Morgan Harrington Murder: FBI, Metallica and Virginia State Police Ask You To Help Them Find Her Killer

Morgan Harrington disappeared from the John Paul Jones arena on October 17, 2009.  Morgan’s remains were located and recovered the morning of January 26, 2010 on the Anchorage Farm in Charlottesville, VA.

 

Reported exclusively on www.blinkoncrime.com,  Morgan’s alleged attacker was tied via DNA to a sexual assault in Fairfax, VA in September 2005.

With the help of a multi media campaign,  the FBI, Virginia State Police and Fairfax Police are asking for the publics help to catch her killer.

Revised Sketch of Harrington Suspect

 

Metallica offered this public service announcement:

 

Metallica Statement On Harrington Case

FBI Press Release:

Authorities Launch Multimedia Campaign in Morgan Harrington Murder Case
Murder Suspect Linked by DNA to Sexual Assault in Fairfax City, Virginia

FBI Washington June 13, 2012
  • Public Information Office (202) 278-3519

Today, federal, state, and local law enforcement launched a multimedia campaign that includes two enhanced composite sketches of a suspect in the 2009 murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington. The unknown murder suspect is also connected by DNA to a 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax City, Virginia.

Authorities recently enhanced the composite sketch created in 2005 from a description by the sexual assault victim. One of the composites shows the suspect with facial hair, as the suspect was described at the time of the attack. The second composite sketch features him without facial hair.

The two attacks were connected through DNA after a forensic profile was submitted by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science to the FBI’s national DNA database. The search found that the suspect in the Harrington murder investigation matched the DNA profile of the attacker in Fairfax City.

The multimedia campaign includes a public service announcement by Metallica lead guitarist James Hetfield appealing to the public to come forward with information concerning the Morgan Harrington investigation. The composite sketches of the suspect are being featured on bus shelters in Washington, D.C., as well as on digital billboards in Richmond, Virginia; Roanoke, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and in 23 other states along the East Coast. Social media outreach and alerts via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, along with a website dedicated to the Harrington case were also launched Wednesday. Podcasts are now available on iTunes, and radio spots are airing to further raise awareness of the ongoing investigation. The multi-pronged effort is designed to develop new leads and renew the public’s attention in the attacks. The campaign implements techniques similar to those that have led to the arrests of the East Coast Rapist as well as Ten Most Wanted fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger.

The Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Morgan Harrington’s murder. In addition, the band Metallica is adding $50,000 to the reward, for a total of $150,000.

Morgan Harrington Murder

On the evening of Saturday, October 17, 2009, Harrington attended a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena on the University of Virginia (UVA) campus in Charlottesville, Va. At approximately 8:30 p.m., she left the arena and was unable to re-enter the facility. She was last seen hitchhiking for a ride from passing traffic.

Harrington was dressed that night in a black T-shirt with the word “Pantera” spelled out in tan letters and was wearing a distinctive Swarovski crystal necklace made of large crystal chain links, which investigators have yet to recover. Harrington’s “Pantera” T-shirt was found on November 11, 2009, in front of a row of apartments along 15th Street, NW near Grady Avenue in Charlottesville. Harrington’s skeletal remains were later discovered on January 26, 2010, in a remote field on an Albemarle County, Virginia farm along Route 29. A camera that Harrington had in her possession that night has never been recovered.

Sexual Assault in Fairfax City, Virginia

On the evening of Saturday, September 24, 2005, a 26-year-old victim was walking home from the Giant Food Store located on the 3700 block of Jermantown Road in Fairfax City, Virginia. The suspect grabbed the victim from behind as she walked down Rock Garden Drive toward her residence. He then carried the victim to a grassy area behind a maintenance shed, where he sexually assaulted her. The suspect was last seen running from the area.

The suspect is described as an African-American male with black hair and facial hair at the time of the attack. He is approximately 6’0” tall and was believed to be between the ages of 25 and 35 years old at the time of the attack.

The public is asked to review this information and consider whether they know someone who generally fits this description, who lived or had ties to the area around the times of the assaults, or who may have been known to spend considerable amounts of time in those areas.

People who know the suspect may not believe that he is capable of committing these crimes. He may not necessarily have a violent criminal history. Because investigators are in possession of DNA evidence that can either positively link the suspect to his crimes or exclude innocent parties, citizens should not hesitate to provide information, even if it is just the name of a potential suspect.

The following agencies are cooperating in the investigation of these crimes: the Virginia State Police, City of Fairfax Police, University of Virginia Police, Charlottesville Police, Albemarle County Police, Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Virginia Tech Police Department, George Mason Police Department, and the FBI.

Law enforcement agencies are asking anyone with information to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or the Virginia State Police Tip line at 434-352-3467.

Press Contacts:

Virginia State Police
(804) 263-5547

City of Fairfax Police Department
(703) 273-2889

FBI Richmond Field Office
(804) 261-1044

FBI Washington Field Office
(202) 278-3519




Former UVA Cop Charged With Rape: Sean Michael Horn Faces Bond Hearing Today

Charlottesville, VA-  Sean Michael Horn, 42, current Albemarle County reserve deputy and former police officer for the University of Virginia  as well as the Albemarle Sheriffs Office was arrested last evening for rape. The arrest  follows an extensive investigation conducted by the prosecutors office.

While there has been no specifics released, and it is the policy of www.blinkoncrime not to identify alleged victims of sexual crimes,  we have learned that a complaint of rape against Horn was received in the Fall of 2011.

 

The arrest follows what can only be described as a series of chaotic incidents and events affecting Albemarle county law enforcement officers since 2009 at a minimum.

Following the death of 18 year old Greene County resident Colby Eppard on New Years Day 2010 by police gunfire, 7 Albemarle county officers were either suspended and/or demoted.  Caleb Marden, a decorated sharp-shooter who served in Iraq was fired.   Denise Lunsord,  prosecutor for Albemarle county and North Garden resident, cleared all officers of any wrongdoing from the incident.

Eppard allegedly stole a neighboring Greene County patrol car and traveled almost 60 miles to Albemarle county. Although off duty Greene Sgt Randall Snead  was out of his jurisdiction, Snead was among the officers in pursuit of Eppard and participated in the ambush to stop the teen.  Snead’s former mentor and Sherriff, Willie Morris,  committed suicide on January 28th.

Although he was on desk assignment pending the investigation of Eppard’s death, Snead responded to the scene of Morris’s home where he was located and rushed to the hospital.  Morris was removed from life sustaining efforts without ever regaining consciousness.    A suicide note blamed his tinnitus condition.

In a recent election, Steve Smith won the Sheriff slot running against Snead, and has since met with controversy after releasing nearly all of his staff.   An email criticizing Smith was received by several news outlets from a previously fired Albemarle County Lt. Scott Cox, then a Greene county deputy who has since been released.   Horn has Sheriff Smith listed as a friend on his facebook profile.  Cox was among the Albemarle County Officers who was demoted after 18 years of service in the scandal.

Albemarle county is also the home of The Anchorage Farm,  where murdered Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington was recovered after exhaustive searches of the areas surrounding the JPJ arena, UVA campus and private LE searches failed to locate her.   Harrington disappeared from a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena on October 17, 2009 after being refused re-entry by security.  DNA evidence has linked the Harrington case to a suspect in an unsolved rape in Fairfax, VA in 2005.  Former lead detective now retired, Lt. Rader,  has only indicated that forensic link means that Morgan came into contact with that individual prior to leaving Charlottesville.

Efforts to confirm whether Sean Horn was working the event as a UVA officer that evening have not been returned.

Corrine Geller,  public information officer for the Virginia State Police,  whose agency leads the probe into Morgan’s homicide responded to our inquiry as to whether or not Horn was a target of their continuing investigation this morning:

“The investigation remains ongoing at this time. I’m not able to comment on who our agents have or have not looked into during the course of their investigation.”

Horn lists Virginia Tech among his educational credentials on his facebook account, where Harrington was a junior at the time of her disappearance.  It is not known if the two were acquainted.

Horn is being held in the Albemarle Regional jail pending his bond hearing today.

Check back to www.blinkoncrime.com for updates.

 

 

 

 

Two Years Cold-Morgan Harrington Murder: Two Women, Two Locations, Too Long

Girl In The Hayfield

Morgan Dana Harrington was the ingenue of artist and adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, Jane Lillian Vance.

She was scheduled to travel with her to Nepal in the Spring of 2010 while continuing to pursue her Education degree in her third year as a Hokie.

Morgan would not make that trip, and Vance would complete her latest work in her former students honor, last week.

With her Mother Gil’s help, albeit posthumously, Morgan is indeed educating children; the underprivileged children of Zambia.   In April, 2010,  Gil Harrington carried some of her beloved daughter’s ashes during the Orphan Medical Network International (OMNI) pilgrimage to Zambia.   After raising donations for the Morgan Harrington Educational Wing, Morgan’s ashes were mixed with the concrete foundation of the school bearing her name.

At 5’6” ,  with breck-girl locks and eyes like briolette  faceted tourmaline’s,  Morgan was a stunning beauty.

Behind her neon smile was the burgeoning sophistication of a girl beyond her years and peers.

This gilded lily stood out.

On the grounds of the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia while attending a Metallica concert with her friends, unfortunately, she also caught the eye of a dangerous predator.    The cost of admission to the events that followed, would be her life.

Devoid of her ticket to return inside the presumed safety of the venue and old friends,  Morgan scored the unwilling and unalterable ticket to the cross-hairs of a Medium Build, 6’ African American sexual sadist who has likely spent the last four years honing his skills.

“Sketch” was interrupted by a passerby during a vicious beating and sexual assault in Fairfax on September 24, 2005.  His DNA is linked to both victims.

Lights, Cameras, 400 Blue Phones

According to JPJ and UVA security guidelines, all hired security must be law enforcement.

In addition to the regularly scheduled patrol assignments of UVA PD, events such as the Metallica concert required additional security posts which were hired via a security request when the date was booked.  Although additional UVA officers were working the night of October 17, there has never been a statement regarding any observations  from that evening on their behalf by Melissa Fielding, Investigative Lieutenant.

However, in a private meeting that included UVA PD staff, shortly after Morgan’s disappearance, an attendee speaking to www.blinkoncrime.com on the condition of anonymity, told me he heard Fielding tell someone openly that Harrington’s car never left Harrisonburg, or JMU, and that it was a different friends car that was driven to the arena and hers had been accounted for.

In response to another UVA PD staffer loudly offering  that he heard that Morgan was behaving “obnoxiously” during the trip to JPJ, which resulted in a tiff between the friends and the reason she ultimately left the concert, Fielding snapped “That was still no reason to leave her.”

When pressed as to why she thought they still believed Morgan’s car was not a factor when Lt Rader of the Virginia State Police (VSP) and Dr. Harrington, Morgan’s Father, both confirmed her car was the vehicle the foursome traveled in,  she repeated that information was incorrect with no further explanation.  While VSP was leading the investigation at this point, it certainly still begs the question as to why the original agency tasked with her disappearance, and still assisting, would have such important misinformation circulating in an active investigation and ongoing search.

According to the Office of the Executive Vice President of UVA,  UVAPD security personnel are also responsible for surveillance on grounds.  The central monitoring  area, which is linked to the security cameras in several lots and public areas, is located in the central parking garage.  There is no information available on the storage medium of recorded footage from the cameras, and requests for information were deferred to VSP.

The University of Virginia uses technology to improve security on Grounds. University Police install video cameras in several parking lots and public areas. Additional cameras may be installed in the future. Security cameras will be connected to a central control room operated by the Police Department in the new Central Grounds Parking Garage. The purpose for using the cameras is to reduce incidents of crime while limiting the need to expand the Police Department.

VSP is not discussing the specificity of what they have or do not have regarding footage supplied by JPJ/UVA.

With the exception of course that out of everything that has “been supplied to them”, there are no images of Morgan whatsoever.

Stationed inside the arena,  is UVA PD security, non-police event security run by RMC Events,  security staff employed directly by Metallica, UVA facilities management personnel, and contracted vendors to both JPJ and UVA.   Firemarshall, zoning, and University guidelines also require EMT attendance. (more…)

Inspiring Vigilance: The Murder Of Morgan Harrington One Year Later

Charlottesville, VA– Sunday October 17 marks the one-year anniversary of the worst day of Dan and Gil Harrington’s lives. Although they were not yet aware of the horror that had befallen their Roanoke, VA family, the next morning their daughter’s purse was found on the grounds of the University of Virginia Lanigan Field. Morgan Dana Harrington had vanished.

MorganChosenByDadboc

While attending a Metallica concert with friends Sarah Snead, Amelia Melvin and Dan Cassagne with tickets purchased 6 months earlier by Morgan’s Dad, Morgan, for reasons unknown, was outside John Paul Jones arena at approximately 8:45PM.

Morgan attempted to re-enter the arena but could not locate her ticket and was denied access to return to the venue.  Shortly thereafter, Sarah called Morgan at 8:48PM looking for her and was told she could not get back in and would be attempting to locate a ride, according to Snead. 

Various witness accounts and in some cases corroborating statements from Virginia State Police (VSP), place Morgan in different areas of the adjacent parking lots of JPJ over the following 45 minutes, moving toward the far perimeter of UVA property.

 According to the VSP, there is a witness statement that a person matching Morgan’s description was seen hitchhiking alone on the Copeley bridge at approximately 9:30PM.

After several private law enforcement searches and two volunteer based efforts organized by the Harrington’s failed to locate her, Morgan Harrington’s remains were discovered by a prominent Charlottesville land owner on his remote 700 acre farm in Albemarle County,  8 miles South of JPJ arena, on January 26th, 2010.  Morgan’s death has been classified as a homicide, however her cause of death has not been released.

Until July, the case seemed to be at a virtual standstill from an investigative perspective, in fact the only arrest to date is that of a man who provided a false lead to VSP, and was prosecuted for it.

On July 1st, as a direct result of an article linking Morgan’s case to an unsolved sexual assault case in 2005 in Fairfax, VA published by blinkoncrime.com, a sketch of a man forensically linked to both the Fairfax case and that of Morgan Harrington was released by the Virginia State Police, albeit grudgingly, at first.


Behind the scenes, Dan and Gil Harrington, who were made aware of the connection a few weeks earlier, were adamant the sketch was critical to developing leads and warning others and demanded the sketch be posted on the VSP website; it was uploaded later that afternoon at Dr. Harrington’s request.

Virginia State Police have not commented publicly on the case in several months, but in a private correspondence with a concerned blinkoncrime.com reader, Lt. Joe Rader, leading the investigation for VSP,  said not only is the case not cold, but he has recently assigned additional manpower to it.

Dan and Gil Harrington, Morgan’s bereaved parents, along with Morgan’s beloved brother Alex, have spent the last year keeping Morgan’s case alive through the development of their own family blog, TV and radio appearances, and most recently, a meeting regarding safety concerns with new University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan.  This Sunday, a memorial plaque to promote safety and honor Morgan Harrington is being presented to the Harrington’s on the Copely bridge.

 

Note From the Editor

“How would you describe the Harrington’s?”  I am asked this question frequently.

I always respond the same way.  “I would not”. 

The grace and poise these parents have shown in the face of the worst conceivable tragedy to befall a parent is not something I could wordsmith or articulate. 

If the question comes from someone I feel may help their cause, I offer to make the introduction, but I would never presume to speak for them.

The Harrington’s have created a legacy in memory of Morgan that only parents of a 20-year-old blossoming artist, music loving, budding educator could.

 

Morgan Harrington Photo chosen by and courtesy of The Harrington Family Library

Elizabeth Morten, Madeline Tanner and Jason Mateos, contributing editors to blinkoncrime.com

Madeline Tanner, copy editor

Images By Klaasend

 

Harrington/Love Murders AT UVA: Sorority Rape Misses Radar To Alert Students

Charlottesville, VA-  Sallie Hamilton, the original owner of the Hamilton House on Chancellor Ave., was ahead of her time when she chose Charlottesville to build her boarding house.

Recently divorced and the mother of two young sons, she was one of five single women from 1900 to 1910 to build and operate boarding houses to accommodate students of the University of Virginia as a means of income and support for her family.

The Chancellor Street address abutted the newly established and exclusive Fraternity Row on Madison Lane and was directly across from the central grounds. The Delta Zeta Sorority purchased it in 1979.

DZ Sorority Hamilton House

In the early morning hours of September 17th, 2010, it was also the scene of the latest rape of a UVA student and DZ sorority sister.

September 17th, 2010 also happens to have been the first full day of a 10 day memorial to Yeardley Love, the lacrosse player who was brutally murdered in May.

The columns of the Rotunda were draped in black just hours before the vicious rape and assault in the backyard of the sorority house, an assault that the young woman has very little memory of.

Coincidentally, Yeardley Love was a sister at Kappa Alpha Theta, whose sorority, Saunders House,  resides at 127 Chancellor Street.

A “stones throw away” you might say.

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Morgan Harrington Murder: A Security Check On Security- Why Did It Fail?

Moramysara

Charlottesville, VA-

On the afternoon of October 17, 2009, Morgan Harrington and three of her friends drove to John Paul Jones Arena, located on the University of Virginia campus, to attend a long-anticipated Metallica concert. Following an apparent fall and chin injury occurring around the time she was visiting the ladies room, Morgan ended up outside the arena and attempted to gain re-entry to the venue.


How and why she got there comes in at a baffling second only compared to what happened to her next.


Nine months ago Dr. Dan and Gil Harrington, Morgan’s parents were notified their daughter was missing which is when their nightmare began.


On November 5, 2009, the day before a search which was organized at the request of the Harrington’s was to commence, a vintage black Pantera t-shirt placed on a bush in front of an apartment complex at the intersection near 15th Street and Grady Ave.  was located by a nearby resident.


While this discovery was not released publicly, Charlottesville PD knew immediately it belonged to Morgan Harrington. Sara Snead, one of the friends that accompanied Morgan to the concert, immediately confirmed the distinct vintage design that compelled Morgan to borrow the t-shirt from her a week before the show.


Subsequently, DNA analysis confirmed the t-shirt was indeed the same one Morgan was wearing the night she disappeared.


On January 26, 2010 the remains of Morgan Harrington were discovered by David Bass, owner of Anchorage Farm, located in Albemarle County. Although her cause of death has not been released, her manner of death has been classified as a homicide by the Virginia State Police.


Dan and Gil Harrington marked the nine-month anniversary of Morgan’s disappearance from her memorial on Copeley Bridge 4 days ago.

Gil Harrington’s impassioned statement made it clear that her family’s mission is to prevent what happened to Morgan from happening to another victim and their goal is to educate young women about safety and personal security.


On July 1st, based upon an article posted on blinkoncrime.com inside sources confirmed a forensic link between Morgan’s homicide and a Fairfax County Case. Research on this case indicates it was a violent sexual assault that happened in 2005. The victim assisted in the sketch of a man police wish to interview in connection with both the Fairfax assault as well as the apparent abduction and murder of Morgan Harrington. .

FairfaxAgeProgress

What did it mean to the investigation and to the parents of young women in Charlottesville? We have a serial offender on the loose in multiple jurisdictions and an immediate need to beef up personal security.


As our very vulnerable student body returns to campus next month, blinkoncrime.com provides a glimpse at current conditions.

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