Location of ‘greatest significance’ in Harrington investigation
Story by Chris Graham
The Albemarle County farm where the remains of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington were discovered on Jan. 26 are of “the greatest significance” in unraveling the mystery of her Oct. 17 disappearance, a Virginia State Police investigator said Thursday.
Investigators believe that the person or persons responsible for her homicide is or are likely to have traveled, worked, recreated or lived in close proximity to the historic Anchorage Farm located in southern Albemarle County.
“Of all the events that transpired between Morgan and the person or persons responsible for this tragic incident, the person(s) responsible had complete control of deciding to choose the specific farm where Morgan was discovered. Therefore, investigators need to understand who knows this area,” said Lt. Joe Rader of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox field office.
People with a relationship to the Anchorage Farm area – people who live in the area or have lived in the area, or are regular visitors to the area – “are of tremendous importance in providing vital information about that particular area because you understand and observe the activities of the area,” Rader said.
The State Police released key points regarding the probable relationship the individual or individuals responsible for the Harrington murder might have with this particular property and exact location of where her remains were found.
– The person responsible may or may not have a formal connection to Anchorage Farm where Morgan was recovered, but investigators believe the person(s) responsible is likely to have traveled, worked, recreated, or lived in close proximity to this farm or some other nearby property.
– The person(s) responsible in this tragic incident may have been inclined to return to the farm location during a period of increased stress.
– Investigators are confident that persons, through no fault of their own, know the person or persons responsible or have knowledge of specific instances whereby those responsible visited or traveled through the general location of where Morgan’s remains were recovered.
– Investigators believe the person or persons responsible had specific knowledge of the area, and was comfortable operating in the area, which is a considerable distance from the nearest roadway.
– This choice of location is quite different from the decision to leave a body on or adjacent to a major public roadway, or some other area accessed with little or no risk.
– Traveling to the Anchorage Farm location would have created a significant risk for any person unfamiliar with the area, and not comfortable to this type of setting. Farmland like the place where Morgan’s body was discovered presents difficult obstacles, such as fences, streams and difficult terrain variations – such challenges a person unfamiliar with this particular location would most likely have avoided.
“I ask the public to please think about these six perspectives and based on your knowledge as a local citizen, contact law enforcement with information even if you do not want to leave your name,” Rader said.
The State Police has established a tip line just to receive information specifically related to the Anchorage Farm property: 434.709.1685.
Those with other information and tips related to the Morgan Harrington case are encouraged to call Virginia State Police at 434.352.3467, UVa. Police at 434.924.7166 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.