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

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??

She was found by gold panners along Fly Creek near NF-54 at the split with Canyon Creek, which should be public lands, most likely DNR if I recall. That area is pretty rural by todays standards and would have been even more rural back then.

Among the theories were Warren Forrest, who was active in that area. Ted Bundy, though he was in Florida around that time. Gary Ridgway, however he was active three hours north in King County. Other theories included someone who gave her a ride or a romance interest.
 
She was found by gold panners along Fly Creek near NF-54 at the split with Canyon Creek, which should be public lands, most likely DNR if I recall. That area is pretty rural by todays standards and would have been even more rural back then.
RSBM

Yes, very rural- Especially around Fly Creek. I'm assuming she was dumped from a vehicle that used Healy Rd to get there. On Google maps, you can see the bridge on Healy where it crosses over Canyon Creek (and Fly Creek branches off to head south there). I think someone would have to have at least some familiarity with the area to travel that way, and not just stay on Hwy 503.

On the wikipedia article about the Chelatchie Prairie RR, it states that there was a paper company that was serviced by the RR, that operated up there until 1979. Could it have been someone connected to the paper company? Or perhaps someone familiar with the Yale Dam and operations? Or someone who frequently visited Lake Merwin? I guess there are a lot of possibilities, and not much hope of finding connections. (Edited to Add: Per the Columbian article about Sandy, Sandy's dad Andrew "worked in the maritime trades on tugboats providing service to pulp, paper and logging interests on the Willamette and Columbia rivers")

The area is huge. Sandy would have gone to Battle Ground HS if they were going to continue living in Amboy. It's geographically the largest school district in the state. A lot of folks who lived in the area back then have obviously passed on or moved away, but there are a lot who were there back then as well. I wish we could get her story out there, especially to the locals.

I'd like to know the location that Sandy and her dad's trailer was parked on, and whether this was a temporary situation, a "summer home" type thing, or a permanent move for them.

I'd really like to see justice for Sandy...
 
Last edited:
April 5 2022
Clark County detectives ask for help solving cold case homicide | KATU
d8e979a3-1014-4b94-84ff-60189f6de6f4-SandyMordenandherfatherAndyMordenImagefromtheClarkCountySheriffsOffice.jfif


''Investigators are working to solve the decades-old cold case of Sandra Renee Morden, who disappeared from the Portland or Vancouver area in the 1970s, and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help.

Sandy Morden’s body was found in the 1980s, however, her remains weren't identified until 2019 through a forensic genetic genealogy study.

On Tuesday, detectives released information on the case as they work to put together her family history.

The sheriff’s office said they would like to hear from anyone who may have known her or her father, Andrew "Andy" Morden in the 1970s before her disappearance.''
If you can help, contact investigators at coldcase@clark.wa.gov or through the Cold Case Tip Line at 564-397-2036.''
 
Clark County detectives ask for help solving cold case homicide

"Sandy moved with her parents from the Bay area to Portland in the late 1960s. Her parents divorced in 1971 and Andy was awarded primary custody of Sandy. Following the divorce, her mother remained in touch with Sandy and is believed to have been living in the Portland area at the time of her daughter’s disappearance. Her father, Andy, maintained an apartment on Bertha Boulevard in the Burlingame area of Portland and, later, an apartment on Grant Street in downtown Vancouver. At the time of Sandy’s disappearance, Andy had acquired a fifth-wheel trailer and is believed to have been living at a mobile home/RV park near Leichner Road, North of the Hazel Dell area in Vancouver. Andy, often with Sandy, was known to frequent café style restaurants in both Portland and Vancouver.

Her father’s role as a custodial parent was complicated by his employment. Andy Morden worked as a deckhand on tugboats operating on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and was required to be away from home for up to a week at a time. As a consequence, Andy placed Sandy in the care of others while he was out of town. Thus, Sandy stayed with a family in Southeast Portland in 1975 while she attended Binnesmead Elementary School; a Vancouver family in 1975-76 while she attended Gaiser Middle School; a family in the Burlingame neighborhood in Portland in 1976-77 while she attended Wilson High School; and a family in Newberg in the Summer and Fall of 1977 when she registered to attend Newberg High School.

Sandy would have been 16 years old when she disappeared. She was tall with long dark hair. She has been described as appearing older than her true age. Sandy was also known to have loved animals, particularly horses. She actively sought out horse ranches and large horse boarding arenas. She also owned a dog named “Rusty” at the time she disappeared."
 
Hmm....So Sandy had a St Bernard named Barfy and what looks to be a Great Dane named Rusty at the time she went missing? Have I understood this new information about Rusty correctly? Which dog was found in the trailer? Barfy? Or Both?

Knowing she was "seeking out" ranches and boarding areas makes it seem more likely she had a part-time job of some kind, and/or a place to have met someone who eventually killed her. :(. Also wonder why she stayed with so many different people rather than one family?
 
She could've started dating an older guy and run off or been kidnapped then murdered by him, or maybe she was being abused by someone who knew her Dad/her life with her Dad and that person killed her to avoid getting caught. Also, that area is very, very remote where she was found. I've lived in Clark County for 4 years and no one I know goes to that area. The killer was familiar with that area or camping/outdoors and did not want her being found. I wish we knew whether her parents filed missing persons report, if she had a journal, boyfriend, etc. Why did her aunt/uncle not ask where she was, file a report? What were they told by the parents?
Why would it have to be an older guy? We've seen plenty of cases where younger guys have killed their girlfriends. Brian Laundrie is a good example. She could have gotten involved with someone like that.
it's the Million Dollar Question: how many young and teenage girls from decades ago who their families and friends still think just ran away were actually abducted raped and murdered?
Thousands.
 
Just discovered this case and I'm fascinated. It appears this girl was living completely off the grid.

I'm going to do a deeper dive when I have more time, but my initial thought is that the father cannot be ruled out as a suspect. To me, their living situation was just too bizarre. Dad reportedly lived with his 15 year old daughter in a fifth wheel camper-not a trailer home, but a camping trailer. We have no info as to size, but a photo of the largest '74 fifth wheel I could find is attached, and it is not very large. It's unlikely they would have had separate bedrooms, and the toilet situation would be a tank that needed to be dumped regularly at best.

I have a 2020 37' camper with two bedrooms with queen beds that I live in for winter horse show season and even that is TOUGH to live in with another person. I cannot stress enough how challenging life must have been for Sandy during her last year. Dad seemingly had a decent-paying job, so why were they living like this?

We may never get more details, as most who knew the father are likely deceased themselves. But I think the unorthodox living situation must be considered as something that put Sandy in the path of harm.
 

Attachments

  • F92BB32A-F8F8-4815-8DE4-CF7B4ECD6BEB.jpeg
    F92BB32A-F8F8-4815-8DE4-CF7B4ECD6BEB.jpeg
    36 KB · Views: 12

Staff online

Members online

Online statistics

Members online
190
Guests online
3,675
Total visitors
3,865

Forum statistics

Threads
591,415
Messages
17,951,486
Members
228,493
Latest member
Sourfishmilk
Back
Top