After nearly four years of searching, the partial remains of missing UTD alumna Christina Morris were discovered last week.
According to an article by WFAA, on March 7 at 9:45 a.m., while clearing land to lay foundation for houses, a team of excavators came across a partial skull, a dress and a pair of underwear in a field by Taylor Boulevard in Anna, Texas. The evidence was sent to the Plano medical examiner’s office and later confirmed to be those of Morris.
Following the identy speculation, the Plano police department held a press conference on Thursday, March 8. Morris’ family, including her sister Sarah Estes, spoke and thanked everyone who aided in searching for Morris over the years.
“We promised to Christina that we would find her and we would bring her home. We refused to let her down in her most desperate time of need. She would expect nothing less, and we were determined to keep that promise,” Estes said at the news conference. “(1,285) days after her disappearance, Christina was found. Our hearts are irreversibly broken. We never wanted closure, even if there was such a thing, we only wanted Christina.”
Morris was last seen Aug. 30, 2014 at the Shops of Legacy in Plano, where she met up with a few friends, including acquaintance Enrique Arochi. Her family filed a missing person’s report on Sept. 4 after not seeing her for days. For the past three and a half years, Morris’ family and friends have been searching for her without much progress – until now.
Enrique Arochi, the last person to see Morris, according to video camera footage, was the primary suspect for her disappearance and was convicted in 2014 for aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison October 2016. With the new evidence that Morris’ disappearance was a confirmed homicide, whether Arochi will be tried for murder and to what degree is unclear.
Tearing up at the conference, Morris’ mother, Jonni Hare, said despite the difficulties they faced over the years, they kept their promise to bring Morris home.
“This, I must say, is the most difficult day I have ever faced in my entire life,” Hare said. “I know our daughter is in a better place. I know she’s in heaven, I know she’s proud of us for not giving up. I know she’s smiling.”
Plano PD Chief Gregory Rushin, who followed the case and the Morris family since the day Morris went missing, said the past three and a half years have been difficult for everyone – her family, friends, neighbors and all police involved.
“Today is bittersweet,” Rushin said. “As we return Christina to her family, continuing efforts to bring answers, and perhaps some measure of peace to those who’ve been personally affected by our recent news.”
In honor of Morris, friends and neighbors held a candlelight vigil at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 8 in the surrounding neighborhood in Anna where the remains were found. Participants included friends from school, neighbors of Morris and members of the search team. In a statement, the family said they were not in attendance for purposes of private grieving.
During the vigil, community members took turns reflecting on Morris’ life and the influence she had on them. The memorial concluded with a song and a close family friend reflecting that they “did it, we found her, we brought her home.”