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Authorities believe a businessman’s death was suicide, while others believe he tried to buy his way out of contract killing and failed.
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:
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:
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:
Ruth knew little of her husband’s work:
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:
The passage reads, in part:
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:
Don Devereux has his doubts as well:
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:
After her husband’s death, Ruth Morgan was visited by two men claiming to be from the FBI:
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:
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: