Morbid podcast

Episode 533: The Mysterious Death of Charles Morgan

29/01/2024
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1:09:11
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In March 1977, Arizona businessman Charles Morgan went missing from his home in Tucson, only to turn up three days later in the middle of the night, shoeless, traumatized, and with broken plastic handcuffs on his wrists and ankles. Unable to speak, Charles wrote that he had been drugged by an unnamed individual and kidnapped, but he refused to let his wife call the police or otherwise report the assault. Three months later, Charles Morgan’s body was discovered in the desert with a gunshot wound in the back of his head, one of his teeth wrapped in a handkerchief, and a two-dollar bill pinned to his underwear.

From the outside, Charles Morgan appeared to live a very normal and decidedly unexciting life. Yet when investigators began digging into his background to find out who would have wanted him dead, they discovered a complicated and bizarre story of supposed government agents, mobsters, and a mystery that one would have expected from a Hollywood screenplay, not the life of a middle-aged Arizona escrow agent. The increasingly bizarre details of Morgan’s life and death comprise a fascinating mystery that remains unsolved to this day and endures as one of Arizona’s most baffling cold cases.


Thank you to David White, of the Bring Me the Axe podcast, for research assistance


References

Bassett, Edward, and David Dykes. 1977. "Mystery death a suicide?" Tucson Citizen, June 22: 1.

Bassett, Edward, and Richard Wood. 1977. "Slain businessman's bank dealings probed." Tucson Citizen, June 27: 3.

Flanagan, Ray. n.d. "Did 'hit-man."

—. 1990. "Did 'hit-man' with ties to region figure in Arizona death case?" Tribune, September 25: 3.

Heltsley, Ernie, and John Rawlinson. 1979. "1977 shooting ended Tucsonan's two lives." Arizona Daily Star, February 4: 1.

Jordan, Tracy. 1990. "City residents asked to drop a dime on hit man." Times Leader, October 22: 3.

Kwok, Abraham. 1992. "Phoenix death a mistaken 'hit'?" Arizona Republic, May 6: 10.

Matas, Kimberly. 2010. "Strange evidence found in '77 on, near man's body." Arizona Daily Star, March 31: A08.

1990. Unsolved Mysteries. Directed by John McLaughlin. Performed by John McLaughlin.

Salkowski, Joe, and Enric Volante. 2002. "Mob faded locally long before key figure died." Arizona Daily Star, May 19: 1.

Svejcara, Bob. 1977. "Sheriff finds no foul play in Morgan death." Arizona Daily Star, August 11: 13.

Svejcara, Bob, and Ernie Heltsley. 1977. "Slain businessman seen during 'absence'." Arizona Daily Star, June 23: 1.

Tucson Citizen. 1977. "Sheriff's probe says Morgan was a sucide." Tucson Citizen, August 11: 4.

Wood, Richard. 1977. "Slain Tucson executive: solid citizen... mystery man." Tucson Citizen, June 21: 2.

—. 1977. "Woman says Morgan hid, trying to buy off his life." Tucson Citizen, June 21: 1.


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