Postal worker’s unsolved murder leaves widow without access to benefits

A Central Florida woman says her husband’s murder has led to a cascade of problems, with her now unable to access his pension benefits.

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Marilyn Morton reached out to Channel 9 Anchor Daralene Jones after trying to get the issue resolved for more than a year.

“I was just ten years old when I met him,” Morton said of her late husband Bernard Morton. “It’s a love for both of us, I believe...together for 48 years.”

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For more than 30 years, Bernard Morton worked for the federal government, most of that time with the U.S. Postal Service until 2012 when he retired with full benefits.

“He paid into it all his life into retirement,” Morton said. “I definitely think if anything happened to him, you know, his family would be taken care of.”

However, just after Christmas in 2021, Bernard’s body was found in Lake Monroe.

Initially, Seminole County investigators worked the case as a possible suicide, but in the weeks that followed, it became a possible murder investigation due to evidence discovered by the Medical Examiner, prompting investigators to send Morton’s body to the University of Florida’s Anthropology Department for further examination.

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“It’s hard because I feel like, at the beginning, I didn’t have a chance to mourn him,” Morton said. “Then we had to do a cremation, so we really didn’t have a funeral...we had a memorial.”

Last year, Marilyn received a letter from the Postal Service’s Office of Personnel Management, offering sympathy for her loss and notification that the office had requested information regarding the status of the investigation into Bernard’s death to determine continued entitlement of benefits.

Because the case is ongoing and active, the letter states, the agency is unable to process her application to determine continued eligibility until confirmation is received on who was charged with, or otherwise implicated in, the homicide.

Put simply, Marilyn was left with no money as long as the case has no suspects.

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“And I don’t know what to do from here,” Morton said. “I’ve complied with everything they asked me for.”

According to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, an investigator on Bernard’s case has tried to assist Marilyn in her fight.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office would only say the case remains an open homicide investigation, and there have been no suspects named in the case, which could be active for months or even years.

When asked what her biggest fear is at this point, Morton said it’s the possibility of losing her home.

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