The Carport Murders: Who Killed Emily and Totinika?

“Rockabye mommies

asleep in the car.

Do you two know

how missed you both are?

The bullets that took you

pierced your soft skin

but they could not destroy

your spirits within.”

August 26th, 2016 was a sweltering day in Oklahoma. Temperatures were beginning to tip over 80 degrees as people went about their Friday afternoons and prepared for the weekend. It was the end of the work day when a man drove by his parents’ house in Bache, Oklahoma – a town about ten minutes east of McAlester. His mother had recently passed away, and as he drove up to check on the house, he saw a strange car in the driveway.

Underneath his parents’ carport was a white Ford Fusion. The man phoned the police to report the suspicious vehicle at approximately 5:00p.m. When he walked up to the car and knocked on the driver’s side window, he saw a woman who appeared to be asleep.

It wasn’t until he walked to the other side and peered in the passenger window that he saw the blood.

_____________________

“I am so proud of myself. I am a single mom with two kids [and] graduating from college. Man I’m doing good.”

~ Tweet from Totinika Elix’s account (May 21st, 2016)

Photo: Twanna Brown

Totinika Doshe Elix was born June 2nd, 1992 in Oklahoma City to Twanna Brown and Henry Elix.

“She was very articulate as a child,” remembers Twanna. “She moved very fast as a baby. She was walking at eight months.”

Growing up, Tye – as her family and friends called her – was a daddy’s girl who made friends easily and did well in school. Her mother never had problems with her. 

“She was a good kid,” Twanna says. “She had a strong personality. She would speak her mind.” Her fondest memories of her daughter are teaching her to cook, where Tye would be “glued to the hip” whenever her mother was in the kitchen. 

Tye quickly grew into a beautiful young woman, attending John Marshall High School and then taking classes at Brown Mackie College to become a licensed practical nurse. She had two children with her high school sweetheart, and named the babies Traemar and Tyla.

Her motherly nature began long before her babies were born, though. Tye would sit for hours with her younger sisters playing dolls and dress-up. She was close with her grandmother as well, who passed away from cancer six years before Tye’s untimely death.

“She really took it hard,” Twanna says. “She reminds me so much of my mother. Very nurturing, kind, all around sweet girl.”

Tye’s memorial service was held on a Thursday in Oklahoma City. A beautiful multitude of family, friends, and high school classmates were in attendance to celebrate Tye’s life.

Traemar and Tyla are now six and five years old, and still very much remember and miss their mother. The family celebrates Tye’s life twice a year – on her birthday and her date of death. 

“I pray to God they find who did this to them so that [Emily’s mom] and I can get closure and some peace.”

__________________________

“Do you have goals? Are they in motion? Where will you be in 5 years?”

~ Emily Morgan’s Facebook status (August 9th, 2016)

Emily Sue Zanne Morgan was a New Year’s baby born in 1993. A very serious and organized toddler, her mother recalls that she once ran around the house and stopped to straighten a rug before she continued prancing around her home. She soon became an academically gifted child and was a peer mediator in her school (“She never really stopped, either,” her mother laughs). Later, she was honored as a Kiwanis Student of the Year in Poteau, Oklahoma in the third grade, along with being awarded District 4 Choctaw Nation Tribal Princess the same year. 

Emily and her parents were very close, especially her relationship with her father. He never called her by her name and only referred to her as “Daddy’s girl,” even teasing her about whether or not they called her that at school. 

“She was quick-witted, beautiful, and fun to be around,” her mother, Kim, describes. “She had a busy social life with friends, and she liked to get very dressed up and go out to clubs and dance.  But what she liked most of all was being with her son.”

Emily found out she was pregnant when she was only sixteen. However, she was determined to finish school and go to college – which she accomplished, giving birth to a little boy she named Payden and successfully completing her GED before his first birthday. 

“She carried on with her life and her goals, which included college, modeling, and being a great mom,” Kim remembers.

Before she was killed, Emily was working as a personal assistant at a real estate company and modeled on the side, all while preparing to begin her third semester of college to study Environmental Science. She spent much of her free time cooking for her son and attending his baseball games and wrestling matches.

Photo: Kim Merryman

“Life had been so beautiful in May, June, and July,” Kim remembers fondly. However, the last night she saw her daughter, she noticed a significant change in her behavior. When she drove to Emily’s to pick up Payden the evening of the 24th, she realized daughter – who had gone to rehab the previous spring and had been sober for three months – appeared to have relapsed and was noticeably under the influence.

“That night was my first time to see her high since she got clean,” Kim says. “I was devastated.”

Heartbroken and angry, the two ultimately argued about Emily’s drug use before Kim put her grandson in the car and began driving off.

A divine call to her soul suddenly overcame her, however. Overwhelmed, Kim put the vehicle in reverse and rolled down the window. She told Emily she loved her one last time.

“For a fraction of a second, my spirit told me that was the last time I would see her,” Kim recalls. “I quickly shook that off, but two nights later when I learned she had been killed, I replayed that in my head over and over. God knew then.”

The following day before she and Tye left for McAlester, Emily made a promise to her mother that she would return to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, but it was too late. 

Her funeral was held the afternoon of Saturday, September 3rd, 2016. A 5.8 earthquake rattled Oklahoma that morning as if the earth itself was heartbroken.

_____________________

“Rockabye mommies

who flew to the sky.

The questions unanswered

are who…and why.

While we are waiting

we’ll sit here and pray,

knowing that justice

will be granted someday.”

The week leading up to the deaths of the two girls was nothing short of foreboding. The Friday before, someone tried to bust through Emily’s back door. Terrified, she contacted an ex-boyfriend in order to get a gun. Their reuniting only resulted in violent altercations. 

The following Tuesday, August 23rd, while Emily was at work, the same ex-boyfriend broke into her house. Tye was at the residence at the time and was threatened with a gun. She managed to escape and call the police. 

Photo: Twanna Brown

“They broke a bunch of things in her house and stole her TVs, shoes, clothing, and jewelry,” Kim says. “There are lots of things that happened in the six weeks prior to her murder, and she was doing fantastic. She was scared she would lose it all.”

Emily’s ex-boyfriend was in jail at the time of her murder, solidifying his alibi.

There are different theories as to why the two women would drive to McAlester the night of August 25th. Were they meeting a friend? Purchasing a gun for protection? Emily’s mother thinks her daughter might have been offered an opportunity to make some money by an individual who will remain nameless in this article in order to help her after the robbery had occurred. 

“It had to be something really worthwhile after all she had been through the previous few days,” she says. “I know she sensed danger.”

Emily didn’t give a reason to her mother for her drive to McAlester, but secretly told her son, “If anything happens to me, your Grammy will take care of you.”

_______________________

Emily and Tye’s mothers found out about their daughters’ horrific murders in the hours and days following.

“I found out she was dead on August 27th. That was the worst day of my life,” says Twanna.

Kim had been looking for Emily the morning of August 26th when she did not return from her trip, sending out pleas on Facebook to anyone who might know her daughter’s whereabouts.

“Her friends started messaging me about two women being found shot outside of McAlester,” Kim recalls. “Shortly after that, OSBI came to my door to question me. I kept asking if they found my daughter.”

Photo: Kim Merryman

That evening, after hours of interviewing her, the detectives finally showed Kim her daughter’s ID and confirmed she was deceased. Kim performed the painstaking task of calling Emily’s father, grandmother, and sister. Unbeknownst to her, Emily’s son was awake in hls bedroom and overheard the conversations.

“He was in there for at least an hour alone, knowing his mom was dead.” 

______________________

A billboard in McAlester, Oklahoma now displays pictures of Emily and Tye. Juxtaposed are the emboldened words  “WE WERE MURDERED LESS THAN 7 MILES EAST OF HERE ON AUGUST 26, 2016.”

Who would want to kill two beautiful, young mothers with their futures so full of promise? Did they witness something they weren’t supposed to? Did an argument ensue between friends?

For now, the answers are sealed behind the lips of a coward wandering the streets of Oklahoma.

Regardless of the purpose of the trip that night, the violent demise of these two women was shockingly abhorrent and undeserved. The world has been robbed of the light they brought, their families and friends are forever grieving their loss, and their children will always feel the absence of the mothers that should be here to love them, hold them, and raise them. 

As of last year, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation raised the reward for information about the murders from $5,000 to $10,000 in hopes of persuading someone to come forward with any knowledge they may have. 

However, Kim believes she knows who killed her daughter and her daughter’s friend: the man who called Emily out to McAlester that ill-fated summer night. According to her, he hasn’t attempted to clear his name or cared to find out who killed his friend. After news of the murders broke, he even called her to tell her if anyone asked, he did not know Emily.

“To anyone that has information that they are scared to tell,” says Kim, “look around at the state of our nation – the state of Pittsburg County – and ask yourself if you are helping to find the solution or if you are aiding the killer.”

“Rockabye Emily,

rockabye Tye.

We didn’t get the chance

to tell you goodbye. 

Your lives will live on

inside of each heart

that beats for you two

‘til we’re no longer apart.

— Lindsay Schraad

Photo taken 20 days before Emily and Totinika’s murders.

If you have any information regarding the murders of Emily Morgan and Totinika Elix, please contact, please contact the OSBI at 800-522-8017. #BeHerVoice

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