Harrington killer knew area terrain

Police forces are now confident that the person responsible for the death of Morgan Dana Harrington - the 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who disappeared Oct. 17 after a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena - was familiar with Anchorage Farms and the surrounding area.

Harrington's remains were found in a remote hayfield at Anchorage Farms Jan. 26. Access to the field was hindered by obstacles that could not have been avoided, according to state police.

"Traveling to the Anchorage Farm location would have created a significant risk for any person not familiar to the area and not comfortable with that kind of setting," State Police Lt. Joe Rader said.

"As a result of the responsible person's past experience with that location or with the general area, the responsible person was inclined to return back to that vicinity during a high-stress situation."\nAny person unfamiliar with Anchorage Farms and the North Garden area would not have been able to navigate through the obstacles between the road and the field, Rader said. Instead of choosing an accessible, convenient location - such as the shoulder of a highway - the culprit chose to navigate through streams, fences, defects and changing terrain to dispose of the body.

Police officials suspect people in the area - without even realizing it - may know the offender.

"It's fair to say that if you're a student, be that [at] U.Va. or any other university for that matter, and you participated in any other activities that involved Anchorage Farms, please call the number that I gave," Rader said, adding that relevant activities may have taken place in years past. Hunting has taken place on the property, Rader said. He did not deny that fraternity parties may have occurred there or that activities may have occurred without the permission of the owners.

People familiar with North Garden or Anchorage Farms are encouraged to call 434-709-1685, Rader said.\n-compiled by Virginia Terwilliger

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