Police Superintendent Michael Harrison called on New Orleans residents Wednesday to come forward with any information they may have about two unsolved cases this summer, each involving a young person he said was “taken from us way too soon.”
Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans increased to $5,000 the reward it’s offering for fruitful tips in the cases of Kaylan Ward, a 16-year-old girl found dead in June on Interstate 10 in New Orleans East, and Gerald Morgan, a high school senior killed by masked gunmen last month during a brazen daytime shooting.
“We’ve followed up on Crimestoppers tips, but we need a lot more,” Harrison said. “In both cases, someone knows what happened, who may have been involved, and we need those people to come forward.”
The death of Ward, a student at McDonogh 35 High School, has not been classified as a homicide, even though her mother has said she suspects foul play.
Ward’s body was found in pieces June 4 on the eastbound lanes of I-10 near the Bullard Avenue exit. She had last been seen miles away, walking on Earhart Boulevard and asking for a ride to North Miro Street.
Authorities believe Ward was struck by a car, but it remains unclear how she ended up on the roadway. Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, the Orleans Parish coroner, said she died of multiple blunt traumatic injuries.
Police did not release any new details of their inquiry Wednesday, but Lt. Jimmie Turner Jr., the NOPD’s newly appointed homicide commander, described the investigation as “nonstop since its inception.”
“I’m hoping that someone will come forward because yesterday marked two months, and it’s felt like two years, that I hadn’t seen my child,” said Ward’s mother, Kenisha Martin. “I’m begging anyone that knows anything, please come forward.”
Investigators have been similarly stumped by the fatal shooting of Morgan, a 17-year-old who died in a hail of gunfire at a home in the 5900 block of Boeing Street, off Downman Road. Morgan’s 4-year-old cousin also was wounded after gunmen in two cars sprayed the house with bullets.
Morgan is believed to have been involved in a previous fight with his killers in a park.
“In each case, our detectives worked progressively from the start to get to the bottom of what happened and to find out who’s responsible,” Harrison said. “These families deserve justice. They deserve closure.”
Police ask anyone with information about either case to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.
Follow Jim Mustian on Twitter, @JimMustian.