Authorities believe a businessman’s death was suicide, while others believe he tried to buy his way out of contract killing and failed.

Chuck Morgan

Was Chuck murdered or was it suicide?

CASE DETAILS

Arizona became a hub for mafia activity

On March 22, 1977, in Tucson, Arizona, escrow company owner Chuck Morgan left his home as usual, and then disappeared. Morgan was a potential witness in a state land fraud case involving a known organized crime boss. On March 25, three days later, Chuck stumbled back home at two in the morning. Chuck’s wife, Ruth Morgan, woke up to a thump at the back door:

“I was in bed and the dog started barking. I got up, went to the door and opened it and there was Chuck.  He was missing a shoe and had one plastic handcuff around one ankle and a set around his hands. When he motioned to his throat, and didn’t say a word, I asked him, ‘Can you talk? Can you write?’ He shook his head, ‘yes,’ so I went and got a tablet and a pen. He wrote that his throat had been painted with a hallucinogenic drug and that the drug could drive him irrevocably insane or destroy his nervous system and kill him. I wanted to call a doctor and the police, but he was adamant that that would be signing a death warrant for the entire family.”

Over the next week, Ruth nursed her husband back to health. Before his voice returned, he began to hint to her that he had a secret identity as an agent for the federal government:

“He wrote, ‘They took my Treasury identification.’ That was the first I’d heard of it. Then he told me he had been working for them for about two or three years. And that was it.”

Sunglasses at the scene were not Chuck’s

Was Chuck Morgan really a Treasury agent, secretly fighting organized crime? And who was it that abducted him?

In the 1970’s, the mafia established Arizona as a narcotics pipeline and a haven for money laundering. More than 500 racketeers set up shop there. What made Arizona attractive to crime syndicates was a state law which allowed anyone to buy up land through numbered blind trust accounts. This meant they could launder money and it couldn’t be traced.

Chuck Morgan had done real estate escrow work for at least one mafia family, and possibly helped with the purchase of gold bullion and platinum, a more convenient way to launder money. Journalist Don Devereux investigated Chuck’s story:

“He was around the edges of a couple of very large organized crime groups in Arizona at that time.  It was very easy to get in over your head, and I suspect that over the years, Mr. Morgan was in that kind of situation. He was doing, perhaps, upwards of a billion dollars of escrow work in bullion and platinum.  These were transactions that only existed on paper. He was a straight businessman that probably got a little a too close to the flame.”

Coded messages were found on a $2 bill

Ruth knew little of her husband’s work:

“Chuck mentioned to me once that there was money laundering going on, but nothing that he himself was involved in. He told me, ‘The less the girls and you know, the better off you will be.’”

After his kidnapping, Chuck took no chances. He wore a bulletproof vest and made sure he was the only one who drove his daughters to and from school.  But two months after his first disappearance, Chuck vanished again.  Nine days later, Ruth Morgan received a mysterious phone call. An unidentified woman gave her a reference from the Bible:

“This woman said, ‘Ruthie?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘Chuck is all right. Ecclesiastics 12, 1 through 8’. And then she hung up.”

The passage reads, in part:

“Men are afraid of a high place and of terrors on the road.  Remember him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”

A map was drawn on the back of the bill

Two days later, Chuck’s body was discovered. He was wearing his bulletproof vest and had died from a single bullet fired at close range into the back of his head. The bullet came from his own .357 magnum, which was lying beside him. The investigators also found a piece of paper with directions to the murder site written in Chuck’s handwriting, and a pair of sunglasses which definitely did not belong to him.

The police made one additional discovery. Chuck had clipped a $2 bill inside his underwear. Written on the bill were seven Spanish names, beginning with the letters A through G. Above them was the notation, “Ecclesiastes 12,” with the verses one through eight marked by arrows drawn on the bill’s serial number. This was the same Bible verse the mysterious female caller had given to Chuck’s wife. On the back of the bill, the signers of the Declaration of Independence were numbered one through seven, and there was a roughly-drawn map. The map led to an area between Tucson and Mexico, to the towns of Robles Junction and Salacity, both known for smuggling.

Despite the unusual evidence, many in the sheriff’s department believed Chuck’s death was a suicide. They claimed he had shot himself in the back of the head. Ruth believed otherwise:

“There is no way Chuck would’ve committed suicide, and if he had even contemplated suicide, he would’ve left a letter for his girls and for me.”

Don Devereux has his doubts as well:

“I’ve never seen, in all my years as a journalist, a fellow take himself out in the desert wearing a bulletproof vest and shoot himself in the back of the head.”

Two days after Chuck’s death, a woman called the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.  She said Chuck had come to meet her at a local motel just before he died. The woman called herself “Green Eyes” and said she was the same person who had called Chuck’s wife, quoting the Bible passage.  Green Eyes said that in the motel, Chuck had showed her a briefcase containing thousands of dollars in cash. He told her that the money would buy him out of a contract the mob had put on his life.

The theory goes that organized crime put the word out that they wanted Chuck dead. The hit man then told Chuck, who came up with money to buy off the hit man.  But when the two of them met in the desert, the hit man killed Chuck anyway, and took his money.   Don Devereux believes Chuck might have not fully realized who he was involved with:

“There is a great likelihood that Mr. Morgan was, in fact, doing something with the government. I think this was a guy who was extremely naïve about a lot of things. I think somebody blew his cover and he got killed.”

After her husband’s death, Ruth Morgan was visited by two men claiming to be from the FBI:

“They opened and closed their identification very fast. They said they wanted to come in and look through the house. They never said what they were looking for. And to this day, I don’t even know what they were looking for.”

The men tore the house apart, looking for something that they never found. Ruth was so upset she didn’t write down their names. No one knows for sure if the men really were from the FBI. Don Devereux contacted the FBI to get more information on the Morgan case:

“When I made a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI, they had never heard of Mr. Morgan, despite the fact that they obviously opened an investigation, despite the fact the FBI interviewed Mr. Morgan’s attorney. They were all over this thing like a blanket for a while. But now they’ve never heard of the guy. He never existed.  No card, no file, no nothing.”

If Chuck Morgan was doing undercover work for the government, Don Devereux believes the clues he wrote on the two dollar bill might have been an attempt to pass coded messages to the FBI:

“I think the $2 bill provided the basis for some kind of a code. What seemed to be missing, however, was the document that the $2 bill would unlock. If he was quietly providing assistance to the U.S. government and monitoring the activities of one or more major organized crime families, then he wasn’t a villain. He was a good guy. And they need to know that.”


Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season three with Robert Stack and in season six with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.

SUBMIT A TIP

 

28 Comments

  1. Minh

    What’s the episode number for this case, and which season is it in?

    Reply

    • Unsolved Mysteries

      Unsolved Mysteries Post author

      It is streaming in s3:E9 with Robert Stack and S6:E16 with Dennis Farina and it is in SP126 on Lifetime and Escape.

      Reply

  2. Anonymous

    Who do you contact for anonymous tip?

    Reply

  3. Baker 53

    I recently saw a episode of hamil ton where they took frog poison and scrapped it on the back of the throat. It was a wild trip and i wonder if this is what Chuck had?

    Reply

  4. asier

    la numeracion del billete de 2 $ con el giro segun las flechas y el orden del alfabeto dice: hacabado

    Reply

  5. Anonymous

    “She said, ‘Chuck is all right. Ecclesiastics 12, 1 through 8’” Is this a direct quote or an editing oversight? Ecclesiastics are members of the clergy, not the book of the Bible. I wonder what the verse was referencing, since I doubt it actually means the verses themselves.

    The ‘painting the throat’ reminds me of Martha Rendell of Australia.

    Reply

    • Anonymous

      You’re almost certainly Australian. I would be incredibly–INCREDIBLY–impressed to find out otherwise, considering your knowledge of Martha Rendell.

      Reply

    • Debs

      What part of any of this did you pay attention to?. None in my opinion, it didn’t say painting it said pointing!. Also there is a part of the Bible called Ecclesiastes, you just aren’t as I said before listening!. Unless you’re actually making fun of this man’s murder?. Hmm?

      Reply

  6. Anonymous

    It was a set up, just like they are clamping down on me.

    Reply

  7. Anonymous

    Wow that’s amazing, did they ever solve this case?

    Reply

  8. Angel Bernardo Gonzalez

    I came up with a theory: if the case that chuck was not baptized, maybe someone in the family who was too religious, and he was not baptized, he looked for a way to kill him. I am Chilean, for if they want to answer me, I copy it from google translator.

    Reply

  9. Anonymous

    The Bible verse references death when you read the rest in context.

    Reply

  10. LUIS FREEH

    ACTUALY A VICE & A STRING WOULD SHOOT U IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD! “I” DOUBT HE HAD A PROBLEM WITH HIS VOICE. HE WAS CHEATING ON HIS WIFE AND MADE UP THE ECUSE. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WE AIN’T SPY. WHAT DID HIS BREATH STINK OF? THE WOMAN WHO CALLED KILLED HIM FOR NOT GETTING RID OF HIS WIFE! THE BIBLE IS SATANIC. THOSE VERSES ARE SATANIC & TO SEE SPANISH NAMES WITH THE VERSED MEANS THEY WANT A PURE SATANIC ENTITY BACK ON EARTH. CHUCK “MORGAN” & MR.MORGAN” WOULD BE THE SAME GUY.

    Reply

    • Common Sense

      You don’t think they would have found the vice and the string laying by his corpse? Or some evidence of pressure on his forehead? All caps lock doesn’t help you either. Stop yelling at the internet.

      Reply

  11. Anon

    This guy’s wife was very gullible. He wanted to commit suicide but didn’t want his wife or daughters to think badly of him so he made up the elaborate story. He wanted to go out a hero to them instead of being guilty of criminal activities and money laundering for which he ultimately would have been convicted. He was apparently intelligent with a vivid imagination as he created such a detailed ruse that many believed. Sad story.

    Reply

  12. Taylor

    I understand there is a windy road up to Mount Lemmon which is where I used to work and it relates to the Bible quote. A lot of college kids have died on it. Maybe Chuck was attempting to wire money? I know some people understand throat targeted ailments to be a rather unusual, cryptic injury. Why or how would they do this.

    Reply

  13. herald

    The names on the bill are all law enforcement names of officers in Nogales Arizona at the time, one of them owns a ranch in Sasabe Arizona.
    .11

    Reply

    • Fred

      Do you have sources for this?

      Reply

    • anonymous

      The 8 agents just happened to have last names that started with the first 8 letters of the alphabet? sounds unlikely

      Reply

    • Debs

      You know how stupid that sounds?. If there were cops by all those names in nogales you sure as hell wouldn’t tell it on the net. For that most of these comments are so ignorant!. Especially the one calling the Bible satanic, and the suicide theory when Mr.Morgan was shot execution style. also the unbaptized truck..that was really crazy. The Mr.Morgan really being the Mr.Morgan theory? I mean come on already what does THAT even mean?. Most of these “theories” come from total crack pots,the types that tie up the police with silly “leads” when maybe someone with REAL evidence is trying to get through on the phone, but crackpots tie up the lines!.

      Reply

  14. grahamclayton

    Very weird and bizarre.

    Reply

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We rely on you to update and correct your Personal Data.  If you are a user of our Sites, subscriber to [CMP product], purchaser of CMP products and services, you can review, update and correct your information directly on CMP’s website or by contacting us using the information in the “Contact Information” section below.

 

Typically, we retain your Personal Data for the period necessary to fulfill the purposes outlined in this Privacy Policy, unless a longer retention period is required or permitted by law.  This may include retaining your Personal Data indefinitely, even after you are no longer a CMP member, in order to provide you with future marketing opportunities and other purposes, as well as to comply with our legal obligations, resolve disputes, or enforce any of our agreements.  

 

Please note that you can request, at any time, that we delete your Personal Data.  All requests must be directed to the contact in the “Contact Information” section below.  We can decide to delete your Personal Data if we believe that the data is incomplete, inaccurate, or that our continued use and storage are contrary to our obligations to other members, individuals, or third parties.  When we delete your Personal Data, it will be removed from our active databases or anonymized so that the data is no longer identified with you, but the data may remain in our archives if CMP determines that it is not practical or possible to delete it.

Your Personal Data is processed in the United States, where privacy laws may be less stringent than the laws in your country and where the government, courts, or law enforcement may be able to access your data.  By submitting your Personal Data to us, you agree to the transfer, storage and processing of your Personal Data in the United States.

You, as the data subject, have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority, in particular in the Member State of your habitual residence, place of work, or place of the alleged infringement, if you believe that the processing of your personal data does not comply with legal requirements.

In the event we determine the occurrence of a data security incident, we will notify you by email, US mail, telephone, or other means as permitted by law.

If you have questions, comments, or complaints concerning our privacy practices or if you wish to change, access, or remove your Personal Data, please contact us as indicated below.  We will attempt, where practical, to respond to your requests and to provide you with additional privacy related information.

Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. is the owner of this Website and retains all ownership rights to the information collected at this Website. Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. reserves the right to change, modify, add, or remove provisions of this Privacy Statement. Any changes to this Privacy Statement will be posted here, and we encourage you to check back from time to time. In addition, Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. will notify registered users of changes as they occur.

We allow third-party companies to serve ads and/or collect certain anonymous information when you visit our web site. These companies may use non-personally identifiable information (e.g., click stream information, browser type, time and date, subject of advertisements clicked or scrolled over) during your visits to this and other Web sites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services likely to be of greater interest to you. These companies typically use a cookie or third party web beacon to collect this information. To learn more about this behavioral advertising practice or to opt-out of this type of advertising, you can visit networkadvertising.org. Your use of the site constitutes your agreement to accept cookies, beacons and third-party advertising. Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for third-party ads.

ARTICLE 1. Personalization
1.1 We may use the contact information you give us to better tailor your Website experience to your interests, and to send you information about Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. and its services as well as promotional material on behalf of some of our partners. We may use other information that you provide to us to show you content in which you may be interested and to display the content according to your preferences. We will also share this information within Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. in order to enhance your experience on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. Websites.
1.2 In addition, we may share this information with advertisers or other third parties that are not part of the Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. family on an aggregate or other basis that does not disclose your identity or contact information.

ARTICLE 2. Online Surveys/Contests
2.1 From time to time, we may conduct online surveys and contests. These may ask you for contact information (like name or email address) and demographic information (like zip code or age).
2.2 We may use this contact information from our surveys and contests to provide you with information about our company and promotional material on behalf of some of our partners, and to contact you when necessary.

ARTICLE 3. Shopping/Commercial Services
3.1 This Website may offer shopping services, which may be offered by us or by a firm that operates a store under contract with us. If our Website offers shopping or other commercial services, you will use a customer order form to request information, products, and services. The order form will ask you to give us contact information (like name or email address), financial information (like account or credit card numbers), and demographic information (like zip code or age).

3.2 We will use the financial information that you provide to bill you for products and services. By giving our Website your credit card and related personal information, you are authorizing our store to give that information to the merchant and credit card company in order to confirm and fulfill your order.

3.3 We will use contact information from the order form to fulfill your orders. We may also use contact data to get in touch with you when necessary. We will not otherwise use or distribute your financial information without your prior approval.

ARTICLE 4. Public forums
4.1 This Website may make available chat rooms, blogs, forums, message boards, and news groups. Please remember that any information that you disclose in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information. Information disclosed by you or by others enters the public domain and may be freely used by any other persons or entities using the site.

ARTICLE 5. Information Sharing With Third Parties
5.1 From time to time we may enter into a special relationship with another company that is not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. to provide additional features at this Website. These special relationships may include “powered by” partners, business partners, sponsors, and co-branded sites (referred to here as “co-branded pages”). These might include, for example, pages that share our name and that of another entity. You should look for a specific privacy statement on any such co-branded page. Any personal information that you provide when signing up at one of those co-branded pages may be shared with our third party partner. You should also check our partner’s website for information regarding its privacy policies.

5.2 Also, the nature of some features of our Website may require that we share personal information about you with persons or companies outside of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. For example, this may occur at a feature that enables you, via our Website, to ask questions of persons or entities that are not part of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. By responding to those features of the site, whether by email or direct entry of information on our Website, you are consenting to our transferring that information to such persons or entities.

5.3 With respect to specific registration modules, like contests, we may disclose personal information collected, and we may post a conspicuous statement on the registration module to the effect that we will be disclosing the information collected with third parties.

5.4 Finally, we may share any of the information collected from you with these other non- Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc companies in an aggregate basis. The aggregated information is not linked to any information that can identify you.

ARTICLE 6. IP Address and Log Files
6.1 We may use your IP address to administer our Website, to help diagnose problems with our server, to analyze trends, to track users’ webpage movements, to help identify you and your shopping cart, and to gather broad demographic information for aggregate use.

ARTICLE 7. Cookies
7.1 This Website may use a standard technology called a “cookie” to collect information about how you use the Website. Cookies reside on your computer and help our Website to recognize your computer’s browser as a previous visitor. This information allows us to customize delivery of information. For example, our Website may use cookies to save and remember registration information or preferences that you may have set while browsing the Website, to keep track of your shopping cart, to ensure you don’t see the same ad content repeatedly, to deliver content specific to your interests, and to save your password so you do not have to re-enter it each time you visit our site. We use cookies only to gather information as indicated in this policy.

7.2 In addition, on occasion our site may also set a “session cookie” which helps us administer the Website. The session cookie expires when you close your browser and does not retain any information about you after it expires.

7.3 Finally, we may also use an ad network provider to help present advertisements on this and other Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. websites. This ad network provider, like other advertising service vendors, uses cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies on the hard drive of your computer to serve you advertisements tailored to interests you have shown by browsing on this and other sites you have visited, and to determine whether you have seen a particular advertisement before and to avoid sending you duplicate advertisements. In doing so, the provider collects non-personal data such as your browser type, your operating system, web pages visited, time of visits, content viewed, ads viewed, and other clickstream data. The use of cookies, web beacons, or similar technologies by these ad network providers is subject to their own privacy policies, not ours, and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. assumes no responsibility for the collection or use of such information.

ARTICLE 8. Banner Advertising
8.1 We have contracted with an ad-service to place banner advertising on our Website. All of the data provided and generated by the ad-server software remains in our possession. This feature of our Website may, on occasion, set “cookies” on your computer. Any information collected or stored by the ad-service or the cookies is treated in the same manner as other information described in this statement.

ARTICLE 9. Children’s Personal Information
9.1 Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act:

9.1.1 This site does NOT collect, use, or disclose personal information (including online contact information) of children under the age of thirteen (13).

9.1.2 In the event that a child under the age of 13 attempts to register on our site, we will NOT accept the registration and will delete information received from the child.

9.1.3 In the event that a child posts personal information in a public forum such as a chat room, we will attempt to delete that information once we become aware of it.

ARTICLE 10. Security of Your Personal Information
10.1 Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. employs reasonable security measures consistent with standard industry practice, for information collected through this Website. We believe that we have adequate security measures in place in our physical facilities to protect against the loss, misuse, or alteration of the information we collect on our Website. We also use internal protections to limit access to users’ personal information to only those employees who need the information to perform a specific job.

ARTICLE 11. Sale or Merger
11.1 If this Website is sold to, or merges with, another company not owned by Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., you should expect that some or all of the information collected from this Website may be transferred to the buyer/surviving company. If so, CMP will seek to obligate the acquiring company to use any personal information transferred by this Website in a manner consistent with this statement, but cannot guarantee that it will be able to impose that requirement or that the acquiring company will comply.

ARTICLE 12. Legal Process
12.1 You should be aware that Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. may be required to disclose your personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, such as in court or regulatory proceedings.

ARTICLE 13.  Contacting the Website

13.1        If you have any questions about this Privacy Statement, the practices of this Website, or your dealings with this Website, please contact us at: unsolved@unsolved.com.

ARTICLE 14.  general information

14.1        Choice of Law:  This Agreement and the Additional Terms shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the State of California , as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such state, without regard to conflict of law principles.

14.2        Choice of Forum:  You agree that any cause of action you or Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. brings to enforce this Agreement and/or the Additional Terms, or in connection with any matters related to this Website and/or the Privacy Statement, shall be submitted to arbitration in the County of Los Angeles, State of California, United States of America in accordance with the commercial rules and regulations of the American Arbitration Association then in effect (as amended herein), provided that said arbitration shall be heard before a single arbitrator, who shall be a retired judge, selected pursuant to such rules and regulations, and shall be conducted on an expedited basis and in confidence. The arbitrator’s decision shall be controlled by the terms and conditions of this agreement and any other agreements I may enter into with you, and shall be final and binding, and shall provide for each party to bear its own costs of arbitration and attorneys’ fees.  Each party expressly waives any right to a jury.  Judgment upon the award of the arbitrator may be entered or enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. 

14.4        If any provision of this Agreement, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances, is held invalid or for any reason unenforceable then such provision shall be deemed superseded by a valid, enforceable provision that matches, as closely as possible, the original provision, and the other provisions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect.  The failure of either party to insist upon strict performance of any provision of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of any provision or right.  Unless expressly provided otherwise, this Agreement is the entire agreement between you and Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. with respect to the use of this Website and shall not be modified except in writing, signed by an authorized representative of Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc.

ARTICLE 15.  European Union and Other Foreign Nations

15.1        This Website is governed by and operated in accordance with the laws of United States of America and is intended for enjoyment of residents of the United States.  Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc. makes no representation that this Website is governed by or operated in accordance with the laws of other nations.  By using this Website and submitting any personal information, visitors from outside of the United States acknowledge this Website is subject to U.S. law, consent to the transfer of personal data to the U.S., and waive any claims that may arise under their own national laws.