Police Launch Independent Review Into UMD Student’s Suicide Death

HANOVER, Md. (WJZ) — Police ruled her death a suicide more than a year ago. Now an independent panel of investigators is taking a second look at what really happened to University of Maryland student Katherine Morris.

Derek Valcourt explains it comes after the young woman’s family spent months pleading for answers.

Police are convinced her death was a suicide, but her mother is not. So now a new independent group of cold case investigators put together by Anne Arundel County’s police chief will look at the case.

The lifeless body of Katherine Morris, 21, was discovered inside her car in the parking lot of the Anne Arundel Community College building near Arundel Mills Malls in May 2012. Her mother reads a suicide note.

“Please don’t let him get away with what he’s done to me and what he’s doing. I don’t deserve this. I can’t handle this,” wrote Katherine Morris.

Marguerite Morris says the “he” the note refers to was her husband — Army Specialist Isaac Goodwin — who was in Afghanistan at the time of Katherine Morris’ death.

Her family says their marriage quickly fell apart, devastating the emotionally fragile young woman.

“It was more than she could handle,” Marguerite said.

Ever since, her mother and family have been convinced Katherine’s death wasn’t a suicide, saying the police investigation was not thorough and left too many questions.

“She is a grieving parent,” said Chief Kevin Davis, Anne Arundel County Police.

Now, Davis tells WJZ he’s asked an independent group of retired homicide detectives to review the case.

“It’ll serve I think to assure the Morris family that, in fact, the police department has done right by her daughter’s death,” Davis said. “I don’t have any doubt that Katherine Morris’ death was a suicide. But I think, just like any other thing in life, it’s certainly not a bad idea to take a second look at it. It certainly won’t hurt her to feel better about the way we conducted her daughter’s death investigation.”

Morris’ mother says she’s thrilled to hear about that independent review of the case, but says she’ll continue to pursue other legal avenues to investigate what happened to her daughter.

The Anne Arundel County police chief recruited the group of retired investigators to look into dozens of unsolved cold murder cases to determine if investigators missed any leads that could be followed up on. This will be the first case they examine.

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