Grieving mother says son’s benefit held by family acquaintance was a sham

DAVENPORT-- It's been three months now, and this mother has still not been able to properly grieve the loss of her only son, Drew.

Drew Morgan died in a motorcycle accident on the corner of Division Street and 53rd Avenue back in July.

Drew's mom, Denise, will always have 19 years worth of happy memories, but one, she says, casts a dark shadow she can't see past.

"Forever attached to this now, my son dying, is this. It's like this dirtiness attached to greed, pure greed," says Denise Cundell Day.

Immediately after the accident, support came in from all over the Quad Cities in the form of bake sales, cards, and fundraisers.

There was one benefit though, the Drew Morgan and Family Benefit, that collected money with a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, and a bike ride.

"People gave things that we know. They donated gifts and items to this auction. We tried to get family and friends down to support it."

That fundraiser was set up by Gordie Morrow, a friend of Drew's girlfriend. Morrow told the family he raised more than $4,200 that day. The family says they never saw a penny of it.

"And we were picking out caskets and picking out what our son was going to wear. We really didn't have our eye on it, you don't. And that's why this happened," says Cundell Day.

Three weeks after the fundraiser was held, Morrow texted the family saying he mailed half the money to the funeral home in Davenport. The funeral director tells News 8 they never got the money. Morrow told the family the check was never signed for, so it was sent back to him and that he would personally deliver it to the family. That also never happened.

So that's when Cundell Day called the police.

After investigating, police say there's nothing they can do.

"They couldn't do anything with this because apparently, he didn't steal from us. He stole from multiple people because it was everybody's money put together for a benefit," explains Cundell Day.

Because it wasn't held through a business or a Go Fund Me page, Denise says there's no way of regulating where the money ends up.

"At the end of it, how do you know? There's no paper, no accounting, no accountability, for what happens. In reality, benefits are completely uncontrolled," says Cundell Day.

When News 8 reached out to Gordie Morrow for his side of the story, he called Denise money hungry and said he would return the money to people who donated.

Mandy Lightfoot went to the fundraiser, and she says she doesn't know where the money ended up. She's friends with Drew's family and with Morrow.

"Gordie has repeatedly told me the money's going to be returned to everyone who made a donation. I have to trust that," says Lightfoot.

Denise could file a civil suit against Morrow, but she says it's not about the money.

"I'm more angry and upset they used my son's name to do this. I don't think it gets lower than that. That they stole from people who came with goodwill. The money's irrelevant at this point really," says Cundell Day.

Now she wants to alert the community who supported her, but most importantly, she wants to protect the son she can never get back.

"My message to Drew is I'm doing this to protect him because I can't protect him any other way because he's not here to protect. You protect your children your whole life, and I will protect him over my dead body over this even though he's not here anymore."

Police confirm they're not pursuing a case against Morrow. News 8 has had multiple conversations with Morrow to get his side of the story, but to this point, he has not agreed to meet in person.

Up to this point, Denise says Morrow has not returned any of the money to anyone who donated in Drew's name.

Other fundraisers were set up in Drew's name throughout the community. Other fundraisers did help pay for the family's funeral costs.

Morrow tells News 8 he has put on 21 other benefits in town. He says he has never had a problem before this.