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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

It’s time, don’t you think?

An Open Letter to the Alma Police Department:

"It’s time, don’t you think?

It’s been 25 years since that fateful day that Morgan Nick was snatched from that little league ballpark just steps away from your office. It’s past time that the Alma Police Department clear up the misinformation that has been disseminated in the Morgan Nick case.

The community deserves to be told the truth and we deserve to be given the information that could cause someone to say, “Wait, I think I remember something important.”

According to a 2002 news article about the Morgan Nick case, it was reported that the tips that come in about the Morgan Nick abduction are broken down into these categories:

-Somebody sees someone who resembles one of the two composite sketches of the would-be-abductor.

-Someone sees someone who resembles Morgan Nick.

-Someone sees the red pickup truck believed to have been drive by the abductor.

-Someone knows someone they think is capable of committing this type of a crime.

-Someone, bent on revenge, turns in someone they know, usually a husband, ex-husband or a family member.

These categories are important, especially when you consider that every lead that has been called in regarding the man in the first composite sketch should be discounted.

Don’t be shocked by that statement because you and I both know that the first composite sketch was incorrect.

The Times Record ran a story on January 5, 2001 entitled: Sketch Offers New Suspect. The article, written by John Lyon, notes: “The sketch is markedly different from a sketch that investigators released previously. In fact, the person in the first sketch IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED A SUSPECT.”

Chief White is further quoted in that same article as saying, “We don’t think that the first sketch is valid. This is a totally different sketch and from different people than the first one came from.”

Do you know what is even more disturbing?

The article goes on to quote Chief White as saying, “No clothing description was released with this new sketch because accounts of the man’s clothes were conflicting.”

Here, the public is told NOT to rely on the information that was previously released about the would-be-abductors clothing -- because that description, just like the first composite sketch is WRONG.

I can’t shake the heaviness that comes with this realization: For 1,825 days - that’s 43,800 hours, we had it all wrong. Law enforcement, media, and the general public -- everyone -- was looking for the wrong man.

And if we were looking for the wrong man, how did we ever think we could find Morgan Nick?

How did you, the Alma Police Department, plan on finding Morgan Nick if you were not even relying on correct information?

According to the FBI website, “the sooner we investigate (a child abduction), the better. Time is critical when a child is taken.”

If time is critical when a child is taken, it’s quite clear that your Department failed Morgan Chauntel Nick. You didn’t just fail her in the days and months after her disappearance -- you failed her for years.

The same article goes on to describe the following interaction with Chief White: When asked where the information for the original composite sketch came from, White said “it was given (to us) by a lady that witnessed an event at a laundromat the night before Morgan’s disappearance. The person in that sketch was not seen at the ballpark where Morgan Nick disappeared…. the information from that sketch was not taken from witnesses at the ballpark.”

That statement is damning.

Why did you allow that to happen?

Another quote by Chief White is equally disturbing: “Honestly, we didn’t have a unanimous decision on that (using the incorrect composite sketch). There was some mixed feelings about whether to do that…. in hindsight, it probably wasn’t a good idea. At the time it seemed like the right way to go.”

He’s absolutely right. It wasn’t a good idea. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

The most intriguing information I’ve received, however, is in regard to the description of the red truck in Morgan’s abduction. According sources, the red truck description in Morgan’s case actually came from the laundromat incident -- the very incident that was proven to be unrelated to the Morgan Nick abduction.

So not only did an inaccurate composite sketch from the unrelated laundromat incident get released to the public as a suspect in Morgan Nick’s abduction, this information circulated for at least five years.

How do you even begin to explain this level of incompetence?

It blows my mind.

Isn’t it also true that home video footage taken by various parents the night of the Little League game, further back up this fact -- there is no footage of a red Ford pickup truck being at the ballpark that night!

It’s interesting to note that the description of the would-be-abductor from the laundromat incident just so happened to include information about a red Ford pickup truck with a white camper and Arkansas plates.

For clarification about the red Ford truck, I checked the Morgan Nick Foundation website and found this information:

“The witness also saw a red Ford pickup with a white camper parked nearby that disappeared about the same time as Morgan. The camper is possibly damaged at the right rear, and as described at four or five inches too short for the truck, which has a short wheel base and paint dulled by age. The truck is believed to have Arkansas license plates.”

This leads to more questions and the demand for more answers.

What witness(es) saw the red Ford pickup truck on June 9, 1995? The Morgan Nick Foundation website seems to indicate there were “witnesses” that evening. Who were the witnesses? How many people actually saw a red Ford pickup truck?

And why isn’t a red Ford pickup truck seen on any of the video footage taken by various parents the night of the Little League game?

This leads me to only one conclusion: if the composite sketch description is wrong and the description of the vehicle is wrong, we really don’t know who took Morgan Nick or what vehicle they drove.

To be honest, we don’t even know that a man took Morgan Nick.

And now, here we are, 25 years later with the same old and incorrect information circulating.

Let me ask again, isn’t it time to come clean about the misinformation in this case?"

Signed: The staff and management of Today in Fort Smith

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