Morgan Barnum has been missing since Tuesday and his family is asking the public for help in finding him.
Barnum, a 20-year-old Ripley man with developmental disabilities and mental health issues, left the home near Bethel Road and 44th Street where he lives with this sister Brittney Rees and her family some time around 4-5 p.m. that day.
Rees says her brother has autism and bipolar disorder but is high-functioning and verbal. Although he is 20, he acts more like a pre-teen and is very excitable.
“He thinks everyone is his friend,” she said.
Rees is his legal guardian and Barnum moved to Oklahoma from Oregon last April.
He takes several forms of medication and hasn’t had access to them in several days. Rees says she is concerned about that and about a report that he was seen drinking from a flask before he disappeared.
She says she and her brother had a disagreement around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning because he had sneaked out the night before. He became upset when she asked him about it and began hitting himself and she had to call the Payne County Sheriff’s Office to calm him down.
She left the house later and called home several times to check on him. Barnum last answered the phone at about 3:30 p.m. and didn’t seem upset, she said. He told her he was folding his laundry.
Rees says a neighbor reported seeing Barnum walking past her house. He was carrying a camouflage backpack and said he wouldn’t be around anymore.
Barnum showed up on security footage at the Maverick Mini Mart in Ripley around 5:40 p.m. and again at 8:57 p.m. There hasn’t been a confirmed sighting since then.
There has been an unconfirmed report of a man with a similar description who was headed in the direction of Stillwater on 19th Avenue near State Highway 108.
Rees said her brother has been to Stillwater but doesn’t know anyone there well. She doesn’t think it’s very likely that he would be staying with someone.
He is fascinated with the outdoors and views himself as “kind of a GI Joe,” she said. Rees thinks he could be camped out in the woods, trying to live off the land. He runs a lot and can cover a lot of ground quickly, she said.
The Payne County Sheriff’s Office has entered him as a missing person and neighboring agencies have been asked to be on the lookout for Barnum, Deputy Nick Myers said.
OKCM Search and Rescue, a private organization of trained volunteers, plans to launch a search around Ripley beginning Friday morning, he confirmed. The organization will stay in contact with the Sheriff’s office.
Morgan Barnum is a 20-year-old white male who stands 5-foot-9 and weighs 165 pounds. He has brown eyes and brown hair that is cut in a mohawk. The hair on the sides of his head is starting to grow out.
He was wearing a white T-shirt with a dark-colored sleeveless jacket that had a gray hood when he was last seen. He was wearing lace-up, Ariat work boots and a dark cap.
He had a cut on his forearm.
Rees says he was carrying a BB gun when he was last seen, but he is not dangerous and would not shoot anyone with it.
The last time something like this happened, he ran away when someone approached him, his sister said.
She says to prevent that from happening again, people should not speak to him. Anyone who thinks they have spotted Barnum should contact the Payne County Sheriff’s Office at 405-372-4522 or call 911.