Morales's parents were junkies, which passed on to him as he grew older. He also racked up a record for small crimes like shoplifting and loitering. Eventually, he was taken in by a religious practitioner named Julio Ruiz, who pitied him and shaped his morals, eventually making him his assistant in his rituals. Ruiz became a father figure to Morales, but their relationship became strained when Ruiz complained against him for assault on December 19, 2010. This resulted in Morales being incarcerated in juvenile hall for a month despite Ruiz dropping the charges. Due to the incident, Morales became angry with Ruiz and both of his parents for ruining his life. In need of another father figure, he became close to a college professor named Hollis Walker, who gave him a religious idol under the pretense of training him to become a religious practitioner. However, Hollis actually planned to frame Morales for a series of ritualistic murders he was committing in order to gain attention for a book he was writing on indigenous African religions.
Morales was first seen assisting Ruiz during a healing ritual on a woman that is witnessed by Reid and Morgan. The two agents then ask Ruiz to come with him, which he agrees to do, but not before putting Morales in charge of the ritual. Later on, the BAU do a search of Ruiz's home and also search Morales's room, where they find a bloody shoe, religious items, and a stash of heroin, pointing to him as the killer. Morales returns home and sees the agents; believing they are here for the drugs, he quickly flees and successfully escapes them. He then apparently goes to Hollis, who subdues him and gives him a heroin overdose to give the impression that he was high at the time of the killings and eventually died after inducing the overdose. However, this plan was disrupted when Ruiz stumbles upon the scene in search of Morales, and Hollis is forced to subdue him as well. The two are rescued by Reid when he deduces their location, and Morales was likely resuscitated in time.