The Strange Disappearance (And Reappearance) Of Chuck Morgan

Chuck Morgan circa 1977
Arizona Daily Star | Arizona Daily Star

News & Politics
Tara Sigler

Charles Curtis Morgan was a typical family man in 1977. He had a loving marriage and four beloved daughters. He was the president of an escrow company in Tucson, Arizona, and seemed happy, hard-working, and successful.

But behind the scenes, gears were turning that would eventually bring about his brutal murder in the desert.

A Double Life And Strange Disappearance

A double life: Morgan's strange death remains unexplained
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Unbeknownst to his family, Morgan was secretly a witness in a land fraud investigation involving a known crime boss. He had testified in an investigation regarding illegal activity in Arizona and Mexico. His story was that he was doing undercover work with the Treasury Department.

March 22, 1977, started like any other day: Morgan kissed his wife goodbye and drove his daughters to school. Then, on his way to work, he vanished - possibly abducted.

Three days later, he reappeared under bizarre circumstances.

Kidnapping And Torture

Morgan showed up restrained by zip ties
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Morgan's wife Ruth would testify later that he showed up missing a shoe with a plastic cuff around one of his ankles. His hands were secured with a zip tie and he indicated that he could not speak.

Panicked, Ruth removed his bindings and brought her husband a pen and paper. Morgan wrote that he'd been kidnapped and had spent the last three days being tortured. He also wrote to Ruth that his captors had applied a hallucinogenic drug to the skin of his throat and that if he ingested any of it, he'd go insane, and the drug would destroy his nervous system.

Ruth wanted to contact the police and get her husband to a hospital, but he refused. He had her hide his car so "they" would not find him - but refused to tell her who "they" were. He did say that their lives were in danger.

Morgan Returns - Paranoid And Afraid

A bulletproof vest similar to what Morgan wore in his last days
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Ruth nursed her husband back to health, feeding him liquid through an eyedropper. When his voice returned, he told her he'd been a secret agent for the Treasury Department for several years. He didn't give her any more details, except to hint that he worked for the government fighting organized crime. He couldn't produce his "government" ID, claiming that his kidnappers stole it.

Morgan became highly paranoid. He grew a beard to hide his face and started wearing a bulletproof vest. He insisted on driving his daughters to and from school and would not allow anyone near them. He told his father that if anything happened to him, he'd written a letter explaining everything. (This letter was never found.)

Then, on June 7, two months after the first time he vanished, Chuck again disappeared.

Found In The Desert

The Arizona desert
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Ruth and the children were frantic with worry. Nine days after Morgan vanished, Ruth received a strange phone call from an unknown woman, saying, "Chuck is all right - Ecclesiastes 12:1-8." Then she hung up. Those verses mention a man going to his "long home" (dying) and people mourning him, so this terrified his family despite the anonymous woman claiming that Morgan was all right. Ruth was right to be afraid.

On June 18, two days after the strange phone call, Chuck Morgan's body was found in the desert, 40 miles west of Tucson. He'd been shot in the back of the head with his own gun, a 357 Magnum. There were no fingerprints on the gun, but investigators did find gunshot residue on Morgan's left hand.

Police searched Morgan's car and found a note with directions to that exact spot. They found weapons, ammo, a CB radio, and a partial tooth belonging to Morgan wrapped up in a cloth. They found a $2 bill inside Morgan's undergarments. On the bill were 7 Hispanic names, along with Ecclesiastes 12:1-8 and a map showing roads between Tucson, Arizona, and the US-Mexican border, an area known for smuggling.

The Truth Remains Unknown

Morgan's death in the news | Arizona Daily Star

The strange woman who had called Ruth - quoting the same Bible verses found on the $2 bill - showed up two days later. She spoke to the Pima County Sheriff's Department, claiming that Morgan was supposed to have met her at a local motel. She said that her code name was "Green Eyes" and that Morgan had been attempting to buy his way out of a contract put on his life by a crime boss.

What really happened to Chuck Morgan? His death was ruled a suicide, but many, including his family, believe he was murdered. One might wonder how he could have shot himself in the back of the head? And what about "Green Eyes"? Was he actually in the Secret Service? He might have killed himself to escape financial difficulties and staged it as a murder. A gang or crime family may have killed him. The truth may never be known, but his family said he had incriminating information about many businesses in the Tucson area.