In the search warrant filed in Prince William County court, police said they were looking for trace evidence of accelerant, DNA evidence, fibers, cellphones and firearms, among other things. They removed a T-shirt, BlackBerry and shredder waste from the apartment, according to the court filing.
Langton said Greenhalgh wanted to take the man to a family wedding she attended in Berryville the Saturday before her body was found. She said she thought Greenhalgh’s reference to him as “crazy boy” was a term of affection, not a warning.
Police said the man is cooperating with the investigation. The Post is not identifying him because he has not been named a suspect in the case. It wasn’t Greenhalgh’s only rocky relationship. Friends said she had trouble with another ex-boyfriend in the past.
Detectives are also probing whether something she wrote might have angered someone. Investigators interviewed staff at the Star and removed Greenhalgh’s work computer and some files from the newsroom last week, police said. And detectives are talking with a handful of people connected to stories Greenhalgh wrote.
Star staff asked police to take a particularly close look at one story Greenhalgh had worked on, but both police and a Star editor declined to discuss its nature. However, managing editor Maria Hileman said she didn’t think the areas Greenhalgh covered — the Board of Supervisors, sewer issues and more — would put her in harm’s way.
The case has put the Star in an awkward position: Going from reporting on the news to being a part of it.
“I do feel as the manager here my emotional reaction and approach to the story is slightly different,” Hileman said. “Our first and highest priority is to Sarah and her memory. We have to be very careful in our own pursuit of the investigation.”
Hileman said that has meant working closely with the police and, in one instance, holding back publishing information about a search warrant, so police could serve it unimpeded.
Hileman said the staff has left Greenhalgh’s desk untouched, except for placing a vase of flowers on it in remembrance of her. Hileman said she was effervescent and a tenacious reporter.
Greenhalgh may be best remembered for her equestrian photography and reporting. She freelanced for The Washington Post, the Chronicle of the Horse and other publications. Her passion was a lifetime in the making, Greenhalgh’s mother said.
Sarah Lee Greenhalgh took her daughter riding during her youth and she played with a herd of ponies her mother had rescued. The Greenhalgh family, which once owned the palatial Springsbury Farm estate in Berryville, Va., has been prominent in Virginia’s horse country for generations. An aunt was the master of the Blue Ridge Hunt, a fox-hunting event, for many years.
William Greenhalgh, Sarah Libbey Greenhalgh’s father, was the president of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors in the 1960s and a former associate dean of the Georgetown University Law School. Greenhalgh’s grandfather made a fortune founding the successful Owens Illinois glassworks, which became part of Owens Corning. William Greenhalgh died in 1994.
Sarah Lee Greenhalgh, who lives in Poolesville, said her daughter’s death seemed unreal — almost a movie.
“It is beyond my ability to understand,” Greenhalgh said. “I never knew someone that something so horrible has happened to . . . I can’t comprehend what happened. I’m overcome with grief.”
Staff writer Jeremy Borden contributed to this report.