Local News

Six months later, Morris' family holds out hope

Posted March 3, 2009 6:01 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:13 p.m. EDT

— For the past six months, Pat Currin has done little else but search for his missing daughter, Kelly Morris.

"We search somewhere every day – every road, every path, farms, fields – looking for her," he said.

The 28-year-old mother of two was last seen at her Stem home on Sept. 3.

The following day, the house she shared with her family, including her husband, Scott Morris, caught fire, which officials ruled was arson. Hours afterward, authorities found Morris' car about a mile from her home with her keys, purse and cell phone inside.

Currin says he doesn't think he'll ever find his daughter alive, but he says he won't stop looking until he can bring her home.

"Kelly's got two small girls, 5 and 8 years old. They need to know where their mama is – obviously as bad or worse than we do," he said. "My determination is driven because of her children."

With the help of law enforcement and hundreds of men, women and children from as far away as Washington, D.C., and Texas, Currin and his wife, Juanita – Morris' stepmother – have searched relentlessly to find Morris.

When hunting season started in November, Currin says, he was sure someone would have found her if she were on the ground.

When hunting season was over and there had been no breaks, Currin and volunteers began focusing their attention on water. He has purchased some of the same type of equipment that experts use to search underwater.

One piece of gear is a side-scan sonar that creates images of large areas of lake or stream bottom with the purpose of finding and identifying objects.

"If there's a body in there, what's going to happen is the body is going to float just above the bottom," volunteer Mike Craig said. "And that's what you'll see. You'll see an image that looks to you like something is in there, and you'll see a shadow on the bottom."

Currin has also bought an underwater camera to search the endless number of ponds, lakes and wells in Granville County.

When it comes to the cost of the equipment, he says he's not sure exactly how much he has spent and adds that it doesn't matter to him. He just wants to find his daughter.

"You just can't quit," Currin said. "You've got to keep looking. Obviously, we don't know where Kelly's at, but we know of a lot of places where she's not."

As the Currins search, authorities continue to look into what might have happened to her.

Investigators have called Scott Morris a person of interest in her disappearance, and he has been a focus of investigators in multiple search warrants related to the case.

Family members and friends told authorities the couple was having marital problems and had talked about divorce, investigators’ affidavits say. They also indicate inconsistencies between Scott Morris' account and those of others regarding his actions in the hours after he says he last saw his wife and the following day.

Currin says that although he doesn't know what happened to his daughter, she would never have left her children under any circumstance.

"Kelly was a family woman," he said. "She obviously had two kids and loved her kids and was all about whatever they needed and what they needed to do and where they needed to be," her father said.

For now, he said, he won't stop and his resolve to find her won't weaken. He credits other family members and friends, as well as strangers, with keeping it strong.

"I think that has given us a lot of the strength that we have – that we do have that support and some of the volunteers are just as determined as we are, and they are committed to finding her," Juanita Currin said.

Currin says he hopes the overwhelming support will send a strong message to whoever might be responsible for his daughter's disappearance.

"I don't know how anybody could have done whatever they've done and live with themselves. That's beyond me," he said. "Not knowing is the absolute worst."

Organizers have scheduled two searches for this weekend – Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Volunteers can meet at N.C. Highway 50/2816 Old Weaver Trail in Creedmoor. More information is available by calling 919-812-2310 or by sending an e-mail to helpfindkelly@gmail.com.

A prayer vigil is also planned for 7 p.m. Saturday at the flagpole at Butner Park.

Anyone with information on where Kelly Morris might be is asked to contact the Granville County Sheriff's Department at 919-693-3213 of Granville County Crime Stoppers at 919-693-3100.