'20-20' to spotlight controversial Bradenton Beach death

rdymond@bradenton.comOctober 17, 2013 

TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/ttompkins@bradenton.com Sheena Morris' mother, Kelly Osborn, is not convinced that her daughter's death in a Bradenton Beach resort was a suicide. She remains convinced that her daughter died as a result of a homicide, and continues to gather evidence.

TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE

MANATEE — ABC-TV’s “20-20” flew Tampa’s Kelly Osborn to New York last summer to interview her about her daughter, Sheena Morris. The TV news magazine also brought a film crew to Bradenton Beach, the site of her daughter’s death on New Year’s Day 2009.

The result is an hour-long episode airing at 10 p.m. Friday devoted completely to Morris.

“They didn’t exactly do an investigation,” Osborn said Thursday. “What their story is about is how a mother had to do the footwork. In those prior years, I had to work the investigation. I had to get the case going.”

Osborn, who has invited family and close friends to her Tampa home Friday to watch the show, which she has not yet seen, said she knows it will be extremely hard to watch.

“I have a feeling it will be pretty difficult,” Osborn said. “I was told by the producer it may be tough watching for some people.”

Morris was 22 when she was found by Bradenton Beach police officers hanging in the shower of a Bradenton Beach motel room.

Osborn said she immediately did not believe her daughter had committed suicide, which was the manner of death concluded by the Bradenton Beach Police Department.

Due to her efforts to get the case before the public, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement stepped in to look at the case.

“Right now, the prosecutor is still going through numerous files and reports that the FDLE has provided to the State Attorney’s Office. They have had the investigation now for just over a year. We are patiently waiting. We don’t want to rush things.”

Osborn confirmed Thursday her daughter’s former fiance, Joe Genoese, was in the episode of “20-20.” Osborn said Genoese failed a lie detector test concerning Sheena Morris’ death on an episode of “Dr. Phil.” Osborn also said Bradenton Beach Police Chief Sam Speciale was not interviewed by “20-20,” but not by his choice.

“From my understanding, he wanted to but was informed by the FDLE not to,” Osborn said. “I don’t believe the Bradenton Beach Police Department has anything more to do with the case.”

A call to Speciale Thursday night did not go through due to a filled answering queue.

rd Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond.

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