An eastern Iowa family is hoping 2014 will be the year they finally get some answers about a murder case that’s been unsolved for more than 35 years. In the summer of 1976, Wanda Morrow of Cedar Rapids ran away with a boy. Her body was found a couple months later in Arizona, just two days before she would have turned 15.
Wanda’s sister, Tammi, says she was with Wanda — visiting their uncle in the Washington D.C. area — at the time Wanda disappeared. “I turned my back for about five minutes, and she was gone,” Tammi recalls. It’s believed Wanda and an older boy she met is D.C. hitchhiked across the country in the summer of ’76 to Tucson, Arizona.
In September, her body was discovered in a mountainous area just north of Tucson. Someone had stabbed Wanda Morrow in the back. Tammi says, over the years, her family has asked investigators about the boy Wanda ran away with. “They said they talked to her companion at the time and by what they told our mother, they got into a fight and then he left her there (in Tucson),” Morrow says.
Wanda and Tammi were born only 11 months apart. Tammi says she contacts Arizona investigators every few months. For decades, though, little has been discovered. “It has been painful knowing that we cannot lay her soul to rest,” Morrow said. Tammi Morrow only has a handful of old pictures of her sister. She shows the pictures of Wanda to her own children now, who never got to know their aunt.
(Reporting by Jill Kasperie, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids)