MUNCIE, Ind. – After more than four years since the disappearance of a Muncie woman, her family is hoping new leads could be answers.
Ashley Morris Mullis, 27, disappeared in September 2013. Since then, The Delaware County Sheriff's Office has received hundreds of tips about Ashley's possible whereabouts. Recently though, those tips have been increasing, but not all of them come with substance.
In September 2017, a psychic led the family to bones in the Eaton area. The bones were discovered to not be human.
A few months ago, a man from Boston, Massachusetts connected with the Morris family. Investigators said the man had no ties to the family, Muncie or Delaware County, and likely heard about Ashley's story on social media.
Because the man is not charged with a crime in Delaware County, CBS4 is not naming him. Investigators said the man told the family he was a private investigator. The man had no law enforcement experience and had three active felony warrants for his arrest from other states.
"He shows up and tries to find a family in need and tells them that he’s here to help, but it seems like he's taking advantage of the family," said Delaware County Cpl. Kurt Walthour.
Both family members and police believe the man created a fundraising site in Ashley's name, only to take the couple of hundred dollars for himself. Ashley's family also believes the man may have been after the $10,000 reward money.
"I can’t confirm that they’re valid at all. I've spoken to him one time on the phone and after that he wouldn’t call me back, but he wouldn’t tell me where they came from," Cpl. Walthour said.
Deputies warn of the dangers of following tips from someone not associated with law enforcement. Cpl. Walthour said if residents have questions about if a search is legit, they should call the sheriff's office before going.
The latest tip led Ashley's father, Don Morris, to a spot in the reservoir in rural Delaware County. Don knows the spot well. He used to go fishing there.
On Tuesday, investigators pulled a barrel from the water. They're testing it for DNA. Cpl. Walthour isn't confident it's tied to Ashley's disappearance, but Don still has hope.
"This tip came through that my daughter was on the back side of a reservoir, had been put in a barrel of acid and had been thrown into the water," Don said.
Don has also recently organized searches on land near the reservoir and enlisted cadaver dogs to help. He said he believes there's something buried on a hill.
Even if the most recent tip doesn't lead to a connection to Ashley's case, Don said he won't rest until she's found.
"This has been a long hard road and I need closure," Don said.
On his Facebook page, Don has been active in helping other families with missing loved ones. He said he wants to make it his mission to help others in his situation, in honor of Ashley.
If you know anything about Ashley's disappearance, contact the Delaware County Sheriff's Office at (765) 747-7885.