Toddler Found Dead in NJ Park: Cops

Police have an arrest warrant for the girl's father, 27-year-old Arthur Morgan III

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ocean County Prosecutor's Office
    Tierra Morgan, 2, was found dead in a Monmouth County park Tuesday

    Police have issued an arrest warrant for a 27-year-old New Jersey man as they investigate the death of his 2-year-old daughter.

    The girl, Tierra Morgan, was found dead in a Monmouth County park at about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, according to police.

    She had been missing for about 24 hours before she was found dead, partially submerged in a stream in Shark River Park in Wall Township. She was still in her car seat.

    The child's father, Arthur Morgan III, had picked her up Monday afternoon to go to a movie during a visitation, but the two never returned, the girl's grandmother told the Asbury Park Press Tuesday night.

    The grandmother, Michelle Simmons, said police told her family the child's father had been seen getting on a train in Asbury Park on Monday without the toddler.

    The girl's mother, Imani Benton, 24, dropped off the child with her father at a store Monday afternoon for the pair's first visit in a month, Simmons told the paper.

    “He was supposed to be back at 6 and the court order said he could have her until 9 p.m., so she waited until 10 p.m. – and when he didn’t come back, she called the cops,’’ Simmons said.

    Simmons said Morgan was driving a white Cadillac when he picked up Tierra, and Benton had given him cash for gasoline.

    “Imani arranged for her to go see ‘Happy Feet’ at the movies, and she paid for the ticket,’’ Simmons told the paper. “I have no idea where he may have taken her. As far as I know, he was homeless and living in his car. He has visiting rights and it was his day to have her.”

    A warrant charging Morgan with child endangerment was issued before the girl's body was found.

    Authorities have not said whether he's a suspect in her death.