Morgan Harrington case investigator releases letter to killer

Posted at 10:22 AM, Nov 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-14 10:24:20-05

The former lead investigator into the 2009 abduction and death of Morgan Harrington has released a letter pleading for the person who has information on the case to come forward.

Lt. Joe Rader retired from the Virginia State Police earlier this year.

Harrington disappeared on October 17, 2009, after attending a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. Her remains were found in January 2010 on a farm in Albemarle County.


You know my face and voice because you have closely followed the case. Now, I no longer speak as a COP or for the state police, but as a father, husband, brother, friend to others and person of faith. I retired from law enforcement and the case, but their hard work continues every day. I have not run away from wanting to help find the TRUTH of what happened that chilly October night at JPJA and the bridge in Charlottesville, VA. Some people evaluated every word I said in press conferences as some sort of secret coded messages, but that was never the case.

So there is no confusion for you, I will be very blunt- YOU are not the same person you were in October 2009, because you hold the TRUTH of what happened to Morgan that October night and it has consumed your conscience every day. You see, you have important information from that night! It is time for YOU to DO THE RIGHT THING and free the burden of your conscience with the information you have. It is time for YOU to stand up in the name of humanity and justice. It is time for YOU to show that you have a sympathetic and dignified place in your heart so heavily troubled, regardless of your involvement in the circumstances leading to Morgan’s death.

Money has not brought you forward, but I understand it. No amount of money can clear a conscience that hides the truth. So what has held you back from making that call? Maybe you talked to law-enforcement and they missed your message. It can happen, so pick up the phone and call the VSP, AMW, FBI, or Crime Stoppers tip line. You have no excuses of lack of options to call! Is it embarrassment, fear, stigma, or skepticism that your information might point the finger at you? YOU have the TRUTH that will lead to solving the case, and that information will set your conscience free and bring peace to a family. The facts you have can be verified, but you must be totally honest. Half-truths are no more than little lies and will not relieve your heavy burden. It is time for YOU to come full circle and DO THE RIGHT THING!

How have YOU faced your children, friends, siblings or parents these past couple of years? I bet YOU have imagined the pain of losing one of them to a death that was senseless! I bet YOU would fight every battle to bring them back or at least find the TRUTH and the person responsible. YOU would accept nothing less than for people to fight for your cause if you had suffered the same tragedy. I know YOU have a conscience because you consider these things and it makes you nauseated! What have you seen when you look in the mirror? That has to be an image that causes you shame because you have the answers and know YOU must DO THE RIGHT THING.

So, there is no option to free you of this burden except to make the call now. One day, we all will face the judgment of who we believe is our Creator. At that time, there is no second chance to clear your conscience because you failed to DO THE RIGHT THING. Maybe you are not religious, but I wonder if you haven’t sought forgiveness from a Higher Authority. If so, I am certain you haven’t found that peace because you have yet to DO THE RIGHT THING! Call the tip lines or Crime Stoppers with the information that you know will bring this case to a conclusion. Call someone that you feel comfortable will talk to you and the police to understand what happened that night with Morgan Harrington! Do THE RIGHT THING now!

Joe Rader

Retired Lieutenant, Virginia State Police