UVA students rattled by missing persons case

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Virginia State Police are expected to announce a substantial reward Thursday for information about missing Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington.

There may be some police activity on and around the grounds of John Paul Jones Arena Thursday morning. But search and rescue teams are on stand-by in case police receive a significant tip.

UVA students say they're looking out for Harrington and keeping an eye on close friends. Harrington's disappearance has rattled some UVA students.

"I carry a knife in my bag," said UVA student Nora Ellison, "When I'm walking around at night but especially now with people going missing."

While some have taken steps to protect themselves, others say they've become more aware of their surroundings and who might be watching loved ones.

"Definitely watching the crowds around her," said UVA student Stephen Delisle.

"I have a little sister here who's a first year and I told her that she shouldn't have to worry about walking around grounds at night I sort of want to retract that statement," said UVA student Steven Lenz.

State police say there was no sign of a struggle in the parking lot between the arena and athletic fields where Harrington's purse and cell phone were found Sunday morning.

Harrington was in Charlottesville with her girlfriends for a Metallica concert when she vanished before the show started. Police say Harrington was going to the restroom when she ended up outside. The arena has a no-return policy.

Metallica expressed concern on the group's web site and Twitter page. There's even a Facebook page dedicated to the missing Virginia Tech Junior.

"There has been no contact with Morgan or from Morgan," said State Police Lt. Joe Rader at a news conference Wednesday.

A parent's worst nightmare.

"I feel really bad for the parents because no one knows where she's at and they're looking and when they've been gone this long I can't imagine as a parent," said Libbie Angles.

Police say Harrington's parents want the reward to start at $50,000 dollars. An announcement is expected Thursday.

If you have information about Harrington, call the state police tip line at 434-352-3467.

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