A missing Oklahoma woman was found dead underneath a pile of clothes and boxes in her car, and her family says her tumultuous marriage may have had something to do with it.
Cassidy Ritchie's parents filed a missing persons report with the Tulsa Police Department Thursday after not hearing from the 39-year-old or her kids for several days, police said.
Ritchie's husband of under three weeks, Chris Morland, had been arrested the day prior on warrants out of Texas for a separate matter, allowing police to quickly find and question him about his wife's whereabouts.
But the questioning didn't lead to much clarity, police said.
Tulsa Police Department
"Morland told multiple stories and multiple versions of those stories. Morland would not come off any of his stories and maintained that she was just somewhere visiting a friend," the Tulsa Police Department said.
Upon discovering where Ritchie's car was, detectives towed it to a secure environment for a forensic examination, noting it had "extensive off-road debris on it," but Morland refused to permit them to search it, forcing them to get a search warrant.
On Sunday, police found Ritchie's body "hidden in a very small space" in the back of the car, with multiple blunt force trauma injuries.
Tulsa Police Department
Police arrested Morland the following day for first-degree murder and submitted the homicide case to the district attorney's office for formal charges.
Morland has an extensive criminal history spanning multiple states, including charges of larceny and domestic violence — a history unknown to Ritchie's family, two of whom told Scripps News Tulsa it was possibly unknown to Ritchie as well.
Her oldest son, Joey David, told Scripps News' sister station Morland often said the right things to gain his mom's trust, taking advantage of her kindness, and her brother said Ritchie may have been "too scared to say anything" after Morland became "a whole different person" after their marriage.
"She saw the good in everybody and she just, she didn't deserve this at all. No one does," Ritchie's mom, Cheryl, told Scripps News Tulsa. "Our new family motto is, 'He messed with the wrong family.'"
Police say Morland continues to refuse to answer questions about Ritchie's disappearance and death. For now, authorities are awaiting the medical examiner's preliminary results as to Ritchie's cause of death, which should come in the next few days.
Meanwhile, Ritchie's family friends are raising money to support her family and to take care of funeral expenses.