Following an anonymous tip, investigators with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department searched a wooded area off of Golding Road in New Hope looking for clues in the high profile disappearance of Kaila Morris.
Deputies and investigators arrived at the home of Bonnie Morris at 181 Golding Road shortly after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Two search teams combed the woods behind the home on ATV’s while other deputies worked the area on foot. The GTR K-9 search team also was used to look for clues. (The GTR K-9’s are specially trained Belgian Malinois. Sources told The Packet that the particular dog used Tuesday was a cadaver tracking dog.-CK)
The search team emerged from the woods shortly after 1:45 p.m. and gathered for a conference behind the home before leaving the scene. Although deputies on scene declined comment, sources have confirmed that investigators were searching for Morris’ remains. The same sources indicated that the anonymous source did provide some credible information that could assist in solving the case.
Morris, then 21, was last seen September 17, 2009. Her stepfather, Robert Triplett Jr., then 56, was the last person to see her. He reported that Morris left the family home on Golding Road in a dark-colored van or SUV with an unknown person. Triplett stated that he was in the bathroom and heard a vehicle pull into the gravel driveway, but did not clearly see it. He said Morris called into the house to tell him where she was going, and with whom. Although he was unable to hear her clearly, he thought she said she was going to visit her friend Labriska Walker in Carrollton, Ala. However, Walker reportedly showed up at the house minutes later, looking for Morris.
Investigators later discovered that Morris did not take her identification, purse or medication with her when she left.
Morris’s mother, Bonnie Triplett, who was in Florida, became concerned when she learned of Morris’s absence the next day. (Triplett is now going by the name Bonnie Morris from her previous marriage.-CK) That evening Robert Triplett reported her missing.
In October 2009 deputies discovered pornographic images of children on Triplett’s computer during a search related to Morris’s disappearance. Triplett was arrested and charged with exploitation of children. Triplett – who has a criminal record that includes arrests for sex crimes in Mississippi and Louisiana – was on probation after a 2003 sexual battery charge in Jackson County. His probation was revoked, and he is currently serving a 10-year sentence with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Several searches by deputies, volunteers and National Guard troops of rural areas in October 2009 failed to discover any sign of Morris. That same month Bonnie Triplett announced a $10,000 reward for information on her daughter’s whereabouts. In September 2010 the reward amount was increased to $100,000.
Lowndes County Investigators told The Packet that the anonymous tip they received did produce useful information, but they did ask that the tipster (or anyone else with information on the case) please call Golden Triangle Crimestoppers at 1-800-530-7151 .