More than 20 years ago, Vanessa Morris was a "vibrant girl," her 89-year-old grandmother, Emily Fletcher, PIX 11 News. Her mother, Linda Morris, said Vanessa "used to be very sociable and outgoing," reports PIX 11 News. Vanessa worked for an optician's office, fitness center, and the Visiting Nurse Service over the years.
Everything changed when around the age of 25, Vanessa Morris witnessed a violent crime. She has never recovered. The Bronx, New York resident developed depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
“Years ago, her cousin – who was like her best friend – was killed in my daughter’s presence,” her mother, Linda Morris, a retired nurse, told PIX 11 News.
Vanessa's cousin was killed by her husband, who was on the run from authorities for two and a half years before he was eventually arrested.
“I sent her away to Seattle while he was on the run,” Linda Morris told PIX 11 News. “She was living with my brother. She testified at trial. The first one ended with a hung jury, so she had to testify at a second trial.”
Although her cousin's husband was sentenced to 32 to 36 years in prison, Vanessa remained fearful.
“She has this paranoia that people are following her,” Linda Morris said. “Whenever she gets anxious, she believes someone is following her.”
Vanessa became an artist who used her talent to channel her pain.
“Last summer, she sat in the park across the street and painted,” her mother Linda told PIX 11 News.
Her bedroom is filled with impressive paintings. Vanessa created a painting inspired by the death of Michelle Alyssa Go, a woman who was killed when she was pushed in front of an oncoming train at the Times Square Station in January 2022.
“We begged her to get counseling, but she didn’t want to,” Vanessa’s 89-year-old grandmother, Emily Fletcher, told PIX 11 News.
On March 20, 2022, 52-year-old Vanessa Morris left the apartment she shared with her mother on Van Cortlandt Park South and never returned.
“She said, ‘Mommy, I love you.’ I said, ‘I love you, too,’ and she went to bed,” Linda Morris told PIX 11 News. “When I got up the next day, she was gone.”
Vanessa left her keys and cell phone behind. After her disappearance, authorities discovered someone used Vanessa's debit card at a 7/11 convenience store in Dallas, Texas. When investigators and family reviewed surveillance footage from the store, the video revealed a woman wearing a hoodie over her head.
“She had a hoodie on and a hat on her head,” Linda Morris told PIX 11 News. “Just looking at her mannerisms, we’re saying maybe it could be her.”
The 7/11 is close to an Amtrak station in Dallas, Texas.
“According to the detective, the timing would align with her taking an Amtrak train to Dallas,” Linda Morris told PIX 11 News.
Vanessa Morris is 5'4" and weighs 160 pounds.
If you have any information, please contact Detective Robert Hoey at 718-543-6134 or 718-378-8083.