For Kathy's Sake, Inc. - Advocating for Katherine Morris Military Spouse Protection Act

A Mothers Quest When Your Child's Dying Is For The Living
     
When the one you love is victimized over a dollar, we, in our naive sense of being, look to those that are supposed to help right the injustices of their victimization.  However, what we sometimes find is that it’s a dog eat dog world, and most are running in circles trying to cover their own butts.   

     This is the synopsis of the painful facts around the death of Katherine Sarah Morris.   Katherine Sarah Morris (Kathy) died on May 6, 2012 from carbon monoxide poisoning from two charcoal grills lit in her car.  It turns out that this is not only a popular form of suicide but also a popular form of murder.  Kathy in deed died under questionable circumstances following being victimized for financial gain, by two United States soldiers and possibly another Department of Justice employee. None of which faced any real consequences for the roles they played in this tragic set of events.  Jerry Weidner a private investigator out of Ohio writes “ .. based only on the documents, information, evidence, reviews and discussions with the Morris Family representatives, it would appear there has been less than a stellar investigation by the AACPD into the death of Katherine S. Morris.” Civilian police in our opinion, never fully did their job leaving us to wonder why.  Was it initially racial profiling that led into the numerous sets of missteps over the preserving of key evidence because of a rush to a suicide finding?  If not then was it total ineptness, or for another unknown reason, a major and persistent cover-up?

Background

     At the age of 21 Kathy met "Army Specialist Isaac Goodwin" (then stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia) at a club in early 2011 and entered into a relationship that was built by way of social media, texts, tweets and phone calls. Goodwin met Kathy's parents on the weekend of August 3, 2011 and it is on that same weekend that we now know that he was somehow able to convince Kathy to marry him and keep the marriage a secret. It is believed that he was able to convince Kathy (a fourth year University of Maryland student) that it would thwart her efforts to enter into the Air Forces Officers Training School if they were not already married.  Text messages show that almost immediately Isaac started to ignore the new bride, rarely visiting her at her college campus.  Text also show she then made several trips to his new base at Fort Bragg, perhaps trying to figure out what happened. In addition text show that Kathy questioned the change and felt she had been ordered by Goodwin, to marry him.  A clear pattern of text messages and emails show that Goodwin was emotionally abusive, and what the parents suspected was just a bad boyfriend was something far more deeper, and far more menacing.  They could see something effecting Kathy both mentally and physically and it was not until December 2011 just two days before Christmas during an emergency hospital visit that Kathy, shared the troubling secret.  It was then on Christmas Eve 2011, as the parents sat alone in a dark parking lot that their world began to tip. 

    Kathy's story is very complicated but the main point is that she was a loving and trusting young woman who fell for a soldier who only saw her as a means of financial gain.   In our opinion the military makes this form of victimization to easy.  Documents show that the soldier started collecting benefits immediately while the young college student continued financially struggling to maintain her on campus apartment.  The soldier, obtained no ID card for her, never signed her up for any military benefits and even claimed an address that he could produce a lease with his name on it.   A military Freedom of Information request for a document his commanding officer would have had to sign off on over the marriage, proved fruitless. 

    This is the first attempt to encapsulate both the military component and the civilian police component into one article. The facts around this case involved two major entities in this country and the odds of their fallacies colliding in the death of one person seems incredible.  But that is exactly what has occurred and in the knowing by our faith, that all things work for the good of them that are called, we must conclude that her dying was to bring darkness to light to effect the lives of them that remain.


Part 1 – The Military - A Death by “Friendly Fire”   

     We now know that it is a fact that Kathy was the victim of marriage fraud by US Army Specialist Isaac Goodwin.  He married Kathy for the sole purpose of obtaining a housing allowance to replace money he had lost the previous month over an Article 15 for misappropriation of government funds.   The financial benefit he targeted was called “Basic Allowance for Housing” (BAH) that soldiers become eligible for by marriage or other dependents and is often times obtained by fraud.  Therefore this benefit is intended for housing the spouse and should have come to his/her spouse.  Instead he pocketed the money until forced by the military to pay the money to her.  Ironically the victim received only three partial payments the largest of which was received just 4 days before her death.  Text messages show that even after being ordered to support his spouse, this soldier mentally and verbally fought her tooth and nail to not do so.  In addition, by the act of the marriage itself the soldier became the benefactor of a $100,000 life insurance policy with no suicide clause that he eventually collected on it.   

     What occurred truly would fill a book and it consumed us in the first twelve months following Kathy’s death.  We were embroiled in a fight against a military system for which we had no clue, (even as military retirees), of how to navigate it.  A system, where the wagons are circled and compassion for the most part was false.  At some point we were even faced with orders that went all the way up to the Pentagon to not talk to us about our own daughter’s death.  This is the same Pentagon which just a few years before, her dad (the now deceased W. Joe Morris) was on his post during 9-11.   What we as naïve parents, quickly and painfully discovered is that they are an organization that will protect its own at all cost and only want bad things to go away, especially out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina when it at times seems that murdering or abusing spouses, is the flavor of the month.  https://militaryjusticeforall.com/

     Prior to Kathy’s death things began to come to light during a January 3, 2012 conference that involved Sgt. Goodwin’s Commanding Officers, we the parents, the husband Sgt. Isaac Goodwin and Kathy herself.  Using parental wisdom, the call was not for the benefit of her parents who knew the truth, nor the husband Goodwin who had continuously denied the truth but so that Kathy could finally hear the truth.   At that point, after five months of marriage Goodwin had still failed to sign his spouse up for any spousal benefits.  Again, no ID card, no DEERs enrollment, no dental, no commissary privileges, no medical and no financial support.

     Sadly, a failure to respond appropriately led to the following email being sent on May 7, 2012.  It read,
“ Major Wang,  Sorry, but my daughter is now dead and we are planning her funeral.  We just found out today that this soldier has $100,000 life insurance policy on her and has not in any way shape or form contacted us.  He's known for days of her death which is under suspicious circumstances.

 She threatened to go to the IG office and now somehow she's dead.
 
No calls or condolences from the military.  We're running from base to base trying to get our daughter buried...
 
  
     A few weeks later we started our quest for answers and I immediately traveled to the Fort Bragg Army Base where an Army investigation was allegedly launched. The following are just a few of the results from that report, better known as a “15-6 Investigative Report”.  One person that I will never forget is a Col Glazier, whom I felt was a true friend whose hands were tied over the truth and his obligation to the military.    He was the investigating officer for the military and I always felt that there was more than one version of that report.  The real one and one he was ordered to give to us. When he handed me the 15-6 report he paused for a moment, looked me in the eyes, while hesitating to release the report into my hands and he said the following.  “Ms. Morris I want you to read this report over and over again”.  I got the message and reviewed the report thoroughly as he knew I would, and yes, we were disappointed.  The report contained, to our dismay, sworn statements made by two senior level officers which were both erroneous and defamatory.  The two officers according to Article 131 of the UCMJ had committed perjury in submitting as fact:

a)      Statements that they did not know to be true.
b)      Statements that they were not qualified to make.
c)      Statements that were both false and misleading. 
 
 
     Our efforts to have this remedied were only met with being told the officers involved had been talked to about their misstatements. Our request to have the report corrected were ignored and we were told in essence, that it was not necessary because the report didn’t mean much because those involved now knew that there were errors in it. 
 
Other Department of Defense (DOD) Employees Involved
 
We also knew and it has since been confirmed that there were two other DOD employees involved. 

a.       They initiated contact on May 2, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.  Sgt. King allegedly using Browns 6 email messages (which appear to be to provoke Kathy into calling – especially when she believes Kathy is not going to return her call) and one of them then makes 3 phone calls to Kathy’s phone.  This went on from 2:07 pm in the afternoon until Kathy finally returned the call at 5:27 pm. This contact by Sgt. King and Damaris Brown started at 2:07pm in the afternoon and stretched over a 3 1/2 hour time span from the Fort Belvoir installation
 
b.       Sgt. King using an alias, even calls Katherine an “Email Gangster” to provoke her.  “Email Gangster” is a slang term and is a challenge to a physical/in person confrontation to a person that portrays selves as being tough in emails but they are not so tough in person. 
 
c.       Sgt. King tells Katherine in the electronic communication that “she had been intimate with her husband for over 3 ½ years and she was definitely not his ex.”   This brings to question why Sgt. King and/or Brown initiated contact with the deceased on May 2, 2012 and, if King is concerned about her military career then why does she now contact the wife, confess adultery to her and put it in writing?
 
d.       The electronic communications also show Sgt. King already knew the answers to the questions she was asking Kathy in the May 2, email exchange.
 
     Its apparent know that Kathy knew something was up because her own investigative records show that she personally discovered evidence of the BAH fraud and adultery in March of 2012.  She collected and saved this evidence along with screen shots from Goodwin's Facebook page calling the file "What I found today" and seemingly buried multiple copies of the information, in multiple files on her computer.  Electronic communications further show that 24 hours prior to her death, Kathy emailed Sgt. Isaac Goodwin, Sgt. Latoya King, who was using the alias Kristina, and Damaris Brown copies of the proof of the adultery and BAH fraud she felt they had perpetrated on her.  She threatened to report it to the Inspector General's office the week of May 7, 2012.  
 
    In the immediate days following her death all these individuals were mirandized.  The military confiscated their government issued communications devices (not their personal).  Sgt. Latoya King was ordered to have no contact with Sgt. Goodwin.   Records now show that Sgt. Latoya King defied that direct order from her Commander over 60 times in the 30 days following Kathy’s death.  In addition, Damaris Brown now alleges that Latoya King came to her home on May 5, 2012, during a birthday party and tearfully told her that Katherine Morris was deceased.  She allegedly then left her children at the Browns home.  Kathy’s body is not found by authorities until the morning of May 6, 2012

    Goodwin did not attend his wife's funeral, never informed the family of the $100,000 in life insurance he had on his spouse and the parents had to solicit the community for the funds to bury their only child.  At some point communications show the military waiting on the civilians and at some point the civilian police tell the military in essence, no further action/assistance is necessary.

    As a grieving mother, following Kathy’s death, I wrote several letters to the Obama’s.  Now, don’t get me wrong I love and admire them dearly but when Kathy died there was no interruption of TV, no moment of silence and yes.  I wanted the leader of this country, our Commander in Chief to at least offer a public apology.  I considered my daughter’s death to have been a death by “Friendly Fire”.  So yes, I wrote impassioned letters but you know what?  A response never came.

Part 2 – The Civilian Police Offer Up a Series of Errors Befitting an Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First Skit”

     In 2013, following a notification that Goodwin was no longer in the military we turned our focus back to the Anne Arundel County Police Department.  We’ve continued to press for answers and at the writing of this article there were more than 40 inconsistencies presented by both licensed private investigators, forensic extraction experts and other law enforcement personnel from around the country.  Ironically this case has a few points similar to those reported in the 2015 death investigation of  Karlyn Ramirez a 22 year old military spouse (of only 3 months) who was found shot to death in her Severn, Maryland home.  In the Ramirez case the same Anne Arundel County Police Department (AACPD) officers worked harder for answers and recently Ramirez’s husband (an Army NCO officer) and his girlfriend were extradited back to Maryland and charged in her death.  It is reported that Karlyn refused to change her insurance beneficiary, which means she was asked.

    On August 10, 2015, family and supporters of the Morris family held its second press conference over the need to have an investigative agency outside of Anne Arundel County look into the family’s allegations.  The following are a list of top inconsistencies taken directly from that NAACP’s 2015 press release. 

1.       A Homicide Panel – appointed under Chief Kevin Davisrequested among other things, that the AACPD obtaincredit card records to show the decedent purchased the grills used to end her life.  Internal documents show the police subpoenaed the incorrect records and reported those findings to the panel.  In addition, the AACPD reported to the homicide panel false and or misleading information about the video cameras being motion sensitive as the reason for several hours of missing footage.  The homicide panel also requested the forensic examination by fingerprints.  No fingerprints were found including the victims.  What was reported was no viable prints.  What is recorded in the internal documents is “no prints”.
 
2.       The GPS Records - A brief comparison of the GPS data extracted by the AACPD to the GPS data extracted by Expert Forensics shows a missing block of time in the AACPD file. In addition a cell tower expert has stated that there is the possibility the phone was at another location but because police failed to subpoena cell tower records in 2012 it would prove hard to confirm.
 
3.       The DNA FindingsThe DNA is not tested until 2015 and other items with potential DNA findings still remain untested.  The family is told that the victims DNA is on the lighter and the grill packaging, which if on the packaging, meant the victim opened the packaged herself. That was a false statement, her DNA was not on the packaging.  In addition what they are not told is that the DNA on the lighter is actually from two different people.    Documents received through the Maryland Public Information Act show that two unidentified persons DNA is found on the car’s interior doors, a fact not previously disclosed to the family or public.  There is also no record of spoilt evidence.
 
4.       Medical Examiner - Dr. Patricia Pollak’s, finding of the victims bladder being empty after allegedly being in a parked vehicle for 11 hours is still of concern.  The M.E. after having the draft of her report reviewed by the AACPD reports false and misleading DNA information to the family and others.” This raises the families concerns as to whether or not the M.E. officer was impartial with her responses to the Morris family.  An internal note found in records recently released via the MPIA show possible collusion between the agencies as they prepared for a meeting with NAACP President Rev. Tillett.  In addition, records now show that the Medical Examiner’s Office reported false DNA findings to the family and public citing they got their information from the police department.
 
5.       June 2012 Reinvestigationwas assigned to aDetective Carbonaro.  Internal MPIA response documents show that in reference to his June 2012 reinvestigation he was “given specific marching orders regarding the initial investigation and instructed not to deviate from same.” Several would like to know what is meant by this statement.
                        
6.      Video Discrepancies - After facing a year of resistance family members were finally able to see video footage from May 5 and 6 of 2012.  All footage from May 6, 2012 is missing. Chief Gary Lyle, a retired 26 year veteran of AACPD, with a background in special investigations allowed the original surveillance footage to be destroyed

     Yes, this family and others have continued to allege that key evidence was lost, tampered with and/or destroyed, as a result of a series of errors emanating from the AACPD.     Several experts from around the country have donated their services to our efforts to include Mr. James Davis of Sandhill’s Security and Investigations with over 40 years’ experience as a former police officer with the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Dept., the United States Department of Justice and a retired Sheriff.  

He states "It is apparent to me as a law enforcement professional that there has been a cover-up in this child's death by law enforcement officials.  In addition, they are now withholding evidence of this cover-up and causing the mother financial harm."
 
  
Part III – The Recklessness Continues and the Question is Why?

     What we know today is that no matter how Katherine Morris died she deserved a full and complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death. To not do so, is a denial of her civil rights.  Many now consider this to also be an "abuse of power" and/or an "obstruction of justice" by the Anne Arundel County Police Department in part because of the stumbling blocks they have placed in the family’s way.  This includes a recent response to a Maryland Public Information (MPIA) request for internal communications.   This inquiry was originally requested in Nov. of 2015.  In 2016 they opted to levy financial assessments estimated to be from $5,300 to $7,200 for this information.  The released information, should have dated back to May 5, 2012When over 9,269 pages in internal communications were finally released, not one single page was from the year in which the decedent died (2012).   As a mother, I asked, “How long is this supposed to go on?”   In 2017 the Anne Arundel County Police Dept. still have been either unwilling, or unable to provide complete and acceptable answers in the death of this African American woman.

In closing, the question of the day is, “Where are the internal communications from 2012.  The circumstance surrounding Kathy’s death have evolved and roads we started down took and still continue to take many unexpected turns.  While the agencies mentioned exist for good some small portion of both entities failed her.  Both entities failed us.  A sad solace is in their failures, we are not alone.  There are others like the parents of the LaVena Lynn Johnson’s, the parents of the Travon Martin’s or the Sandra Bland’s of this world who unwillingly buried their children under questionable and horrific circumstances. In their souls, their quest for justice will never die.  We are all unwilling members of a club, none of us ever wanted an invitation to.











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