The family of a missing Concord mother hopes a new reward they’re offering to mark the three-year anniversary of her disappearance will reignite the case in the public eye and lead to answers.
The $25,000 reward for the direct location of Crystal Morrison’s whereabouts will be available until Sept. 23. Tipsters may call anonymously to either the Concord Police Department at 704-920-5000 or CUE Center for Missing Persons at 910-232-1687.
Morrison went missing Aug. 23, 2012, while walking down International Boulevard after leaving work at nearby Connextions Recruiting around 12:40 p.m. Before she left, the then 31-year-old mother had made a call to a friend, explaining that she didn’t feel well and was looking for a ride home. When the friend arrived 20 minutes later, the security guard said she had already left.
Eyewitnesses put Morrison on International Boulevard, but her trail runs cold where that road intersects with N.C. 73.
Morrison’s father, Rick, who borrowed against his 401(k) account to put up the reward, believes at least one person has the information to bring the family some answers.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that someone knows something but is afraid to come forward,” he said. “We don’t care who you are. It’s 100 percent anonymous. Come forward – for the money, for being decent – even if you just think you saw something.”
It’s been an emotional roller coaster for the Morrison family during the past three years. Searches of nearby locations, including a quarry, have led to no new understanding, only dashed hopes.
Morrison’s sister, Mechelle, has spent hours blanketing the area with fliers and organizing searches. Rick Morrison, who has been raising Crystal’s son, now 11, said it’s a struggle to maintain a sense of normality that protects his grandson from rumors, misinformation and also any feelings of abandonment.
The fear of not knowing what happened may be worse than knowing, he said. “When you can’t have closure on something, as far as a gravesite, that’s not fun.”
Morrison’s case has baffled Concord police as well. Runaways and other people who don’t want to be found make up most missing persons cases in Cabarrus County, but Morrison’s doesn’t seem to fit into either of those categories.
“We didn’t really feel like she had a reason to go anywhere, with her kid and a job,” said Concord Police Capt. Robert Ledwell. “That’s kind of a red flag to us.”
Today, most missing persons can be tracked through the digital hints they leave on social media, but Morrison’s Facebook page as well as her credit card accounts have gone silent.
Tips surrounding Morrison’s disappearance have never dried up, though. The one detective assigned to her case still receives at least one new tip every two to three weeks. Some of them come from locals, others from sources out of country, and a few derive from lawbreakers trying to bargain for leniency.
“Money is the motivator in the real world and in the criminal world,” said Ledwell.
None of them have helped break the case, though, and Ledwell hopes the new reward will net a fresh tip to fill in some of the answers surrounding Morrison’s disappearance.
“We don’t know what happened at the end of that road, and that’s the biggest mystery for us,” he said. “Until we get an answer, we’re going to keep looking and hopefully, one day we’re going to have an answer to what happened.
Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to help?
To report information, call the Concord Police Department at 704-920-5000 or the CUE Center for Missing Persons at 910-232-1687 or go to www.ncmissingpersons.org.