Cedar Rapids Family Looks for Answers in Decades Old Cold Case

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - In the summer of 1976, a Cedar Rapids teenager ran away with a boy.

A couple months later the body of Wanda Morrow was found in Arizona. Someone had stabbed her in the back. Her body turned up two days before she would have turned 15. Morrow's case has been unsolved for more than 35 years.

For now the girl's family is trying to reopen the case with hopes that someone who knows something will come forward. The Morrow family lives in Cedar Rapids to this day.

In the summer of 1976, Wanda and her sister, Tammi, left Iowa to visit their uncle in the Washington D.C. area. Shortly after, Wanda disappeared with an older boy she met there. Old articles said she hitchhiked across the country with him to Tucson, Arizona. Then, in September her body was discovered in a mountain area just north of Tucson.

Tammi Morrow only has a handful of old pictures of her sister, Wanda.

"Here is your Aunt Wanda when she was about six," Tammi Morrow said.

She shows the pictures to her own children now, who never got to know their aunt.

"She is always sad. They are trying to find out who her killer is and no one ever knows about it," said Tammi's Daughter Cheyenne Morrow.

Each picture reminds Tammi of a better time.

"She was always cheerful, easy to get along with," Tammi Morrow said.

The two were only 11 months apart. Tammi was with her sister and some new friends in the D.C. area when Wanda disappeared.

"I turned my back for about five minutes, and she was gone," Tammi Morrow said.

She still remembers hearing the news of her sister's body, which was found by picnickers on Mount Lemmon near a campground. Tammi said over the years, her family has specifically asked about the boy she 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," Tammi Morrow said.

Tammi said she contacts Arizona investigators every few months. For decades, though, little has been discovered.

"It has been painful not knowing that we cannot lay her soul to rest," Tammi Morrow said.

Now the cemetery is the only place Tammi can visit her sister. She's ready to put this case to rest.

"I think she's watching over us, wanting us to settle this," Tammi Morrow said.

They're hoping 2014 will be the year they finally get some answers.
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