March 12, 1994

03/12/94: Morgan White, 19, East Lansing, MI

Morgan White, described as an "exotically handsome" 19-year old exchange student from England, disappeared on Saturday, March 12, 1994 after leaving a restaurant near the Michigan State University campus, where White was a student.

White and a friend had gone to Dooley's Restaurant (now called Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub) at 131 Albert Street in East Lansing, but turned away because they were too intoxicated. The two reportedly became sick and then somehow became separated. After failing to locate White, his friend returned home.

White was found in the Red Cedar River four days later.

Recovery and Investigation

On Wed., 3/16, MSU police contacted the Ingham County Sherriff's Department who began searching the Red Cedar River. At 3:30 p.m. that day, a five-member dive team located White's body on the riverbed after a five-hour search in a 10 mph current with only 1-foot visibility. During the search, divers were secured by safety line from their boat and to trees on both sides of the river. "One of the divers, Officer Ken Freeman, said the currents most likely pushed the body to the riverbed."

MSU Police Lt. Dale Metts said foul play was not suspected.

After the missing person's report was filed, MSU police questioned White's friends and searched his room. It is not known what clues, if any, were found.

Lingering Questions

Those who knew White can't help but wonder "how he possibly could've wandered near that river--no matter how drunk he was." While he was described as a heavy binge drinker who "loved to get soused and sing and hug people and go out carousing," his behavior was not unusual among his circle of friends, which included several other British exchange students. And by all accounts, White was not depressed. He was a good student who was very outgoing, charming, and fun. One friend remembers him as "a great guy." She added, "I knew him pretty well and can promise you he wasn't suicidal." How he ended up in the water is a mystery.

Early on in the investigation, friends of White also questioned whether the police should have been more responsive to an earlier report of a person seen swimming in the river.

On the morning of Sunday, March 13--the day after White was last seen---the MSU Department of Police and Public Safety received a call from a couple walking in the area who reported seeing someone in a white shirt swimming in the river. Police and fire officials searched the river that day for four hours but found nothing. Because no missing people were on file in Michigan at that time (White's disappearance was not filed until Tuesday, March 15), police did not return to the area to search. Morgan's friends wonder if this would have changed things.

But questions have been raised as to whether the swimmer in white shirt was even Morgan White. MSU's student newspaper, The State's News, printed a photograph of White's recovery from the Red Cedar River in which one arm is visible from underneath a tarp. White appears to be wearing a dark, long-sleeved shirt, not the white shirt the couple reportedly saw. But if it was not Morgan White the couple saw, then it would seem that someone really was swimming in the 35-degree Michigan river. The trouble is that according to reports, White did not know how to swim. A friend confirms this and recalls that White was actually terrified of water.

Recovery and Investigation
On Wed., 3/16, MSU police contacted the Ingham County Sherriff's Department who began searching the Red Cedar River. At 3:30 p.m. that day, a five-member dive team located White's body on the riverbed after a five-hour search in a 10 mph current with only 1-foot visibility. During the search, divers were secured by safety line from their boat and to trees on both sides of the river. "One of the divers, Officer Ken Freeman, said the currents most likely pushed the body to the riverbed."

MSU Police Lt. Dale Metts said foul play was not suspected.

After the missing person's report was filed, MSU police questioned White's friends and searched his room. It is not known what clues, if any, were found.

Facts of Interest
Name/age: Morgan White, 19
Hometown: unknown, possibly Nottingham, U.K. or Birmingham, U.K.
Physical Description: 5'10 - 5'11, Caucasian/Asian
Last seen: Sat 3/12/94, Dooley's Restaurant, 121 Albert Street, Michigan
Recovered: Wed 3/16/94, 3:20 p.m., Red Cedar River
Water temperature: 35 degrees on Wed 3/16, and possibly colder on Sunday 3/13

13 comments:

Kate said...

What school was he attending at the time of death?

Lisa said...

I have not been able to find any additional information on Morgan White. If anyone can help fill in the blanks, please send it to footprints.blogmail@yahoo.com.

Anonymous said...

Try contacting Michigan State University's News Paper the State News - they should have something in their archive. I went to jr. and high school and MSU w/ Ryan Gets - #6 on your list. It's amazing the links that you have put together already - Good Luck!

Lisa said...

Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately, MSU's online archives only go back to 2000. I'm afraid I'm not too knowledgeable at researching things old school (without the web). If anyone knows how to find this information online or lives locally and finds themselves at a library, the info. would be much appreciated.

Nighthawk said...

If Morgan White was the first victim, it would have been the perfect choice. It seems like no one was here who cared and looked into the drowning. His family is so far away,this would mean that he might have known him. The investigators need to find out more about Mr. White, who he talked to, who were his friends, what classes he had and who was his roomate, also a lot of Foreign exchange students have sponsored families to help them with their transition into the states.

Anonymous said...

drowned


2001-03-10


HAYDUK,
Justin


18


U. of Pittsburg, but taking break in Morgantown WV


Morgantown


WV


while on spring break from Pitt, ran from police when police stopped van in which he and friend were driving.


found in the Monogahela

It is interesting coincidence that Morgan white was from the uk and another victim Justin HAYDUK,was in Morgantown taking a break when he went missing.

Anonymous said...

Morgan White attended Michigan State University and went missing in March, 1994. He was last seen in a parking lot after a night of drinking. His friends left him there after they were unable to wake him.

According to: Childseeknetwork.com

Sam said...

I researched Morgan White a long while ago and could never find anything on this case. What I did find, if anything, though it seems concidental, has to do with the history of Michigan State University.

There is an article under the MSU website about the history of their collection of stained glass (religious) windows.

http://museum.msu.edu/museum/msgc/mar07.html

"The attached MORGAN Memorial Chapel [attached to St. Paul's Episcopal Church] was commissioned by Marquette businessman Peter White in memory of his son, MORGAN Lewis WHITE, who died in 1878 at the age of 12. Designed by Cobb and Frost of Chicago, the chapel was constructed in 1887-1889."

Further research on Morgan Lewis White led to dead links. One such dead link though suggests, through a snippet of what was left of the article on google, he died of diptheria.

The only connection here is the school, the name, and possible religious aspect.

MagneticCheese said...

Hm, I just went on that childseeknetwork.com site and searched Morgan up. No matter what information I input, it yielded no results. :\ I went on Google trying to search for more information, but, sadly, nothing.
I hope we can get more information on this eventually.

Lisa said...

Morgan White is listed on their old site:
http://www.childseeknetwork.com/oldsite/commonalities.htm

Francine White said...

I am Morgan s little sister. He was wearing a brown suede jacket that night. Considering it was 3 feet snow or something like it was strange that he was found without it both he AND the jacket should have been ducked down the storm drain. The police were called that night by a couple who heard my brother shout for help. As I understand it the police were called did a cursory 20 min search and decided to come back the next morning. The police never wanted to look beyond the fact my brother's blood alcohol level was raised and I am personally convinced of a cover up by the university dean and director. They trod very carefully when my parents came to visit there was a secret they wanted to keep. I will never forget the young man who came up to me at the American version of a wake and basically told me it was him that done it. I was too young too understand what he meant but with years now I understand the look of guilt and gloating. There are some sick people in this world. My parents knew and although we never got justice for the loss to us of a truly beautiful soul it is better than living with the stain of having snuffed out one set for the stars. In memory of my truly beautiful brother and to the wound it caused our family from which we will never ever recover. We love h so much. And thank you Charlie Caine from the local Lansing paper for being a light to my parents quest for justice. He is somewhere out there with Vicki I know it. Morgan Michael Laurence White Guildford University and MSU student devoted brother son and boyfriend and in heaven a father I live in hope. Amen.

Francine White said...

See Case Studies in Drowning Forensics page 211 on Google Books where Morgan is listed with three others as drowning in Red Cedar River and a serial killer is seriously discussed in relation to these deaths. My poor brother.

Vikki K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.