Richland man's body found on Calif. freeway off-ramp

Richland man's body found on Calif. freeway off-ramp

RICHLAND. Wash. -- Police haven't said how a Richland man died after his body was found alongside a busy freeway near Los Angeles. Lee Morris was a pilot for Alaska Airlines and had been on a work trip to Burbank when he was found last night.

KEPR  spoke to Lee's neighbor in Meadow Springs who says he was a good man. Lucia Hefter says, "It's shocking. He's from here. He's local."

Lee Morris lived with his fiancée at this home along the Meadow Springs Golf Course. It was fitting for a man described as an avid golfer, and caring grandpa. No one expected his routine trip as a Captain for Alaska Airlines would end so horribly.  Morris's body was found along I-5 in Burbank. California Police say no foul play is suspected, but also call his death suspicious. They say he was not hit by a car, and his wallet was not stolen. Los Angeles media also report he had no obvious injuries like gunshots or stab wounds and that he was considered to be in good health.

A rare tragedy for this neighborhood in south Richland and neighbors I talked to had nothing but nice things to say about Morris.

"He's just a really nice guy. He was willing to help anybody. It's very sad. I feel sad for his family," Lucia says.

55 year old Morris checked into the Alaska crew's hotel on Monday morning. When he didn't show up for his next flight the next day, the airline contacted police. Ten hours later, Morris's body was found a couple miles from the hotel along an I-5 off-ramp.

Lucia responds, "It's a scary feeling because you don't know.. you don't know what people are capable of."

A cause of death has not been announced.

She continues, "Any family would like to know what happened to their loved one, but even if you don't know them, you wanna know what happened to them. It's just concerning."

Alaska Airlines released this statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Captain Morris, who was a highly respected pilot and 26-year veteran at Alaska. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lee's fiancée and other loved ones. He will be greatly missed by his fellow pilots and all employees at Alaska."

 -- Gary Beck, Alaska Airlines vice president of flight operations

"It's a very sad story," Lucia sighs.

Morris left behind family including a fiancee and grandchildren. The LA Times reports an autopsy is expected to be performed tomorrow.