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Morgan Harrington

I assume most of my readers know who she was but, for those who do not, Morgan Harrington was a young woman who, in October 2009, disappeared from the John Paul Jones Arena during a Metallica concert she had gone to. Her remains were discovered three months later on January 26 -- my birthday, in fact.

There are two reasons why I bring up Morgan Harrington on a site about Jefferson Area Drug Enforcement.

1. Apparently a group of people got it stuck in their heads that Miss Harrington’s unknown killer is someone JADE arrested for cocaine possession and, to support their theory, they linked to a news article on my site. If it isn’t obvious -- and it must not be -- JADE Task Force Officers generally don’t just roll out of bed one night and an hour later bust a guy they’d never heard of. In other words, whomever they go after they’ve had eyes on for a while. That some JADE-targeted Juan Jesus Julio Oscar Vasquez-Garcia picked up, murdered, then discarded Miss Harrington, then got coincidentally snagged by JADE for drug distribution immediately afterward might make for good storytelling but is likely not reality.

2. Starting shortly after Miss Harrington vanished, different people contacted me asking if I would help find her. Plus at least one person wanted me to, for lack of a better way to put it, monitor the lawmen working the case to find out if they were doing all that they could. I passed these requests up as missing persons are not my thing and also I have no doubt that Law Enforcement is doing their very best for Miss Harrington and her family. Of course once Miss Harrington’s remains were found, it changed my interest somewhat. I won’t expound on that too much, but let me just mention…

1. I saw Virginia State Police Lt. Joe Rader’s February 4, 2010, press conference. It was the oddest and most cryptic press conference I have ever seen. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to “get it” but I think he would’ve achieved the same results if he’d stood out there and said “we know what we’re looking for, and we believe you the community know what we’re looking for, so if you know what we know you know, give us a call.” I was not surprised to learn the thirty minute speech he did give didn’t go over quite the way investigators had intended.

2. The average person trying to solve an official case is at a severe disadvantage if he or she doesn’t have access to identical information and resources as the police. One can use Google Earth to look at a crime scene area all day long but it’s not going to show where a suspect parked, walked, or stopped to smoke a cigarette. One can forum-hop on the ‘net word-dropping “perp” and “unsub” better than any detective on television but it is real detectives who have to wade through that nonsense. That being said, the average person can indeed solve a case. After all, it wasn’t a fellow with a badge but rather a man with a tractor who closed the missing persons file on a young woman who disappeared from the John Paul Jones Arena during a Metallica concert. I hope someone will be able to close the file on her homicide as well.