The Hook article by Courtney Stuart
Her striking face now looks out from a billboard on High Street with the plea: “Help us solve Morgan’s murder.”
Nearly eight months after the 20-year-old Virginia Tech student disappeared after attending a Metallica show at John Paul Jones Arena and more than four months after her remains were discovered on a remote farm in southern Albemarle County, the billboard— put up June 1— is a reminder that whoever killed Morgan Harrington is still at large in a case that some are beginning to fear may never be solved, despite a still-available $150,000 reward.
“We’re all hoping for some kind of break,” said Morgan’s mother, Gil Harrington, on May 17, the seven month anniversary of Morgan’s disappearance and two weeks before the billboard was erected.
Seeking a way to elevate the visibility of the case and perhaps prompt a tip that could help bring Morgan’s killer to justice, the Harringtons contacted Lamar advertising, the company that owns the billboards— only to learn all spots were sold out.
When the Charlottesville Newsplex heard the Harringtons were seeking billboard space, “it didn’t take two seconds” to decide to donate the space normally reserved for smiling newsanchors at television stations WCAV, WVAW, WAHU, according to General Manager Brad Ramsey, who says the company pays about $1,000 per month for the prominently-placed billboard.
State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller says the lack of new information made public in the case is not necessarily bad news.
“At first we were forthcoming,” she says. “Now we have a criminal investigation, and there’s certain information we have to evaluate so we don’t jeopardize the eventual prosecution. We’re still very hopeful, and we’ve certainly not given up.”
As for the billboard, it will remain up through the end of June, says Ramsey, in hopes of sparking new information to solve the case.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” says Ramsey. “I don’t think there’s a single person in this community who doesn’t want to find the person responsible for Morgan’s death, other than the person who did it.”