What follows is a timeline of major events in the case of Arthur Morgan III, accused of killing his 2-year-old daughter, Tierra Morgan-Glover in Wall in 2011.
The events were described by Superior Court Judge Anthony Mellaci on Tuesday during a pre-trial hearing who said they do “not appear to be, in any sufficient form, contested.”
Between 2 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2011, Arthur Morgan III picks up 2-year-old Tierra Morgan-Glover at the Circle Plaza shopping center on Route 70 Lakehurst for an unsupervised visit. The two were to see the animated movie “Happy Feet 2.’’ Tierra was to be returned to her mother, Imani Benton, by 6 p.m.
Morgan and Benton had a turbulent relationship. Morgan would often complain that he was not given enough parenting time with Tierra.
On this day, he complained about Benton’s parenting skills and on various phone calls earlier in the day, Morgan was argumentative.
Morgan had court-ordered visitation on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every other weekend. This Monday visit was arranged between the two parents.
At the time of the exchange, Morgan installed Tierra’s car seat in his white, 1995 Cadillac DeVille. Tierra’s mother supplied snacks and extra diapers and a video game in a child-sized backpack.
Sometime around 6 p.m. Morgan called Benton to say he had just fed Tierra and the two would be headed home shortly.
Morgan made a second phone call to Benton between 6:30 - 7 p.m. Morgan said he was getting gas and would be there soon.
He never arrived and his cell phone went straight to voicemail each time Benton called him.
Around 10 p.m. Benton called the Lakehurst police to report Tierra missing.
At 10:38 p.m. Benton received an email from Morgan, saying his phone was not working right so he could not call, but that Tierra was fine.
Police started a search for the girl, distributing a description of her, of Morgan and of his Cadillac.
Nov. 22, 2011
Ocean County authorities lodged criminal complaints against Morgan – interfering with custody and child endangerment -- when neither he nor the girl were found by the next morning.
At 2 a.m. police locate Morgan’s Cadillac in an apartment complex in Ocean Township. Neither Tierra’s car seat nor her backpack was in the car. The backpack was later found in a nearby dumpster.
Jamar Bass, Morgan’s friend, lived at the apartment complex. Around 7 p.m., Bass took Morgan to the Asbury Park bus station to buy a ticket to Newark Penn Station. Morgan told Bass that he was going to San Diego, Calif.,
Bass said he saw Morgan in the early afternoon on Nov. 21 and then again around 6:15 p.m. that day. He did not see Tierra either time.
Around 2:20 p.m. on Nov. 22, three teenagers called police to report a body in the water near a bridge on Schoolhouse Road in Wall Township near Shark River Park.
Police responded and found a body in the center of the creek -- a car seat on its side submerged just below the surface of the water, which was about 22’’ deep.
Police drag the car seat 8 to 10 feet to the creek bank to find that Tierra Morgan-Glover was fully clothed and strapped securely to the car seat. A silver carjack was clipped to the rear of the car seat to serve as an anchor.
A subsequent autopsy determined that Tierra was still alive when she went into the water. A medical examiner found that her death was due to violence including submersion in water.
Manhunt, Capture, Admission
A nationwide manhunt was launched to locate Morgan. It received national attention.
On Nov. 29, authorities found and arrested Morgan at 843 Euclid Ave. in East San Diego.
On Nov. 30, Morgan agreed to speak with investigators from the Wall Township Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office in California. The interview was electronically recorded.
Morgan admitted he was responsible for Tierra’s death. Morgan said he did not like the way Tierra’s mother was raising the child and that he had no control nor say in Tierra’s upbringing. He knew if he tried to take the child away from her mother, he would be caught and the child returned. He could live easier with a bad or irrational decision of his own than he could the poor decisions of others regarding his daughter.