A man named Darcy L. Morris, who also goes by the nickname “Bookie,” figures prominently in the first three episodes of Discovery+’s new true-crime docuseries Relentless, about the disappearance of Hannibal, Missouri native Christina Whittaker. So… who is he? Let us explain.
The new six-part docuseries about the bizarre missing-persons case that takes place in the town famous for being the birthplace of Mark Twain premiered Monday on Discovery+. It chronicles director Christina Fontana’s 11-year investigation into the disappearance of a young woman named Christina Whittaker. She went missing on November 13, 2009, when she was 21 years old, leaving behind a six-month-old daughter.
The story of Whittaker’s disappearance is so bizarre that there are far more theories as to what happened to her than there is room to detail in one story. For every theory about what happened to her, there are countless more branching off in all different directions, ranging from kidnapping to murder to human trafficking to cover-ups. The doc even considers the idea that she was never missing at all, and has actually been living in Illinois all this time.
Unfortunately, there is no physical evidence to support any of those theories — in fact, the doc explains that the only piece of physical evidence that exists from the night Whittaker went missing is her cell phone, which was given to the police by a now-deceased Hannibal resident named Danny Baker. Baker said he found it lying in the street, not far from the Sportsman’s bar, where she was last seen.
One of the other men who figures most prominently in Relentless is Darcy “Bookie” Morris.
As the documentary explains, Whittaker’s mother, Cindy Young, has expressed suspicion that Morris may have had something to do with what happened to her daughter — which Morris denies. In the docuseries, Fontana and private investigators investigate theories that Whittaker got in the car with him the night she disappeared, and that he kidnapped her and drove her to Peoria, Illinois against her will; that he held her in a basement and then sold her into human trafficking; and that he murdered her and disposed of her body on a hog farm.
In an interview Fontana conducted with Morris in prison in Relentless, he strongly denied any involvement in Whittaker’s disappearance and stated that he never knew her.
Today, Morris is 44 years old. He’s currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for first-degree murder — but not of Whittaker. Instead, he’s behind bars for the murder of John Dunnigan, according to the the Peoria Journal Star.
Morris pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Dunnigan, who was trying to break up a fight in 2013 when he was beaten with a two-by-four, the newspaper said. Dunnigan was in intensive care for days, then discharged to a nursing home, and died about two months later, the Peoria Journal Star added.
The paper also said that under Illinois state law, Morris must serve his full sentence minus time served while awaiting trial.
The first three episodes of Relentless, produced for Discovery+ by Blumhouse in association with Stick Figure Entertainment, premiered Monday on Discovery+, with subsequent episodes dropping each Monday.
Main Image: Darcy “Bookie” Morris pictured in Relentless via Discovery+