Former Harrington murder lead investigator releases letter urging murderer’s confession

Retired Charlottesville Police Lieut. Joe Rader, former lead investigator for the Morgan Harrington case, is boosting efforts to find Harrington’s killer. Rader released a letter to the public Tuesday urging Harrington’s killer or anyone with information related to her death, to come forward.

“It is time for YOU to DO THE RIGHT THING and free the burden of your conscience with the information you have,” Rader said in the letter.

The former Virginia Tech student disappeared after a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones in Oct. 2009.
Her remains were discovered 3 months later on an Albemarle County farm in close proximity to the concert venue.

Gil Harrington, Morgan’s mother, started a campaign shortly thereafter called “Help Save the Next Girl” that aims to raise awareness about violence against women and increase community vigilance.

Harrington said Rader’s letter was unprecedented and courageous.

“There is someone who knows what happened … either the guy who was driving the car, or in the backseat,” she said. “But maybe the driver [who] is afraid to be implicated, or the girlfriend [who] saw [the killer] come in that night with blood on his clothes… his coworkers who saw some injuries on him — defensive injuries.”

The Harringtons have offered a $100,000 reward to anyone with information about the killer but have to this point not received any leads.

“There are definitely people [for whom] the monetary reward is not enough, but maybe money is not the key,” Harrington said. “At this time of year, during the family holiday season, they need to get it off of their conscience.”

The letter’s release comes on the heels of the attempted abduction of a University student last Friday evening.

The student ultimately escaped from the assailant — a University dining employee who approached her near Runk Dining Hall — but critics are chastising the University for its failure to communicate information about the incident to students.

“Institutions want to brush it aside because it’s ugly and no one wants to be the place where girls are abducted … ,” Harrington said. “It’s too late for Morgan but I’ll be darned to wait around and sit and wait for the next person. I have to know I didn’t just wait, I did everything possible to keep that from happening.”

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