Last Friday, 10-year-old Jade Morris went to the outlet malls with a family friend to do some Christmas shopping. She probably wanted to buy a present for her parents, and maybe something small for a couple of her friends at school. So this little girl set out with 50-year-old Brenda Stokes, a family friend who worked as a card dealer at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
That was the last time Jade Morris was seen by her family. And I simply cannot imagine what this poor family has gone through while the rest of us were opening presents, hugging loved ones, and snacking on leftovers.
After the supposed shopping day, Brenda Stokes returned the car she had borrowed from a friend to make the trip, but she never took little Jade Morris home. Then, Stokes was involved in violent altercation with a co-worker and arrested. Still, she hasn’t led police to her 10-year-old shopping partner, either because she doesn’t know or she refuses to say.
In the violent fight that led to her arrest, Stokes allegedly attacked a co-worker and former friend with razor blades, leaving deep gashes in the woman’s face and sending her to the hospital. The woman told the police that the fight was over “harassing phone calls” and some other betrayal of trust. Chillingly, Stokes also told the police that she recently visited a doctor and wanted to be admitted to the hospital because she felt like she “wanted to hurt someone.” She explained, “Sometimes people just snap.”
The fact that this woman was the last person to see Jade Morris is completely terrifying. Now, police are asking citizens of Las Vegas to come forward if they have any news or possible information regarding this little girl and her disappearance.
This holiday season has been a somber one. Many people had a hard time getting in the yuletide spirit after the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut left 20 sets of parents struggling through a Christmas without their sons or daughters. Our national grief after that shooting has had a difficult time dissipating. Now, we need to add one more family to our thoughts and prayers.
Tomorrow, it will be one week since Jade Morris left home to go Christmas shopping and never returned. It is impossible to comprehend what her parents are going through right now. It’s horrible to hear about Brenda Stokes’ possible crimes and think about what might have happened to this child. All we can do is hope and pray that somehow, this little girl makes it home safely to her family.
[UPDATE: According to family members, the body of 10-year-old Jade Morris was found in the Nevada dessert. Police have confirmed that a body believed to be the little girl was found. Also, later reporting (and one of our insightful commenters) noted that Brenda Stokes was not just a family friend, she was the fiance of Jade's father.]