WARREN, R.I. (WPRI) — Police logs obtained by Eyewitness News reveal authorities were called to murder suspect Owen Morris’ Warren home multiple times in the months and years leading up to Clive Bridgham’s murder, including the day after Bridgham’s body was found.
Morris, 21, faces a first degree murder charge after Bridgham, a 67-year-old former Barrington chiropractor, was found stabbed to death inside his East Providence home. Morris was a former patient of Bridgham’s. The doctor relinquished his license to practice late last year, after Morris filed a formal complaint that Bridgham had violated their patient-doctor relationship.
According to police logs, Morris’ mother reached out to authorities on Jan. 12, the day after Bridgham’s body was discovered, to report her son’s “altered mental status.” The log shows Morris was taken to the hospital.
A search warrant was executed at the Morris home the following Wednesday, according to the log. Police arrested Morris less than a week later.
An Eyewitness News review of police logs dating back to 2013 discovered the Morris family made multiple visits or calls to police to report their son’s “emotional problems” or “altered mental states.”
In January 2015, police were called to the home for a reported “emotional problem,” and a rescue transported someone from the home to the hospital, though the log doesn’t identify who. The next month police were called to investigate a bone found in the Morris’ basement, but police tell Eyewitness News it was determined to be an animal bone.
In March of 2015, police again responded to the home on Cole Street. This time Morris’ mother reported her son had an “altered mental status.” Police say he was taken to the hospital.
There were no similar calls made to the home again until a Friday in December 2017, when the log shows a “walk-in wishing to speak with an officer regarding his son.” The log shows Morris and his father returned to speak with an officer and Morris made an appointment to see someone at East Bay Mental Health that Monday. The log notes, “male at the time is not a threat to harm himself.”
The next police response to the home came the day after Bridgham was found dead.
Reached by phone Thursday, Morris’ attorney, Jason Knight, said the family is still processing what happened.
“The family, they are doing what they need to do to help their son and get their heads around this event,” Knight said.
Police found Bridgham stabbed multiple times inside his Pleasant Street home after a call for a well-being check. East Providence Police Chief Christopher Parella called the murder “particularly brutal,” saying the doctor had been stabbed multiple times.
Just months before his death, the Barrington doctor agreed to relinquish his license following Morris’ complaint. That order was accepted by the Department of Health on Nov. 1. The alleged encounter between Morris and Bridgham happened when Morris was 19.
Bridgham’s license had previously been put on probation in 2003 after he was accused of having a sexual encounter with a patient, according to a consent order.
A former neighbor tells Eyewitness News they believed Bridgham was a danger to children and young adults. In a police report from 1999, a neighbor accused Bridgham of being a “pedophile,” claiming he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy whom the neighbor had sent to mow Bridgham’s lawn. The neighbor told police the boy’s family had declined to pursue charges.
Morris had attended The Wheeler School in Providence and withdrew from the University of Rhode Island in September, around the same time Bridgham was relinquishing his license to practice. A URI spokesperson said Morris was an economics major who was on the Dean’s List and lacrosse team, but took a leave of absence in the spring of 2017 before withdrawing entirely in the fall.
Morris is being held without bail on a first degree murder charge. Police have not yet released a motive.