WHAT HAPPENED? (1)
Morgan Nick was 6 years old when she was abducted from a Little League Baseball game in Alma, Arkansas. In the 25 years since her disappearance, she has never been found, and there have been no real leads in the case.
Her mother created the Morgan Nick Foundation, with the goal of helping other parents find their missing children.
ABOUT MORGAN NICK (2)
Morgan was born on September 12, 1988. She was born in the small town of Ozark, Arkansas. She became a big sister to a brother, Logan, at 2, and became the biggest sister when her baby sister, Taryn was born.
Morgan wanted to be a doctor or a circus performer. She signed up for track, but quit when she realized she didn't like sweating. She joined the Girl Scouts, as she much preferred their indoor activities.
Even as a such a young girl, Morgan's family and loved ones knew she was destined for success no matter what she did. She loved experiencing new things and could make everyone around her laugh. She was an animal lover, always sleeping next to her adopted kitten Emily. People loved being around her and she loved being around them.
By all accounts, Morgan Nick was a sweet, loving 6-year-old kid when her life was taken away from her.
MORGAN'S DISAPPEARANCE (2)
On June 9, 1995, Morgan's mom, Colleen, decided to take her oldest child to Alma, Arkansas, a town about 30 minutes away, to see a Little League Baseball game with some friends. The mother and daughter hadn't had a day to themselves in awhile, and it seemed like a perfect opportunity to spend some time together.
They were having a perfect day. They made grilled cheese sandwiches together before leaving town, their first time in Alma. When they arrived, over 300 people were at the game, and they met up with their friends right away. The crowd was cheering and laughing, and Morgan kept untying her mom's shoe as a joke.
As Morgan became a little bit bored with the game, she asked her mom if she could go play with her 8 and 10 year old friends, Jessica and Tye, in a field nearby. Though initially Colleen was hesitant, as it was now about 10:30 PM and she wasn't familiar with the area, her friends assured her it would be okay, as the kids regularly played in that area and they never had any trouble. Reluctantly, Colleen said okay, but told her to stay close. In her green Girl Scouts tee shirt and white tennis shoes, she was hard to miss, and Colleen looked over to check on her regularly.
But 10:45 rolled around and everyone began to pack up their things to go home, and Jessica and Tye ran back to meet up with their families, but Morgan wasn't there. She asked where Morgan was, and they said she was emptying sand from her shoes at the car. Frantic, she ran to the car, but her daughter wasn't there.
As she panicked and asked more questions, new, terrifying information came to light. The kids said that a "creepy" man had approached then when they were dumping sand from their shoes, and he was standing next to a red Ford pickup truck. By the time they got to the parking lot, Morgan, and the truck, were gone.
The police arrived within 6 minutes and thoroughly searched the area, but it was no use. Morgan was gone. Eyewitnesses corroborated the children's testimony about the suspicious male, a while man between 23-38 with a "hillbilly" accent, 180 pounds and about 6 feet tall with a mustache. They were able to describe his truck in detail. Why nobody watched the children closer if they knew there was a suspicious male watching them is beyond me.
The case was classified as an abduction as new information came to light, that a similar red truck had tried to lure a 4-year-old girl into his car in the city earlier that day. The girl's mother intervened and the attempted abduction was thwarted, but it is assumed that the same man who attempted to lure that child took Morgan. The next day, a report came through that a man matching Morgan's abductor's description tried to lure a 9-year-old girl into a men's restroom in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Colleen stayed in Alma, refusing to return to Ozark without her daughter. She stayed for 6 weeks, doing anything she could to bring her baby home. A composite sketch was distributed during that time, but despite the 4,000 tips generated, nothing panned out.
The article says that Colleen had to break the news to her children when she returned home, but I seriously hope that they were told something in the weeks their mother was living elsewhere and their sister was gone. Being 4 and 2, they didn't totally understand what was going on, but Logan would frequently ask Colleen "why did you lose my sister?" as he struggled to understand why his big sister that he loved to play with wasn't coming home.
IN THE FOLLOWING YEARS
The next year, Colleen created the Morgan Nick Foundation in Alma, a non-profit with the mission of preventing children from going missing, and support systems for families of children that do. The Arkansas Amber Alert system was renamed the Morgan Nick Amber Alert in honor of Morgan. (2)
Colleen moved to Alma in the years after her disappearance to handle the foundation, while police continued to follow up on leads regarding the man who is believed to have taken her. The case garnered more attention in 2001 when a new composite sketch was drawn and an age progression of Morgan, and her case was broadcast on Unsolved Mysteries, bringing in new tips, as well. (2)
One tip about the whereabouts of Morgan's body was so specific that police deemed it credible that they decided to examine and dig the area. However, nothing was unearthed in the investigation. Another tip from 2010 lead investigators to the trailer of a convicted child molester who could have been a person of interest in the case, but no DNA evidence of Morgan was found. (2)
Hopes were raised again in 2012 when Tonya Renee Smith, a 24-year-old, tried to assume Morgan's identity and convince authorities that she was Morgan. However, police were alerted of the fraudulent activity and she was sentenced to 6 years for computer fraud. (2)
In 2017, another hopes-up-hopes-down situation occurred when police were lead to an abandoned trailer in Spiro, Oklahoma, but search efforts proved fruitless. (2)
Now, in 2020, Morgan has been missing for 25 years. She would be 31 years old now. Each year, a 5K/1 mile walk is hosted that provides resources for the foundation. The Morgan Nick Foundation has successfully solved over 40 missing person's cases, bringing many survivors home safely after over 20 years. (2)
Colleen believes that her daughter will be found alive, and says no one else needs to believe it, because she believes it enough for everyone. Like many people dealt one of the most impossible hands, she has turned it into good, helping other families like her reunite with their children. (2)
There really aren't many other theories as to what happened to Morgan. Colleen was never a suspect, and given the amount of eyewitnesses who placed a suspicious man and car near Morgan, it is pretty clear she was the victim of an abduction.
Colleen remembers Morgan as a shy kid who loved her cat and thought bubble gun was a food group. She says that Morgan is "not a number. She is not a statistic. She is not a case file. She is a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a friend. And she is someone worth fighting for." (3)
To lose a young, innocent child in such a traumatic way is something I wish on not a single person in the world. Colleen's strength and ability to warp her heartbreak into something good and helpful for the world is amazing. To remain resilient and vigilant a quarter of a century later, believing with no shadow of a doubt that her daughter will come home, takes unimaginable strength, and I can only hope and pray with her that she is right.