Man Goes Missing Twice, His Body Is Then Found In The Desert

Cat Leigh
Cat Leigh
Jan 16, 2019 · 8 min read

The mysterious death of Charles Morgan: Money Laundering, Politics, and a Secret life.

Photo by Ethan Dow on Unsplash

Charles “Chuck” Morgan was a 39-year-old businessman residing in Tucson, Arizona. He was married to Ruth, had two daughters, and owned his own escrow agency.

Charles Morgan / Unsolved Mysteries

In the 1970s, Arizona became known as a haven for money laundering. Thanks to the law allowing anyone to buy land through blind trust accounts, the mafia could launder large amounts of money without leaving any traces.
In no time, over 500 racketeers were conducting business in Arizona. As a result, the state experienced an increase in gang-style murders.

Morgan had mentioned to his wife that money laundering had been going around. However, he claimed to not be a part of it.

Furthermore, he said the least Ruth and their daughters knew, the better.

On March 22, 1977, Morgan left his home with his two daughters and drove them to school. Later that night, after he had failed to show up at work and hadn’t come home, his wife reported him missing.

Three days later, Ruth was awoken by a thump on the back door at 2 AM. When she opened the door, she was shocked to see her missing husband.

Morgan’s hands were tied with a plastic zip tie and he had a plastic handcuff around his ankle. He couldn’t speak, so Ruth grabbed a notepad and a pen.

Morgan wrote that he had been abducted and tortured. Moreover, he had a hallucinogenic drug painted on his throat which prevented him from speaking. If the paint was ingested, his nervous system would stop working and ultimately cause his death.

He then asked his wife to move his car, as he didn’t want them to know he was back. When Ruth repeatedly said she wanted to call the police or at least a doctor, Morgan vehemently refused, stating that they would put a hit on the whole family.

Ruth nursed her husband back to health during the next week, feeding him with an eye dropper. During this time, Morgan adverted to having a secret identity. Apparently, for the last two or three years, he had been a secret agent for the federal government and fought against organized crime.
He claimed that they had taken his treasury identification.

Once recovered, Morgan was naturally a paranoid person. He wore a bulletproof vest at all times and no one was allowed to drive his daughters to and from school except for him — he even spoke to school officials, stating that the girls were not allowed to leave with anyone else but their father.

Oddly, Morgan also told his father that he had written and hidden a letter which stated who would be responsible if something were to happen to him.

Two months after Morgan’s first disappearance, he went missing again. Nine days later and no signs of her husband, Ruth received an odd call from a woman who did not identify herself. The mysterious woman simply said,

“Chuck is all right. Ecclesiastics 12, 1 through 8”.

Part of this passage reads, “ Men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road. Remember him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was and the spirit will return to God who gave it”.

Two days after the call, Morgan was found dead in the desert. The crime scene had various noteworthy characteristics:

  • Morgan was still wearing his bulletproof vest
  • The cause of death was a single bullet to the back of his head, fired at close range; Morgan’s own .357 Magnum had been used and was lying beside his body
  • In his car were various weapons and supplies of ammunition
  • Oddly, his car had been altered to unlock from the fender
  • There were no fingerprints at the crime scene, including none on the gun
  • Morgan’s hand had gunpowder; Interestingly, Morgan was right-handed and the powder was in his left hand
  • Morgan’s belt buckle concealed a knife
  • In the rear seat of the car, one of Morgan’s teeth was wrapped in a white handkerchief
  • A piece of paper, with the directions to the spot where he died, was found in his handwriting
  • Near him were a pair of sunglasses, which did not belong to Morgan
  • A $2 bill was clipped inside his underwear. On it were written various words and some drawings referencing freemasonry.
    Seven Spanish names, beginning with the letters A to G, were written on the bill— Acevedo, Bejarano, Caiero, Duarte, Encinas, Fuenteh, Gradillas.
    Above the names was, “Ecclesiastes 12” and arrows pointed at the numbers 1 and 8 within the bill’s serial number.
    On the back, the signers of the Declaration of Independence were numbered 1 through 7 and there was a roughly drawn map. This map represented the towns of Robles Junction and Salacity, an area between Tucson and Mexico known for drug smuggling.

Authorities were convinced Morgan had committed suicide. However, many people, including his wife and investigative journalist Don Devereux, are certain that he was murdered.

Two days after Morgan’s body was found, a woman going by the name of “Green Eyes” called the police department and provided some interesting information on the recently deceased man.

She claimed to have met with Morgan in a motel shortly before his death and that he showed her a briefcase containing thousands of dollars in cash. Morgan told her the money was to buy himself out of a contract the mob had put on his life.

The anonymous woman also claimed to be the one who called Ruth and gave her the Bible reference. Authorities were able to confirm that Morgan had, in fact, stayed in a West Side Motel for over a week before his death.

To add to the mystery of her husband’s death, Ruth was visited by two “FBI” agents three weeks after Morgan’s death. The agents, who hurriedly showed their badges, stormed into Ruth’s home and ransacked everything while searching for something — they did not say what they wanted and appear to have not found it. The men eventually left and Ruth, naturally shaken and alarmed by the incident, still does not know if the men actually belonged to the FBI.

Don Devereux contacted the FBI and requested they release information in the Morgan case, under the Freedom of Information Act. He was denied as the FBI claimed to not know who Charles Morgan was.

If Charles Morgan did, in fact, work for the government and had been closely watching organized crime families, it is speculated that the odd $2 bill was actually a bunch of coded messages for the FBI.

Don ended up finding out that Morgan had been heavily involved in money laundering in the early 1970s. By 73, Morgan was using his escrow business to launder large sales of gold and platinum — over a billion dollars, mostly from Southeast Asia.
Interestingly, Morgan kept duplicate records of these illegal transactions, hoping they would help him in the future. According to rumor, undercover CIA agents, people from the Department of Defence, and exile Vietnamese Government officials were also involved. It is speculated that Morgan was killed for these records.

Moreover, Morgan worked with at least one organized crime family, who may have killed him if he found out too much. Some people believe the mob put a hit on Morgan. Somehow word got out and the hitman informed Morgan that he was going to be killed. Morgan then decided he would buy himself out of the hit — by giving the assassin the money in the briefcase he had at the motel — but when he met with the hitman in the desert, he took the money and killed Morgan anyway.

At the time of his death, Morgan was an involuntary witness for the Arizona General Attorney’s Office inquest involving a bank. Also, he was a key witness in a secret state investigation on illegal activity on the Arizona and Mexico border — prosecutors were building a case against a known organized crime family.

Furthermore, one of Morgan’s daughter’s, Megan Hidey, claims her father knew a lot of secrets about important Tucson politicians.

On May 14, 1990, 35-year-old Doug Johnston was fatally shot in his car in the parking lot outside of a computer graphics company’s office where he was supposed to work the night shift, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Authorities believe it was a suicide, however, his family and Devereux disagree. Not only did Johnston have no gunpowder on either of his hands, but there was no gun at the scene.

Devereux is certain he was killed by a hitman — who had been hired to kill Devereux, not Johnston. Devereux had recently worked on the episode of Unsolved Mysteries that featured Charles Morgan’s death which aired in February of that year. He also drove a similar car to Johnston and lived across the street from the parking lot where Johnston had been shot.

A year after, a fellow investigative reporter, Danny Casolaro contacted Devereux. He wanted to share the information he had recently discovered about the Morgan case, particularly concerning the transactions he made. Devereux naturally asked Casolaro to send him the material, however, before Casolaro was able to do so, he was found dead.

A cleaning lady found Casolaro’s body in the bathtub of a motel in Martinsburg, West Virginia. His wrists had been slashed twelve times with a razor blade. A suicide note was found at the scene:

“To my loved ones, please forgive me. Most specially my son and be understanding. God will let me in”.

Casolaro’s family refused to accept that he would commit suicide, especially with a razor, as he was deathly afraid of needles and blood.

Charles Morgan’s death still remains a mystery. Sadly, his wife Ruth passed away in 2006, not knowing the cause of her husband’s bizarre death and possible secret life.

The letter that supposedly contained who was responsible for his death was never found.

True Crime by Cat Leigh

Unsolved true crime cases. Murders, disappearances, and unexplained deaths.

Cat Leigh

Written by

Cat Leigh

True Crime Writer • •

True Crime by Cat Leigh

Unsolved true crime cases. Murders, disappearances, and unexplained deaths.

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