Our neighbor Mark pulled in next door a few minutes after midnight. He looks at our house, and sees Morgan’s lights are off. One of my nieces can’t sleep without the TV on. For others it may be a bedside light, or even just the soft glow of a nightlight. But Morgan liked no lights on at all, so what Mark saw was the norm.
Another deputy patrol of the neighborhood happened at 1:21 AM. This was the drive right through patrol, it took 35 seconds to loop the end of the street, and drive back by – no stopping, no shining their spot light. The second patrol of the early morning came by at 2:44 am. This time there was a complete stop between our house and our next door neighbor Rhonda’s, a searchlight flooding our roof, this patrol took closer to one minute to make the loop, and do a visual of the roof. Why did they think to check the roof with their light? We never knew about the roof until months after Morgan’s death.
For almost exactly an hour it all looked quiet, then the motion detector light on the corner of the garage goes on. For the one and only time during the lifetime of the video surveillance of our house a young deer, a fawn walks, and then trots by Morgan’s window.
Mark came out to warm up his car just before 4:30 AM and he notices something, Morgan’s bathroom light is on. This was out of character, Morgan was not an early riser. Mark drives off at 4:36 AM.
Steve remembers getting out of bed after 5:30 AM. He has been awake for a while and decides to make it official. He makes coffee and sits at the kitchen table reading over some floor plans. His current project is at the state where no mistakes comes with an explanation mark, and he reviews the details. I lie awake before 6:00 AM but the smell of Steve’s coffee is too much, I get up, pull on a fuzzy, warm robe and join him in the kitchen for just a second, I then had a thought pass through my mind, why hasn’t Morgan woken me up yet to take out her puppy?
Across the valley, Scott, a very good family friend woke up much earlier than usual. He looked outside, and found something extra special in this mornings sunrise. So he grabbed a camera that was on the table behind him, and went outside to capture it. He presented us with the photo of the sunrise coming up from Aspen as it came up over the mountains clearly showing here comes the snow – months later, safely mounted in a very special frame he made he gave it to us – it was the sunrise on the morning that we found Morgan dead.
Steve is engrossed in his plans, and as Morgan has not called me yet to take Wylah out, I just go to take her out. When I enter Morgan’s room I notice her bathroom light is on and the puppy and cat are both in the bathroom looking bewildered, a something is not right sensation comes over me, and I see what I think has caused it. Wylah has had an accident on the floor. I immediately called her, and took her out to the backyard, as I had every single morning since Morgan was shocked into retreat by her stalker after he showed up in our yard only 10 feet from Morgan. I thought of how fearful she felt that morning, as I scanned the yard for anything that looked out of place, while Wylah did her morning potty thing out in the back yard. So many times I had wanted him to be here, I wanted him to challenge me, and I wanted to take him down.
Wylah seemed apprehensive this morning, and took extra time to find the perfect spot to complete her business, and then she was quick to get back inside. She would usually sleep after she went potty until Morgan woke up, and now I brought her back to Morgan’s room. Wylah hopped on her mom’s bed, and looked at me. The oddness was growing, Morgan would have thanked me for taking her out, but she had not. And now I was expecting to hear words from our daughter before I went to join Steve for some coffee and some breakfast. There were no words.
So I asked her, “Aren’t you going to say thanks for cleaning Wylah’s accident, and taking her out Morgan?”
There was still no response. I looked again and it was all very odd. Morgan was over here, when she always slept over there. Her position didn’t even look right, The blankets, her nightstand, the floor, as it all began to grasp me, but I shook it off. Touching her on the shoulder she felt warm, even though her shoulder had not been covered up. Morgan was usually a burrow under the covers sleeper, and there was not a hint of burrow here. I shook her shoulder gently so as not to startle her, and said her name in a question.
Again she made no noise and right then I needed Steve. Like those times when daddy makes the crying stop, right now daddy was going to wake her up – he had to. I left her bedroom door open and quickly went toward the kitchen and yelled for Steve. He sensed it immediately and was up and walking quickly towards me as I turned the corner.
“Something’s wrong, Morgan won’t wake up. I told him, and he did not accompany me back to the room, he ran past me and was kneeling on her bed at her side by the time I got there. He was shaking, then shaking more. Then his words were “Oh no, Oh no, in a tone of disbelief.
“Call 911, NOW.” – those are words I will never forget. I was frozen in place and had not moved when Steve rolled Morgan onto her back, and her eyes, oh her beautiful eyes, Morgan’s soft pools of blue that held such happiness, and wonder for twenty years seemed to be grotesquely stretched in irregular shapes up her face, and turned to a shiny dark color. As if she had just become possessed – they were wide open, and a bolt of goodness was needed to be shot into her to return Morgan to Morgan.
Steve had started CPR and was counting out loud, he repeated the NOW of my instructions. The room could have spun, but seemed to be only starting to spin and then stopping. I was across the hall in my office dialing the numbers and I could hear Steve’s counting, over and over again. Then I heard him scream, “Morgan take my breath, breathe!”
I was connected to 911 emergency, but the nature of my emergency was unimaginable to try to explain. We needed help, fast… they were coming. I told Steve they were on the way, but he could not hear me. He was screaming for Morgan. I could hear his words, but I would not let myself understand his words.
The 911 operator told me that we needed to get her onto something firm, the floor, so I ran back into Morgan’s room and helped Steve move her. I saw my daughter’s face and in a quick flash it looked blue, I could not bear to look at her eyes so I looked down to the floor at her feet, and grasped her ankles to feel her warmth. Steve continued CPR – he wanted to help her breathe, and I heard him say “oh no” again. I looked at him and he looked back at me, he wanted to say something, instead he shook his head and told me to move my car, to get it out of the driveway so the ambulance could pull right up to the door.
It was dead quiet as I ran outside. There was no one on the street, and I raced back down the driveway and swung the car in front of the garage and out into the street. As I ran back to the front door I saw them – men searching, waving flashlights, dressed in thick overalls, and carrying all kinds of devices. My arms were crossing over my head as I waved and yelled for them to all come this direction.
The recognition and movement was instant, it seemed like a small army coming from every direction, descending on our front door. “She’s in here”, I kept repeating and they did not pause to acknowledge, just rushed by me. They already knew what to do and were in her room in an instant. Steve was leaving Morgan’s room as I came in and Wylah sat on her bed, never making a sound just staring quietly as the men came in Morgan’s room.
Steve and I clutched at each other in the foyer, as we backed toward my office door. I wanted a do over, I wanted to do this all over. I said to myself, “This is all a bad dream, I will wake up any time now and this won’t be happening.” This was not supposed to be how it ended, not by a long-shot I can’t remember if I said it out loud or only thought it. I wanted a do-over so I could take her far, far away from all this horrible stuff.
The first responders are were asking about Carbon Monoxide. It was so cruel to flash on memories of the exposure she suffered through years ago, how much it had hobbled her, and how she had completely recovered.
Morgan lay lifeless on her bedroom floor now, the thoughts of how and why would come later, only that she no longer with us was what mattered to us. Sometime ago Steve and I had come to realize that our baby girl was no longer with us. The responders brought new hope with their urgency, but they were now slowing to the reality that there was nothing they could do, whispering to each other in very hushed tones. Bringing all of the devices back out to their trucks.
We were both in shock – we didn’t know what to do – Steve started making calls, just the ones he had to tell straight away (how do you tell her brother and sister who loved her more than anything that she was dead?), then he went to the living room and sat on the couch just staring at the wall. The rest could wait until later. I would make some calls myself, but it would not be until much later – I wanted to be alone with my thoughts for awhile.
Mothers have connections with their children, and share bonds not easily understood. Mothers were not meant to say goodbye like this to their children. Yet I stood in the entry of our house and I stared at what was only her body now. I knew that Morgan was gone, and that in itself was a comfort to me, no one could hurt her. Later I would wonder what she had really been through and how much she had been made to suffer. And I knew that for today it would be a matter of making the magnitude of this singular event have the meaning it deserved. At this time I trusted those moving about and carrying out their tasks. We were asked to leave our house and we did.
Her stalker was somewhere else. Chatter about the death of Morgan Ingram was the morning news, and I am sure that those involved leaned in to be sure nobody was talking about them. That would come over the course of time, following the realization, and deduction of many, many experts. Law enforcement that were involved in her death scene assured us that there was no sign of forced entry, no sign of a struggle, no sign of suicide, no sign of sexual assault…and we believed them. They never took fingerprints, they didn’t collect any evidence, only items that belonged to Morgan. They said we now had to wait for the autopsy – when that was completed and the forensic pathologist could find nothing wrong with her that would cause her death, he said we had to wait for the toxicology results. They came back about 4 weeks later with no sign of alcohol, no sign of any illegal drugs and her manner of death was now called “natural.” We asked how could that be? Morgan was a healthy 20 year old.
Whatever Steve and I thought at that moment on that morning, it was all about to change. In the most irrevocable and illuminating way. . .
Today is December 13, 2012 – We moved from that house within a month, we were in shock, the both of us not properly processing what had, and what was happening.
Over the next nine months, what was declared a mystery that day, would only become more mysterious:
- We would discovered all of her expensive jewelry was missing – gone.
- We would discover the PJ’s she was wearing when Steve said good night to her were also missing – gone.
- We would discover her panic button had been torn from its secure mounting spot on her nightstand, and was hidden on the floor under some clothes.
- We would discover she died not from natural causes, with an insignificant amount of amitriptyline as the forensic pathologist Dr. Kurtzman had told us, but from a massive dose of amitriptyline. An amount that she could not have possibly ingested herself because a person her size would have died from only on tenth that amount.
- We would discover that there were other drugs not shown on the first tox screen in her stomach, 5 total. The amitriptyline on the first tox was a lethal concentration – the rest were not in amounts that would have been lethal, but every one of them were listed on the lab’s Sexual Assault Panel. So at the time of Morgan’s murder she had an active felony stalking case being investigated by the Garfield County sheriffs and the only things found in her body were all date rape drugs found on the Sexual Assault panel at the lab…and yet we were being told she wasn’t a homicide.
- We would discover she had wounds consistent with defensive wounds on her body, and the coroner and pathologist would refuse to release the photographs for study by others.
- We would discover that many, many aspects of her room were consistent with a struggle having taken place.
- We would discover the hour that she most likely died, and why that was so important for an investigation.
- We would discover that the container needed to hold the date rape cocktail has never been recovered, in her room, or elsewhere.
- We would discover her body was dressed in a third set of clothing, not what she wore home that night, and not the PJ’s she wore when she went to sleep.
- We would discover that a journal of hers was missing from her room, gone. And it was not the journal listed in evidence.
- We would discover her upper chest was covered in a fine spray of bodily fluids, consistent with Morgan attempting to spit or sneeze out a date rape cocktail she had been forced to ingest, or the remnants of a sexual assault, as these “spots” showed up under the UV light and were bodily fluids .
- We discovered Morgan had a red spot on her right temple (consistent with a thumb restraining her head while a hand was over her mouth), and something red (blood?), as was on her swollen lip.
- We would discover the knife Morgan asked her dad to buy for her protection the night before, was lying in her bed right next to her body, in the original box it had been purchased in.
- We would discover that even though it was a “mystery” and a majority of stalking victims in these circumstances would be raped, and when found her pants were unzipped & unbuttoned, there was no rape kit administered at her autopsy. That the only way to know if she had been raped as a part of her ordeal is forever lost.
- We would discover that the steel gutter directly over her window was torn into two pieces, consistent with her stalker lying on the roof and leaning over to see inside her room through her upper window, and it would never be officially photographed or otherwise examined forensically.
- We would discover that the observant neighbor who reported her light being off and on at strange times indicating suspicious behavior was never interviewed as a part of the investigation.
- We discovered no potential evidence from the death scene, save the clothes she was wearing, were ever collected.
- And then we learned from a long time local investigator that years earlier the pathologist that did Morgan’s autopsy had once examined a body pulled from the Roaring Fork River and declared the person died from an accidental drowning…later on the body was exhumed and a bullet was documented to have been lodged in the skull – how could he have missed that?
Morgan’s stalking ended with her death. The interviews and collection of evidence planned for her that very next week were cancelled in view of her death.
The most important part of a mysterious unnatural death is the investigation that follows. The dignity and honor of the deceased rest with how thorough and complete that investigation into the death is. Morgan deserves for her death to have an investigation, and it most certainly did not, as the blog shall shift from the stalker to the investigation of her death, and the answer of just who or how many were in her room that night. Because it is obvious that Morgan alone could not possibly have done what is documented to have happened on the 123rd and last day of her stalking.