Trial: Where are the bloody clothes?

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Investigation into the death of Jody Lee Morrow included dozens of interviews, testing of evidence, numerous searches and even a search dog. 

But after all of the investigation efforts, authorities still have not been able to recover bloody clothes linking Chad Jamie Gulbertson to Morrow’s murder or the secondary weapon that was allegedly used to stab Morrow three times.

That testimony came Tuesday at the Rice County Courthouse by Albert Lea Police Department detective Frank Kohl and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension special agent Dave Schafer. 

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The two men said after much investigation, they were also never able to find the bicycle that Gulbertson told officials he took to Morrow’s trailer prior to her murder on June 21, 2009, or to identify where Gulbertson called from just after 6 a.m. the day of her death to ask his father to pick him up. It is unclear where the man was in the early hours prior to 6 a.m. of that day. 

Later around noon that day, Gulbertson and his father went to the Law Enforcement Center and told an officer the son thought he killed his former girlfriend. A short time later, officers found Morrow dead in her trailer at 730 Larimore Circle in Albert Lea. 

Gulbertson now faces five murder charges in her death. 

Kohl said he would suspect that the person who killed Morrow would have had blood all over his or her clothes — because of the extent of injuries that led to her death — so after Gulbertson came in and talked to officers about her murder, authorities began a hunt to find any evidence of clothes he might have been wearing when it occurred. 

He, Schafer and Albert Lea detective Ben Mortensen searched by foot from just behind the Rainbow Terrace trailer park, all the way along the railroad tracks to the area near 422 Euclid Ave., where Gulbertson was reportedly staying. 

They also searched nearby fields and wooded areas, along with Dumpsters, but found nothing. A K-9 tracker — police jargon for search dog — tracked Gulbertson from Morrow’s trailer, but the tracking ended after going through a field west and north of the trailer park.

Kohl said at one point the investigation team ended up in a wet, swampier area where he noticed that burrs collected to his lower body. 

Similar burrs were found on a pair of wet socks that were in a plastic Kwik Trip bag near Chad Gulbertson’s belongings at the Dennis Gulbertson house. Otherwise, no clothes linking him to the incident were able to be found. 

Kohl did note, however, that the shoes Chad Gulbertson had on when he was interviewed and ultimately arrested were wet. 

Officers testify to additional domestic disturbances

Officers visited trailer 3 times, but no arrest made

Blood found on Gulbertson not identified as Morrow’s

Kohl and Schafer said authorities also did not find the black bicycle with yellow spots that the father said his son had been using frequently around that time. 

Though Gulbertson had two cell phones that were seized from a bag at his father’s house, they were inoperable, Kohl said. 

Schafer said the phone company at Dennis Gulbertson’s residence did not keep track of local calls to the house, so even though authorities subpoenaed his phone records they were not able to track that 6 a.m. call. 

He said he also subpoenaed phone records from some of Gulbertson’s closer friends but did not find any connection to Dennis Gulbertson’s home. 

Of all the knives seized at Morrow’s trailer, the Euclid Avenue residence or Dennis Gulbertson’s residence, none had Morrow’s blood on them. None sent off to the BCA came back with any positive results.

The testimony came on Tuesday, the seventh day of testimony for a jury trial in which defendent Chad Gulbertson faces murder charges.

Drawings from the Freeborn County jail

Kohl testified about photos taken on July 16, 2009, and again July 25, 2009, of the underside of a table in the Freeborn County jail in a cell that Gulbertson was living in after his arrest for Morrow’s death.

Scrawled under the table were Guns N’ Roses lyrics dedicated to Morrow stating, “I used to love her, but I had to kill her. I put her six feet under, but I still hear her complain.” 

There were also drawings of three tombstones — one apparently for some of the cats the couple had over the years, one for Morrow dated Nov. 3, 1970, to June 20, 2009, and a third for Gulbertson with an end date of July 15, 2009. 

Text around the area stated: “Baby, I still love you and miss you,” “I’m sorry baby,” and one area that said “You tried to kill me first.” 

Kohl testified about the drawings because he took photographs of them. He said Gulbertson was the only person who had access to that jail cell, but there are no cameras there that can determine when those drawings were placed.