Sheriff’s cold case unit asks public’s help to solve 1974 murder

Martha Morrison (submitted photo)

Martha Morrison (submitted photo)

The Clark County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit is seeking the public’s help in locating a man who was the boyfriend of a 17-year-old Portland girl whose body was found in rural Clark County in late 1974. The two met in Phoenix.

Detectives looking into the 41-year-old murder think the man could have information that could help them piece together the last days and hours of Martha Marie Morrison’s life. The man is not a suspect, stated Special Deputy Dennis Hunter in a press release.

Morrison family members told authorities the young man visited them in Eugene, Ore., hoping to find Martha just after she disappeared.

Detectives are asking for the public’s help because Martha’s family members cannot remember the young man’s name; they met him only briefly in summer 1974 and several weeks later when he was looking for her, the release stated. They do remember he was slender, between 5-feet 7-inches and 5-feet 10-inches tall and might have been African American. He said he was going to work as a welder in a Portland shipyard or dock.

Martha met the young man at a job-training program in or near Phoenix, when she was living with relatives there. The two drove through Eugene on their way to Portland that summer, but family members did not know where they lived in Portland.

The couple had an argument, and after he went to work, Martha was seen leaving their apartment with some belongings. Her body was found about two months later in a shallow grave in the Dole Valley area of east Clark County.

Martha was about 5-feet 4-inches tall and weighed about 140 pounds. She had thick, long brown hair and bad psoriasis everywhere except her face. She frequented coffee houses, where she would sing or play guitar. She was proficient in American Sign Language.

If you have any information about the former boyfriend or couple, please contact Clark County Sheriff’s Detective Craig Marler at 360-397-2108 or or the Cold Case Tip Line at 360-397-2036.

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