December 13 – 16, 2011 – Day 12 – 15 of Morgan’s investigation – Scholarship funds and house hunting.


At the suggestion of friends looking out much further into the future than I was, a scholarship fund was suggested to honor Morgan, and after a little thought I landed on the Theatre Program at the local college that Morgan had attended – Colorado Mountain College.  Morgan had so many good times there.  Philosophy and English and Comparative Religions were among her absolute favorites, while Ballet and Yoga had become mainstays in her life, I doubt she would have ever gone long without them.

With so much help from Debra Burleigh at CMC, who had also always been so helpful for Morgan during her time there, the fund was established through Carol J. Efting, Scholarship and Records Coordinator for the Colorado Mountain College Foundation and will serve as a quiet reminder of Morgan and what she had been able to achieve with her perseverance and dedication – for many years to come.

We knew it would have made Morgan very happy because one of her big things in life was to always try and get others to stay in school, go to college, and learn as much as they could.  Support in her memory will fund a student in the Theatre program and Graeme Duke was the first year’s recipient – congratulations Graeme!  And thank you to all those that contributed to the fund, and are continuing to contribute to the fund – it will make a huge difference in another student’s life as well.

In order for contributions to be tax deductible checks should be made payable to the CMC Foundation – earmarked to CMC Spring Valley Theatre in memory of Morgan Ingram. The CMC Foundation tax ID number is 74-2393418.  All contributors who provide a legitimate address will receive a formal acknowledgment letter.  If you have any questions you can contact Carol J. Efting, Scholarships and Records Coordinator, Colorado Mountain College, PO Box 1763, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602.  Her phone # is 970-947-8355 and email  website:

After 2 weeks, that we had never sat down to have an in depth interview with the detectives since the morning of Morgan’s death and that continued to bother me.  The morning of her death Detective Rob interviewed both Steve and myself, but it was very brief and we were in shock – now that things had calmed down a little, and our minds were seeing things much more clearly again, it would have been so nice to get questions from the Sheriff’s in order to give them information that was not readily available to us the morning Morgan died because of the state of confusion we were in.  I kept asking and they kept assuring us that they had what they needed for now.

Steve and I spent lots of time house hunting. Without Morgan, and with a stalker who was no longer muscling his unwanted presence into our immediate plans, we were far more wide open.  Anywhere actually, I just wanted to get out of here as soon as possible – I couldn’t stand being in this house where something so horrible had happened to our daughter.  But nothing seemed bright enough and I knew I could not live in dark and dreary the way I was feeling, so after a few intense days we put that search on the back burner again.

Morgan’s friends were stopping by and I was able to spend a lot of time with them.  It was so wonderful to see them all and they were a huge comfort.  I know we were all in some stage of denial and disbelief.  That feeling seemed like it might soften with time, but there was no danger of it going away.

Every piece of electronics that had been there for our use in trying to catch the stalker was stripped away and packed up.  The Sheriff’s department had never reviewed the video cameras yet, and I still had things I wanted to see.  Detective Rob had thought I just wanted to leave it with the Sheriffs department to be put in the evidence locker, but that was never the plan and I requested the DVR back.  He said as soon as it was copied we could have it back.

I knew the stalker was still on there somewhere, caught on tape, waiting to be seen by someone who could sit for hours and review every camera angle, and while we still did not know what happened to Morgan, we would soon, and I wanted to be ready to search whatever we still had when that time came.

On a hunch, a meticulous search of the perimeter of the house was conducted.  Not by the Sheriffs, but by family members.  Anything out of place that could be of value was the target, just as things out of place in her room had been found this was an effort to add to that.  The stalker might not be visiting with great regularity any longer, but perhaps something he had left behind was still here.

I thought it was a brilliant idea.  Steve and I could circle the house a hundred times and see nothing new.  I knew because we had tried.  A few new sets of eyes could certainly not hurt.  And it was not long before they had found something.  Something that did not get there by itself and seemed strange to be sure.  They wore latex gloves and picked the finds out of the tree and put them in individual bags. I called Rob and he said to put them in paper bags if we had them, and he would pick them up the next time over and put them into the evidence locker.

By the time they finished there was a row of zip lock bags all identified and placed in a few paper bags that were stapled closed.  We hadn’t talked much about Morgan’s stalker lately and this activity started the conversation anew.  It was more of a search for some little detail we had overlooked.  New ideas about what to pursue that had not been so far.

The desire to catch this person was very strong, right there below the surface.  What part, if any he had actually played in Morgan’s untimely death was still unknown.  But the fact that he had made of living hell out of what became the last four months of her life was undeniable.

We talked a lot about the desire to stop him so he could not do this again.  He was very good at what he had chosen to do with his life, and would undoubtedly just get better at it.  It became very clear that evening that stopping this stalker from repeating this was a very important goal to us all.

Today is January 31, 2013 – The obvious point is about how important catching the stalker sooner rather than later is so important.  There is a tendency that happened to us and I have also heard from so many others.  The tendency seems to be that following a concerted initial effort to catch the stalker there is a period of trying to ignore the stalker as one of the methods to stop him.  This is completely understandable and even seems logical at the time, but it is so very wrong.

Former detective and stalking expert Mark Wynn is dead on when he explains this as a move to minimize the stalking.  The victim’s first goal is always going to be to make it stop.  Mark explains that as you move to minimize, the stalker only moves to maximize.  A catchy, simple phrase about stalking that is all too true.

Morgan’s stalking went on for four months, which may not sound long when compared to stalkings that go on for years and years.  But over those four months it was impossible to be on a state of high alert every minute of every day.  It was impossible for us, and I suggest it would be equally impossible for most others.  Like running a marathon, at some point everyone has to stop.

Remember that bit of advice given to Steve from yet another stalking victim he met here in the valley.  You have to be on guard 24 hours a day – 7 days a week and the stalker gets to pick and choose his four, five, six or even ten little moments of terror to throw at you.  The sentinels at the castles always rotated to stay fresh and alert, and so must you.  No one person can expect to catch their stalker by themselves.  They must have help, and lots of it.  When I think about it now, without good detection electronics, it would take at least six or seven people to have a decent chance against one stalker -really.

Since most people are not going to have this level of support, there is an encouraging thing I am watching work more and more often…wildlife cameras.  There is a police department in Colorado that has a bunch of WiFi enabled wildlife cameras they deploy at stalking victims homes, and they are making a difference.  The best image of Morgan’s stalker came from a wildlife camera, and yes it is another one of those ideas I am chasing.  This may not be one perfect answer, but the more tools at our disposal to fight back with, the less chance the stalker has to be successful.

And doesn’t that sound nice?


December 9 – 12, 2011 – Day 8 – 11 of Morgan’s Investigation – parents packing up a room

Morgan deep in thought

Morgan deep in thought

















The last of our guests – they have left us and being alone in the house with Steve knowing there will never be a Morgan again was quite a moment.  It was everything all at once and it was an emptiness that I can’t begin to describe.

We have no choice but to forge on, and as her room is almost finished so I tackle what is left.  Her bed is first, blankets, sheets, pillows, pillowcases.  That none of this was ever collected has been universally frowned upon since her death.  But at that time we still believed.  No sooner had I shaken the top blanket then out popped what was perhaps the last little gift from her father.

Two days before that fateful Friday we were all together in Grand Junction and near the end of the trip she blurted out, “can I have a knife?”  In the context of the moment that she was feeling very threatened and wanted something for self-defense was without doubt, nonetheless I asked her why and she immediately shot back “why do you think?” And Steve said OK.

He wasn’t sure where to go in Grand Junction, and places were closing, but he was confident we could find the perfect one at the surplus store by our house.  Quite by chance at one of his last supply house stops Morgan and I waited in the truck while he went in.  Turns out they had a knife display and of what was left Steve picked more of a cute knife than “the” knife and when he came back out he had drawn a happy face on the box and slipped it to Morgan without a word.

We were backing out of the parking lot as she opened this box and I watched her face light up – she told Steve “Oh I love you daddy, you are the best!”  He promised they would get another one this week, but at least she had this for a back up.  And here was the box still on her bed, and sure enough as I picked it up the knife was still inside.  I showed it to Steve and we just starred for a moment.

There was a hope we would finish the room 100% that evening, but that was not to be.  I did find her diary, her last diary that she had written in, and I sat down with it and read the last entries.  She had shown a few of them to me already, and they were concerning her future in college.  GPA’s she needed and LSAT scores she would have to achieve, and many other goal setting or acknowledging events yet to come for her, along with a list of make-up she needed to get.  I stopped on a page we had discussed together not long before her death.  For an instant she was still standing there talking it over with me and then it was silent.

There would be so many memories of Morgan, we both knew this by now and had been counseled about it by so many.  Steve was certain that once he got to the point he could recite that he was so blessed, and proud to have had Morgan in his life for twenty years, without breaking into tears he will have reached a point of healing.  He hasn’t quite gotten there yet.  We both wanted her to still be here – maybe away at college – maybe on some grand adventure, but always thinking she would return for a visit at least.

I stood up and announced I had found her last diary, and the one before it.  As far as I knew now of the evidence collected by the Sheriffs there was only Morgan’s electronic items, which had all been returned, and a brown diary that was still somewhere.  I now wondered what diary they did have?  Was it an old one?  Was it even Morgan’s at all?  Or was it someone else’s?  A friend of hers had called wondering if they could come by to collect their diary, as they had left it in Morgan’s room.

I had no frame of reference for any of this, but from where I sat things did not seem to have gone well at all.  Both Steve and I wanted to think the best, but we had our questions and once again we decided to wait until the all important “tox results” came back.

Today is January 30, 2013There is a certain level of disorganization that has crept into my life, and I am now working to return it back to order.  For some reason the emails and tips I have been sorting, and placing into meaningful folders have had a very common theme.  Belief, for lack of a better term – in so many cases the victim hadn’t actually been believed that they really had a stalker.  People thought it was just their imagination.  This is a very frightening thing…knowing there is someone out there watching and following you, that might do you harm, and people close to you or law enforcement don’t believe you – that is just incomprehensible!  That is when they knew it was not going to go away as easily as it had began.

Take stalking seriously was a tag line I had thought of long ago, and today it is very appropriate.  Victims tell someone first, perhaps a close friend, a family member, or another trusted individual.  And so surprisingly from the emails I receive there is instant disheartenment because they were not believed or not taken seriously.

Remember Morgan at the beginning she was so busy trying to convince us that it was nothing as she told us about her strange noises – this I now know after reading so many stories about stalking is a normal reaction.  And we were no better, so quick to dismiss that first sign of trouble right along with her.  No one wants to believe this could happen to them.

I have re-read many stories today from victims sharing a story of a stalker they suffered through, and so many remembered how disappointed they were that a parent, or boyfriend didn’t even believe anything was happening at first.  I’m sure there are girlfriends out there who are guilty as well, I just didn’t have an email about one.

When you have a stalker there are so many things that are very important to be considered and act on.  The very last of those should be the need to convince those around you that it is happening.

There are truths that begin to make sense as you ponder them.  Such as:

  • Murderers are rarely caught at the scene of the murder.
  • Murderers rarely confess unless they really think you have the goods on them.
  • Stranger stalkers are rarely caught at the scene of the stalking.
  • Stranger stalkers rarely confess unless you convince them you have the goods on them.

So meanwhile someone for whom you care very much suffers greatly until one of the above happens.  If you start off by not believing think how much worse it all just became.  We had footprints, wildlife cam photos, videos, a very obviously placed cracked gutter, trails worn into the berms behind our house that you can see from outer space…etc. etc. And exactly how would Morgan feel if she were here to hear the Sheriff and others opine that there was never was never any evidence of a stalker?  This makes no sense to me.

It’s important for the victims of crime to know they are taken seriously, very seriously.  Sounds so simple, but the seriousness is lacking right now, and realizing that will really bring the solution that much closer.

December 8, 2011 – Day 7 of Morgan’s investigation – More packing and wondering

happywallsMorgan’s happy walls…all 4 walls were full of lots of color, and wonderful memories 

Packing away Morgan’s belongings began last night, and today I continued.  Her lifetime of memories and prized possessions, along with most all of the necessities for her life right here in one room, just missing one important piece – Morgan.  Morgan’s walls were her “happy walls”, covered with pictures and cards, and every image of things she had cherished in her life.  Each and every one with a story of its own, dress up day at grade school, a hike with friends, miniature golf with dad, or a real pirate ship with mom and dad catching the sunset, even if it was on a lake.  Her paintings, a string of Christmas lights with a cartoon character for each light, postcards, inspirational photos and sayings – so, so many memories of happy times for Morgan.

Today I started to pick the pieces of her enormous collage off the walls.  One memory after the other – and so many that we had shared together.  At first a tear came with each, then it was sobs.  How could this have happened!  I demanded from the empty room.  Why was Morgan taken from us?  I ached for an answer, and would call Steve to share how I felt, wondering if there was any way to speed up the process.  Even though I knew the answer already, we had been told it would be weeks before the last results would come in.

We were also told by the detectives that the Forensic Pathologist was really good, very thorough.  He would have answers, and I trusted every assurance I had been given.  It’s really quite impossible to think your youngest baby has been trusted to the hands of anyone, but the best.  So I filled my waiting with sharing the memories she chose to find as happy ones with every piece I removed from her wall.  After all the close moments Morgan and I had together here was quite a different moment.  Putting anything into a proper perspective was so impossible.

Steve joined me at some time and we worked independently but together and shared in the grief.  I am not sure if it was then or at some moment in the near future that we resolved to move as soon as we could.  Morgan never bursting into the house with her latest excitement was indelibly etched into the front door of this house, and walking past it knowing that would never again happen was so terribly difficult.

After a few days now of sorting her room it still had not yet begun to show any signs of being emptied, but the stack of boxes in the entry sure grew.  We had to go really slow and inspect everything.  Then we had decided there was no sense putting them anywhere else, because soon they would be packed onto a moving van.  Over the following weeks our house became boxes destined for another place, and I found some comfort in that.

Steve and I were so very grateful for the years we had Morgan in our lives and for this entire nightmare to become part of our past could not happen soon enough.

We were told that for the stalker, or the responsible party in the invasion of Morgan’s privacy, or whoever he, she or they were there would be an urge to return at some point soon after her death, and that urge may be strong.  We should be alert for the possibility.  But we were no longer wanting to be hyper-vigilant any longer, now we were just numb.   We listened to advice like this, but found it very difficult to maintain anything close to the same vigilance we had when Morgan was still alive.

Other’s were helping us by watching the neighborhood for this sort of possibility, and they did see some curious events.  But, as with Morgan’s stalking it was more a glimpse of uncertainty instead of staring right at an answer.

The truth never changes, and it was my firm belief in that fact that helped us through this time.  There was a truth out there, and while it might not come as soon as I wished, it would eventually arrive and it would not change – the truth is always the truth no matter how much others might want it to go away.  It would always remain there, waiting to be fully exposed.

I remember sometime during the packing up of Morgan’s room I began to think of the things that were not being done.  Like no one was calling me for a list of Morgan’s doctors, especially the specialists she had seen.  They held such knowledge of Morgan.  The question grew until I called the detectives to ask if I should put together a contact list for someone.  But I was assured that as far as they knew they already had everything they needed.  I remember wondering how, but not asking why.

Life was a delicate balance then, engaging enough to keep moving, but not too much.  Too much seemed to bring a wave of realization and instant sorrow.  I felt guilty at times, feeling that Morgan had been the one who suffered and paid the ultimate price, not me.  Allowing myself to grieve was at times unstoppable, and at other times an incredibly difficult challenge.

As Steve and I made headway in her room there had been no further questionable discoveries.  In the first days there had been quite a few, but now as we dug deeper into drawers and corners of closets there were only Morgan’s things as they had been.

Besides that which we had found had not generated much, but we were used to that.  Investigations seen on TV, with teams spending entire days searching was obviously just a fantasy because compared with the real life we had come to expect nothing even remotely close to that was happening.  As far as law enforcement and the Coroner’s office went, Morgan was only allowed so much time, and it certainly had not increased with her death.

It seemed as if all were waiting for the, “Tox report.”  So naturally I worried, what if there was nothing found?  Would they have to go back and start over?  But by then we had cleared a good percentage of her room, and packed it all away.  The detectives had assured me it was fine, and it was so hard to know I was doing the right thing no matter what I did.

Steve had a plan that at the time seemed so perfect.  He had a banker box marked evidence and a box of baggies.  Every time we would find a memory chip, jump drive, roll of film, and anything else that we surmised could be evidence someday, not even knowing if a crime had been committed, it would be placed in a baggie and marked with a sharpie as to where it was found.

At least this way if Morgan’s death turned out to be nefarious, all would not be lost.  And for the next week it seemed that all possibilities were still in play.

December 7, 2011 – Day 6 of Morgan’s investigation – putting together the pieces

Our most precious gifts are our children.  Protecting them comes first.

Our most precious gifts are our children. Protecting them comes first.

The day after Morgan’s memorial I will always remember as the first real day of really understanding what had happened, both for Steve and I.  Not as if I had fully grasped the situation, no far, far from that.  But there was a realization forming.  That and a dream of how we could take this incredible negative and turn it into a positive, easy to think, but not so easy to do in real life, but that is where this next part of the journey began.  As our family and friends from out of state slowly filtered out, the house grew a little quieter with every departure.  My day runner was blank for a number of days.

We were in contact with the Detectives, mindful they would be needing more things, many more things – extended interviews, discussions, filling in all the blanks that only a few people would really know.  But they knew we had many guests, and assured us everything could wait.

The term taking a week off was bantered about by many.  More weeks actually, only then the question became how many.  We had lost our daughter and the pain was indescribable, the need to find answers for Morgan was also indescribable.  Stopping to pause was not an option, mostly because of how difficult it was, slowing down brought thinking, thinking brought reality, and reality was just a bit too much to handle.

Days ran together for Steve and I in December, not quite a hopeless jumble of time, but certainly difficult to successfully pull one day from another.  During this time we went into Morgan’s room and looked, questioned, and made plans to put it all in order.  Both for the present and for the future. Needs we knew existed were not totally certain of.  Present seemed to be a careful separation and preservation of what was there, and future was at least a need that could be put off for now.

As we began to actually touch and move what was there in Morgan’s room it immediately became obvious that not much had been moved or taken by the investigators.  In fact, quite amazingly, perhaps nothing at all beyond the electronics devices already returned and a diary.  On TV shows there were bags labeled evidence, items of interest, Items sent for DNA testing.  The death of our daughter, under suspicious circumstances such as this, you would certainly think involved all that, perhaps even more.

As we carefully picked out and separated Morgan’s possessions a few “clues” leapt out at us immediately.  Some I will not share on her blog for the moment, only the person(s) in her room that night would be aware of these facts.  I started a list for the detectives, because certainly they would be very keen to know anything that we were able to find out.

Morgan was a simple girl, never coveting anything more than simple costume jewelry, even preferring things she had made herself.  But nonetheless she did have jewelry from special occasions, her birth, her christening, First Holy Communion, then the birthdays such as first teen -13th, then 16th, and young adult -18th.  The special moments of her life when those who loved her so would find an appropriate gold necklace or other piece to commemorate the occasion. there were also the gifts of my jewelry that meant far more for me to see Morgan wear than to wear myself.  Some special mementos from my grandmother, even gifts from her sister, and brother, and her brother’s girlfriend’s who over the years had been sharing something of meaning to them with Morgan.  A few jewelry boxes full by age 20.

The realization that things were missing began more as denial than alarm.  Something was wrong, and I finally began by asking Steve if he had come across any of Morgan’s jewelry?  Like what? He wondered.  I had quickly rattled off a half dozen I could most vividly remember, and he looked in drawers and boxes, and I looked again through places I hoped they would be.  There were soon tears, because not one, but all I could remember were no longer to be found.  As if they had all left with Morgan.  In a state of shock you are not sure what to do at exactly that moment.  It became another of the questions that would certainly be answered in the future.

I did tell the detectives, I’m not sure if it was Megan or Rob that I told first.  In fact all that I am sure of is that it was long before the toxicology results came back.  That was a moment we were both waiting for with great anticipation since so far we had only been told that her death was a mystery, and her autopsy had resulted in no good clues, we wanted to know, so it would be behind us, and at the same time we could move forward with the answers of what had happened.  I began a mental list of things I knew were missing, then jotted some down, but it was too painful to recount.  Later, when Rob asked me to find pictures of each one of them, Steve raised his hand and said, “some other day, that will have too wait for some other day!”  It was too painful right now and we returned to the task at hand.

Steve had bundles of boxes that were meant to pack the house with prior to Morgan’s death, and for now the house was on hold, so they were used for Morgan’s room.  Every item carefully inspected and packed away.  Her panic button was next to raise up as a mystery of her death, I won’t say where I found it, but it was not where it had been, securely affixed to her nightstand.  When I found it it was now torn loose and hidden, a press still sounded the alarm in our room, but from where it was found it would never have been reached by Morgan in a moment of panic on her last night.

Looking back I’m not sure why we did not raise the flag and start screaming something was seriously amiss here, but I was still trusting, and we were still in what has been explained to me as a grief bubble at the time.  I had ultimate faith in our Sheriffs to do their job and come come up with the answers.  We now had more to give them, more for them to work with.  Going from a daughter full of life, tired and stressed, because of 4 months of a relentless stalker, to a daughter cremated and memorialized was beyond comprehension.  Correctly handling the little details now being encountered was beyond all possibility.

After walking around the room for some time Steve had an observation of his own to share.  Her P. J.’s were not there.  He had said goodnight to her and remembered what she was wearing at that time, now as he whirled around he did not see them anywhere.  Then he suddenly calmed “The Coroner took them.” he said, certain that they were now part of the investigation going on.  He remarked that it was silly for him to have not realized that, and apologized for upsetting me even more with his sudden outburst.

He thought we had done enough for one day.  Morgan’s room, with everything Morgan filled it with, was too much to describe or to handle, we had two almost filled boxes sitting on the floor, and that is how it would stay until tomorrow or the day after – this was enough for today.  This project had its own timetable, just to stand in there and look around I saw her whole room trying to talk to me, it was like it all held a message.  That slow and careful was really the correct way to do this –  I did not question this, so I reluctantly stepped back from the task we had started, and left her room, saying goodbye, letting the tears flow, and closing her door.

I immediately asked if we had enough boxes, and Steve assured me we probably had enough for the house, and so we definitely had enough for Morgan’s room.  He thought it was a very good that we were packing it up first.  Thinking that maybe if we were to make some momentous discovery, it was far better to do this sooner than later, and for now we left what we had accomplished with more to sort through on another day.

I thought of her friends, and began to call them and invite them over in case there was a book, or a picture, or something else of Morgan’s they would like to have to remember their friend by.  Everyone I was able to reach was quite happy with the thought, and we all made plans to meet soon.

Today is January 27, 2013 – And at the beginning there were so many mistakes it is hard to pick that which was the most momentous.  I have many times in the realm of fate heard the idea that if you change just one thing then everything else in the future is altered as well.  While I’m not sure if I do believe that completely, there is unarguably a change in the course of Morgan’s stalking that would have, or could have altered – the end.

So as I sit here over a year later, and force myself to pick the first change that could have meant a difference in Morgan’s stalking outcome, I end up with the reaction to the first little noise.  Morgan never thought in terms of – criminal invasion of privacy, or even worse, an Invasion of Privacy for Sexual Gratification, a Peeping Tom.  She had never been exposed to such horrors and choose to think it was leaves blown by the wind rubbing on her window.  Not a stalker, she had never even seen anyone to accompany the noise.

When she told Steve and I about it for the first time she said it was strange, and it worried her a little, but she was sure if her dad were to just cut back the branches by her windows, the noise would stop.  Oh, if only this were so simple as pruning a few branches, but as you all know, we were not that fortunate.

And my message now is not to live in fear, but to be aware.  A little noise from branches, how easy that was to believe, and at the same time how easy it would have been to go right out that night to look and see instead of waiting until the next morning as we did.  Even better educate your children that any noise on their windows or walls does not mean something is wrong, it just needs to be investigated, by adults, whenever you hear them.  It might be a big branch that can break the glass, or a gutter torn loose and waving up against the house.  A quick look by mom or dad, and no worries.  If it turns out to be a potential Invasion of Privacy for Sexual Gratification you want to know now!  Not tomorrow!