Police investigating murder-suicide of Tampa couple
By HOWARD ALTMAN
Mark McVicker was addicted to alcohol and depressed when he went missing earlier this month, according to a report filed by Melissa Morrison, his former fiancée.
Morrison, a waitress at Datz Deli, was so worried about McVicker that she filed a missing persons report on April 8, saying he had been drinking when he left his residence three days earlier, but never made it to his destination in Southaven, Miss., where he was heading to see his god-mother Sandra Flanigan.
Morrison and McVicker were engaged to be married, but she broke up with him six weeks earlier because of his alcohol addiction, according to the missing persons report. The night he went missing, McVicker texted Morrison:
"I love you," he texted. "Thanks for texting me back, you're probably busy with the guys at your work."
Morrison was worried about more than McVicker's drinking. He had recently bought a gun, "supposedly for protection," the report said.
On April 9, police cleared the missing persons case when McVicker and his aunt walked into the Southaven Police Department.
But that wasn't the end of the problems for this couple. Sunday, neighbors called 911 saying they heard gunfire. Police responded and found the couple dead in McVicker's bedroom. A gun was found nearby.
Police aren't saying right now who fired the fatal shots, but are calling the deaths a murder-suicide.
Kelli McCan had begged Morrison not to go to the apartment.
"I wish she would have called me," says McCan. "I would have done anything for her."
McCan, who runs a pet-sitting service in Tampa, says she only knew Morrison a short time, after hiring her about two months ago.
Shortly after going to work for her, McCan says Morrison, 33, called her, saying that McVicker, 39, was abusing her and that she had left him.
"When she called me, she was beat up and needed to leave that night," says McCan. "I begged her not to go back there."
The couple had met in Fort Myers and then went to England, to take care of his mother, says McCan. They returned late last year and moved in together in an apartment on Bayshore Drive, she says.
But the relationship turned sour, McCan says, and a month ago, she helped her move into an apartment and find a roommate at 4114 Neptune St.
On his Facebook page, McVicker stated that he was a private investor and had graduated from the University of South Florida, Class of 1998, with degrees in criminal justice and finance.
He also wrote that he went to high school at Maiden Erleigh in Reading, England.
On her Facebook page, Morrison lists her relationship status going from "Being in a relationship" to "single" on March 6. On April 20, she posted "Rules For Being Human – Your Guidelines For Personal Growth And Development"
Morrison writes that she graduated from Fort Myers High School, class of 1995 and lists "Official XFC, Healthy Weight Solutions, Schwartz Research Services, Inc., FinerMinds" as her interests.
Morrison was state licensed as a massage therapist until 2007, according to records.
Morrison, "was really good with animals," says McCan. "She was a wonderful and kind person. And she was scared. I can't believe this happened."
Blossom Ortiz, who knew McVicker since the two attended the University of South Florida nearly 20 years ago, called him her best friend and says his friends called him Marcus.
"They were both good people," says Ortiz, who met Morrison through McVicker.
They were an adventurous couple who wanted to travel the world together, says Ortiz.
Though they broke up, the two were still friends, Ortiz says.
"At first he was distraught, but then time heals," she says.
Ortiz says the last time she saw McVicker was Wednesday. The two had dinner. They last talked Saturday.
"He sounded good," says Ortiz. "He said they made plans to get together Saturday night."
The next day, Ortiz says she received a text message from McVicker. It was just hours before the shooting.
"Happy Easter Sunday," he wrote.
That was the last she heard from him.