking out her outfit as to tell authorities what she was wearing and ill be she had changed her clothes another this is i dont bekieve she ever went to the concert at all and her friends were just used as an alibi and all had a pre arraged story to tell
t this is why u dont see them giving interviews they are getting their stories all mixed up. We all know that once u exit a concert u cant get back in and all the bathrooms are inside
and there are areas to get better cell phone reception it just makes no sense to me i think they need to check her and not the computer at her house her father controlls that one he has her passwords maybe they need check her frineds computers i think this lady was hiding alot from her strange parents

I still think the key rests in why she left the arena. I do not believe for a second that she accidentally found herself outside a few minutes before the band she had been waiting to see for months went on the stage. She either went out to meet someone she knew, or was lured outside.

As I said in another thread--one way to lure someone outside is with a backstage pass and a promise that she could get back in--there are numerous ways to get these at some shows--a meet and greet/social area function in the backstage area, friends of friends, promoters, opening acts etc.. I am sure the police are checking to see who may have had access. I am not trying to implicate anyone on the crews--those guys are generally professionals who are too busy to deal--but you never know about associates of associates--worth checking in to.

I tend to agree with her father that it is likely that if someone took her, that person is local because most everyone who came to see Metallica was inside JPJ watching the concert. That means the odds are higher that anyone outside was not there for the concert and was probably local. Of course, we will not know for sure until this is (hopefully) solved,

Life in Prison? Give me a break. Start burning these perps at the stake and watch how crime takes a nose dive. But then the lawyers and judges will take cuts in salary's. Say a prayer for this girl. And you liberals need to wake up!!

When you have a commonwealth attorney who does not believe in the death penalty, he/she is not going to seek a death penalty.

Morgan, I am checking on new about you everyday. This breaks my heart, whoever has Morgan, please bring her home!!

sad, very sad. a local perp may not add up with the story from the grandmom in the parking lot,but who knows what the final story will be. sad to hear he thinks its an abduction, which would not provide a lot of hope for her return. I was hoping this was runaway or boyfriend situation.

LazinessHurts, in reference to your mention of sloppy police work in Northern Virginia...

.... you sure hit that nail on the head!

They're worse than the Keystone Kops.

As a fan of both music and sports, I appreciate the fact that the person sitting next to my children and me isn't going into the parking lot at intermission or l/2 time and coming back sky high on drugs or booze. When I buy my ticket, I have the right to expect to enjoy myself without some obnoxious drunk ruining the event. Having not been at this concert or seen tickets, I have no idea whether it was announced that there is a policy of no re-entry, but I know that has been the practice for past events. If Morgan has come to harm, the person at fault is the perpetrator, not the person who might have denied her re-entry, not her friends if they are being completely honest with the authorities and most certainly not Morgan.

Great Arena Policy. Pay $70 to see a show. Leave without realizing that you can't reenter. And you're stuck. Great self-serving policy on the part of the arena. I wonder. What if it had been a Miley Cyrus concert and a 15-year-old had left alone. Would they have left her out there unescorted?

Never be too quick to name a potential suspect. Look at the Chanda Levy case in DC. Everyone, even the parents pointed fingers at the married Senator she was secretly dating. Turns out the killer was a illegal imigrant mad at the world for losing his job. He had assaulted two other women in the weeks leading up to Levy's and the DC police failed to follow the recent assults in the area.

I pray for this young lady's safe return. I know what it feels like to try and find the car in a big concert parking lot. I can't imagine how she was wandering around, what made her leave out alone in the first place, why she did not wait at will-call or a door for her friends. Maybe she had to use the bathroom and was looking for a remote spot. Let's all pray for a happy ending!

Charlottesville hung a mayor (maybe ex-mayor) a few decades ago.

Charlottesville is not a good town with good people, its an armpit full of liberals,welfare receipients, and everyone else thats wants a hand out or feels they are entitled to one. Do I think someone from the welfare capital of the world did it? I dont know (it is possible) since there was people at the concert from MD to NJ. Its unknown and tragic this girl is missing but blaming anyone at this point is premature. She may not have been taken against her free will and may be rebelling for some unknown reason. I would hate think worse case scenario until more information is disseminated. Hopefully she is found safe and will enlighten us when she found

If there was someone outside in the parking lots, why were they there? To break into cars maybe? Is that a common occurrence? I wouldn't expect they'd be laying in wait for the first person to wander out there alone. If they were there breaking into cars, are there ny leads in that area? Good luck resolving this quickly and my sincere best wishes to all.

plop - you're an idiot. last time i checked, the state of virginia run the justice system, not the city of charlottesville. The death penalty is legal in Virginia. maybe do some homework before you add such useless dribble to this situation.