updated 01/27/2010 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/27/2010 AT 7:05 AM ET
The three-month hunt for missing Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington may have come to a grisly conclusion Tuesday.
Authorities in Virginia say that they are “fairly confident” that the skeletal remains discovered in a hayfield in Albemarle County belong to the 5’6”, 120-lb., blue-eyed blonde, 20, who disappeared during a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va., on Oct. 17.
David Bass, whose 742-acre Anchorage Farm is some eight miles south of the arena, found the remains while doing maintenance work on his property, reports the University of Virginia’s The Cavalier Daily. He then contacted police.
“During the time that Ms. Harrington disappeared, that hayfield would’ve been up to your waist,” said State Police Lt. Joe Rader, according to the newspaper. In addition, the level of snow in the area since October impeded visibility of the hayfield, which had not been cut since August 2009 – again reducing the ability of investigators to search the field.
State Police Superintendent Steve Flaherty said Tuesday that an autopsy would be conducted to confirm that the remains are Harrington’s. Officials also said they found significant items and evidence at the scene.
After Harrington went missing, Metallica lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and his heavy metal bandmates had been in contact with her family, the musician told PEOPLE in late October. Metallica also added $50,000 to a $100,000 reward offered by Morgan’s parents, Gil and Daniel Harrington.
Rader said the couple are reacting to the current news as would any parents in the same situation.