Morgan Bauer was born on April 13, 1996. A graduate of Central High School in Aberdeen, South Dakota, she had a dream of leaving her rural roots to make a life for herself in the big city.
LEAD UP TO DISAPPEARANCE:
On February 12, 2016, Morgan arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, after catching a flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Upon arriving in the city, she stayed with a man she’d met on Craigslist. The condition was she’d perform household chores to earn her keep, as she hadn’t yet found a job. Her mother, Sherri Keenan, was not aware of this, as Morgan had said she was moving in with two roommates.
Unfortunately, Morgan quickly saw her fortunes turn. For reasons unknown, the man asked her to leave, placing her belongings by the door and writing a note telling her not to return. Without a place to stay, Morgan found herself moving between various motels.
Morgan arrive in Atlanta with only $20, which she’d borrowed from a friend. She was waiting for a tax return to be loaded onto her card, but the money had not yet come in. In need of work, she found a job as an exotic dancer at the now-defunct Top of Gainesville strip club in Gainesville, Georgia.
Morgan soon returned to Atlanta, where she was spotted at the Tease strip club on Cheshire Bridge Road on February 25, 2016. According to the club’s manager, she’d applied for a position, but was missing the necessary paperwork.
According to Sherri, all contact between Morgan and her loved ones stopped on February 25, 2016. This was considered out of character, as she was known for being incredibly active on her social media accounts. Her last posts to Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram are from that night, with her Facebook post incorrectly stating she was now employed at Tease.
On February 26, Morgan left the Top of Gainesville with another dancer and her boyfriend. Their activities after are unclear. However, it’s been confirmed Morgan was seen in the early hours of February 27 at a CITGO gas station located in the 3200 block of Highway 278 in Covington, Georgia.
A few weeks passed before her mother was notified of Morgan’s disappearance. After not hearing from her, a friend approached Sherri to say she hadn’t been in touch. Sherri hadn’t spoken to Morgan since she’d left Aberdeen, having gotten into a disagreement, so she hadn’t noticed anything unusual.
Concerned, Sherri travelled to Atlanta. Hoping to find some trace of her daughter, she contacted everyone Morgan had spoken to whilst in Georgia. On March 12, 2016, she reported her missing to the Atlanta Police Department.
Police traced Morgan’s cellphone and discovered it last pinged just after midnight on February 27, 2016. The ping was in Porterdale, Georgia, where her co-worker and her boyfriend resided. A limited search of the area was conducted, but nothing of value was uncovered. Her cellphone was never located, and there has been no activity on it since.
When questioned, the couple reportedly denied having been with Morgan that night. However, they eventually admitted to dropping Morgan off at the CITGO gas station, where they watched her get into a green Mitsubishi Eclipse. This story is unverified, as investigators were unable to find any surveillance footage to support it.
It was later learnt Morgan’s co-worker had also audition at Tease on the day of her disappearance. Morgan had offered to buy her license, as Atlanta requires exotic dancers to possess one.
Investigators also learnt the couple had shared troubling posts to Facebook around that time. Despite this, little investigation was done into their possible involvement, and they have since separated and are now living in different states. According to reports, they have not been formally cleared as suspects in the case.
The man Morgan met on Craigslist is not believed to be involved in her disappearance.
Sherri started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the investigation, but it has since closed.
One month into the investigation, Morgan’s sister, Alyssa, announced she was alive and well. She also said their mother was aware of this and had spoken to her since she moved to Atlanta. Alyssa claimed Morgan had left South Dakota to free herself of their “manipulative, bipolar” mother, and alleged Sherry had only publicized the case for monetary gain.
As well, the friend who’d informed Sherri that Morgan was missing posted to a Facebook group that she believed she’d been speaking to her online. This resulted in people questioning the authenticity of Morgan’s disappearance, thereby hindering the overall push to locate her.
Sherri travelled to Atlanta to conduct her own search. She’d initially hired a private investigator to aid in the search, but they only hindered it and used up valuable resources. In her search, she’s handed out thousands of flyers, spoken with news outlets, reached out to missing persons organizations and organized a billboard with information about the case.
There is currently a $10,000 reward being offered for information regarding Morgan’s whereabouts.
Police state there’s no evidence of foul play in Morgan’s disappearance. However, her family fears she could be in danger, given the circumstances. While there’s no recent updates, it’s believed she may still be in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
There’s currently a Change.org petition circulating, demanding a more thorough investigation into Morgan’s case. It’s been transferred from detective to detective, and her family says it’s been difficult ensuring the police department does its due diligence.
To celebrate Morgan’s 23rd birthday, her family and friends released balloons.
CASE CONTACT INFORMATION:
Morgan Aryn Bauer was last seen in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia on February 27, 2016. She was 19 years old, and what she was last wearing is currently unknown. At the time of her disappearance, she was 5’6″ and weighed between 125 and 130 pounds. She has long brown hair and blue eyes.
She has numerous tattoos, including a sun and moon inside a Celtic four-star design on the right side of her chest, near her shoulder; a black tree of life with tiny flowers on the back of her neck; a blue and orange jellyfish on the inside of her right forearm; an anchor with the phrase “Whatever you love can be taken away, so live like it’s your dying day” on the inner part of her left wrist; and the phrase “It’s in herself she will find the strength she needs” on her left hip. Her lip is pierced twice on the right side, her ears are gauged and her navel is pierced.
Currently, the case is classified as endangered missing. If alive, she would be 25 years old.
Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Atlanta Police Department at 404-658-6666 and 404-546-5602, or the agency’s Missing Person Unit at 404-546-4235. Tips can also be called into Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477 or the family’s own anonymous tip line at 1-855-667-4262.
Image Credit: NBC News