WASHINGTON – Metallica has made a public service video as part of a law enforcement publicity blitz to try to catch a man wanted in the death of a Virginia Tech student who disappeared after one of the heavy metal band’s concerts.
Composite sketches of the suspect will be featured at bus shelters up and down the East Coast, and a video on the Internet from lead singer James Hetfield urges people to come forward with tips.
"Remember, any information – no matter how small you might think it is – could be that crucial piece investigators need to help solve the case," Hetfield said in the video, which was on YouTube and an FBI website dedicated to the case.
Morgan Harrington, a 20-year-old aspiring teacher, disappeared after an October 2009 concert in Charlottesville, Va. Her skeletal remains were discovered about three months later in a field about 10 miles from the concert venue.
Her T-shirt was found in front an apartment building near the area. A camera and a crystal necklace she had with her were never located. She was last seen hitchhiking.
The FBI said the suspect has also been linked through DNA to a 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax City, where a woman walking home from a grocery story reported being grabbed from behind, dragged behind a maintenance shed and attacked.
Harrington’s mother, Gil Harrington, said she and her husband are hopeful the new publicity effort will lead to an arrest.
"Our big motivation now is to catch this man and help save the next girl because he is a predator at the top of his game," Harrington said Wednesday.
The Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers is offering $100,000 for any information leading to an arrest, and Metallica has put up a $50,000 reward.
"To have abduction, rape and murder of your child is an obscenity. It is an abomination," Gil Harrington said. "The band reacted to that right away. It was a matter of days before James Hetfield was on the phone to Dan saying, ‘As a father, I am outraged.’"