Dana Morgan Harrington found dead

Posted on 2010-01-27 22:57

I'm not quite sure why I became so interested in this particular case, but I did. I think it might have been because I have been to a lot of concerts and I never went to one with any thought that I wouldn't make it home again. I followed the story on several websites including websleuths, findmorgan.com, and local Charlottesville newspaper websites and crime blogs. Dana Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student had planned to attend the Oct 17th Metallica show for a long time - along with a few friends - and before Metallica had even made it on stage she had somehow ended up outside the John Paul Jones arena on the University of Virginia campus, in 40 degree weather without her car keys. Her purse and cell phone (with the battery removed) were found the next day in an overflow parking area.

There was nothing but speculation for many months, frustratingly little was being released by the police, and eventually the parents actually organized their own search parties. Some thought she might have run away, or that the friends were involved somehow. The friends claimed she had called them a little before Metallica went on and allegedly told them that she was locked out and would find another ride home, but of course the police wouldn't confirm or deny the alleged call. The friends say they waited for a long time for her after the show but eventually left (in her car) and didn't call anyone when they didn't find her at home.

Every aspect of the poor girl's life was dissected, her friends, her relationship with her parents, the route she had taken after the show. There were eye witnesses with sightings of her in what was pretty distinctive metal concert going attire from all over the region, some of the sightings the next day, but most indicating she had walked toward the area where her purse was found and then possibly over a bridge where she may have been seen hitch-hiking. There were maps drawn up and timelines discussed. Other crimes in Virginia were compared - perhaps there was a serial killer on the loose. The roadies and stage hands involved with the concert were suspected - perhaps one of them was travelling around the country snatching girls at shows, were there similar disappearances at earlier shows on the tour? Basketball players from the college who normally park in the lot where her purse was found weren't ever considered seriously by law enforcement and many sleuths thought that might be because the university didn't want bad press. Weird posts on facebook were being chased down and there was word that the FBI might be involved.

The inevitable bad news came yesterday when apparently her remains were found in a field about 5 miles south of Charlottesville. Its been months so there's not much left, but hopefully they'll find something to go on to get the folks responsible.