Saturday, November 18, 2017
Public safety

As missing pregnant teen's due date approaches, family calls for more tips

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ST. PETERSBURG — Leah Martin thought she might be a grandmother by now.

Her youngest, Morgan, came to her months ago and said she was pregnant. Martin wasn't thrilled, but told the 17-year-old the family would figure it out.

But Morgan went missing July 25 and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Police say the case is "active," but caution that the likelihood the teen encountered foul play is high. A $1,000 reward for information remains unclaimed. Her mother hopes to start a second fund to supplement that money this week.

Morgan's 18th birthday was Dec. 1. Her due date is Friday.

Before she disappeared, she told her mother she planned to name her baby, a girl, Ja'Leah. It would be Martin's first grandchild.

"I still have hope," Martin, 44, said. "It's not a lot, but I do. … I really just hope she's safe."

Morgan was last seen leaving her family's home, 2808 17th Ave. S. She was on her cellphone and told her family she was meeting someone outside.

She never came back.

Morgan is 5 feet 2, 175 pounds and of mixed race. She has black hair, brown eyes and has a scar on her chin and the left side of her lip. She was last seen wearing a white tank top, a pink jacket with fur around the hood, gray bottoms and fuzzy pink slippers.

Police have interviewed friends, family and the father of the teen's unborn baby. No suspects have been named.

The fact that Morgan, known for calling her mother several times a day, has not had any communication with anyone in her life is not a good sign, police said.

"The circumstances of this are very ominous and would tend to support the conjecture that she may have met with some foul play," said police spokesman Mike Puetz. "But we haven't found any crime scene. We haven't found a body."

Martin said she knows investigators are working hard. She said they've told her they still get tips.

Still, she said, it's hard to cope.

Last month, family and friends gathered at her home, ate cake and wrote messages on 18 star-shaped balloons released into the sky. The family also has started a Facebook page, "Hope for Morgan Martin."

A few weeks ago, Martin discovered an old card her daughter gave her. "It's the little things that are worse than the big things," Martin said. "It can take my whole day away. … You kind of feel like you're lost."

Kameel Stanley can be reached at [email protected]

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