CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS/AP) A weekend-long search, aided by an army of volunteers and more reward money, is beginning Friday in a renewed effort to find 20-year-old Virginia Tech student Morgan Dana Harrington.
Harrington's parents, saying "we just want our daughter back," have added $100,000 of their own money to the Crime Stoppers reward for information leading to Morgan, and the band Metallica has also donated $50,000 to the reward fund.
Harrington disappeared outside a Metallica concert on Oct. 17 in Charlottesville, Va.
CBS affiliate WCAV is reporting that the Laura Recovery Center is lending its considerable experience in community organizing to help find Morgan. The Texas-based organization, which was called in to search for Elizabeth Smart, was founded by Bob Smither and named it after his daughter, who was abducted and murdered when she was twelve.
Smither says he believes Morgan is out there and wants to bring her home to the Harrington family.
In that effort the Recovery Center is organizing a three-day search to begin Friday morning and continue through Sunday. On Thursday night more than 300 volunteers showed up at the meeting held at the Charlottesville's Cavalier Inn, not far from where the 20-year-old was last seen Oct. 17, to attend a meeting at which organizers briefed them on the logistics of the massive search.VIDEO COURTESY OF CBS AFFILIATE WCAV
Organizers said they expect over 1,000 volunteers to show up Friday morning, but were still reaching out to the community for more help.
Smither told The Roanoke Times that while police have repeatedly searched the area where Harrington disappeared, leaders of the community search will be able to expand the search area to a one-mile radius by Sunday evening, if the anticipated volunteers show up.
"We should be able to cover an awful lot of ground," said Smither, "It's a numbers game. We are looking for the needle in the haystack."
The Jefferson Area Crime Stoppers has established a $150,041 reward for information leading to the location and recovery of Morgan Harrington. The public is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000 or the tip line at 434-352-3467.
MORE ON CRIMESIDER
October 28, 2009 - Morgan Harrington Missing: Family Remains Hopeful, but Suspect Foul Play
October 22, 2009 - Morgan Harrington Missing - Disappearance of Virginia Tech Student Now a Criminal Case
October 21, 2009 - Morgan Harrington Pictures: Virginia Tech Student Vanishes After Metallica Show
October 20, 2009 - Virginia Tech Student Morgan Harrington Missing after Metallica Concert