Friends searching for murdered teen; detectives think body may have been burned, buried
Authorities in Pierce County have told the family of Justin Morris that the 18-year-old is dead. They believe he was killed by a friend with a golf club and frying pans on July 10, but they still don’t know where his body is.
Friends have organized searches and KIRO Radio’s Ron & Don Show has been receiving mail daily from those who knew Morris and want his body recovered.
“His mother has lost her son and has no closure, due to the whereabouts of the body are unknown. Please, I’m not sure how people can help him be found because the killer isn’t cooperating, but maybe you guys can help her,” one acquaintance of Morris’ mother wrote to the show.
Detective Ed Troyer, with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, tells The Ron & Don Show that Morris’ family has been notified and there is no question in the mind of authorities that he is dead.
“There’s no possibility or no scenario where he’s not,” says Troyer. “We have the victim’s clothes. We have the victim’s ID. We have a lot of blood, which indicates death, weapons that were broken, and we also have an eyewitness who saw the body rolled up in some carpet. There is no doubt that he’s dead. We know that.”
But unfortunately, there may be only one person who knows where Morris’ body is.
“The person who did the killing and the person who knows where the body is, is not telling us and has asked for an attorney and is not being cooperative,” says Troyer.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says there’s enough evidence to prove 18-year-old Michael Breer killed Morris. Breer has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.
But getting any information from the suspect at this point is doubtful, says Troyer, adding they have a big window of time and a large area to cover.
“We’re doing some things to try and recover where he may have been over a three or four day period and what he did with the body. We’re just not there yet,” says Troyer. “It’s just such a wide area. It’s hundreds of square miles where it could be.”
Information recovered so far leads authorities to believe the body may have been discarded in a rural area. They also believe the suspect may have tried to burn the remains.
“We did find evidence of a gas can, a shovel and materials indicative that the body may be buried, may be burned and be buried,” says Troyer.
Troyer is confident they will recover the body, but he says it could take awhile. He also hasn’t entirely given up on getting information from the suspect. He says once prosecutors have a “slam dunk” case against the suspect, there might be a greater possibility of getting him to talk.
“Then somewhere in the process, he tells us where he disposed of the body,” says Troyer.
In the meantime though, Troyer reports detectives are doing all they can to find the body without the suspect’s assistance.
“We are in the process of taking cell phone records and last known whereabouts and doing some triangulation. We hope once we have all that information put together that we’re going to have a chart where we’re going to be able to narrow that information down, and narrow that area down, and then we’ll definitely put some information out to the public to be on the lookout for anything suspicious in that area.”
Anyone with information regarding the case or with information on the location of the body is asked to contact the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.