Missing person’s vehicle located in Shelby County with unidentified remains

Published 4:41 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A vehicle matching the description of a missing person's vehicle was found in an undeveloped section of Shelby County on July 4. (Contributed)

A vehicle matching the description of a missing person’s vehicle was found in an undeveloped section of Shelby County on July 4. (Contributed)


On Jan. 4, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office received a “Be-On-the-Lookout” from the Bessemer Police Department for a missing person driving a 2014 Kia Sedona minivan with Alabama license plate number 4C9F4.

James A. Morrison, 75-year-old from Bessemer, was reported missing Jan. 3 by family members. Local and state law enforcement agencies looked for Morrison and the van he was driving but he was never located.

On July 4, a local resident riding a four-wheeler discovered a vehicle in a remote and undeveloped section of Shelby County, the Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area.

The resident contacted the Helena Police Department and a Helena police officer responded to the location and examined the vehicle. It was determined that the vehicle was located in the Sheriff’s Office’s jurisdiction and Sheriff’s investigators also went to examine the vehicle.

Investigators discovered a van matching the description of the one driven by Morrison but it had been destroyed by fire. Further examination led them to what they believed were the remains of someone in the vehicle. The Shelby County Coroner responded to the scene and confirmed that the vehicle contained someone’s remains.

Sheriff’s investigators contacted the Bessemer Police Department who also came to the location where the van was found. The vehicle and the area around it were thoroughly searched and documented.

The vehicle identification number was used to positively identify it as the one driven by Morrison the night he disappeared. The remains in the vehicle have not been positively identified and may take some time to confirm if they’re the remains of Morrison.

Sheriff Samaniego would like to ask Morrison’s family and friends for their patience as the Coroner works to try and identify the occupant of the van. “My heart goes out to the Morrison family as they wait on official notification of the van’s occupant,” said Samaniego. “This is one of those occasions where I know the possible outcome will bring grief to an already grieving family and I wish I had the words to help them with their loss”.

Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies and Bessemer police officers are working closely with one another and the Shelby County Coroner’s Office to try and piece together the events that led to the discovery of Morrison’s van. Anyone with information about the investigation is urged to contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office directly at 669-4181, through the Secret Witness line at 669-9116 or through our website at ShelbySO.com