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Update: East Coast Rapist Not Connected to Morgan Harrington

Manassas, VA – The descriptions of the so-called East Coast Rapist were similar to the sketch of the suspect in the Morgan Harrington case.

State Police say the DNA profile in Harrington’s case does not match the East Coast Rapist’s DNA. Therefore, the cases are not


20- year old Morgan Dana Harrington  was the Virginia Tech student who disappeared on the night of Oct. 17, 2009 attending a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA.

The case achieved widespread national attention in the States. It is understood that she had gone to the University of Virginia for a Metallica concert, but left the arena for unknown reason and was denied re-entry under arena policy.

Authorities believe Harrington was last seen at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 17 on a bridge in Charlottesville, Va., about 75 miles north west of Richmond.

Harrington timeline, areal view

John Paul Jones Arena 

Morgan Harrington’s murdered body was discovered on a 700-acre Albermarle County Farm field on Jan. 26, 2010 by the farms owner some 10 miles away from where Morgan Harrington was last seen alive.

The exact cause of death is still unknown, but authorities confirmed her death was ruled homicide.

To this day the identity of her killer remains unknown.


There are very few developments to report. Also authorities have released very little info about the case. Most importantly State Police confirmed that DNA in the Harrington case was linked to a 2005 rape in Fairfax. The victim in that case survived after her assailant was likely startled by a passerby; the composite sketch produced from her description of an average sized African American male, aged 25-35, is the only publicly known information about the suspected perpetrator, whose DNA now exists in the State’s DNA databank, though his identity remains unknown.

It was reported that inside the arena she got separated from her friends, who believed she stepped outside for a smoke.

She then called her friends on a cell phone to say she was not allowed back inside due to Arena’s no-re-entry policy, saying ‘Don’t worry, I’ll find a way home.’ Morgan Dana Harrington’s purse with ID and cell phone was found at the parking lot at the arena.

Virginia Department of Forensic Science later confirmed that Harrington’s black T- shirt was discovered on 15th Street near the intersection of Grady Avenue on Nov. 11, 2009, in Charlottesville by local resident and turned over to investigators.

Virginia State Police believe  that the biggest key in Harrington investigation is the location of her remains.

The body was found "a considerable distance from the roadway" and the person likely was familiar with the area.

Traveling to Anchorage Farm area would have created a significant risk to a suspect.  The area is a high-risk location to take a body and police believe the person willingly chose the farm. The person responsible may or not be connected to the Anchorage Farm area, but may have worked, recreated, visited or periodically traveled through the area near the farm where her body was found.

The police have interviewed more than 100 individuals as part of the on-going investigation,  also FBI was assigned to the case



Naturally there are lots of questions, but few answers.

While homicide doesn’t necessarily mean murder, all indications are that she was killed by an unknown perpetrator.

Given that, by many accounts Morgan was very excited about the concert,  she referred to upcoming event on her Facebook page, it is baffling she bought tickets months before, only to leave the Arena even before Metallica took stage. As reported the Arena had NO-RE- ENTRY policy which is common policy for quests at many concert etc venues, they also had signs posted at every gate. As reported by The Hook a ticket taker warned Morgan about the Arena’s no re-entry policy as she prepared to exit through the main doors. So it is safe to assume she likely understood she will not be allowed back in. Police have been hesitant to confirm can Morgan be seen anywhere  on security tapes, inside the Arena or outside. It is also a mystery what happened in the Arena. According to a witness Morgan probably fell and injured her chin, one woman saw Morgan applying paper towels to her face to blot blood from a "minor injury.

According to their website ‘John Paul Jones Arena is indeed a smoke free facility but outdoor smoking sections are provided for quests. Also alcoholic beverages or containers of any kind are NOT permitted inside the arena, persons identified with alcohol should be asked to leave the premises. Guests appearing intoxicated will be subject to ejection and turned over to Police’. But this obviously wasn’t the case, although there are witness accounts that Morgan seemed ‘unsteady on her feet’.

But if this scenario is correct she would have been an easy target for someone who lured her or any other young woman outside the Arena or nearby. Criminal profiler Pat Brown suggested that Morgan was a victim of a serial killer.

There are conflicting reports how did she got there in the first place, reportedly Harrington and her three friends drove to the John Paul Jones Arena by her car, but not clear who was driving that car, Morgan herself or one of her friends. It seems she had no car keys as her friend drove her car back according to reports.

Also erratic, even aggressive behaviour has been reported, but not clear what that ‘ not in a normal state of mind’ means, let alone what may have cause that. Even if she had consumed alcohol, her alleged abnormal behaviour or odd state of mind didn’t cause much concern for her friends,  when they learned that Morgan was stuck outside.

Actually they have very little to say, but have been cooperative to the investigation.

Morgan’s parents, Gil and Dan say such behaviour is ‘out of her character’

Reportedly she was hitchhiking near the bridge and picked up by someone and likely sexually assaulted. This is another red flag that the story doesn’t add up,  her parents say she had good practical judgement and probably wasn’t that kind of ‘adventurous’.

Why trust a complete stranger, she could have called someone she knew. She did call her father hours before to tell him she safely arrived in the Arena. Another odd thing was that her cell phone was found at the parking lot at the arena but battery was gone. A witness says she dropped the phone,  but picked it up. Possibly the person who abducted her removed the battery, so her movements couldn’t be tracked by pinging her cell phone.

It seems she had more bad luck for just one day than most people during their whole lifetime.. So far the police have been unsuccessful to establish a link between the location where the body was found and the possible killer.

Some speculate that she actually met someone she knew outside the Arena, she interacted with several people in the immediate area but all of them have been checked and cleared.

The police seem to believe the crime was perpetrated by a random person and by someone who is familiar with the area. The perpetrator is likely to strike again.
Authorities remain confident that the case will be eventually solved and her killer brought to justice. He’s still here.’ And other revelations in the Harrington case


Writing about crime

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