I would like to share this story that I just received from another stalking victim that is extremely brave to want to share it with others:
OK – my ex husband we will call him J. we were married in 2006 and divorced in 2007. He was severely abusive then, and when I left him I spent 36 days in a coma, and 14 more days in the hospital. I had part of my skull removed to let my brain swell. I had to do a lot of rehabilitation therapy and I still have a limp when I get tired. While we were married before the abuse started I began to discover lies that he was telling starting off with him being a marine scout sniper having served in Iraq. I discovered that was a lie when he told me he was getting the congressional metal of honor sent to him through the mail. lol. Well I confronted him and he beat me for the first time. I made the excuses, and all of that and continued dealing with his lies and abuse. Well I found out that he was stalking his ex-wife who had my same name. well I kicked him out and he beat me up, my parents found me and he had disappeared. When I woke up in the hospital and was able to reclaim most of my memories I got a divorce and he had several warrants listed for his arrest including impersonating a marine, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder and 2 counts of manslaughter, I was 5 months pregnant with twins and lost them and have since had to have a hysterectomy due to the damage he caused. I am 30 and turn 31 in June and have no biological children. He has not been found, but has managed to get my number that I have changed at least 20 times, I moved 45 miles away and am remarried, but he has come to our small town looking for me, luckily no one will tell him where I am. He has since had additional warrants issued for impersonating a police officer, 2 more counts of assault against others, stalking from me and is wanted in order to be questioned in a murder. The cops seem not to be able to find him, but he can find me – I don’t understand that. I have shown them where he and his family live yet they still won’t pick him up and I am not sure why. I just want everyone to realize that no matter what, that first of all if your relationship is built on lies (as mine was from everything from military to his jobs etc. ) then get out as soon as you can and second if there is any harassment do not get a restraining order get a protective order. I went so far as to let the cops hear a recorded conversation between him and I where he threatened to kill me and kill anyone including cops that got in his way. Before I moved I had several of the same signs as Morgan did knocks on my windows being followed, and it escalated to slashed tires and broken windshields to spray painting death threats on my house and car. As I have said I have moved away and he doesn’t know where exactly I live in our small town, and I have since gotten my concealed carry permit, and my husband makes sure anywhere I drive that I have a gun, and when I am anywhere else I have knives. I commend you for putting Morgan’s story out there, and all of the other stalking victims for sharing with us. Honestly if it can help or save even one person then it counts, and I think that we all need to go past the state level and have federal laws. Thank you for putting my story out and you and your family are in my prayers
Morgan, as we all did, tried so hard to carry on with her life throughout her stalking. She walked her puppy, visited with friends and went to school, that last semester when everything is just about taken care of, and you have to take only a few classes, but then you also take fun classes, pointe ballet, and jazz dance, just for the workout, and release, that was what Morgan did.
We all lived in a bubble where we thought the apprehension of the criminal would ultimately be by the Sheriff’s Department. And as I look through report after report I see a problem with the approach – it goes like this.
After four months of stalking, Keenan would have been facing these charges:
Keenan already has two priors of criminal trespass, and it did little to stop him, because here he was, right back at it again.
Others – both Garfield officers and Private Investigators have suggested different laws enacted to deal with the crimes that were being committed, using those laws would have given the investigation more teeth, seriousness, and more chances for success, specifically:
Laws which allow for early confrontation and quicker arrest, before the crime escalates. Read through the crime logs from any agency and I guarantee you will not see many arrests, arraignments, and high (serious) bails based on the charge of “third degree criminal trespass.” It is a joke at best. If you ever find yourself or anyone you love in a situation such as Morgan’s, ask about the laws, ask your victims rights coordinator about the laws, even research the laws yourself. If the laws that relate to what is going on are not being employed, demand to know why. Steve and I did not. We left it all in the hands of the Sheriffs and that was a big mistake. They of course did not want to see Morgan die, but they also were not prepared to protect us against the level of threat we were facing.
Once you have a suspect, I suggest you name him as the suspect that he or she is. It is important for your friends and neighbors to know, who the suspect is and how dangerous is he considered! Just so you all know I am not carelessly throwing out names, I will print a brief exchange that took place between Sheriffs concerning the suspect Keenan, and his father:
Subject of Narrative: Suspect Interview with lead Felony Stalking Sheriff’s Detective, Keenan VanGinkel
On November 16, 2011, I overheard dispatch notifying the zone one deputies to contact Wade VanGinkel reference his son being a suspect in a case. The dispatcher advised that Wade wanted to know if there was a case open against his son. I noted that Keenan, Wade’s son, is a suspect in this case.
I contacted Wade who was at the Sheriff’s office when he made the call to dispatch. I offered to Wade that I could meet him and Keenan at around 1600 hours that day. Wade told me that he had heard from his son that Keenan was being accused of stalking a girl. Furthermore, Wade said that there was somebody on facebook.com threatening him. Wade also said that he heard that there were some deputies at City Market, El Jebel, looking for Keenan.
This, of course, is the stalking that, James Harris, Brooke Harris’ father did not know was happening on the Dr. Phil episode and “wished we had told him.” Actually Brooke did not speak up to correct her father about the stalking, the stalking that Brooke had heard there was video evidence that exonerated her boyfriend Keenan. I’ve come across four instances of Keenan referring to this “video evidence that exonerated,” day when he “heard about an incident” but he was in Texas so it could not have been him.
Also, I have heard that you do not have to go out into the wild web very far to read that there are people stating now that there was never a stalking, either Morgan or me made it all up. Does this mean if I pretend hard enough that Morgan will not be murdered? Unfortunately I know all to well that this is not possible. What practical purpose in the search for truth this pretending there was not a stalking serves is beyond me. I lived through it, day by day, Morgan did her best to be brave and persevere, right up until she was killed. Morgan’s stalking and murder was every bit the nightmare I hopefully have portrayed it to be. And it obviously was very, very real. Lastly, I have been assured that NOBODY has been cleared of the crimes committed against Morgan and our family.
Meanwhile it seems now that back then everyone knew who the stalker was, James Harris named Keenan as the stalker. Brooke Harris told Steve and I in person that she “heard there was video evidence that exonerated her boyfriend Keenan.” Very poignant choice of words “exonerated”, by the way, because it specifically means you were convicted and then later found not to be guilty. This was in response to the videotaped march of an as of yet unidentified perp around our house. Unfortunately for the best laid plans of those involved, most everyone who has seen the full video agrees it is a female, and all other images of the stalker are male. Keenan names Brooke as the potential stalker. And if you remember our neighbor Elliott, he thought the stalker, at least one of them, was James Harris.
The argument referred to by Keenan’s father Wade, on facebook.com can be found on this post from December 28, 2012 excerpts from Facebook “threats” read what Keenan has to say, and you tell me if he does not give indications of knowledge and guilt, because I think that he does.
So you can see that I name names, but everyone else is also naming names. Actually everyone else seems to have a person to point fingers at, anyone but themselves. Horrors for Morgan, and after her death, casts of characters all employing their own form of protection…Internet Cyber Stalking and Trolls.
Crimes were committed, horrific crimes were committed. Situations such as Morgan and our family faced can quickly get out of hand. The two weeks surrounding her death contained so many little events. Taken together they point very strongly to a seriously increased danger for a victim in Morgan’s place. And they also point strongly to the potential for an act of desperation on the part of the perps. The lead detective even forecast it. There has been over a year, and a half on the part of Steve and I, and so many others with far more expertise to piece it all together on a timeline. It was all too real, and it is the truth, I will defend that fact under oath in any court in the land.
But that is not the real reason I’m writing this today. It is for all of the victims that might happen across this and find some good advice, or a frightening parallel. To know the true dangers of stalking, how one day we were just a happy family planning our next outing, and the next day we were victims of stalking, and a peeping tom, who turned our lives upside down. How one day our Detective warned that he thought the stalking was going to escalate, and three days later Morgan was dead. How out of control it becomes. How everything you ever planned, or dreamed of is suddenly changed forever. Steve and I will never get to give Morgan a beautiful wedding like her sister had, we will never get to play with the grandchildren she was planning on sharing with us, we will never ever get another hand squeeze that meant “I love you” from her, we will never get to hear about what her next big adventure was to be, because we no longer have Morgan with us on this earth – we will suffer her loss until the day we die.
I never want any of this to happen to another girl, another family when the resources and the knowledge exist to prevent it. As always – in Morgan’s memory, and honor – I wish for you to have the awareness and knowledge we did not to keep you all safe from such tragedy.
To us everything looked wrong, horribly wrong. Were Steve and I fighting a realization from the very first instant? Did we see and know more than we could process? I believe so, a year and a half later strange as it sounds I can think back on that day, and remember details that I could not at all in the first few weeks. At the beginning Steve and I were in some internal turmoil to come to grips with the fact that our daughter was dead, and we focused immediately on her, not things around her, then came shock. But we did register the facts, far more that we would have ever realized. I don’t know how it is for others faced with this kind of situation, but that is how it has been for Steve and me.
After that meeting with Morgan’s doctor in Los Angeles, and homicide became a certainty in her opinion, a lot of different questions started coming up. First was the obvious, was someone in her room? And then questions centered on Wylah, Morgan’s puppy, a little over 6 months old that morning. Why didn’t Wylah sound the alarm the night before if someone was in her room? How could she have never made a sound, never barked? It seemed to rule out an intruder actually in her room that night. I’m reading a book on crime scene investigation, and this is a common mistake. As in MISTAKE! We did not have an answer for months until Steve was talking with an investigator (not a Garfield County Sheriffs Department investigator), and their conversation was very slow and relaxed, detail by detail, and Steve remembered Wylah, sitting on the bed in the morning, looking dazed, and motionless as the activity by first responders was frenetic. They rushed in and backed out of the room as Wylah looked on in silence, he pictured it perfectly. He remembers asking a first responder if he should get Morgan’s pets out of the room for them. He glanced at Wylah just sitting there on the bed and said no.
While that alone does not prove someone was in Morgan’s room it’s an example of how using the dog’s lack of barking to rule out an intruder was so short-sighted, and displayed poor investigative skills on our part. Now I’ll give you another example.
A Garfield County Detective Sergeant noted in his report from the death scene some, “blanching on her chest area, and left arm as she had been reportedly found lying on her stomach.” Morgan was found on her side, not her stomach. Position of the body at the time of discovery – completely wrong. Does it matter? YES! I have been told that bodies on their side do different things and present differently than bodies on their stomach. As more and more facts come my way it seems as if every tiny detail has significance in a thorough investigation.
I was the one that found her and Steve was there right after, and we are both absolutely sure of the position Morgan was in. When I saw the first PER I noted the wrong body position being put in the report, among many other mistakes, and wrote around a six page letter correcting every one.
What kind of investigation can be expected when the position of the body, when first discovered, can not be ascertained from the first person who saw her, and then correctly shared with the other investigators? Perhaps that’s just another reason the Honorable DA decided that the Sheriff’s Department had completely botched the crime scene. Or maybe he was told the correct position, and he just forgot. But since Morgan only had about a paragraph or two of his time he should have at least gotten the facts right.
Then came the statement that I don’t know how to respond to. To an untrained eye such as Steve and I must possess we see signs there was a struggle in Morgan’s room, it did not look as it had the day before, or the night before. Panic button torn from the nightstand, thrown aside with her clothes piled on top of it, jewelry boxes emptied of valuable jewelry, why were piles of freshly laundered, and folded clothes the night before all knocked over, on and on. But to the trained eye of a Garfield County Sheriff Detective he sees one thing – “Her bedroom was in disarray, slovenly in fact. There were numerous items on the floor.”
SO – My daughter had been stalked for four months, the Tuesday before her death, only two days, our detective had proclaimed 100% certainty that Keenan VanGinkel was her stalker. He had stated the stalking was going to escalate on that same day. Officers on stepped up patrols were searching exclusively up on the roof with their search light the night of her murder. According to official reports, our Detective notes that he divulged the date of Morgan’s interview with the Sheriffs department to James Harris, AKA Jim Harris approximately a week before she was killed. This has been identified as a huge rookie mistake, endangering the victim. James certainly talks to his daughter Brooke Harris, and she would pass this bit along to the prime suspect Keenan VanGinkel. It is not too far of a stretch to think Keenan also knew that the interview of Morgan had the potential to sink him. Was that more motivation to murder our daughter?
Through the ordeal that was her stalking, Morgan had lost interest in her room, remember she spent large periods of time sleeping in our closet – because she didn’t feel safe in her room – because she was suffering serious emotional distress. The General Assembly of Colorado recognizes that stalking involves highly inappropriate intensity, persistence, and possessiveness, it entails great unpredictability and creates great stress, and fear for the victim. Also that stalking involves severe intrusions on the victim’s personal privacy and autonomy, with an immediate and long-lasting impact on quality of life. And remember one of Morgan’s routines was to clean her room on Fridays?
Morgan’s life has been turned completely upside down. Victims rights promises that she will be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity. All this and an honest to God sworn to protect us Garfield Sheriff’s Detective looks at Morgan’s room, her dead body lying on the floor and takes notes, he knows, or should have known all of the facts presented here and he produces a report that claims to provide his knowledge and insight. He sees Morgan’s room as “in disarray,” with “numerous items on the floor.” A struggle? No he sees or notes no sign of one of those. If Morgan was ever in a do or die, brief struggle for her life she might well have ended up with blood in her mouth, a thumb sized bruise on her forehead, abrasions on her hand, torn nails, and yes her room might have even gotten a little disarray, with items on the floor, whole piles of laundry knocked over onto the floor.
And not many people except the Garfield Sheriffs detectives and Kennan’s family and friends can process all this information, and find nothing wrong – no need to even open an investigation – absolutely nothing to follow up on. And the stalker & peeping tom that for four months that terrorized Morgan and our family? No need to catch him either, he will never do it again, the residents of the county, all the other young women who live in Garfield are safe. And of course the stalker could not be the murderer – right? As stalking and sexual crimes expert, Mark Wynn would say, “that is just tombstone mentality.”
But really I believe the solution lies in actions and answers before her death. Morgan needed her victims rights before she died. A more inclusive, more thorough investigation of her stalking. It will be a huge goal, and measure of success for the Morgan Ingram Foundation.