COLUMBIA — When Morgan Myers' father brought home mice to feed his pet snake, she protested.
She couldn’t bear the thought of them becoming food and decided to adopt them as her own. That's how strong her attachment to animals was.
"She was always finding an animal that was loose or something," her grandmother, Helen Enger, said. "She was a mother hen with these animals."
Morgan LeAnn Myers died Thursday, April 3, 2014. She was 16. Police found her body in a room at Providence Suites motel, and an investigation into the cause of her death is continuing.
She was born Aug. 20, 1997, in Columbia to Rocky and Alta Myers.
When the family lived in Columbia, she attended Jefferson Middle School and an alternative education program.
When Morgan and her family moved from Moberly to Columbia nearly two years ago, Morgan entered a period of turmoil. Some friends she made in Columbia changed the way she behaved, Enger said. Her grandmother said Morgan was mixed up in the wrong crowd.
But this is not the Morgan her relatives remember. The Morgan they remember had a passion for animals and dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. She was naturally gifted in gymnastics. She was a nurturer and a kind friend. She had the energy of four people combined in one person, they said.
"She was just so happy go lucky," Enger said. "She loved life. She loved gymnastics. She loved her animals."
Morgan immediately bonded with the rabbit that Enger and her partner, Mel Casteel, got her for her birthday. When she would play with the rabbit outside, it would hop around but never run away.
The animal she loved the most, though, was her miniature chihuahua, Peanut.
"Peanut was a part of her," Rocky Myers said. Everywhere Morgan went, Peanut followed.
Morgan was vivacious and loved life. Beyond her love for animals, she had a natural gift for teaching herself, her parents said.
She learned gymnastics moves and mastered them without a coach. She could perform back handsprings and flips. Even a hurt wrist couldn’t stop her.
Enger said she asked Morgan how she could do gymnastics the way she did, and Morgan said, "It’s nothing."
Morgan taught herself how to ride horses too.
"She was amazing in everything she attempted to do," Alta Myers said.
Morgan's family said she also loved the outdoors and camping when she was growing up. She was skilled at card games and enjoyed riding on the back of her father's motorcycle.
Morgan is survived by her parents, Rocky and Alta Myers; two sisters, Keilonna Simpson and Sierra Myers; one brother, Gage Myers; and her grandmother, Helen Enger, and her partner, Mel Casteel.
A service will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Stephens Lake Park, 2001 E. Broadway.
Memorial contributions can be made to the family at 861 N. East Park Lane, Columbia, MO 65201.
Condolences can be posted at heartlandcremation.com.