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Family recalls Kelly Morris on anniversary of disappearance

The father and stepmother of a missing Granville County woman say they are still hoping to find her and are helping her young daughters cope with their mother's disappearance.

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STEM, N.C. — A year has passed and volunteers have spent hours search for 28-year-old Kelly Morris, who disappeared Sept. 3, 2008, hours before fire was set to her Granville County home.

The next day, police found her car, keys, purse and cell phone in an undeveloped subdivision shortly after firefighters responded to a fire at her home, 3220 Tump Wilkins Road. The fire was ruled arson, and the Granville County Sheriff's Office has named her husband, Scott Morris, as a person of interest in the case.

Her father and stepmother said they still want to find Kelly Morris, who left behind two daughters, now ages 5 and 8.

"We don't think we're looking for a runaway person at all. We know she would never leave her children, no matter what," her father Pat Currin said.

"If they ask – and they have – 'Why is Mommy missing?,' I say, 'I don't know why Mommy is missing,'" Juanita Currin, Kelly Morris's stepmother, said.

After Kelly Morris' disappearance, the community launched an around-the-clock search. Supporters held vigils, and volunteers posted flyers all over Granville County.

As months passed, though, hope faded.

"We're not expecting to find her alive. We're just looking for where she is, period," Pat Currin said.

"(Her daughters) not only lost their mother, but they've lost each other, and what they knew as a normal life isn't normal anymore," Juanita Currin said.

According to search warrants, Scott Morris told investigators that his wife left the house to look for a lost dog around 9:30 the night before she disappeared.

He said he went to bed while she was gone. Phone records, though, show that Scott Morris and his father exchanged calls as late as 11:56 p.m.

Warrants also contradict what Scott Morris said he was doing the next morning.

He claimed he was working at a BP gas station, but a surveillance camera captured him driving away from the station and toward his home two hours before the fire was called into 911.

Scott Morris did not respond to attempts to contact him.

His quiet has been a sore spot for friends and relatives who say he hasn't participated in the search effort. Kelly's relatives, though, said that's not surprising, given the state of the couple's marriage when Kelly  Morris disappeared.

She had moved in with them for a few weeks before she went missing, Pat Currin said.

"I think early on in their marriage that they were happy. I would say, over the last couple years is when things probably started shifting," Juanita Currin said.

In the case's most recent developments, the State Bureau of Investigation started reviewing e-mails from Kelly Morris' account, and Pat Currin has filed for emergency custody of his youngest granddaughter.