By Erica Morse
Publisher, Victims News Online
Updated 3:40pm CST, November 30th, 2012
A woman walked into a gas station in Michigan City, Indiana, and told clerks behind the counter she had located clothing belonging to a missing woman.
In the same town, one day later, a relative of the missing woman received a phone call that her body had been located in a storage unit.
Yet another person claims to have seen her walking around her hometown, reportedly darting in and out of convenience stores and supermarkets, undetected.
And in a fourth scenario, one man – via FaceBook – claims to know the location of the missing woman, asserts she is alive and well, and taunts searchers by refusing to tell them her alleged location.
These are the “rumors” circulating about 29-year-old wife and mother Candi Morris Brown, who disappeared around 1AM on Sunday morning, August 26th, 2012. Although it was originally reported Candi was last seen in the area of Holliday Street and North Carroll Avenue, it is now believed her last location may have actually been in neighboring Pines, IN.
Search teams have scoured The Town of Pines and its vicinity, although the terrain is difficult to navigate at times. From sand dunes to a toxic coal ash plume, a former landfill to multiple abandoned buildings, The Town of Pines — while small — is an extensive area to cover.
The Michigan City Police Department has held multiple public searches for Candi, including one which entailed volunteers on foot, ATV, horseback and helicopter, and numerous scent and cadaver dogs. It was, by far, the most extensive search ever conducted in the small lake tourist town for a missing person.
Detectives on the case indicated in an earlier interview they were — and are — “covering all bases.” Corporal Jason Holaway with the Michigan City Police Department told Victims News Online he and his partner were following up on “every lead,” and had interviewed “dozens of possible witnesses.” And although the young woman was wearing an ankle monitor at the time of her disappearance, the police were unable to track her through that device.
To authorities, searchers, and — most importantly, Candi’s family — the constant “rumors” about where she may be and what may have happened are not only frustrating, but time-consuming. Christine Salzer, Founder of Moms on a Mission, is the lead advocate on Candi’s case, having been asked by her family to assist with the search. Salzer and her team have been working directly with the MCPD to organize search efforts, flyer distributions, and to assist in aiding the family with everyday needs.
“It’s beyond frustrating to try and weed through the rumors circulating around town, while still trying to keep her family focused on bringing her home,” Salzer said. “And there are so many possible scenarios which could have led to Candi’s disappearance, that we’re trying to stay focused on where to search, and how to find her.”
Those “many possible scenarios” — while sensitive to discuss — are critical pieces of the puzzle to have if Candi is to be found. While some close to the missing woman are now prepared to come forward — despite the consequences — others would prefer the details of Candi’s environment be kept quiet. However, with the blessing of Candi’s husband, David Morris, Victims News Online has pieced together some of the possible reasons for his wife’s disappearance.
At the time she vanished, Candi was a receptionist for Auto Couture, a small car dealership on Michigan Boulevard. “The Boulevard”, as it is known to locals, has a decades-long history of theft, drug use, drug sales, and overall crime. Several people have come forward to Victims News Online, alleging Candi’s employment was one possible reason for her disappearance. As noted in documents by the State of Indiana Auto Dealer Services Division, Auto Couture’s license was recently revoked.
However, owner Edgar “Eddie” Couture, insists that nothing took place at his business which would have led to Candi’s disappearance.
“I was fined $7,300 earlier this year, and could not afford to pay the fines,” Couture told Victims News Online. “Therefore, I chose to voluntarily relinquish my license to the state, and that is the reason Auto Couture shut its doors. There was no illegal activity taking place in my business, and nothing that happened there resulted in Candi’s disappearance. She was one of the best employees I’ve ever had, and every customer treated her with the utmost respect and kindness.”
This is one of the “finger-pointing” scenarios which is frustrating to those looking for Candi. Rumors are not only rampant in the small Lake Michigan town, but are especially difficult to navigate if those looking for her are to get to the truth.
Another scenario points to the woman possibly being involved in narcotic pill distribution, with a possible addiction herself. Friends and relatives of the missing woman have stated — on the record — that Candi had an issue with pills and alcohol. However, others dispute those claims as well, as those who worked with her insist she showed no signs of “using” while on the job.
“Candi was professional and ‘with it’ every day,” Couture stated. “If she had a problem with pills, I never saw it. What she did after 5pm was not known to me, but in terms of her employment, I never witnessed anything that led me to believe she was using.”
If that is the case, then why was Candi Morris Brown on an ankle monitor, reporting to a probation officer, and attending drug classes? “I feel the system failed her in every way,” David Morris stated. “Probation failed her, the state failed her, and now she’s gone. They even issued a warrant for her arrest right before she disappeared, but let her go in lieu of drug classes. If someone had done their job(s) better, my wife may not be missing.”
Then there’s the story about possible arguments with her husband, David, and an alleged affair with a man named “Ty.” Multiple sources close to the woman claim Candi was unhappy with her current relationship(s), but those assertions have also been disputed.
“Like every married couple, Candi and I had our disagreements,” David Morris stated. “But those who know us know those rumors aren’t true, and that I wouldn’t hurt Candi.”
Victims News Online has learned at least one search warrant has been executed in Candi’s case. That warrant allowed detectives to search the home of a possible person of interest, which was confirmed by David Morris. The residence searched was that of “Ty,” the last known person to see Candi on the evening of her disappearance, although authorities have not yet released details related to that search. “I saw the search warrant and read every word,” David stated. “They definitely did a search.”
And lastly, one person has come forward to claim she located a black “cami” shirt — identical to the one Candi was last reported wearing — and asserts she turned it over to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Park Rangers, who then allegedly turned it over to local authorities. However, requests for comment from both entities have gone unreturned.
Those close to Candi — and the search for her — are frustrated at the lack of information. Many fear her case is going “cold,” and are asking for the media to continue sharing her story, and to let the public know she is still missing, despite the rumors surrounding the case.
While there are several possible scenarios which may have led to Candi’s disappearance, her family is clear on one point: they want her home, and are willing to do anything necessary to achieve that goal. A loving wife and mother of three children, those closest to her miss her terribly, and do not want people to forget she is missing. While the allegations inside this article may be detrimental to some, those who love Candi only care about finding her and bringing closure to this situation.
Missy Adams, one of Candi’s closest girlfriends, told Victims News Online that she doesn’t care about anything other than finding her friend. “The rumors are driving everyone nuts, and there’s so much finger-pointing going on,” Adams stated. “All I care about is finding Candi, and I don’t care whose business has to come out into the open for it to happen.”
Despite the finger-pointing and the rumors, there is one thing everyone can agree on, and that is Candi would have never willingly walked out on her children. “Candi loved those boys more than anything,” Eddie Couture told Victims News Online. “Under no circumstance would she ever leave them willingly. If she was separated from her boys, it was because someone separated her from them.”
Candi’s husband, David, agrees. “A lot of stuff isn’t adding up,” David said. “But I’m not concerned with what other people think or say – I care about my wife, my three step-sons, and my mother-in-law. If people had come clean from the beginning, maybe we wouldn’t be here three months’ later, not knowing.”
A FaceBook page has been set up to distribute information and search details within the community, and searchers — and family — continue to encourage any and all leads as to her possible whereabouts.
Candi Sue Brown Morris is 5’4″ tall, weighing 130 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is also described as having “several tattoos”. Anyone with information as to Candi’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Jason Holaway at the Michigan City, IN, Police Department, at (219) 874-3221.
“I just want to know where my wife is, David Morris said. “I feel there is someone out there within her circle of friends who knows more about that night than they’re saying. At this point, I say we put all the rumors out there, and let the chips fall where they may.”