ROANOKE, Va. — By the time Virginia State Police Special Agent Dino Capuzzo called to let her know another young woman was reported missing in Charlottesville, the news of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham‘s disappearance had already reached Gil Harrington.
Harrington’s daughter Morgan was abducted in October 2009 while she walked near the University of Virginia campus. Morgan Harrington‘s body was found months later on an Albemarle farm. No one has been convicted of her abduction and murder.
“You kind of go down the rabbit hole again of anguish,” Harrington said about learning of Graham’s disappearance. “We’re almost five years out from Morgan’s abduction and murder. It’s still pretty close to the surface and it’s still fragile.”
Harrington, who along with her husband Dan, formed the non-profit Help Save the Next Girl to help prevent future abductions and support families forced to deal with the nightmare, said she was not ready to connect the dots between Morgan’s death and Graham’s disappearance.
“Your mind goes there, but I think that’s premature in a way,” she said. “We have the possibility of having a good outcome with Hannah. We need to keep that in mind.” Gil Harrington said people need to come forward and tell police everything they know about Graham.
“Police need information. They need to process tips. Please reach out to police and do not be the filter. Even if you think it does not make sense, let police be the filter,” she said.
Harrington admitted the longer the search continued for Graham, the likelihood of a good result lessens.
“The clock is ticking for Hannah,” she said.
Harrington has reached out to Graham’s family in an attempt to offer support, but has not yet spoken to Hannah’s parents.
“We are heartbroken for family. We know what they’re going through,” she said. “Every family travels this road differently. They may not want to be public.”
Last year the Harringtons did reach out to the Murphy family after 17-year-old Alexis Murphy was abducted in Nelson County.
Harrington, Murphy and Graham along with women like Samantha Clarke and Alicia Showalter Reynolds all disappeared from an area known as the Route 29 corridor. That geographic connection has helped earn Route 29 an infamous reputation.
"I don’t know. Either there is a commonality or a crime spree," Harrington said about the Route 29 connection. "We have long passed a critical mass that needs looking at. If you look at the map of missing and abducted along Route 29 – it’s not a normal pattern."
Graham, 18, was last seen on surveillance video outside of McGrady’s Pub on Grady Street at about 12:45 a.m. Saturday, Charlottesville Police Capt. Gary Pleasants said. Police described Graham as a 5’11” white female with a skinny build. She has blue eyes, light brown hair and freckles. She was last seen wearing a black crop top with mesh cut outs.
Anyone with information about Graham was asked to call Charlottesville Police Department at 434-970-3280 or CrimeStoppers at 434-977-4000.