FBI Releases New Sketch in Morgan Harrington Murder Investigation
(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — A revised FBI sketch of the suspect in the killing of Morgan Harrington has been released, part of a revived effort to find the Virginia Tech student’s murderer nearly three years after her death.
Help Save the Next Girl, a victim’s rights group founded by Harrington’s parents, released the revised FBI sketch of an unidentified possible suspect who has been linked to a 2005 sexual assault case in Fairfax County some two hours north.
Harrington disappeared Oct. 17, 2009, during a Metallica concert on the University of Virginia campus. Her body was found in January 2010 at a farm in Albemarle County, not too far away.
As the investigation unfolded, information forensically linked the man pictured in the sketch to a sexual assault in Fairfax County in 2005.
The FBI has revised the sketch, which was initially developed by Fairfax County police following the September 2005 sexual assault during which the suspect grabbed a woman and dragged her to a pool and park area and sexually assaulted her.
The FBI and Virginia State Police have been working on the investigation. Few details have emerged about the night she went missing. Harrington had gone to a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville when she got separated from her friends, who believe she stepped outside for a cigarette.
Surveillance cameras at the concert caught Harrington getting turned away from several entrances as she tried to return to the concert. Later, witnesses told police they saw someone matching her description in a nearby grassy parking lot, and then walking on an adjacent road.
The morning after the concert, Harrington’s purse and cellphone were found in that grassy field, and later, her parents, Dan and Gil Harrington, called police to report her missing.
Morgan’s mother, Gil Harrington, told ABC News affiliate WJLA in 2010: “It’s easy for a community to grow complacent and forget that there is still violence and that a predator still walks the streets.”
Police have said that the suspect may have changed his appearance in five years since the first attack he is suspected of committing, but Harrington’s family and friends still hope someone might remember him or make a connection.
Police said there were tricky “obstacles” to get to the location on Anchorage Farm where the body was found, so they asked people who live in the area to alert investigators to whoever was familiar with the roads and terrain there.
In the coming days, the FBI is planning to bring more attention to the case.
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