Tuesday, July 6, 2010

UNSOLVED: The Morgan Violi Kidnapping and Murder



Innocent Blood
by Robert A. Waters

The distance between an unsolved murder and a decade seems to drag on forever. During that time, families are shattered and communities devastated. The brazen mid-day abduction and murder of seven-year-old Morgan Violi from Bowling Green, Kentucky was said to have snatched the innocence from the sleepy, Bible-belt community. As her mother Stacey said, “That’s the day I lost faith in the human race.”

Shortly after noon, on July 24, 1996, Morgan was kidnapped from the front of her home. She and her sister and a friend were playing just outside the door of the Colony Apartments when a van stopped beside them. A man got out, pulled Morgan into his vehicle, and sped away.

The Bowling Green Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Department didn’t waste time. The Amber Alert system was not yet in place, but they recognized the danger to the child and launched a determined search. Deputy Roger Osborne described the police response. “We went up to the first overpass on Interstate 65,” he said, “and watched the vehicles for one matching the description. We had the entire area surrounded.” Osborne said he is still amazed that the suspect was able to slip through the dragnet.

The FBI was called in to help coordinate the investigation. Over the years, local detectives and the feds have investigated thousands of leads. A reward of $67,000 is currently being offered.

Stacey Violi, Morgan’s mother, had finalized her divorce from her husband, Glen, just two hours before the kidnapping. Investigators quickly tapped him as the main suspect, but he had an airtight alibi: Glen Violi was at work during the time of the abduction and was eventually eliminated as a suspect.

The family wanted answers. Where was their little girl? Was she still alive and being held captive by some monster? Or had her voice been silenced forever? Morgan would have started the second grade when school began in the fall. She was a friendly girl with a beautiful smile. The family couldn’t imagine life without her.

Four months later, on October 20, 1996, a hiker found Morgan’s remains. She was located about 40 miles south of Bowling Green, in Robertson County, Tennessee, near a culvert along the side of North Swift Road. Detectives have released little information about this part of the investigation.

On the day Morgan went missing, witnesses noticed an older model white Ford van parked beside a rundown barn about a hundred feet from where the child’s body was found. It had lingered there for about four hours. The van had unusual louvered windows in the sliding door. Investigators searched extensively for this vehicle but never found it.

The maroon van used in the abduction was found parked at a truck stop in Franklin, Tennessee. It had been stolen from Dayton, Ohio two days earlier.

Several eyewitnesses described the suspect as a white male with shoulder-length sandy-brown hair. According to the Robertson County Sheriff’s Department, “he appeared to be in his twenties at the time. He had a slender build but with defined muscles. At that time he had a mustache and some beard. He did have one outstanding feature that was noticed by all witnesses--he had a sharp, distinct nose.” The suspect was about six feet, one inch tall and weighed approximately 180 pounds.

A devastated Stacey Violi told reporters: “I never realized there was anyone that evil who could just take [Morgan] and do that.”

Ten years later, her outrage still has not faded. “Revenge is a double-edged sword,” she said. “But I’ll suffer the rest of my life and I want [the killer] to suffer for the rest of [his] life.”

Below is a police sketch of the suspect. Since he had almost certainly stolen a van in Dayton, Ohio, he may well be a career criminal and may be incarcerated somewhere. If you think back to ten years ago and recognize the suspect, please call the Bowling Green FBI office at 270-781-4734.

31 comments:

Nikki Prewitt said...

This articla is about my sister and as tomorrow comes to 16 years ago that she was taken from our family, I find myself reading articles about her kidnapping and this horror story on the internet. I am not sure why I torture myself but I guess because I was only 10 when it happened, I question a lot over the years. I even started to write my own book about it last year, but stopped because it was too much. Most people think we should get over this, but I can tell you that every year around this time, we all start to "shut down" My mom of course is my hero because now that I am grown and I have my own child, I do not know how she survived losing Morgan, especially in this horrific way. I just wanted to thank you for writing this article and keeping her memory alive. I hope that I will live to see the day that they catch the person or persons responsible for this. My older sister and I not only lost our sister, but we lost our innocense that day. Again, we thank you!

Robert A. Waters said...

Nikki: Thank you for your poignant post. I sincerely hope that the monster who took Morgan is caught and executed. May you and your family someday gain the peace you deserve. Robert

Denise Shifflett said...

I wouldn't think anyone in a family would ever get over this or have any type of forgiveness for anyone involved' God bless you're whole family and i pray all of you live to see justice. The next time someone tells you to get over it tell them to kiss you're ass, they are being cruel.

Denise Shifflett said...

God bless you're whole family. I hope there will be answers and justice in you're time. Next time someone tells you to get over it tell them to kiss you're ass, they are being very cruel. That is not something that any one would get over nor should you feel compelled to have any forgiveness for whoever is responsible. This is unforgivable.

Shai Riney said...

I was in Morgan's class, I lived in Skyline and played with her occasionally since it was only a bike ride away. I remember Principal Hall and Ms. Isabel coming in and talking to us about what had happened, how scared and sad we all were. To this day I still pray they find the man who did this to my friend. Nikki, you and your mom are not alone. <3

Shai Riney said...

I was in Morgan's class, I lived in Skyline and played with her several times because it was just a bike ride from my trailer. I can remember Principal Hall and Ms. Isabel coming in and talking to us about it, how scared and sad we all were. To this day I pray that someone will find this man and bring her justice, it hurts that much more now that I'm raising two daughters of my own. You and your mom aren't alone, Nikki. Someday the truth will come out. <3

Concerned mom said...

Its really unbelievable how much this sketch looks like Timothy Madden!!! He would have been the same age as this suspect! And in same general area! Timothy Madden is the suspect just arrested for kidnapping, raping, and killing 7 year old Habby Doolin in Scottsville, KY!

Unknown said...

The sketch does look like younger timothy madden said how there is evil in this world that would hurt innocent children

shundel simmons said...

The sketch does look like younger timothy madden said how there is evil in this world that would hurt innocent children

Justice for Morgan and Gabbi said...

The mugshot taken a couple days ago of Timothy Madden's 20 year old son Bradley Madden is an almost perfect match to this sketch of the suspect in the case of Morgan Violi. I would love to see justice served for both of these precious girls taken from this world at the hands of what can only be pure evil.

Robin Gibson said...

Wonder if he or his family had a white can!!??? Please tell me bowling green pd is checking into this

Colleen said...

Wow, this definitely looks like Timothy Madden! Please let the BG police know about this!

LionRun said...

I agree that the sketch, written description, and MO strongly resemble Tim Madden, down to the sharp, defined nose and the precious victims's ages when abducted. If someone has not already done so, I think law enforcement should be advised of a possible link between the cases. They may have or soon plan to look further into this, but I would rather be safe than sorry and make sure they are aware of this. Does anyone know the best way to proceed?

LionRun said...

I agree that the sketch, written description, and MO strongly resemble Tim Madden, down to the sharp, defined nose and the precious victims's ages when abducted. If someone has not already done so, I think law enforcement should be advised of a possible link between the cases. They may have or soon plan to look further into this, but I would rather be safe than sorry and make sure they are aware of this. Does anyone know the best way to proceed?

LionRun said...

I agree that the sketch, written description, and MO strongly resemble Tim Madden, down to the sharp, defined nose and the precious victims's ages when abducted. If someone has not already done so, I think law enforcement should be advised of a possible link between the cases. They may have or soon plan to look further into this, but I would rather be safe than sorry and make sure they are aware of this. Does anyone know the best way to proceed?

Mallory Hart said...

As the article said, the van used in her abduction was stolen from Ohio. Timmy Madden had just graduated high school the month before. If it was him, he would have had to stolen the van from Ohio first.

Mallory Hart said...

Timmy Madden would have just graduated high school the month before Morgan Violi was abducted. As the article said, the van used in her abduction was stolen from Ohio a few days prior. Unless he was in Ohio a few days prior to her abduction stealing a van, he couldn't have anything to do with this case.

Mallory Hart said...

According to the sketch of the man, he had short hair on top and sides and longer in the back similar to a mullet or was it not that long in the back? Also was his hair sandy brown or could it have been darker? Did he have freckles?

louella watkins said...

I remember this day very well. My heart was broke for this family. 20 years later. Myself, two of my friends came to the candle light vigil. There were many people gathered there. I was talking to my wife about this young girl just a few days ago. I decided today to go online to see if there was any progress. So, hoping that the killer had been caught by now. It seems I remember that it was put on the news that her daddy had failed several lie detector tests. Is that true? Or do you know? At that time he wasn't accused of killing her. But, rumors was he had it done. Because he didn't want the divorce, so he had it done for revenge against Stacey. I am still praying that I live long enough to see or hear that they have found the killer or killers that did this to this innocent child.

Jeff Reece said...

I can't begin to amagine what you and your family have been through. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers that God will bring comfort, peace and closure to you and your family and that the person or persons responsible will be brought to justice. God bless you Nikki

Rain Clair said...

Timothy Madden had long bangs and a mullet in his highschool year book picture in 1995. Timothy was already married with either a young baby or one very near being born when Morgan was kidnapped. He looks almost identical to the suspect sketch in Morgan's case and is the right age, height, weight and coloring.

Rain Clair said...

He was young, but married and had a child at the time. Everything about him physically fits the description of the killer and he looks strikingly close to the suspect sketch. His whereabouts at the time certainly need to be looked into.

Rain Clair said...

The killer original tried to kidnap the little girl playing with Morgan, but she got away so it's unlikely the person was targeting Morgan.

Sharon Wilson said...

I to believe this maybe Timothy Madden may be the one that did the crime to he has a son that would be the about the same age as the sketch looks like him someone need to look into him and this crime to please

Sharon Wilson said...

Just please if there is some dna check it he has gave a sample he has hurt little girls before

Unknown said...

It also says in description 180 lbs and he has never weighed over 150 and no it's not him! He didn't drive a van or steal one

factorfiction said...

The van was stolen in ohio

Deven Carigan said...

Nikki. I don't know if you remember me. I was your neighbor, Deven. I had that very silly pit named Bosco that all the kids loved. Morgan used to come over and hang out with me. She was my little pal. So many people with kids moved out of the neighborhood bc it hurt to be reminded. Kids make a place joyous and they left. The whole situation was so painful. I loved all 3 of you girls. I think of you & Heather and your mom often. What happened to Morgan changed me forever & I can't possibly imagine what this did to your family. I have 2 beautiful daughters of my own and I know the level of love your sweet mama feels for her girls. I hold all of you in my heart forever.

Rain Clair said...

This is the estimated weight from a witness. It doesn't mean the suspect actually weighed 180. How do you know he didn't steal a van? This is a weird comment.

Rain Clair said...

Still no justice for this sweet little girl. :( Come on! Somebody knows something!

Teresa Rogers said...

I worked with your Aunt Bobbie and your cousin Adam was a driend of my two daughters. I haven't never forgotten that day at work when Bobbie got the news. I continue to pray for the family over 20 years later and sometimes check the internet for uodates. I pray that the evil incarnate who did this will be brought to justices.