The Virginia General Assembly has declared April 29 “Missing Persons Day.” To quote from the House Joint Resolution No. 612:
“according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center, in 2015, there were 84,961 active missing persons cases, 42,032 of which were related to juveniles under the age of 21; and
the total number of missing persons reports increased by 0.1 percent in 2015, and at the end of 2015, there were 753 missing persons reported during the year who had not been found or had not returned home; and
in the Commonwealth, there are currently 630 open missing persons cases, many of which date back to the 1960s, and 283 sets of unidentified human remains; these numbers increase dramatically when nearby cases in surrounding states are factored in”
On October 17, 2009, Morgan Dana Harrington (20), a Virginia tech student, went to a Metallica concert in Charlottesville, Virginia. She never came home. A farmer found her remains in a remote pasture about six miles from the concert venue 101 days after she disappeared.
On September 15, 2015, Jesse Matthew was formally charged with first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile in the murder of Morgan Harrington. On March 2, 2016, Matthew plead guilty to the first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile. He was sentenced to life without parole. Matthew was also convicted in the murder of Hannah Graham.
Morgan Harrington’s abduction and murder prompted the beginning of Help Save The Next Girl. The non-profit organization began to spread information and promote personal safety. It was founded by Dan and Gil Harrington, Morgan’s parents.
Help Save The Next Girl is hosting the first Virginia Missing Persons Day together with the Roanoke Police Department, National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), and other organizations. Location: the Roanoke Police Training Academy on April 29, 12-4pm.