Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mother of 2's remains found - husband charged

After a 14 month search, the parents of a North Carolina mother of 2 were relieved after discovering the remains of their daughter inside of the Tar River Fox Pen. The remains of Kelly Morris, 28, was found last week in the hunting tract, located near Creedmore, NC. She disappeared after leaving from her stepmother's house September 3, 2008, and the next morning, firefighters were called to the Granville County home she shared with her husband and accused murderer, William Scott Morris, 35. The fire was determined to be arson, yet there was no sign of Kelly.

In the next few days, Kelly's dad, Pat Currin began the search for Kelly, which quickly turned into a search for her remains. "Fourteen months - I really don't have much to say right now," he said after learning his daughter's remains were found. Kelly's mother, Wanda Hollis, said "I knew that this day would come eventually. It's like a brick lifted off your chest. I'm glad I didn't have to wait five years, or 10 years."

[Al] Mignacci, a retired IBM engineer, took the search's lead within a month of her disappearance. It wasn't his first missing-person chase. Two years before, he helped look for a Lee County woman thought to be abducted. Just last week, he was helping to find a 5-year-old Fayetteville girl killed and hidden under thick kudzu.

For Morris, Mignacci set up inside the workshop of Currin's construction company, plotting a 15-mile radius from her house, divvying up roads to other volunteers, highlighting all the combed-over territory in yellow.

When he heard the news that Morris had been found at Tar River Fox Pen, he recalled walking outside the fence line along Sam Moss-Hayes Road, passing maybe a few hundred feet from where she was found. Inside, he said, sportsmen bring dogs to chase the foxes and coyotes that wander over roughly 900 acres. A 4-foot fence surrounds the property, and dogs can be heard howling inside from the road.

On Wednesday, at least a dozen State Bureau of Investigation agents and sheriff's deputies were again walking that the fence line, this time inside and lined up abreast with wooden staffs to poke through the leaves and underbrush.

Meanwhile, Morris made his first court appearance in Oxford, NC, where he was being held without bail on 1st degree murder and arson charges. He faces the death penalty. Mignacci said, while going over new areas to find Kelly's remains, that  "It's been a long, tough struggle. A lot of kind searchers put in a lot of time."

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