Garthia Elena Burnett: Where is Kaila Morris? A year later, still a mystery


Garthia Elena Burnett



A year ago, Kaila Morris'' room was adorned with clouds and carousels and all things girly. 


Two weeks later, as Kaila''s family talked to the media about her disappearance, her room remained just as she left it. 


Kaila, at 21, wasn''t a little girl anymore. She was a young woman with an infectious laugh and an unexpected sense of humor only offered to those closest to her. 


Kaila''s smile, the twinkle in her eye and her love to dance -- once the marks of a shy, loving and family-oriented young woman -- now are painful memories Bonnie Morris-Triplett holds onto until she sees her daughter again. 


Bonnie walked into her Kaila''s bedroom day after day, for months. It was a constant commemoration to the daughter who once lived there. She finally couldn''t stand it. 


"It was so painful to walk in her room the way she left it," Bonnie said. 


So she tore down the curtains and started anew, painting the walls and working with teal-patterned material Kaila picked out. 


"It''s in disarray right now," Morris Triplett said of the room, fighting back tears. 


For the past year, Bonnie''s life also has spiraled into disarray. 


Media attention, from Kaila''s disappearance and Bonnie''s husband''s child pornography charges, has drawn public scrutiny. 


"It''s very difficult. I haven''t been able to talk about the different investigations. So many people don''t know what''s been happening and there are a lot of misinterpretations of what I''ve said and what I''ve done," Bonnie said. 


When she walks into a restaurant, conversation stops, and it seems all eyes are on her. 


At the post office, people point and whisper. 


But she remains focused on one goal: bringing Kaila home. 


"Even if she''s not all right, just bring her home," she pleaded, during a press conference, Thursday, one day before the anniversary of Kaila''s disappearance. 


During the press conference, Bonnie''s private investigator, David Hill, announced the family was increasing its reward offering, from $10,000 to $100,000. This time the award is offered for more than just information leading to Kaila. Hill wants someone to physically take him to Kaila, dead or alive. 


Bonnie hopes one day Kaila will come home to her newly decorated "grown-up room" in the colors she picked out herself. 


"Blue was her favorite color," Bonnie said. 


Also waiting for her is a two-year old English bulldog named Tonka. Kaila''s white Dodge Durango remains parked at her family''s Golding Road home, off Highway 69 in Lowndes County. 


Leslie Williamson, Kaila''s uncle, conceded, there is "no reason to believe that," when asked if there was any reason to hope Kaila is alive. 


Still, "We need closure," he said. "It''s been an emotional roller coaster." 


"My family and I desperately need help to bring her home, whatever condition that may be," Bonnie said. 


Sitting on her living room sofa, dabbing tissue at tears, Bonnie said she thought she could handle anything -- anything except not knowing what happened to her sweet Kaila. 


A hundred-thousand dollars is a small price to pay for peace of mind.



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