Tuesday, July 25, 2006

10 Years

It's been ten years since Morgan Violi was abducted while playing with friends at her apartment complex. I wrote about this story in February but thought I'd bring it up again since it is something I think about often.

The Bowling Green Daily News published an article Monday about the ten year anniversary of her abduction. I can't help but feel for the family. Not knowing who did this and knowing he is still out there free just tears me up inside.

Daily News (Bowling Green, KY)Killer’s trail staying cold Morgan abduction, 10 years later
BURTON SPEAKMAN, The Daily News, bspeakman@bgdailynews.com/783-3240
Published: July 24, 2006
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the abduction and eventual slaying of 7-year-old Morgan Jade Violi, and investigators are no closer to making an arrest.
Morgan’s family is still seeking answers to who may have killed the girl and what happened in her last few hours.
Her family is hoping that now that 10 years have passed, the person or persons responsible feel guilty and will confess to their role in the crime, said Linda Whitlow, her aunt, and Dewayne Whitlow, her cousin.
Having someone come forward would give the family a lot of closure, Dewayne Whitlow said.
Stacey Violi, Morgan’s mother, said that while she wants someone to come forward about the crime, she doesn’t know if it would bring her any closure.
“It won’t stop it from hurting. It wouldn’t bring my little girl back,” she said. “I would like to know everything about that day.”
They also want someone to be punished for Morgan’s death, Linda Whitlow said.
Although it’s been 10 years since Morgan was taken on July 24, 1996, in front of Colony Apartments off Shive Lane and later killed, sometimes it feels like it just happened yesterday, Violi said in a recent phone conversation with the Daily News.
“That’s the day I lost my faith in the human race,” she said, at times crying. “I never realized there was anyone that evil who could just take her and do that.”
Violi said her anger makes her want retribution.
“Revenge is a double-edged sword, but I’ll suffer every day the rest of my life and I want someone else to suffer for the rest of their life,” she said.
Morgan was playing with a friend that day when she was grabbed by a man and taken way in a maroon van. The original Bowling Green Police Department reports list the driver of the van as a 6-foot 1-inch white male, weighing 180 pounds with brown hair and two to three days of beard growth.
A nationwide search and billboard campaigns led police on false chases. Morgan’s remains were found Oct. 20, 1996, along North Swift Road near White House, Tenn. The spot was close enough to Interstate 65 that traffic noises could still be heard.
The location, which then was sparsely populated and today has numerous houses, is about 40 miles from Bowling Green. The memorial that had been created there to remember Morgan is gone.
A white van was seen near the site where her remains were found, but it was never located. A search for the van, which had custom glass windows, was a large part of the investigation for some time.
The van was found at a truck stop on the Peytonsville Road exit off I-65 in Franklin, Tenn., according to FBI reports. The van had been stolen in Dayton, Ohio.
For several years, Kim Ferrell kept a memorial of a cross and roses dedicated to Morgan by the culvert where her body was dumped – Ferrell’s home then was less than 50 yards away. But that memorial is no longer there and much of the culvert has been covered for new driveways.
Ferrell no longer lives in the house, Violi said.
“I quit going down to that spot two or three years ago; it was just too hard,” Violi said.
Today, Violi and her daughters will go to Morgan’s grave and release 10 purple balloons to commemorate the years she’s been gone. They also will go on her birthday later this year and release 18 for each year she would have been alive.
“The girls and I stick together. They lost their innocence that day, too,” Violi said. “Some people carry scars physically; others carry theirs emotionally.”
It was three or four years before Violi and her daughters could even have pictures of Morgan up in their home, she said.
“I just wonder if the person or persons responsible are able to lay down at night and close their eyes without thinking of Morgan in her last hours and even minutes,” Linda Whitlow said.
Morgan’s case was featured in a segment on the television show Unsolved Mysteries. Violi said she would like to do that again to try to get answers about her daughter’s death.
There are some cases that have been solved after several decades and this case is still being looked at, said David Beyer, media coordinator for the FBI office in Louisville.
“But the more years that pass, the less likely it becomes the person or persons responsible will be caught,” he said.
The FBI still questions anyone being investigated in a similar abduction about the Violi case, Beyer said.
Warren County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Roger Osborne said he was on patrol when the abduction call came in.
“We went up to the first overpass on (Interstate) 65 and watched the vehicles for one matching the description,” he said. “We (law enforcement) had the entire area surrounded.”
It is hard to believe the abductor was able to get out of the area, Osborne said.
Violi said she calls the FBI less often for updates about the case – the FBI would say they’re working on it, but there really aren’t any good leads.
The FBI received more than 2,000 leads in the case within months after Morgan was taken. Tips about the case still come in, Beyer said.
The community has really been there for the family, Violi said. She also credited Whitlow and her daughters for helping her deal with her grief.
People haven’t forgotten about Morgan, Violi said. She hopes her daughter’s story reminds other parents to hold on tighter to their children and keep an eye on them.
There have been two recent reports of what could have been attempted kidnappings – both involved a green van.
In June, two men in a green van approached children in a neighborhood off Plano Road. The men asked the children to help find their lost dog, a tactic often used by child predators, police said.
Then on July 11, a green van was spotted in a neighborhood off Three Springs Road and an occupant was apparently watching a young girl in the front yard.
Parents need to watch their children all the time when they’re outside, Violi said when asked about the recent reports.
“You can teach your children all the right things, but when push comes to shove, a child is no match for an adult,” she said. “Morgan was kicking and screaming, but she was still taken.”
If parents can’t watch their child while they’re outside, the child needs to come in, Violi said. If you see something suspicious, call the police.
“Morgan wasn’t the first child they saw. They came back into an apartment complex with one way in and out,” she said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
— Anyone with information about this case can call the FBI at (270) 583-3941 or the Bowling Green Police Department at 393-4244.

Copyright 2006 News Publishing LLC (Bowling Green, KY)


babygurl20092 said...

I am 18 years old and still live at ashton parc once known as colony apartments. I was 7 when this happened and i knew her very well along with the girl that was with her i am sorry for the loss and i still pray

Nikki said...

who are you baby gurl? I am nikki, morgans sister. If you knew her, you knew me? Im just trying to get in touch with some of those people that used to live there. If you need to know that it is me, I have blonde hair, blue eyes and i kicked a window out by accident when I lived there ha ha. my name was nikki prewitt but i have married since them and now nikki barnett.

sue said...

Hi my name is Sue, and I am one of Stacey's closest friend's. I met her about a year and half ago. I met her other daughters Heather and Nikki, who are wonderful people. I also met their children. Although I never knew Morgan, I can't imagine pain and loss of this kind. I feel Stacey's and her daughters pain, and I wish I could take it away. It would have been a pleasure to know Morgan. I wish I got the chance to. I hope one day they will get some closure, but I know they will never forget.

burkesvillegirl said...

My cousin chelsea was morgans best friend.......I was just a baby back in 1996 so i never really got to know morgan but it would have been a pleasure to know her.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I was 10 years old when Morgan was taken. I lived in Greenwood Villa apartments at the time...just across the road, and used to visit friends at colony apartments all the time, and had talked to Morgan a few time while I was over there. She was a sweet girl, and she will be missed. I think about her quite a bit especially since my mother-in-law now lives over in Ashton Parc...I'm sorry for the family's loss and I hope that someone will come forward with SOMETHING on her murder soon.

Lora Pannell
Bowling Green, Kentucky

sue said...

Hi its Sue, one of Stacey's closest friends. Although I live in Chicago, Illinois, I talk to Stacey on a daily basis, sometimes twice a day. To this day it is very hard for stacey to talk about her daughter's morgan's tragedy. I feel her, heather, nikki's, and their family's pain and loss. I hope for there sake, one day this case will be solved. They all need some closure about morgan in their lives. She will always be missed and never forgotton.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Colony Apartments when this tragedy happened. I remember you girls from then, I even remember the day Morgan was taken. It was a strange day, the day all peoples "unfounded" worries took their physical manifestation. I think I was around eleven at the time, everyone was in such disarray after she disappeared. A tragedy indeed. I had been outside earlier that day and I saw her briefly, then stayed inside for a while, and when I went outside again everyone was looking. Anyway, I don't mean to babble about insignificant details, I was just thinking about what happened and I was hoping to see that there was some closure to the case, to my apparent disappointment. I wish the family well and I hope eventual justice for whoever did that to Morgan.


sue said...

Hi its sue from chicago, one of stacey's best friends. Today is the thirteen anniversary of morgan's abduction and murder. The person has never been caught, and the case is still unresolved. My thoughts and prayers go out to Stacey and her daughters, as well as her family. I wish I could be there with her. There still is no closure for them. I hope one day it will happen. Morgan was such a beautiful little girl. She loved life. She will never be forgotton. She is truly missed. Let's all say a prayer for the million of children that have been taken from there families. I ask all of you to keep morgan in your thoughts on this day. I know I will.


sue said...

Hi, it's Sue from chicago, one of stacey's best friend's. Today is morgan's 21st birthday, and it saddens me, that she's not here to celebrate it with her family and friend's. It makes me sick to my stomach, that someone out there did this to morgan. To this day, her abduction and murder goes unsolved. I only pray that whoever did this to morgan, gets payed back in more ways then one. Even though my heart is with stacey, her daughters heather, nikki, and the rest of their family, I wished I lived closer to stacey to be there with her on this sad day. I hope one day there is some closure for all of them. Let's take some time and remember those who have been taken from us. Morgan, we love you! You will always be remembered and never forgotton! You will always be in our hearts forever and ever! I wish I got the chance to know you. Happy 21st birthday!
Love ya,

dragonfly said...

I would really like to talk to Nikki Barnett. I hope you still get on here, I have looked for you on Facebook but with no luck. I have some ideas as to getting Morgan's case back out there, but I would like to talk to you or Stacey first. I know you don't know me, and I haven't even met your mother. I do know Stan, (Big Stan), and his wife. I used to go see them every once in awhile with my sister and her husband. Ever since this happened to little Morgan, I just can't get it out of my mind. Something needs to be done to get this case out there more and hopefully if we keep pushing someone will come forward with something new. I know my feelings don't come anything close to your family's. I can't imagine what you all are going through. Please contact me at msghost8888@yahoo.com. I would love to be able get to meet or talk to you and your mom and get this case solved. This bring this guy down! My prayers are with you as they have been since this horrible tragedy happened.

brandon miller said...

Hi Im Brandon Miller and my sister was right there with Morgan when the abduction happened. I have been trying to get a hold of the people that lived the for the longest time it's just kinda hard being stationed in Alaska. Thank you for all your time and help.

brandon miller said...

My e-mail is
brandon.miller20@us.army.mil and cell is (907) 250-0717

chelsie orange said...

I was with Morgan right before it happened. We were infront of the apartments playing. I had to go to the store with my mom and grandmother. So i told Morgan bye and went home. As we were pulling out that marroon van was pulling in. When we came back there was police every where. My mom told me Morgan was missing. But i still remember that day.

Anonymous said...

My sister April and Morgan were friends and in the same class when morgan disappeared. My cousin Jessica and Nikki were close friends. I was only 5 when she was taken but I do remember my cousin telling me how Nikki and her family went to Morgans grave every year. It's so sad. I still pray for Morgans family.

Anonymous said...

I am actually closer in age to Nikki & Heather. I remember the day Morgan went missing very well and being so concerned for my friends. (We went to school together.) Tonight I saw a crime show that reminded me so much of Morgan and her case. It brought back a lot of emotion for me, so I can only imagine what you girls are still going through everyday. I just wanted to let you know that there are people that were your friend back then that still think about you often. Even if you never read this, I promise you guys that I will keep you in my prayers always.

Anonymous said...

i remember the day u kicked that window out, it was so long ago i barely remember but i remember morgan was crying in my cousins apartment bc she thought u was gonna get in big trouble..and didn't know what was gonna happen. i don't know why but I've been thinking about her a lot and one day i hope they find the person who did it and i pray for the family everyday

Stacy Phillips said...

I use to play with her and her two sisters all the time, I miss her so much. I still remember the horrible day she went missing. My mom wouldn't let me outside and when she told me I just couldn't believe it, when your 7 you don't really understand things like this. But I always say a prayer for my best friend and her family, for them to find who did this and that they have justice. I have a pic of all us girls Morgan was about 5 then. I can't believe we would have been 28 together this year!!!

Stacy Phillips said...

Nikki and heather here is my faceboom if u want to message me or send me a request!! I would love to hear from y'all!! https://m.facebook.com/Stacy.loves.Nelson09