“It just really was nice that everybody could be found safe.”
Mankato Department of Public Safety Commander Dan Schisel is among many breathing a sigh of relief after 19-year-old Minnesota State University – Mankato student Morgan Stollee was found Friday in Iowa more than two weeks after she was reported missing.
However, there are still more questions than answers in the disappearance.
Schisel said they believed Morgan was traveling with two people from Belle Plaine, and one of them got in touch with family prior to the trio being found. “We had Morgan Stolle, we had Trevor Paul Newman, and then a third individual,” he said, “Well, that third individual had contacted his mother and kind of indicated that he needed her to come to Des Moines and he was ready to be done.”
After that phone call, Schisel said the young man’s mother and Morgan’s mom contacted police, “And indicated if they could go and check in this area and that possibly the missing person we were looking for would be there. When the West Des Moines Police Department showed up in that parking lot they spotted the vehicle and they spotted Morgan behind the wheel in that vehicle and had contact with all three individuals.”
The third person with Stollee and Newman hasn’t been named, and Schisel said while he was considered a juvenile when the three left the Mankato area, he turned 18 soon after; he adds that they still aren’t sure why they were completely out of contact with friends and family, “And that’s still being investigated by at least Morgan’s mom.”
He believes they got back in touch because, “They probably ran out of money, so at that point they were kind of stalled out right there in Des Moines or West Des Moines.”
Schisel said there is currently no indication that Morgan was taken against her will and, “My understanding at this point that she was free and wanted to be with them. But, that can still change as we learn more after giving them time to get back and just get the rest and stuff that they need and learn more about what occurred.”
There were indications early in the investigation that an electronic device belonging to Morgan pinged a cell tower in northern Minnesota, and information that law enforcement in California ran the tag on Morgan’s vehicle, and Schisel said they’re still looking into that. He said, “I’m not positive to know exactly where their trip led them on their 16 day journey.”