Identified! WA - Clark Co., Fem Skeletal Remains, near Fly Creek, Feb'80 - Sandy Morden

Can the thread title be edited please? She's Sandra. "Sandy" is creepily intimate as we are not friends or family.
 
Can the thread title be edited please? She's Sandra. "Sandy" is creepily intimate as we are not friends or family.

It seems more the case that she went by Sandy to everyone, though. She probably introduced herself as such. My full first name is Katharine but nobody ever calls me that, I go by Katie to everyone, it's even on my work name badge. If I went missing or met foul play I would much prefer to have the name I preferred and went by as the one put out to the media and in a thread title like this. 'Katharine' doesn't feel like me.

She isn't here to ask, but it looks like she preferred Sandy and that's how the media is referring to her, so I don't think we should change it. If she's known as Sandy in the media, then people looking for her thread here will be more likely to type in Sandy than Sandra.
 
I'm just going to recap off the top of my head:

She's living with her dad, who's often gone, in a remote trailer, with her dog. The dad comes back from being on the river for a week or two, and she's gone. The dog's inside, and has destroyed the interior in its anxiety either for her or for his own well being or both.

On April 29 of 1977, shortly before she goes missing, the absentee mom, who is living elsewhere, puts a birthday notice in a Portland newspaper for her daughter, and police seem to think that might be a significant signal, somehow. The mother subsequently dies in 1988 in San Francisco. The father's family believe that the father thinks that Sandy has gone to live with her mom (who is where at this time?). At some point, he is said to have hired a PI to look for her, without success.

We have nothing about phone records from Andrew Bain Morden's trailer. We don't know why he believes that Sandy would have abandoned her dog (to which she seems to have been very attached) like that, unless Kathryn Irene (who usually went by Irene) wouldn't have permitted the pet to accompany her. We don't know of any useful information that classmates (she had just finished her freshman year at this school in Portland and would have been in this class).

Authorities seem to believe they have good reason to think she was accounted for until May of 1977. Her remains were discovered in 1980 by gold panners on the Fly Creek, near Amboy, OR, which is north of and inland from Portland, very remote, only 20 miles from Mt. Saint Helens (which blew its top May 1980). It was found near a roadside turnoff near the creek, which may indicate she was dumped there. The remains were partial, and showed evidence of having been buried in a shallow grave before being exposed, perhaps by animals or erosion. But it is unclear why authorities think so, and they also wanted to ID her as probably Hispanic or Native American. As far as the information we have goes, we don't have evidence for her having been active in athletics, or evidence against it, though the logistics would have been difficult for a 'latchkey kid,' although forensic pathology seemed to believe that she had strongly developed neck muscles, which would indicate heavy physical work or some kind of athletic training. As her torso was largely missing, we can't say what else might have shown such signs. If so, is there some possibility she was abducted and made to do physical labor, then killed when she got too close to the highway? Not likely, as these things go, but not impossible.

Forensic estimates put the likely period of her death as later than when we have a last contact, for reasons that are unclear. Again, there's a lot of guesswork to such estimates, but it would be nice to know why that frame of time was placed on the death.

When she was identified through Parabon, authorities contacted one of her cousins on her dad's side, who provided the most recent pictures authorities have of Sandy, at a Thanksgiving celebration a couple of years before she went missing. She seems to be relaxed and happy next to her father, who seems to be mugging for the camera. There seems to be some confusion on this forum about the caption. Although Sandy's mother's name was Kathryn Irene, that doesn't necessarily mean that this is the same Kathy as in the picture caption, "at Kathy's place." It's suggested that she generally went by her middle name, so this could be an aunt or a family friend's place.

So, as all the articles make clear, authorities really need more information. They want information not only on Sandy, but on both of her parents, from the time period between when Sandy went missing and when her remains were discovered. I've not seen anywhere online where one of her former classmates has remarked about her in any discussion/comments section.
 
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Now that things are adjusted, it appears more evident why her mom sent the newspaper note.
Her mom never saw her and wanted her to know she loved her, as any caring mother would do so. It appears dad also neglected her in some aspects, as leaving her alone and putting work over his own daughter.
Or he was simply a single parent working to take care of a child that he felt was better off with him instead of his ex-wife. And since men did not normally win custody in the late 70s nor ask for custody, he was likely the better parent for her anyway. Not every child responds to living with one parent with "I think I'll run away because I feel neglected."
 
So good to see she was identified, but her case is still shrouded in so much mystery, and her parents passed away a long time ago and died never knowing where their daughter went? Did they wonder? Did they look for her? I am not 100% sure about the reporting system in the States, being European, although I obsessively lurk websleuths. Rest in peace sweet Sandy, you were finally given a name.
It's likely the father attempted to file one, but everyone on here has encountered someone who had difficulties getting the police to follow through on their concerns, especially back then. If the police dismissed her as a runaway, it's possible it never went through officially.
 
It's likely the father attempted to file one, but everyone on here has encountered someone who had difficulties getting the police to follow through on their concerns, especially back then. If the police dismissed her as a runaway, it's possible it never went through officially.

I was thinking the same thing. Also possible that a report was filed, and then destroyed when Sandy turned 18. We've seen stories of that reported as well from back in those days. Since he's not here to defend himself, I don't think we can assume that dad didn't look for her or try to report her missing. It is possible that he didn't, but there's no way to know.
 
I was thinking the same thing. Also possible that a report was filed, and then destroyed when Sandy turned 18. We've seen stories of that reported as well from back in those days. Since he's not here to defend himself, I don't think we can assume that dad didn't look for her or try to report her missing. It is possible that he didn't, but there's no way to know.
Yes! Most cases of teenagers reported missing in the 1970s were usually treated as runaways and most often were purged from the missing persons system once they turned 18 or older.
 
Thinking about the possibility of Sandy having been a laborer: since the area where the trailer was has been described as very rural still, is/was homesteading common? I'm wondering what Sandy did with her time when her father was away? Again, maybe she had some kind of job? Or perhaps she was outside the trailer a lot tending to the surrounding land, and was observed by someone with bad intent? Who knew Barfy well enough to get him inside the trailer? Did Sandy put him in the trailer?

It really IS strange that there does not seem to be a former classmate or anyone coming forward with the "She was my best friend...she was my neighbor....we were in band together....we worked together selling ice cream the summer before she moved..." type of remembrance. With the internet, surely someone she knew as a child must have thought to Google her by now?
 
If the dad is really not suspicious in that case, then another possibility is she had some boyfriend her dad did not know about or did not want to know about....
Or she was simply abducted, raped and killed by someone unrelated who just observed a vulnerable young woman alone in a trailer in a rural area with no neighbors around.
 
I'm going to go back and see if I can sort this out, but was Sandy only living at the trailer for a very short time before she disappeared?

I'm not calling out her father. I'm trying to understand what a teenager would have done to stay occupied alone(?) in a rural trailer over the summer. The internet didn't exist. Even if she was really quiet and introverted, was she really all alone for weeks at a time, just her and the dog? No job? Or anything for social contact, structure of any sort? I totally understand people living differently, and teens being viewed through a more adult lens, but it also sounds incredibly lonely.....Which if it was the plan, would make me wonder if maybe she DID run away, even temporarily and accepted a ride or something from the wrong person?
 
Also what irks me is that the father always claimed he did not look for her because he thought she had run off to live with her mom... who did not even have custody of her at that point. And left her belongings and beloved dog in the trailer and did not even leave a message for dad?
Highly fishy, imho.

My theories either dad had something to do with it or she was lonely, alone and neglected and some third person took advantage of that. She never seemed to get a lot of love, being pushed around by her parents, hopping from one custody to the next. Could have easily been groomed by someone.

Yes her father as single parent could not quit his job and i understand he had to put food on the table... But i would not feel comfortable leaving my teen child alone for weeks in a trailer...
 
Amboy was and still is a pretty rural area. From my home, its roughly 50 minutes of driving on back roads to reach Amboy, even further if you want to go up to Chelatchie or Yale. Jamie is widely speculated to have been taken to a chunk of land within proximity to where two other victims of Warren were found buried in shallow graves.

The thing is, there really aren't trailer parks up in Amboy. There is a campground up there where people do live in their trailers, but more often, people are living on a piece of land in a trailer or RV. I'm not certain about what was there back in 1977, but the area, even today, is really pretty rural. I'm curious to know where exactly they were living, especially in relation to where her body was found.
I'm thinking this had to be someone who knew the area pretty well, and I also think they perhaps knew when Sandy was alone.
 
It would be so helpful to know the exact location of the property where they had the trailer parked. Did Dad own that land? If not, who was the owner at the time? And who owned the properties nearby? I wish we could find out if they planned to continue living there, or if this was just a place to reside during the summer... and if they planned to enroll Sandy at Battle Ground, or go back to Portland for school... or??
 

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