October 17, 2011
The Copeley Road Bridge at the University of Virginia is where Morgan Harrington was last seen alive on Oct. 17, 2009. Now, two years later, her family and police want people to know they're not done in the hunt for her killer.
"There's just this agony that's endless when you know she's been gone for two years and this nothingness that fills their days when there's been no new breaks in the case," said Susan Rives, a longtime Harrington family friend.
After attending a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena in 2009, Harrington disappeared. Her body was found the following January on Anchorage Farm in southern Albemarle County.
"We need to mark the day so the community remembers that a beautiful young life was lost," Rives said.
The official cause of death is homicide. Virginia State Police have been working the case since the beginning. While they have no suspects, they do have a sketch of one. DNA links the unknown man in the sketch to a 2005 sexual assault in the City of Fairfax.
"It's hard to have DNA evidence that might link them to another violent perpetrator that they can't find," Rives said.
Harrington's parents have made it their mission to save the next girl, most recently through a national advertising campaign.
"Here's a family that went through such an amazing tragedy, a horrific tragedy, and yet I've seen them in their finest hour," Rives said of Harrington's parents, Dan and Gil.
Rives says there's fear that Harrington's case will go cold. Still, family and friends know that Morgan Harrington would be proud of the efforts.
"We know she's smiling at her parents and hugging them with their efforts in her name," Rives said.
The Harringtons will join police at a Monday morning press conference at 10 a.m. at the Copeley Road Bridge. There is a $150,000 reward for anyone who has information about Harrington's death that leads to an arrest.