Detectives Seek Help In Cold Case Homicide


The Clark County Sheriff is seeking the assistance of the public and media regarding the disappearance of a teenage girl in the late 1970s. In the Fall of 2019, Sheriff’s Detectives reported that unidentified remains, discovered in 1980 and known as the Fly Creek Jane Doe, had been identified as Sandra Renee Morden. Sandy’s identity was established through a forensic genetic genealogy study and was confirmed by DNA analysis of reference samples provided by family members.

With help from the public and further investigation, Sheriff’s investigators learned that Sandy Morden was born in San Francisco on April 29, 1962, to Andrew Bain Morden and Kathryn Irene (Long) Morden. Andrew (“Andy”) Morden died in 1999 in Ilwaco, Washington, and would have been in his late 40s at the time of Sandy’s disappearance. Kathryn (“Irene”) Morden died in 1988 in San Francisco in 1988 and would have been in her early 40s when Sandy disappeared.

Sandy moved with her parents from the Bay area to Portland in the late 1960s. Her parents divorced in 1971 and Andy was awarded primary custody of Sandy. Following the divorce, her mother remained in touch with Sandy and is believed to have been living in the Portland area at the time of her daughter’s disappearance. Her father, Andy, maintained an apartment on Bertha Boulevard in the Burlingame area of Portland and, later, an apartment on Grant Street in downtown Vancouver. At the time of Sandy’s disappearance, Andy had acquired a fifth-wheel trailer and is believed to have been living at a mobile home/RV park near Leichner Road, North of the Hazel Dell area in Vancouver. Andy, often with Sandy, was known to frequent café style restaurants in both Portland and Vancouver.

Her father’s role as a custodial parent was complicated by his employment. Andy Morden worked as a deckhand on tugboats operating on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and was required to be away from home for up to a week at a time. As a consequence, Andy placed Sandy in the care of others while he was out of town. Thus, Sandy stayed with a family in Southeast Portland in 1975 while she attended Binnesmead Elementary School; a Vancouver family in 1975-76 while she attended Gaiser Middle School; a family in the Burlingame neighborhood in Portland in 1976-77 while she attended Wilson High School; and a family in Newberg in the Summer and Fall of 1977 when she registered to attend Newberg High School.

Sandy would have been 16 years old when she disappeared. She was tall with long dark hair. She has been described as appearing older than her true age. Sandy was also known to have loved animals, particularly horses. She actively sought out horse ranches and large horse boarding arenas. She also owned a dog named “Rusty” at the time she disappeared.

Clark County Sheriff’s detectives would like to hear from friends, acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers, fellow veterans and classmates of Andy and Sandy Morden, particularly those who interacted with them in Vancouver in the 1970s. Persons with any information are urged to contact Investigators at coldcase@clark.wa.gov or through the Cold Case Tip Line at 564-397-2036

Source: Clark County Sheriff's Office


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