Until their daughter screamed…

I was contacted again by another mother that wanted to share her story of horror.  This story had a better ending then ours and I am so happy their daughter was saved.  It is so important to share your stories in order to educate others about the realities of true crime. Some armchair sleuths seem to think it is impossible for someone to come into your house and do unspeakable things without the family hearing – unfortunately that is not reality…it really does happen.

About 16 years ago at 4:30 am, my husband and I were  awakened by our daughter’s scream.  “Daddy, there’s a boy in my room.”  My husband grabbed his Billie stick and raced down the stairs.  The man had fled.  While my husband looked for the man, I called the police.  When the police came, I asked if it could have been a dream.  The detective knew there had been an intruder. Footprints were left in the dew-covered grass and 10 cigarette butts had been left in a pile behind our house in the garden.  We had accidentally left the garage door open giving the man easy access into our home.  The man walked through our house, opened a liquor cabinet, and walked by our open bedroom door to gain entry into our daughter’s bedroom.  We never heard him and in September, our house was light, not dark.  Whenever I hear police question parents about noise an intruder makes, I become enraged.  No one in our family of five heard anything until our daughter screamed.  Later we learned, the man had tried to stick something in our daughter’s mouth.  I’ve always wondered if if was a substance to make her pass out.

Two weeks later this man was caught.  He had repeated the same crime, following the same pattern in a house three blocks from our home.  It was a neighbor I had never met.  He lived behind us through a short patch of woods.  His rap sheet at 19 was longer than my arm…and he was charged mostly as a juvenile delinquent for earlier crimes.  I never told our three kids that “he” lived behind our house.  They had a difficult time adjusting after the break-in.  He was convicted of the two break-ins and served a sentence of 18 months in jail.  By the time he was out of jail, his parents had moved.  My son still sleeps with a knife under his pillow and my daughter has a protective dog.

I am relaying my story because our daughter had been stalked.  This person knew which bedroom was hers.  He entered our home without anyone hearing him.  Our detectives were wonderful.  They were most bothered by the fact that adults were in the house when he entered both houses..  The detectives worried that this person would become even more brazen if he were not caught.

I urge you to continue to push for the reopening of the case.  In my experience, my faith in the detectives resulted in a resolution and capture.  Although your life is shattered, your goal is to find the killer(s).  Keep the spirit of your daughter in your heart and save your anger for the perpetrator(s).

I wish you and your husband peace of mind.  I wish I had known Morgan.  God bless you and keep up the fight.

The BIG Question is….

Morgan was stalked and murdered and then her murder was covered up. Is this possible, and why, why would they do this?  Continually since then the Garfield County Sheriff refused to investigate, actually lies and says there was an investigation, no need for anyone to worry.

colorado counties

County Map of Colorado

The Garfield County Sheriff screams and stamps his feet and refuses to allow any other law enforcement agency to assist or conduct their own investigation. Why? Because he can, and this is what can happen when there is no oversight. In Colorado there is no oversight of a sheriff. There are 64 counties (see attached map), each with its own sheriff, most are great, but can there be a bad one?  Of course it’s possible, and the oversight to protect citizens from that one bad apple, the one rogue sheriff – none. Not one single person looking out for the state or it’s citizens…not one.

What happens when there is no oversight? Well as an example; we tried to put out a reward posted, just a $1,000.00 dollar reward, really it’s just a  place for honest people to call in confidence and anonymously if they want in order to share any tips about Morgan’s stalking or murder – something they might know or have heard. Sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it.  After all, we did it because people called me to say they had called the sheriff’s office to report something having to do with Morgan’s case but they were told there was no case and they were hung up on. They expected seriousness, they expected concern, they expected the sheriff’s to make a record of the tip, but instead the sheriffs had their prepared response and refused to listen to any tips. Morgan was a part of the community, many knew and loved her, she was a student, friend, relative and a neighbor, Morgan was stalked and killed, there is real concern and worry about something like this happening in their peaceful valley. They were shocked because the deputy, or detective on the phone – the only law in the county – said “Morgan’s case is closed,” then they just hung up the phone. What if the person calling had heard a confession and wanted the sheriff – the only law in the county – to know?  Seems like the sheriffs don’t want to know any possible clues about Morgan’s case, doesn’t it? You can bet those hangups are not in Morgan’s “sheriff’s reports,” just as most everything else that happened is not in those reports either.

I mean the last person who should care if the parents want a reward poster for tips on their daughter’s stalking and murder should be the sheriff, he should want crime in his county solved shouldn’t he?  Well surprise! The sheriff became irate and even threatening when Morgan’s reward poster was put up by Crime Stoppers…he said the poster had to come down!  It had to be changed, it made him look bad!  So the BIG question is not how Morgan died, we know she was murdered, the experts who have looked over the physical evidence confirm it, no the BIG question is this…why is Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario trying to cover up Morgan’s murder and why would he not want any tips that might help solve it? Morgan was stalked, and she was killed and if you don’t want tips and you don’t want anyone else to have tips either, well doesn’t that sound like you want a coverup? Because I think it could not be more obvious.

I know Colorado is a home rule state, which I’m told means local government has the right to keep the state out of their affairs, but when it comes to a capital crime that is being covered up, where are the checks and balances?  There needs to be a mechanism that will allow for an oversight committee, with citizens and others not involved in law enforcement, but representing the people, who get to review the facts and point a finger and say, “hey, something is very wrong here.” They need to be able to have the opportunity to conclude  that someone else should have a look. This goes beyond the BIG question and exposes the BIG problem – the reason Morgan’s case has never been a case.

So you ask the sheriff about Morgan’s case and what happens? They tell you they stand behind the findings of the coroner, it was a suicide. What they don’t tell you is that the coroner’s office received all it’s information from the sheriffs. It’s not like a TV show where the coroner is out there solving the whole case by himself, questioning, investigating, peering into a microscope, no it’s the complete opposite. Every scrap of information comes from the sheriff, in fact the deputy coroner told us he can’t even change anything unless the detective approves it. The coroner is charged with determining cause and manner of death, but they get everything from the sheriff and they can’t change anything unless he says it is OK first. Forget lack of oversight – we have the recipe for a cover up right there. No one else can look, no one can change anything, even the guy elected to do it. Then after the decision no one can come in and ask anything, and the parents can’t offer a reward for information. Anyone think that will get the crime solved? Because I don’t.

In the standards adopted by the state of Colorado to investigate the coroners are encouraged to do a separate investigation, actually it says they must do a separate investigation apart from law enforcement. But they did not do a separate investigation, they relied completely on the sheriff, so when Sheriff Lou Vallario says he is completely satisfied with the conclusion of the coroner I wonder if his fingers were crossed, because there could not be a more self serving statement.

Of course then it gets a little technical because first they wrote that Morgan died from natural causes, and then her doctors told us – not true, other doctors told us – not true, and another medical examiner told us, not true and then proceeded to tell us what really killed her. Up until then nobody knew what had killed Morgan – except the killer. And the sheriff stood behind the findings of the coroner – but the coroner was completely wrong, as he would admit when he changed his findings after eight months to yet another incorrect finding. So what justice was served exactly by the sheriff standing behind the findings of the coroner? Because from where I sit the killer is the only one being served by all this – he is getting away with murder.

Then the coroner changed all his findings from pills that were not there, he had actually said “no trace at all” and then 8 months later he says they are now there, the blood levels that were “insignificant” are now lethal from eighteen 25 mg pills, an amount that is not even enough to kill her, but is now the method he states that she used to commit suicide. But what about the five date rape drugs in her stomach, you can’t just overlook those, can you? They did.  And for safety sake they destroyed all the remaining evidence so nobody can ever retest it in the future. And then there is the sheriff again stating how he stands completely behind the coroner and his findings. But which findings?  Because the second set of findings completely contradicts the first set, oh but there is no oversight so it does not really matter which findings I suppose.

So here we have a stalking and a murder with no investigation and people wonder how that can be…we also used to wonder.  But now along with all the horror there is the knowledge that yes it can happen and yes it has happened.

This knowledge has actually become a great tool in helping other victims. There is a period in which, as a parent, you do not want to believe this could happen. The sudden violent death of a child always comes with indescribable pain and shock.  Parents all have their own timetable when it comes to dealing with it.  And it is always different for each and every one forced through it, but for some there seems to come a time when you can no longer sit back and do nothing.  You do not want to allow a murderer to remain free – you want justice for your child. I understand now how co-victims do not have the luxury of time when this happens so I try to help them to push for answers in their cases – hopefully before it becomes too late for them to do anything about it.

The warning signs were all there for us. Morgan’s stalker’s hours were about to be collected, Morgan was scheduled to give her victim’s statement, the sheriff’s patrols were being increased, we were starting to pack to move, and an end to the stalking was in sight. It all sounded so good and we wanted so desperately to believe it was all going to be over.  Now I know too well it is the most dangerous time you will ever face for so many reasons.

First the stalker has learned all about you, has probably been inside your house more than once, knows how you react to his advances, and has crafted a plan that takes all of this into account. Morgan’s killer had a plan how to get in, and what he was going to do after he got in. The more I can help stalking victims realize there could be a plan with their name on it the better, because it just might save their life.

And as for the big question the best way to avoid a coverup is to avoid the crime and how painful it was to learn that law enforcement not only did not have the answers, they were fully prepared to pretend as if it never even happened. I now know first hand of seven other stalkings in the same area as Morgan’s, that happened before her stalking (one only 2 weeks before her stalking started) where the sheriffs were involved and not one of those cases has a report, not one page, as if they all never happened.  So if they never write up the reports does that mean it never happened?  Let me know what your thoughts are on this subject.  Thanks.

Remember: Stalkers do break into victim’s homes to obtain information about them

It is true – just one more fact that you need in your arsenal of facts about stalkers.  Do not let down your guard and think your home is safe from your stalker.  They do get in and most of the time there is absolutely no sign of forced entry.  Like in the movies you would need to “stage” a little piece of paper stuck in the door or window to know if that door or window had been opened while you were gone.  And there are things you can do to protect your home from a break in…it doesn’t make sure it won’t happen, but it will make it harder for them to get in.

Remember: Stalkers do break into victim’s homes to obtain information about them or to surprise them when they get home.  A good book to read is Protecting your life, home and property: A cop shows you how by author Robert L. Snow  book protecting snow


She will not fail…because she will not give up!

askbelievereceive-nightlight-200x200The following was an email I received through this website just the other day.  As I was reading it I started to cry as it touched my very soul.  When I hear this it gives me the strength and fortitude to keep on fighting for justice for Morgan…the truth is ever present and I have to believe there are people in positions of authority in Colorado that want to allow that truth to be heard.  Change will come.

Hi Mr. and Mrs. Ingram, 

I first learned of your case from the episode of Suspicion on the ID Channel a couple weeks ago. Since then I have read your blog from start to finish. I don’t normally follow up on shows I see on the ID Channel, but I couldn’t get this out of my mind. I have never felt so angry or heartbroken for people I have never met. My heart absolutely aches for your family, and for Morgan herself. I wish I could help in some capacity–not sure what I could do from here, but if you think of anything, please let me know!  I just wanted to reach out to you and tell you that I am so sorry for what happened to your family, and that I truly believe that you WILL get justice. You are both so brave and so much more even-keeled than I would be in that situation. I admire your strength and fortitude so much! 

Morgan sounds like a tremendous person, and through your writing, I almost feel like I knew her. We have a lot in common, from taste in music to writing to a deep love for animals, but more importantly,  Morgan seems like the type of person we should all aspire to be– So giving and loving and joyful. Coincidentally, my best friend’s name is also Morgan, and she is my “soul mate,” and I chuckled to read that your Morgan also used that term with her friends. 

Also like Morgan, I was stalked when I was 20. Thankfully it was short-lived. While it did last, it was frightening, and the fear never leaves you, as I’m sure you know. 

Additionally, I have PTSD and severe depression from childhood trauma and while I am currently in therapy, it’s hard, and many days I am sorry to say I rue the day I was born… I only mention this because I thought you might like to know that now, after I have read your blog and all about how much Morgan loved life and took such joy in even the smallest things, I now realize how incredibly LUCKY I am just to be here, and Morgan has inspired me to try harder to enjoy the little things and appreciate every moment, and be grateful for it all, even the difficult things. So I thank you for sharing your story, because it has helped me see things so differently. I will try to live each day now with gratitude and simple joy like Morgan did. That’s my goal. So even though she is sadly no longer here, I hope you can take some comfort in knowing she is still helping people.

I also noticed that you post quotes quite often, and being very into quotes myself, I thought I would share some with you that seemed pertinent; I hope you like them and feel free to use them in your blog or whatever! I hope you get justice sooner rather than later, but however long it takes, I know that good will overcome evil. My husband and I are praying for you all, and I have shared your blog with my family and friends! If there is anything else I can do, I would love to help in some way. 

Here are the quotes and why they reminded me of your journey: 

“God is within her; she will not fail.” Psalm 46:5 (This one reminded me of your quest for justice for Morgan and your crusade to help all victims)

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” -Ernest Hemingway (You’ve certainly done that, in a profound way.)

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” -Gloria Steinem (The outrage you and your supporters feel is fuel to the cause!)

The last one I don’t have a source for, but it reminds me of the one you cited from the Aspen newspaper (“If you don’t want it printed, don’t let it happen” I think it was), and I think it applies so well to the perpetrators:

“You own everything that has happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should’ve behaved better.” 

God bless you and your whole family.


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