October 21, 2009 — Virginia State Police and University of Virginia Police have received so many calls and leads about the disappearance of Morgan D. Harrington that they have established a new tip line for the public to call.
The number is 434-352-3467.
Lt. Joe A. Rader of the State Police said every call is being prioritized and followed up. "Since Monday, we have had 100-plus calls," he said today at a press conference.
Harrington has been missing since Oct. 17, when she came to Charlottesville with friends to attend the Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena. She's a 20-year-old junior majoring in education at Virginia Tech. Harrington and her parents, Dan and Gil Harrington, live in Roanoke County.
Rader said that the family will establish a reward of at least $50,000 through Crimestoppers for information that leads to their daughter's return.
Virginia State Police and U.Va. Police, working closely with police agencies from Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia Tech and many surrounding jurisdictions, have been investigating leads since Monday. Several ground searches have been conducted of the area around the arena and athletic fields. Harrington's purse and cell phone were found near the arena by a passerby on Sunday morning.
Rader said the police now consider this a criminal investigation. He added, however, "We have no real information that criminal misconduct has occurred."
On Saturday, Harrington and a friend picked up another friend at James Madison University and then traveled to Charlottesville. Harrington was not the driver.
She became separated from her friends when she went searching for a restroom around 8:30 p.m. and ended up outside the arena. It's the policy at all arena events that patrons aren't permitted to re-enter. Harrington contacted her friends around 8:40 p.m. to let them know she was outside and that she might find another way to get home.
"Her friends were aware they may not meet up with her after the concert," Rader said. "There was no immediate need for concern."
Rader said witnesses confirmed that Harrington was in the area of the arena until at least 9:30 p.m. A review of surveillance tapes wasn't helpful, he said.
Police will be expanding their search beyond U.Va. Corinne Geller, the state police public information officer, thanked the media and everyone who has spread the word about the case through social media and encouraged the public to continue to come forward with information.