Two women, both named Mary Morris, are murdered in the same town within 72 hours.

Left: smiling Mary Lou Morris, Right: Smiling Mary McGinnis Morris

Mary Lou Morris & Mary McGinnis Morris

Crime seen tape blocking off officers who peer into a grey car

Both were found dead in their cars


In a remote area outside Houston, Texas, a passerby made a gruesome discovery. Inside a smoldering car, he found a body burned beyond recognition. The C.S.I. unit was called and began searching for clues.

A landline phone being used

Who called the newspaper?

The car belonged to 48-year-old Mary Morris, who lived only three miles away. Her husband, Jay Morris, had not been able to reach her since she left for work early that morning:

“I called a supervisor and found out she wasn’t at work. That’s when I knew immediately that there was something wrong, ’cause she didn’t miss work.”

Within a few hours, detectives delivered the news that the victim in the car was Mary Morris. The condition of the body made it impossible to determine how she was killed. Nor could police determine the motive. According to Marilyn Blalock, Mary had many friends, a successful career, and no known enemies:

“There was no reason for it whatsoever. She was just a really good person, you know? Never did anything bad to anybody. They asked about everything from gambling to drugs to affairs to anything, and all the answers were no.”

Phone call log showing suspicious call made to Mary's cell phone

A suspicious call was made to Mary’s cell phone

Just three days after Mary Morris’ death, the case took a very strange turn. Not far from where Mary’s body had been found, another woman was viciously murdered. She, too, was killed in her car. And, incredibly, her name was also Mary Morris.

Two women named Mary Morris, both found murdered in their cars in the Houston area just three days apart, and both with similar physical descriptions. Coincidence? To find a possible link, detectives tried to piece together the events leading up to the death of the second victim.

Mary McGinnis Morris was 39 years old, and, like Mary Lou Morris, she was a successful professional with a lot of friends. She worked as a nurse practitioner in charge of several clinics for a major industrial corporation. Her sister, Stephanie Loar, described Mary as happy and dedicated:

“Mary was like an angel. She was very joyful, always happy, making people laugh. Not enough words, really, to describe her. I mean, she was just really loved by everybody.
At work, anything a doctor would do, Mary did. She would work 14 hours a day and not think twice, go back in the evening, weekends, whenever she was needed.”

Crime seen tape blocking off officers who peer into a grey car

Were the murders a bizarre coincidence?

According to friend Laurie Gemmell, Mary got along well with everyone on her staff, except for one new employee, a male nurse:

“She told me that she was afraid of this person that she worked with. And I said, ‘Do you really think he could hurt you?’ And she said, ‘Yes, I do, and I think he could do worse.’”

Soon after that conversation, Mary stopped by her office one evening to pick up some papers and became frightened by what she found there. According to Laurie Gemmell:

“She found things out of place on her desk, pictures turned to face the wrong direction. On his desk was written the words “death to her” which she assumed was written about her.”

Mary’s husband, Mike Morris, recalled talking to Mary that day:

“She made a phone call to me on her way home and I could tell that she was shaken. She got home and she asked me if I would provide her with a gun to carry with her for her own protection. She asked me to go over the handling and use of the gun. When we were finished, she asked me to place the gun in her car under the driver’s seat.”

A few weekends later, Mary met her friend, Laurie, at the clinic to give her a flu shot:

“Mary seemed fine that Sunday and she was only going to stay a couple of hours and then she was going to go home.”

Laurie said that she later received a call from Mary, who sounded panicked:

“When she was in the drug store, she saw somebody that gave her the creeps. She said, ‘I’m just gonna run across the bridge and turn off my computer and sign out of the building and go home.’”

According to Det. Wayne Kuhlman of the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, 12 minutes after saying good-bye to Laurie, Mary McGinnis Morris made a frantic call to 911:

“We’re not releasing the content of the tape. It covers the attack that happened to Mary. And anybody that’s ever heard that tape has just had their blood chilled listening to it. It’s a very chilling, disturbing call.”

The medical examiner’s report revealed that Mary was viciously beaten, then shot in the head.

Investigators focused first on Mary’s co-worker at the clinic. He had quit his job after allegedly trying to discredit Mary. Detectives claim to have evidence linking him to the crime, so he remains a suspect.

However, when investigators tried to question Mary’s husband, Mike Morris, his behavior aroused suspicion. According to Det. Wayn Kuhlman, Mike refused to meet with them without an attorney:

“Witnesses don’t need attorneys. Suspects generally have attorneys.”

Mike Morris says he was only following the advice of some trusted friends:

“Several of these people suggested that I take an attorney with me, not because I had anything to hide, but just to have somebody with me that was familiar with the procedures.”

When detectives asked Mike to take a polygraph test, he refused:

“I was on anti-anxiety medications, I was on anti-depressants. I wasn’t really sure that the polygraph examination that they were talking about could adequately compensate for all of those conditions.”

Authorities had also learned that Mike and Mary Morris were having serious problems with their marriage. When Mike heard rumors of an alleged affair between Mary and a family friend, he confronted them head on:

“They both looked me in the eye and they both told me that there had been nothing inappropriate in their relationship. And I didn’t see any betrayal in their eyes.”

Then, there was the question of motive. Det. Kuhlman said that Mary had a life insurance policy worth $700,000:

“There was a large amount of life insurance on Mary Morris and Mike Morris was the beneficiary. There were a lot of reasons, right there, in the way of a motive for Mike.”

But to police, the most curious evidence against Mike Morris was a call he made to Mary’s cell phone two hours after Mary had made her desperate call to 911. According to Det. Kuhlman, the call lasted four minutes:

“This was, by all indications of the cellular telephone company, a completed call. What you have to wonder is, what did that phone call either set in motion or end?”

Mike Morris couldn’t explain the call:

“Normally, the cellular service would have kicked in and said that the party you were calling was unavailable. I didn’t get that. I don’t know why I didn’t get that. But as long as the phone was ringing and I thought that there was a possibility that she would answer it, I let it ring.”

But that raised yet another question. Det. Kuhlman wondered why the call showed up on Mary’s cell phone bill if no one answered:

“I don’t accept that Mike made this phone call and that the phone rang for four minutes. It’s not possible. The question is: Who answered the phone on the other end? That’s what the big question is. And what did they talk about for the four minutes?”

Mike Morris firmly denies any involvement in Mary’s death:

“I had absolutely nothing to do with the arrangement of Mary’s murder. It’s a hurtful insinuation. It’s absolutely untrue.”

The questions remains: Why were Mary McGinnis Morris and Mary Lou Morris murdered and who killed them? Some think that a contract killer was hired to murder the second Mary Morris and killed the first Mary Morris by mistake. That theory is supported by a call allegedly made to a Houston newspaper. According to Laurie Gemmell:

“A call came in to the Houston Chronicle, and I verified this with somebody at the Chronicle, between the time the first Mary Morris was killed and the time my friend was killed, saying something to the effect that they got the wrong Mary Morris the first time.”

The “hit gone wrong” theory is also supported by the fact that the wedding ring of the first Mary Morris was missing from the crime scene. Marilyn Blalock said she had heard that this is how a hit man proves he’s completed his job:

“If someone had put a hit out on a person, that’s what they’d take back to show that they actually killed that person.”

Detectives also looked at the possibility that the two murders were connected. Det. Robert Torry:

“Well, with the remoteness of the location where the victim was found, as well as the effort that was taken to destroy the evidence and the vehicle, that would be consistent with a contract killing. But with the background of the victim, that doesn’t seem likely.”

Det. Wayne Kuhlman:

“That the first Mary Morris was a mistake, a missed hit, a botched hit, something like that, there’s not anything that we found that would support that.”

Detectives continued to search for any clues that might connect the two Mary Morrises, but came up empty. They later concluded that the murders were a bizarre coincidence. However, many others, including Jay Morris, think that’s virtually impossible:

“The astronomical odds that two Mary Morrises were killed three days apart, very similar in looks, to me, that’s what it is. Astronomical odds that they’re not connected.”

Laurie Gemmell agreed:

“I can’t help but think they have to be related. I can’t imagine that two women with the same name would be murdered within three days of each other, both found in their cars, and not have that be related.”

According to police, both the co-worker of Mary McGinnis Morris and her husband, Mike, have not been ruled out as suspects.

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




  1. Brian

    he never met “the hitter” personally
    so as to protect them both (conspiratorily speakin’)
    and only gave her name/vague description
    unawares there was ANOTHER mary morris
    same township is
    a mistaken hit/identity is all.
    mistake was “corrected”
    and hitter summarily paid.
    No wedding ring is needed to
    “prove she got whacked” and all
    other b.s. detectives & this article says lol
    when she never comes home is proof
    as well the nEwz/media wtf
    hitter also would NOT be paid
    from proceeds insurance policy
    nor wait that long to be paid.
    (to many hollywood movie watchers, indeed)


  2. Anonymous

    I don’t believe the first case was even a homicide. For three reasons. One the fire department messed up investigating. At first they dismissed that it was even a fire and didn’t respond in time to extinguish and possibly save some or enough evidence. So I kind of want to overlook those experts and just go with the medical examiner saying in his report he didn’t know exactly if it was a homicide or not. Also the local newspaper received a phone call from a hitman that believed other people killed the wrong Mary Morris. I think that was just more misinformation spreading. And the evidence was also confused between the two bodies at the mortuary. The ring missing went to the 2nd Mary Morris family instead of the first Mary Morris family. The second case was a homicide. She was killed by someone that liked to talk a lot. (I’m surprised he never confessed he talked so much.) He called the newspaper before it happened, and possibly her husband after it happened.


  3. Richard Montano

    If the husband of Mary Morris collected the insurance money find the trail of money spending he had to pay the hitman a pretty penny for killing his wife. If you find any money that was not accounted for then know that is how much he paid the hitman. If a man got a good sum of money for no services rendered then chase that man for it would be the hitman.


  4. John Murray

    Yes this reminds me just a little of the original Terminator movie where he tore the page from the phone book and was killing all the Sarah Connors until he got the right one.


  5. John Murr

    Yes this did remind me a little of the original Terminator movie where he tore the page from the phone book and was killing all the Sarah Connors until he got the right one


  6. Haley

    If her husband was the one to put the gun under her seat isn’t it logical to think their the only ones who knew it was there so would he at first be ruled out then brought back in. He was obviously in my mind the first suspect


    • Anonymous

      He clearly has information that he is withholding because of the advice of his attorney. If she did pull a gun on someone, that would be grounds for a fight. But we don’t know what happened. Clearly the person who did it exchange some words with the husband afterwards. I don’t know if it was complimentary or confrontational. With no one talking it is just an unfinished drawing.


  7. Anony Mous

    And also about the gun… Why would she ask her husband to put it under her seat for her? He’s just giving excuses for why his prints would be found on the gun.


  8. Anony Mous

    The husband obviously did it. If that call never completed, he wouldn’t have been charged. That’s not how phones work. Not to mention all the other indications that he’s guilty… Immediately gets an attorney, refuses the polygraph because “I’m on anti-depressants”, refuses to have his daughter questioned. Any other innocent man whose wife was brutally murdered would do a polygraph in a second.

    I can’t believe he’s still walking around today. The police should have gotten a search warrant for the house.


    • Anonymous

      Two men have knowledge and neither one of them is talking. Because it is a cold case, the better detectives probably are not even looking at it.


    • Anonymous

      The phone call would have been answered by emergency responders. They were in full possession of the evidence two hours after everything happened. What evidence bothers me is the person who called and talked to a reporter. He made it sound like a bad contract killing.


  9. Britt

    Theory: the 1st Mary Morris was always the intended target and they killed the 2nd Mary Morris to impede and throw off the investigation.
    Of course everyone believes the botched hitman scenario as it is the first scenario you think of id (2) women names mary morris are murdered days apart.
    .. But why would a hired hitman not have the exact details of the target and then the day after call the newspaper to admit he got the wrong mary morris? It would put the pin of 2 murders on them if ever found.
    Of course, IF the 1st Mary Morris was the target all along, if the murderer then called the newspaper to say she was not the intended target and subsequently murdered another Mary Morris, it would give the look like a botched hitman- that the 2nd Mary Morris was the target and the 1st Mary Morris was just an unfortunate accident… It would cause the police to focus on the 2nd Mary Morris’ suspects and they would not focus as much on the possible suspects surrounding the 1st mary morris because they would believe she was just an accident (which I believe is what happened in this investigation.)


  10. Katharyn Morris

    My name is Katy and I am the daughter of Mary McGinnis Morris. I would love for Unsolved Mysteries to do a follow up episode and set some things straight.


    • Alex Ralph


      My name is Alex Ralph and I am the researcher and writer for the podcast Cirizen Detective. We are covering your mother’s case on our next episode. If you would like an opportunity to correct any misinformation, we would love to have you on the show as a guest. Feel free to reach out here if you are interested and we can connect.


  11. Cleitus the Black

    Am I correct that Mary McGinnis’s daughter was a teenager at the time of her murder? Mike could prevent her from speaking to authorities at the time but presumably she would be free to do so today. But besides that she would at least be well aware of the BIZZARE circumstances surrounding her mothers murder, as well as the odd behavior her father has shown in the aftermath. Unless the father was able to give her a much more clear answer than he has provided publicly than I would have to imagine she would not feel comfortable about him. Has ANYONE heard anything about the daughter or the families reaction to Mike Morris and his potential guilt?


  12. CatLady

    @Tessa – Stop blaming God for the shortcomings of man. There are unsolved mysteries because we’re still here on Earth. One day, we will all face God – either at the Great White Throne or the Judgment Seat of Christ.


  13. Jason

    Idk, I wouldn’t talk to the police or take a lie detector test. I’ve seen enough Forensic Files and Unsolved Mys to know the police’s job is to gather gather evidence to convict a suspect. Period. If you mispeak, cant recall a detail correctly, you’re done. Can and WILL be used against you.

    Strange case for sure


  14. Julia

    I made a video on this case, it was so interesting!


    • Anonymous

      Very interesting video. I was able to get a different look at a few things. The first Mary forgot her cellphone and was in a hurry to get to work. She obviously got gas or the fire wouldn’t have been as fueled. And normally evidence is well collected. But I can understand the confusion. The first Mary’s family was told after the funeral that they had to wait for an autopsy before receiving the wedding ring. (She was already buried.) I think the missing jewelry is an unfortunate case of mishandled evidence.


  15. Bill Blaski

    Just watched this one on Pluto tv app. 24/7 unsolved mysteries channel! I’m in heaven! I do feel like the wrong Mary was killed. I believe hit gone wrong. A shame DNA hasn’t caught the killer yet


  16. Rich Harvey

    Police haven’t released the 911 call … but wouldn’t a portion of it help solve the case if heard by the public? Mary Morris said she was running back to work to turn of her computer. Next time someone feels their life is threatened, please go to a crowded area or a police station. Can’t imagine why “turning off her computer” was so important. Perhaps when she called 911 she was driving and crossed some type of boundary and there’s a jurisdictional conflict?


  17. Jesse

    In the episode, the husband Mike Morris says, “I had nothing to do with the strange of her murder”

    Ummmmm. Interesting turn of phrase no? How do you know it was an arrangement Mike?


  18. thinkingoutloud

    i think the husband had something to do with it. the phone call made me very suspicious. yes even today ill call someone and itll kepp ringing and ringing with no answer and without going to voicemail, BUT i’ve never waited on a call for 4 mins straight without getting any response. i definately think he made a phone call to someone on the other line and he’s covering it up. 4 minutes is a long time to wait and let the phone ring. why not hang up after a few seconds and make multiple calls until it goes through or to voicemail?? he definately made a phone call and he’s lying about it. would not have waiting 4 minutes on a call that never went through. i agree with everyone else commenting on his ‘arrangement of her murder’ comment. seems like he would know her murder was planned or arranged. he and the coworker have soemthing to do with it. maybe mary was having an affair and it was cofnirmed and he was very upset about it and had her murdered.


    • Anonymous

      A defense attorney will just bring up poor evidence collecting. The phone was in police custody when that call was made. Kim is a good district attorney. She is in an election. This case would be a fumble. She wouldn’t look good prosecuting. If they couldn’t handle evidence for two people named Mary Morris, what would they do with three people named Mike Garcia? Harris County is a big county. The wedding ring returned to the wrong family and the police ruling out robbery is just very sad. I don’t think the wedding ring should even be allowed as evidence. If the police kept the line open like a fishing hook, they are entitled to do that. But a husband has a right to call that phone.


  19. Anonymous

    This is Judy, and I was hired by Mary McGinnis Morris to replace Duane ans the Nursing Manager,was there when Mary was murdered. I loved Mary from the bottom of my heart! Duane your behavior was very suspicious during the weeks after Mary’s murder snd you have no business practicing nursing!!! You need psychiatric help and are not competent to care for patients!

    Mary called me the morning before she died and asked me to go with her to lunch and meet her at the office. I told her no that I was going to work in my flight work in my yard at my property. I was at the memorial service and basically took over Mary’s position. A number of emails showed up in my office email between Mary and her husband and they were very telling! I believe Mike Morris was involved because Mary found child porn on his computer and she was going to leave him!!

    My prayers to Mary’s daughter and family!! DNA has come a long way and I firmly believe the true criminal will be brought to justice!!! Mary’s compassion had a huge impact upon my life and I am presently pursuing a doctorate in nursing (DNP). She is one of the best nurse practitioners In have ever known and I miss her.

    Love hugs and prayers the Mary’s family!!


    • Laurie Gemmell

      Just seeing this now, Judy. Nice to “meet” you. Wouldn’t mind chatting with you some time if you’re ever interested. Thanks.


  20. Anonymous

    The 4 minute cell call, the detective said “that’s impossible”… he is ignorant. I have had that exact same thing happen with both cell and landline phones. I have called family, they have answering machines and/or voicemail, but for whatever reason, the line rings and rings. I of course don’t know if settings have been changed, so I let it ring. When there is no answer after an extended time, I disconnect, and press redial (just to make sure there wasn’t a phone system malfunction). Sometimes I’ve gotten the machine/voicemail, and I’ve even gotten an answer, being told that the phone hadn’t rung once before.
    Phone systems are FAR from infallible.


    • Anonymous

      And those were the older cellphones. They enjoyed double charging both the caller and the receiver. Before those phones they only charged the receiver. Today everything is unlimited. Mike is hiding a lot though. He told Unsolved Mysteries that his drugs were is main concern. And drugs were involved with this case. There is however no evidence against him. A third party his wife didn’t like could throw him under the bus. I don’t blame him for lawyering up.


  21. Anonymous

    Duane, really? Are you admitting guilt? As far as I know only 3 people would know what is one the recording…Mary, the police and of course the murderer.
    You failed to mention how many polygraph test you have failed. And the fact you have called every government agency and tv show to tell them you were going to be arrested.


  22. Leigh

    This story gave me cold chills.


    • Anonymous

      Clarence Robert’s is another fascinating case featured on Unsolved Mysteries. Fires do crazy things like that.


  23. Niki

    Joan Jeffries was also found in her car dead in 1994, November 29. I know this because I was looking at similaritys between people murdered near where I live so I know I’m safe, my family is safe as well as my friends. I guess we’re not even though Houston is not the city where I live.
    Both Mary’s were killed in less than 72 hours apart, and we don’t know how they were murdered while Joan was shot twice in the head. The person that was to blame for Joan’s murder was caught but not proven guilty. His name was Sam Patel. Who knows where he is now.
    Please comment for more information about Joan Jeffries.


  24. Meddling Chihuahua

    You gotta love POI’s who have time and energy (but apparently not spelling or grammar) to “defend” themselves on message boards for syndicated television shows but none to benefit the families of victims or help the case itself. The creeper who harassed Mary and her husband both need to get over themselves. If you have something to help solve either case, then talk to law enforcement. Otherwise, go sit and spin. You aren’t doing anything but making yourselves look worse and distracting from what the true focus should be: the victims. If “Duane’s” replacement nurse, Judy, really did find incriminating emails regarding Mary’s husband, especially something as vulgar and evil as child pornography, I seriously hope this was reported to law enforcement. That is not something that needs to remain “gossip”.

    This case seems like it should be solvable. It seems like a PERFECT choice for the Vidocq Society. If someone related to the case or two either victim hasn’t heard of them before, I urge you to Google them and consider submitting the case to them. They are a group of retired professionals in all areas of criminal justice and law enforcement who dedicate their time and talents to solving cold cases.


  25. Anonymous

    Mike Morris was my wife’s uncle. I remember getting the call that Mary was killed. Part of this post reminded me of the tone he showed me gun safety.


  26. Anonymous

    There are a lot of quacks on this site huh?





  28. Kristan Reilly Small

    Hi ive helped solve a few murders and got suspects to tell the truth. I have came close to death quite a few times. But i can solve this very easily if you desire my help i shall fit you in… You can email me at And yes that is my name but it is about to be changed to the name i love with an exs last name that commited suicide… Hope to hear from you. Thanks Kristan


  29. A

    Did the attacker not speak on the 911 recording? I know it must be hard to identify someone by there voice on a recorder but surely that’s a good starting place!
    Also if Mary said anything during the attack? I’m sure the police do there best but mistakes are made.
    My deepest sympathies go out to the family, I’m sorry for your lose and suffering.


  30. Anonymous

    There are more than one recording. I am not speaking about any 911 recording. Of course I have not heard it. According to Timmy, Katy and Timmy listened to it (provided by detectives) in West Virginia in 2007. That is all I know. I made my own recordings in about 2001 or 2002 and detectives listened. I didn’t fail any polygraphs for your information. I cooperated fully. Mike Morris did not. Who was he protecting? I did not contact any government agency or TV show to inform anyone that I was going to be arrested. You have libeled me and you are subject to a law suit if my attorney and I decide that route. Enough is enough “little sister”. Duane


  31. Duane

    I made the recording myself and forwarded to Detective Hunter


    • Anonymous

      That was unnecessary. Why do killers like the Zodiac killer need to write police for attention? That psychological profile is very disturbing.


  32. Duane Young

    There was no connection between myself and Mike Morris as far as some joint conspiracy. Recordings proved that. The coworker


    • Anonymous

      Intoxication manslaughter is only a few years of jail in Texas. But if someone else was involved, the hitman would get much less jail than their boss that hired them.


  33. Anonymous

    Was the cell phone belonging to Mary Mcginnis Morris ever fingerprinted? Was there DNA evidence collected from under her fingernails? I am sure she put up quite a fight.


  34. SM

    I believe the husband of Mary Mcginnis Morris and the co worker are most likely involved. Did the investigators check both bank accounts? Search both homes? Bloody clothes? It is hard to believe these cases have not been solved after so many years. My deepest sympathy to both families.


  35. Anonymous

    I agree. I think the husband and co worker are involved. Did the investigators check bank accounts? Search both homes? Bloody clothes? I can’t believe these cases remain unsolved. My deepest sympathy to the families.


  36. anonymous

    I agree. The co worker and husband most likely suspects. Check bank accounts of each, looking for withdrawals and deposits. Were both homes searched? Tire tracks? Bloody clothes? I can’t believe these cases have not been solved! My deepest sympathies to both families.


  37. unsolved

    We are sorry for the inconvenience. Mary Morris was found dead on 10/12/2000, and Mary McGinnis Morris was found dead on 10/16/2000.


  38. Anonymous

    Why are so many of these stories completely without any dates?


  39. MT

    The co-worker and the husband. How about unusual large money transaction on them to see if there was ever any connection between the two


    • Anonymous

      We don’t have access to any of that information. The detective only gave the insurance information. The person that displaced family photos of her apparently didn’t like them still together. So the husband didn’t want a divorce. An undisclosed person was suspected of having an affair. And also undisclosed is drugs being involved. She was a nurse being followed from a pharmacy. And she was also very attractive. (That is why I don’t think the first case is related. The first case didn’t look romantically motivated.)


  40. Anonymous

    There is nothing hidden that will not come to the light! sooner or later God will make justice!


  41. Anonymous

    Sounds like a terminate situation.


  42. johnson

    why would the husband Mike Morris say that he has nothing to do with the “arrangement” of the murder. if nothing has been confirmed that a “hit” was made then why would he use that word…


    • Denise

      Yes I agree. I wondered why he said arrangement too if there was no proof of how she died. And two Mary’s killed three days apart with the same names and insurance on one is highly suspicious to me. Sounds like an amateur hit to me.


    • Anonymous

      I was wondering the same smh….he told on himself! and the phone call… I don’t understand how he was ruled out…maybe not enough evidence but he knows more then he’s saying…its usually someone close to the victim.


    • Anonymous

      I’m normally good at reading through people. I couldn’t get nothing out of him. My first impression of him was she drugged him just to control him.


  43. sarah connor

    Sounds like the work of a t-800 terminator


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