“Her name is Morgan and she is from New Hampshire”
At 1:40 am on November 9, 2019, when Hunter Oneill Wells was first interviewed by North Carolina Highway Patrol officers, this is all he could tell them about the young woman who still lay on the ground, covered by a white sheet next to the “debris field” which had been his 2002 Chevrolet Silverado hours before. Her sweet innocent life ended as a result of his actions; along with those of his friend Charles Cornwall, yet this was all that he could come up with for information to help authorities identify the body.
Her name, in fact, was Morgan Renee Patten, and yes, she was from New Hampshire, but she was much more than that. Much, much more.
Morgan, as a name given to a baby girl, is of Welsh origin, and historically means “sea born” or “of the sea”. Though not important at the time of her birth in 1995, “of the sea” came to fruition in our Morgan’s life, for sure. For Renee and I, it was a beautiful, original name that sounded good rolling off the tongue, and would be difficult to alter and be used as a weapon by any elementary school bullies. We could not have predicted at the time of her birth that she would graduate high school with three other Morgans in a class of less than 100 students!
Morgan Patten earned the nickname “Mouse” by being quiet and shy through her elementary and middle school years, though by high school, she had decided that standing in the back, hoping to remain unnoticed was not where she wanted to be. Nearly overnight, Morgan became a powerful advocate for herself and every living being that even remotely appeared as though they needed a bit of her strength, but the nickname stuck.
The Applebee’s bartender and the waitress that brought Morgan a beer knew more about her than that. The bartender and the waitress for Christ’s sake! When interviewed, they both knew that Morgan was engaged, and had just arrived in Jacksonville to spend the weekend with her fiancé. Anybody that had ever had a conversation with Morgan lasting more than three minutes could tell you more in depth details than, “she is from New Hampshire”. Morgan Patten, Of The Sea, was an accomplished, talented and intriguing young woman, and memorable; not the kind of person that one easily forgets. She was getting ready to begin law school, and proudly mentioned it in any conversation with someone she had any interest in speaking with. At the time of her murder, Morgan’s marital engagement to Phil Brandon had been public knowledge for fifteen days. I don’t believe that she crossed paths with any human being in that three week period who did not hear all about “her Marine”, how proud of him she was and how safe and loved she felt with Phil.
It is simply inconceivable that Morgan would jump in a truck with two unknown men, who also knew nothing about her, to drive out into the middle of nowhere in a strange town at 11 o’clock at night for any purpose, yet that is what Wells, Cornwall and even the criminal justice system are hanging their hats on. We have been informed by prosecutors that “kidnapping or unlawful detention is extremely hard to prove”. Obviously, the evil bastards and those whose job it is to ensure that punishment fits the crime never cared to know Morgan Patten beyond a name. Kidnapping and/or unlawful detention are extremely hard to ignore!
Please share your greatest memories of Morgan. It will help keep us motivated to attain absolute justice in her honor. Thank you! ❤️
From the very first moment that I held your tiny body in my arms, the future was clear. Crystal clear. All of the dreams that I once had for my own personal satisfaction faded into the past and were replaced by a powerful ambition to ensure that you would always be okay. I believe that is the way it’s supposed to be.
I would rock you when you were restless and sleep lightly when you slept. I couldn’t wait to see your first smile, hear your first laugh, your first word, and I wanted to catch you after you took your first steps. Every milestone would be precious and the milestones would never end, only get more immense and more meaningful. I would teach you how to blow a bubble, ride a bike, catch a ball, a fish, whistle, spit, read, write and swear, when appropriate. With each accomplishment, I would help you develop a sense of pride, yet encourage perpetual modesty. As you grew older we would progress into more mature activities; shooting a gun, driving a car, protecting yourself, working hard, playing hard, exhibiting sympathy, empathy, compassion and making good choices. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, and that’s the way it was. We did all of these things. We did all of these things, and so many more, as a family. It was perfectly imperfect and I feel like we were just getting started.
For years I have envisioned the day when I would walk you down the aisle, place your hand in his and take my seat next to mom. I want to celebrate your graduation from law school, passing the bar exam, attaining your dream job, conquering the world! I want grandchildren, and I want you to have the experience and fulfillment of molding them into upstanding adults. I want to help you buy your first home and then watch you build your dream home. I want to mow your lawn when your life is too busy and I want to answer your call when it gets confusing. I want to die an old man with no regrets, knowing that I did my very best with what I was given, and I want you to be strong and proud. I want you to know, Morgan Patten, that you are my greatest accomplishment, because that’s the truth, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.