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Metallica helps FBI try to track down killer of Morgan Harrington, Virginia Tech student who disappeared in 2009


Artist rendering of suspect in the 2009 death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, who went missing after attending a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Metallica is helping law enforcement authorities try to find the killer of a Virginia Tech student who disappeared from an October 2009 concert by the heavy metal band in Charlottesville, Va.

As part of an FBI multimedia campaign announced Wednesday, Metallica lead singer James Hetfield appears in an online video appealing to the public for tips in the death of Morgan Harrington.

Virgina State Police / AP

The body of Morgan Dana Harrington, 20, of Roanoke County, Va., was found on a farm.

Harrington, 20, was last seen leaving a Metallica concert on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on Oct. 17, 2009, and trying to hitch a ride. Her skeletonized body was found three months later in a hayfield on a remote farm in Albemarle County, Va., about 10 miles south of the concert venue.

Authorities have not said how she died. A crystal necklace Harrington was wearing and camera that she had that night have never been recovered.

The FBI says it has DNA evidence linking the unknown suspect to a sexual assault in Fairfax, Va., in 2005. In that case, a 26-year-old woman was attacked at night while walking home from a grocery store. The attacker was scared away by a passer-by. The victim got a good look at the man, enabling a Fairfax city police artist to produce an initial sketch of the attacker.

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The FBI on Wednesday released new, enhanced sketches of the suspect and said there is a reward of up to $150,000 – $100,000 from the Harrington family and $50,000 from Metallica -- for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the Harrington case.

“Bringing renewed attention to the case will get people thinking about it again,” Virginia State Police Special Agent Dino Cappuzzo said in a statement. “Our hope is that someone will come forward and provide a crucial piece of information that will help us solve the murder.”

The multimedia campaign launched Wednesday includes information on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, a YouTube public service announcement by Metallica and electronic billboards in Virginia and along the East Coast.

"If you’ve seen the person in this sketch or have any information about this case, or any others, please contact your local police or submit your information online,” Hetfield says in the online video. “Remember, any information, no matter how small you might think it is, could be that crucial piece that investigators need to help solve the case.”

Law enforcement agencies are asking anyone with information to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or the Virginia State Police Tip line at 434-352-3467.

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