Search for Missing Metallica Fan Morgan Harrington Nets No Clues
Over the weekend, hundreds of volunteers rummaged through wooded areas, searched footpaths and scoured a square mile of area described as "challenging rural terrain" around the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va., searching for any trace of missing Metallica fan Morgan Harrington, who hasn't been seen or heard from in three weeks, when she vanished from Metallica's Oct. 17 concert. Unfortunately, their efforts turned up little in the way of actual clues or hard evidence.
Still, Harrington's mother, Gil, found a silver lining to the negative news: Now, investigators can eliminate the search area as having been thoroughly combed. According to Bob Smither, founder of the Texas-based Laura Recovery Center, the search may not have yielded any leads, but does provide the Harringtons with hope and mitigates a pent-up desire in the community to help.
Over the course of the entire weekend, more than 1,400 volunteers participated in the search. "We don't want anyone to give up hope," volunteer Jill Siegel told reporters. "We want [the Harringtons] to know that we are here for them."
On Nov. 9, the last day of the volunteer search, 360 people split into 36 teams to rake through the wooded area. Police told reporters they examined several items brought back by volunteers, but the objects were deemed irrelevant.
The Harringtons said they were overwhelmed by the showing of support, and that at this point, all they're looking for is some sort of closure. "Before we had this search, I realized we may not have a happy ending," Gil Harrington explained. 'I hope we have modeled a way of reacting to a crisis in a positive way. That would not be a bad legacy to have."
Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech junior, has been missing since she was separated from friends during the Oct. 17 concert. After ending up on the outside of the arena, where there is a no re-entry policy, Harrington called her friends to say she'd try to get her own ride home. The blue-eyed blond was last seen in black boots, a black mini-skirt, and a Pantera shirt.
Last week, Metallica's Kirk Hammett spoke about Harrington's case. "We are staying positive that she will be found soon," he said. "We are all hoping for the best and praying for her and her family. We all have children and as parents ourselves, it's our worst nightmare for a child to go out and not come back home. We empathize with that greatly, so we are doing what we can to help find her. We are staying positive."