January 26, 2013
Three years ago Saturday, Morgan Harrington's body was found on an Albemarle County farm. Her parents returned to the bridge on the she was last seen on the anniversary to remind the community there's still work to be done.
Harrington, a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, disappeared in October 2009 during a concert at the John Paul Jones arena.
"Morgan was found by happenstance. Sheer luck. And we haven't had any since then," said Gil Harrington, Morgan's mother.
Gil and Dan Harrington stood on the Copely Road Bridge where their daughter was last seen on October 17, 2009, the night she disappeared. Her body was found in January 2010.
"This third year. Three is a number of completion. Let us complete the work, the task that we have to solve this case," Gil said.
While there are no suspects in her disappearance and murder, Virginia State Police released a sketch of a man linked to Morgan's case by DNA.
"Please stop him. Before he does it again," Gil said.
"Our lives are not the same, never will be the same, and in many ways our lives stopped three years ago," Dan said.
They say most nights before they go to bed, they look at each other and talk about how it still seems surreal, realizing they'll never see her again.
They're asking for a hero, for someone to step up who knows the suspect or is sheltering him.
"You can't be linear. When you're in a battle, you have many fronts, and we are trying to do everything we can possibly think of to make this a safer community and find an answer to our personal problem and save the next victim," Gil said.
The Harringtons created the "Save the Next Girl" campaign to help educate girls on safety issues and, most importantly, to encourage them always to stick together.
This campaign is just one of the ways the couple is trying to help eliminate any more victims.
"For 101 days, Morgan was missing. I could tell you that it was pure hell knowing she was missing and worse than knowing she was dead," Dan said.
And for the third year anniversary, a blonde feathered hawk visited the bridge when the Harrington's arrived. They believe it's a sign that Morgan is watching.