Soldier reported missing
By ANGIE HAFLICH
A former Garden City man is considered AWOL and high risk by the military, as family members who still reside here continue to try to locate him.
Spec. John P. Morey, 20, has been missing from Fort Bliss Army Base, El Paso, Texas, since Jan. 29.
"Spec. Morey is considered absent without leave (AWOL)," said Lt. Peter Teachout, Morey's commanding officer.
The military's Civilian Liaison Army AWOL Service is conducting an investigation to attempt to locate Morey.
"We're exhausting all of the leads that we have, and we're looking for him," Teachout said. "Right now, the primary focus of the investigation is returning him safely to his unit."
According to both Teachout and Morey's mother, Venus Farmer Rowland of Garden City, the reason Morey is considered high risk is because prior to his disappearance, he sent a suicide letter to his mother.
Teachout said this is the only hard evidence pointing to the possibility of Morey being a risk to himself.
When asked if there were any particular circumstances surrounding Morey's absence, Teachout said, "He was informed of certain regulations that were concerning to him, both military and civilian regulations, and he made decisions based off of that knowledge."
Morey would not provide details about the regulations or why they were of possible concern to Morey.
Rowland, along with her husband, Gary Rowland, and friend, Carly Smith, all of Garden City, are currently in El Paso. On Wednesday, they filed an official missing persons report with the El Paso Police Department.
Garden City police Sgt. Michael Reagle said in an email that, "We were contacted by Texas law enforcement and asked to assist them, which we are doing."
"They listed him as an endangered missing person with the NCIC," Rowland said.
The NCIC is the National Crime Information Center, the United States' central database for tracking crime-related information, including missing persons, and is available to federal, state and local law enforcement.
Sgt. Chris Mears of the El Paso Police Department confirmed that a missing persons report was filed Wednesday, but said he was unable to comment on it, since the military filed the initial report.
A detective with CLAAS declined to comment on the case.
Rowland said she, her husband and friend are searching the area for any signs of her son.
"We've been going to the places that his friends said he frequented and handing out fliers with his picture on it and his truck information," she said. "Right now, it's really hard to pinpoint. Supposedly, there was a sighting of him about 250 miles east of El Paso (on Jan. 31), but mostly they're still looking in El Paso."
Two-hundred-fifty miles east of El Paso, Teachout said, would it difficult to reconcile with an eyewitness, a fellow soldier, pinpointing him on Interstate 10 in El Paso on the morning of Feb. 3. Teachout said that the soldier was eastbound and that Morey was westbound.
When asked if the letter her son sent her contained any clues as to his whereabouts, Rowland said the note said something about looking for him "to the east and by the water."
"I don't know what he would mean by that," she said.
Rowland said that this type of behavior is out of the ordinary for her son.
"For him to just take off and disappear is totally out of character. Even his friends, not just his friends in Garden City, but his friends that we've talked to here, say that it's not like him. They don't know what happened because for the last few years, they've been working with him and he's been a good soldier, he's always on time, he does what he's supposed to do, he's proud of his job. And for him to just leave right before he's finished? It just doesn't add up," she said.
Morey was scheduled to be discharged from the Army in June, after serving three years. Because of a heart condition, Rowland said, her son was never deployed.
Morey's date of birth is March 2, 1992. He is described as 5-foot-10, 150 pounds and has blonde hair and blue eyes.
He could be driving a 2003 dark blue, four-door, four-wheel drive Ford F250 with black rims and a dent on the passenger side.
He also has a tattoo of triple moons with a unicorn horn inside and the words, "An Ye Harm None Do What Ye Will," on his chest, a tattoo of an owl on his right shoulder and the word MEMENTOMORI on the back of his left arm.
According to a flier set up on his Facebook wall titled "Missing Person: John P. Morey," if anyone has information regarding Morey's disappearance, they are asked to call any law enforcement agency, the Fort Bliss Army Military Police or contact his mother, Venus Farmer Rowland, through Facebook.
Morey's description, including his tattoos and the description of his vehicle, were taken from a flier on the Facebook wall.