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False accusation in Harrington case

Tom Jackman

An Alexandria man who called in a false tip to Virginia State Police in which he accused another man of kidnapping Morgan Harrington from a Charlottesville rock concert last fall has been convicted of obstruction of justice, police said Thursday.

Police set up a tip line for people to call after Harrington's disappearance on Oct. 17, 2009. State police said Alvin T. Daniels, 51, called the tip line on Nov. 11 and anonymously provided the name of a 34-year-old Prince William County man he said was responsible.

Investigators checked out the tip, promptly determined that the Prince William man was not involved with Harrington, and soon determined the identity of the anonymous caller.

The false accusation was "an act of vengeance on the part of Daniels," state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said Thursday.

Daniels was arrested in June and charged with a misdemeanor in Appomattox County, where the state police tip line was located.

Harrington's body was found on a farm outside Charlottesville in January. No one has been charged in that case.

Daniels went to trial on Wednesday in Appomattox General District Court, records show, where he was found guilty and given a six-month jail sentence, with all the time suspended. He was also placed on 12 months of unsupervised probation, ordered not to have any contact with his victim and pay more than $1,600 to the state police as restitution for the time spent chasing down the phony lead, Geller said.

"The public does need to be aware that there are penalties for purposely misleading investigators with a tip," State Police Lt. Joe Rader said in a news release. "In this instance, our investigators had to spend valuable time away from the Morgan Harrington case in order to vet an intentional false lead.”

The investigation into Morgan Harrington’s disappearance and death continues. The Virginia State Police tip line is 434-352-3467.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  August 12, 2010; 4:13 PM ET
Categories:  Homicide , Tom Jackman , Unsolved , Updates , Virginia  
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Comments

What a weirdo. My thoughts still go out to this poor girl's family. I hope they soon find the person who took her life.

Posted by: brandip_77 | August 12, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

This story just proves that the police lie to the public when the say one can leave an anonymous tip.

Posted by: starbucks1 | August 13, 2010 1:31 AM | Report abuse

This story just proves how disingenuous law enforcement is when they lead the public to believe they can leave anonymous tips. Don’t ever fall for that bs.

Posted by: starbucks1 | August 13, 2010 1:38 AM | Report abuse

starbucks,
The issue is law enforcement and NOT the guy who intentionally mislead police to take resources away from finding the real killer?
Let me guess...you voted for President Obama.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | August 13, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

BigDaddy,

You would be wrong.

I'm not defending the guys actions; I'm
just saying that LE is doing more harm than good. People will think twice before cooperating, because LE does not keep its word.

Many tips are bad, that's the nature of tip lines. LE is hoping just one pans out.

Next time LE will justify outing an anonymous caller because they need a witness and will drag him/her into court to testify via a subpoena.

People will just decide its not worth helping LE out.

Bystanders have an absolute right not to get involved.

Once they identify you, the powers that be could care less if they put your life, or the lives of your loved ones, at risk.

It's just better not to cooperate.

That is the message here.

Posted by: starbucks1 | August 13, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

It was really dumb of the cops to arrest & charge this guy because now it has become well-known that so-called anonymous tip lines aren't so anonymous after all; thus, less people will want to call in tips since they now know their identity will be or is discovered or known by the authorities. Many people already don't want to get involved. Calling in an anonymous tip is a way to get involved in a safe manner. But not anymore.

Posted by: t_retz | August 15, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

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