Skeletal remains found by a hunter in Jackson County last week have been identified as belonging to a 22-year-old Bradford man who went missing in 2019, according to Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas. However, Micheal John Morris’ mother says that foul play is not suspected in his death.
Lucas said in a news release Wednesday that the Arkansas Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the remains were from Morris. He said the remains “were recovered in Jackson County near Olyphant” near Arkansas Highway 367 South on Nov. 19.
Morris had been reported missing Jan. 28, 2019. He was last seen in the Olyphant community walking along Highway 367. Morris reportedly had been in a vehicle with his stepbrother, but said he wanted out around 8 p.m. to go “arrowhead hunting” and would walk back home.
Morris’ mother, Cynthia Medlock, posted around 3 p.m. Wednesday that she had been given confirmation “although I was pretty sure” that it was her son when the remains were found.
“I am still trying to process everything and on my way to get my baby so I can give him a proper burial,” Medlock said. “I will keep everyone updated and would like to thank everyone for all the prayers and support for the last almost three years. I just need a little time.”
Bald Knob Barth Grayson said he visited with Medlock, who owns the Bradford Funeral Home, “in-depth a couple of times and shared some thing people have told me, and she already knew everything that I told her.”
“She knows a lot about this case, but I sent her a message today,” Grayson said Wednesday. “I didn’t want to bother her personally, but I was glad that she had started her closure journey because that’s what it is, a closure journey, because it’s not over for her. She will get some to satisfaction, some comfort in knowing they have found his remains, but the true comfort, the true satisfaction is going to come when they find his killer, and many people believe that it was a homicide.”
The Jackson County sheriff was unavailable Friday to ask whether the death is being investigated as a homicide; however, Medlock posted Thursday night that more than 80 percent of her son’s remains “were found, and that included all major bones.” She said according to the Arkansas Crime Lab, there wasn’t any physical trauma to any of the bones.
“He was not shot, he was not beaten, he was not dismantled, he was not run over, he was not run through a wood chipper, he was not put in any well, he was not threw in the river,” she posted. “He was not dismantled ... he was not any of the horrific lies a lot of people decided they wanted to tell me for almost three years for no reason. But this world is full of cruel people. Why? I can’t answer those questions.”
“ ... The only logical thing is my son was in 16-degree weather and got too cold.”
She said concerning her son’s remains being found that “my prayer was finally answered and I will get to bury my son and have a place to go and place flowers and just sit and talk to him.”
Medlock said there were still a few more things to be done before Morris’ burial and information for his service would be be announced soon.
She said she wants to thank “my family, friends and community for all the love and support y’all have shown us during the past few years.”
In February 2019 after Morris went missing, Medlock posted “I have never in my life went this long without hearing from or seeing my kids.”
White County Sheriff Phillip Miller said at the time that there were several leads coming up on both sides of the county line, so both his and the Jackson County sheriff’s officers were working together on the case. He said Morris left the vehicle “voluntarily” before walking down the highway.
"While we all wished that Micheal would be found alive and well," Miller said Friday, "I know his family has been through a great deal and am thankful that the family can finally get some closure."