|Not sure if we slept more than an hour last night and Steve and I are feeling the effects as we get ready for the day. I want to share the picture from the wee hours of the morning with everyone I can, but the officers have repeatedly told us to not do or say anything. When I asked why, the answer was variations of: this guy probably lives nearby, and we don’t want to tip our hat just yet. I don’t want to go against the deputies wishes, but it is so against the way I do things I’m not sure how much longer I can keep it up. Besides, at this point everyone sees or has heard about the varying numbers of patrol vehicles at out house all hours of the day and night, they know something is up. Before this stalking, one patrol vehicle on Corral Drive would have been at least a weeks worth of neighborhood gossip.
Morgan gets a text from her teacher this morning, “There will be class tomorrow…just so u know. :)” I am so unnerved by the web camera pictures I am pacing the hall watching Morgan’s door and the yards, I expect him (the stalker) again at any second. As soon as Morgan is up I tell her what happened, and show her the picture of the stalker. She is quite visibly upset. I ask her if she wants her father to drive her to school, and she actually thinks about it before saying no, she’ll be fine.
A sheriff’s deputy shows up unannounced, he’s heard all about last night’s activity, and just wants to have a look around in the daylight. This is the first time I don’t have to tell the whole story from the beginning, he already knows, and I am thankful for that. We walked around and I recount last night for him, pointing out the locations where the camera was, where it started in the rear yard, the trails over the berm, on and on. I tell him that Steve and I believe there are only three people that would match the body in the photo, Steve insisted on discounting the head completely as it was so distorted, all we had from the head was hair color – light, I did not agree, but we were going with the three for the moment, so I point out where they live and what their names are.
The deputy is standing out in street, staring at the houses and nodding. He really wants Morgan to think about anyone who could be the stalker, anyone at all. He says he is going now and I thank him, look up and see Elliott, our neighbor across the street, approaching, more like marching, he looks angry and won’t even look me in the eye. I’m thinking wonderful, like this is all my fault? He demands to know what is going on from the deputy, he sees the sheriff’s trucks constantly, he has two young daughters and he deserves to know. I could not agree more, and I wait for the deputy to explain how they would like it kept quiet for the moment, but he tells Elliott we have a stalking situation going on here, and they are trying to apprehend the stalker in the act. I feel relief, now I can tell everyone. Elliott wants to know what we know about it, and what he should be on the lookout for. The deputy tells him we have very little to go on, but they are working on it. I’m thinking of the pictures from last night, the shoeprints, which were perfectly clear, the trails on the berm, the description of him on our porch, and I’m wondering what do they want, for him to leave his drivers license pinned to the door? This is so upsetting.
Elliott wonders if I can call him later, he’s very upset that he has been kept in the dark, wonders how we are so sure this guy is not after his daughters too. I welcome the chance to explain it all to Elliott, but I also have to get back to work, and I excuse myself and leave them to talk.
Now a year later I feel like there was no lack of advice at the time, or at least opinions, as to what we should do, from the sheriffs. Most of the advice from other people, not law enforcement, was very good and well meaning, but some was what I would call aggressive, many people said if they were me they would shoot him – then I would answer shoot who? It is pitch darkness when we run outside to try to catch this stalker. We can’t just shoot off a gun into the darkness. Now I take it much better, but at the time it would cause such anger, I felt like I was in a fight with the whole world. Our family lived the dangers of a stalker first hand, and we really thought we were doing the best we could. What we did was also not good enough, what the sheriffs did was not good enough, and what the coroner did . . . – well that horrifying story is coming up soon. We can never bring Morgan back, but we can rise above this, we can ALL admit our mistakes, we can ALL improve. We should ALL be able to look at a group of girls at the school bus stop and think, they are safe here. We ALL have a way to go for that to be true, and I guarantee denial will not get us there. Last night, when the viewers reading Morgan’s story went over 6,000 for the day, Steve told me, it may be hard to see, but I am really making a difference. I really hope that is true, but until I have justice for my sweet baby, I don’t think I can agree with that.
Later that day I go next door to talk to our neighbor Rhonda, I show her a grainy print out of the pictures, and that was enough to get her very upset, and extremely creeped out. She offered to have the sheriff’s patrol officers set up their surveillance of Morgan’s windows from her dining room window any time they wanted – at least they would be warm, while laying low watching for the stalker. I immediately passed on this suggestion to the deputy who had just left.
I then went over to Elliott’s house to show him the picture from the web cam. I went in Elliott’s house. When he looked at the photo he became excited. He points at the picture and says, Toni this body type is very unique, and I can only think of 3 people in this whole neighborhood that it could be. He named off his next door neighbor Peter, Brooke’s dad, James Harris (he leases a house just 3 houses down from us), and Brooke’s boyfriend, Keenan. I have never seen or heard of this Keenan before, and I tell Elliott that I did not know anyone other than Brooke was living in the house with her dad. Elliott tells me that Keenan had just moved in to Brooke’s dad’s house at the end of July. This would be just before the stalking started! I point out in the photo the long sleeve shirt the stalker is wearing and tell him I think it is unique and not something a younger person would wear. Elliott disagrees and immediately runs upstairs in his house and grabs a shirt to show me. It looks like the exact same shirt in the photo – Elliott tells me he has the same shirt in black and it is a very popular shirt, many people have them that like to do things in the outdoors so of course younger people wear them. We make plans to stay in contact about what is going on, and he offers that Morgan can come over anytime she’s home alone or feels any danger, in fact he wants her to call him and he will come over and escort her to his house. I told him I do not ever plan on leaving her alone at home, but thank you so much for the offer.
Morgan came home from school with a group of friends she wants to show the pictures too. They all, one by one, are “freaked out”. I desperately wish the picture had a clearer face on it. After her friends leave I tell Morgan that the deputy that came over this morning (while she was at school) wanted to know anyone she could think of who might do this, and what Elliott had told me later. Morgan turned white as a ghost when she heard about Brooke’s boyfriend. She said Brooke’s boyfriend Keenan drives a big truck, and she hadn’t seen that in our neighborhood, so she had no clue he was living with Brooke. She also said back in February she had walked into her friend’s house and seen him there with Brooke, and she had gotten a creepy feeling from him, so she just turned around and left without speaking a word. After that she had asked her friends who he was, and how does Brooke know him, they all said he’s not a good guy (and then went on to describe how bad he was), they warned her not to have anything to do with him, and she never did, so now she is very upset that he is in our neighborhood, living just three houses down from us.
Morgan takes the deputies’ card from me and says, “I didn’t know anyone before, but now I do!” Then she sends the following email to the deputy:
Morgan sent this email to a deputy in response to his question earlier about possible people she might know that would be capable of doing this to her.
That evening, Morgan goes to see her friends and sends me a text when she is leaving to come home at 7:32 pm, “On my way” I sent back, “Ok, I’ll be waiting.”
Then nothing is heard tonight – it was quiet. Morgan goes back to sleeping in the closet, which is upsetting to me because I know her back hurts, but I understand her fear. I feel its safer for her this way too.