Florida sheriff leading murder investigation is Southeast Missouri native

Thursday, July 16, 2009 ~ Updated 3:54 PM
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan announces the arrest of Pamela Long Wiggins on charges of accessory after the fact to the murders of Byrd and Melanie Billings. The announcement was made during a press conference Wednesday evening, July 15, 2009, at the Escambia County Sheriff's Office in Pensacola, Florida. (AP Photo/Bruce Graner/Pensacola News Journal)

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Escambia County, Fla., Sheriff David Morgan, who is involved in the investigation of the murders of a wealthy Florida couple, is a Poplar Bluff native with a daughter living in Cape Girardeau.

"We are very proud of him," said his mother, Dorothy Mullins of Poplar Bluff.

She said on Monday that her son has not been getting much sleep.

"He was at the office at 4 a.m. today doing interviews for all the major networks," Mullins said.

Morgan's stepfather, Cecil Mullins, is a barber at L & M Barber Shop where he and his customers watch developments on TV news. "He is a very capable man. He is just doing his job," Cecil said. Morgan's wife, Susan, said she is thankful her husband "has been able to solve the case and make the arrests."

"When you are in law enforcement work, you could be on national TV any moment," Susan said.

Morgan, 56, was elected to a four-year term as sheriff in November 2008. He was sworn into office on Jan. 6. His mother and stepfather were in Florida when he won the election.

"He has always been interested in law enforcement," his mother said.

Morgan served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force in law enforcement and security, retiring from Hurlburt Air Force Base at Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Then he was a private investigator in Pensacola, Fla., for 14 years. His first campaign for sheriff in 2004 was unsuccessful.

"David was born at the old Doctor's Hospital in 1952 and graduated from Poplar Bluff High School in 1970," Dorothy Mullins said.

The native of Poplar Bluff enlisted after high school. While in the service, he earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Southeast Missouri State University and a master's in business administration and management from Webster University near St. Louis.

Dorothy Mullins recalls her son being "debater of the year during his junior and senior years in high school." He won a regional contest in public speaking and was second in the state during his senior year.

His children live in Southeast Missouri. He has a son, Nathan, in Sikeston, and a daughter, Danielle Alspaugh, in Cape Girardeau. He also has a grandson, Gavin Alspaugh.

While campaigning for sheriff, Morgan would tell audiences about his background.

"He would say, 'I'm a Missouri boy. I'm from Poplar Bluff,'" his wife said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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