James W. Morse
Missing since February 23, 1982 from Palm Beach County, Florida
Classification: Endangered Missing
Circumstances of Disappearance
Morse, 54, a carpenter and disabled veteran, was last seen by his mother on February 2, 1982, in Apopka. He headed south for West Palm Beach in his silver Ford step-up van when he picked up a hitchhiker. He never made it home to West Palm Beach.
At first deputies considered it a missing-persons case. Then they found someone had used Morse's credit cards, and sold his 1964 Ford step van for $70. Morse's blood was found splattered on the inside of the van. Enough tissue was found for the Medical Examiner's Office to conclude that the injury suffered by the victim was fatal.
Eventually, police obtained a murder confession from drifter David Lee Armstrong, a 20-year- old fugitive from Arkansas.
Armstrong killed James W. Morse, sold his truck and used his credit cards. Armstrong told police he dumped the body in a sugar cane field near Belle Glade. An extensive search was conducted but the body was not found. David Armstrong pleaded guilty and was sentenced 15 years in prison for manslaughter.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
Agency Case Number: 82-30183
The Miami Herald
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