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Edward Paul MORRIS





Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Parricide
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: December 21, 2002
Date of arrest: January 4, 2003
Date of birth: March 10, 1965
Victims profile: His seven months pregnant wife, Renee, 31, and their three children, Bryant, 10, Alexis, 8 and Jonathan, 4
Method of murder: Shooting - Stabbing with knife
Location: Tillamook State Forest, Oregon, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison on September 20, 2004
photo gallery

The Edward Morris Confession

By Jayson Jacoby - Baker City Herald

part 1 part 2 part 3

After a two-week manhunt throughout Oregon, Edward Morris -- charged with killing his wife and three children and dumping their bodies in a forest -- was captured in a drug store parking lot January 3, 2003.

Though Morris, 37, had been described as "armed and dangerous," he was arrested without incident.

The bodies of his wife, 31-year-old Renee and his three children, Bryant, 10, Alexis, 8 and Jonathan, 4, were found by hunters December 21, 2002, on an isolated road about 70 miles west of Portland, in the Tillamook State Forest.


Edward Paul Morris

On December 21, 2002, Edward Morris surprised his family with a trip to the Tillamook State Forest near the Oregon coast. He was with his seven months pregnant wife, Renee, and their three young children, ten-year-old Bryant, eight-year-old Alexis, and four-year-old Jonathan.

At a pullout on Route 6, he shot his wife and two sons, then drove to a deserted wooded area and stabbed his daughter more than a dozen times. He then fled in the family minivan. Hunters found the bodies of the slaughtered family in the snow.

Morris left the area and attempted to change his appearance by shaving his head and growing a mustache. But, on January 4, 2003, brother and sister Thomas and Linda Martin noticed Morris driving his Dodge Caravan near Baker City, Oregon. They followed him and called 9-1-1. Police arrested Morris at a drug store in Baker City shortly thereafter. Thomas and Linda Martin claimed the $50,000 reward offered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for Morris' capture.

Morris was charged with seven counts of aggravated murder, because, in Oregon, the murder of a child under fourteen years of age counts twice.

On September 20, 2004, Morris pled guilty to seven counts of aggravated murder and was subsequently sentenced to serve four consecutive life terms in prison.


Police get tip, capture Morris

By Richard Cockle, Ryan Frank and Maxine Bernstein - The Oregonian

January 5, 2003

BAKER CITY -- Two weeks into the nationwide manhunt for Edward Paul Morris, two alert motorists followed his van for 20 minutes Saturday and led police to a Baker City pharmacy where officers arrested the man charged with killing his pregnant wife and three children.

A brother and sister saw Morris, who authorities said was headed to Portland, driving westbound on Interstate 84 about 20 miles southeast of Baker City. They followed him to a Rite Aid and called 9-1-1 about 12:30 p.m.

Minutes later, Baker City police officers arrested Morris, 37, without incident as he walked out of the pharmacy, about 350 miles from snowy Tillamook State Forest, where the bodies of his wife and children were found.

"I am numb. I don't know what to say," said Morris' father, Paul Morris, speaking from his Gresham home. "I don't know what to do."

The arrest came 13 days after Morris' picture and the van's license plate number began flashing on TV screens in living rooms and barrooms from coast to coast. The publicity led to reported sightings -- most of them inaccurate -- of Morris from New Jersey to Alabama to British Columbia.

On Saturday, two siblings driving home from Idaho called police with the break they needed.

Linda Martin, 58, of North Portland, and Thom Martin, 50, of Rochester, Wash., spotted the license plate on a gray van near Durkee, southeast of Baker City. They followed the van west and watched it turn off the freeway into Baker City.

The Martins called 9-1-1 at 12:25 p.m. from a pay phone outside a Safeway store on Campbell Street in Baker City, adjacent to the Rite Aid store that Morris entered.

Police didn't want to confront Morris inside the store because they were concerned about shoppers' safety. Oregon State Police troopers and Baker County sheriff's deputies hid behind the corner of the store, waiting for Morris to walk out.

Morris surprised detectives by walking outside after only 10 minutes in the store.

Sgt. Doug Schrade and Detective John Shepherd of the Baker City Police Department pointed their guns at Morris and ordered him to the ground.

"He just complied," Schrade said. "He got down on his knees and laid down and spread. He was pretty humble."

Morris was placed in the back of a police cruiser and driven away for four hours of interviews with detectives.

Morris, who was unarmed, had recently shaved his head and was wearing wire-rimmed glasses, a mustache, a black trench coat and a black golf hat. Morris didn't appear to be carrying a bag from the store, Schrade said.

"He looked like he had a pretty freshly shaved head," said witness Kelle Osborn, 28, of Baker City. She said Morris appeared calm as he was placed in the patrol car.

"This is a fine example of the public working with law enforcement," Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson said during a news conference Saturday night.

The manhunt began the day after hunters discovered the body of Renee Morris, 31, about 8:30 a.m. Dec. 21 in the Tillamook State Forest, about 30 miles east of Tillamook. They notified authorities, who found the nearby bodies of her children: Bryant, 10, Alexis, 8, and Johnathan, 4.

The Tillamook County district attorney charged Morris with seven counts of aggravated murder Dec. 23. The FBI has a federal arrest warrant charging Morris with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

After Morris' arrest Saturday, detectives interviewed him at an undisclosed location. Anderson said Morris has been "very cooperative."

Investigators have not recovered any weapons. Detectives planned to search inside Morris' gray 1993 Dodge Caravan after a magistrate approved their request for a search warrant Saturday.

Morris spent Saturday night in the Baker County Jail. He is scheduled to be moved to the Tillamook County Jail by Monday. As is routine in homicide cases, he will be on suicide watch.

The manhunt for Morris was two days shorter than the international search for Christian Longo, who was caught in Mexico in January 2002. Like Morris, Longo is accused of killing his wife and three children in an Oregon coastal county.

Renee Morris' mother, Pat Elmore, was at the Morris home on North Syracuse Street on Saturday, clearing out some of her daughter's belongings, when a friend phoned her that they had seen the capture on the news. Renee Morris' stepfather, Keith Elmore, and family friend Tom Stubblefield joined the mother at the home.

Stubblefield described Renee's relatives as "elated," saying they had feared Edward Morris might hurt others and were glad he was found and taken into custody.

"The expressions on their face went from doom to gloom," Stubblefield said.

Just two days before Morris' arrest, investigators had few clues about where he was hiding.

"He could be anywhere in the world," Charles Mathews, who heads FBI operations in Oregon, said during a news conference.

After receiving 615 tips, detectives said they knew Morris was at his North Portland home at 9:15 p.m. Dec. 19 when he talked on the phone with a friend.

They also were certain that Morris checked into a motel in The Dalles at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 20. He paid cash and checked in under the name "Jim Elliot" without showing identification. Morris' van was last seen at the motel at 1 a.m. It was gone when a clerk checked the lot at 6 a.m.

Given the sightings, investigators think the killings occurred sometime between 10:15 p.m. Dec. 19 and 8:30 a.m. Dec. 20. The slayings happened near where the bodies were found off Drift Creek Road near Oregon 6.

The timeline would have allowed Morris to drive from North Portland to the Coast Range and from the Coast Range to The Dalles.

A flurry of callers also reported seeing Morris in Olympia, Seattle, Bellingham, Wash., and British Columbia.

But Morris told detectives Saturday that he never crossed the Oregon-Washington border. Anderson said Morris did leave the state but declined to be more specific.

The information rebutted an earlier "highly reliable" sighting that placed Morris in Edmonds, Wash., on Dec. 21. A gas station clerk said he wrote down the van's license plate number between 6 and 8 a.m.

Even two hours before Morris was arrested Saturday, a store clerk in Abbotsford, B.C., about 35 miles north of Bellingham, called police to say a man who looked like Morris bought a newspaper and left in a silver van.

"The investigator and I were quiet convinced that we had Mr. Morris," Constable Shinder Kirk of the Abbotsford Police Department said after watching a surveillance video. "If not him, his twin brother."

In Baker City, Morris' van remained parked about 25 yards from the Rite Aid Saturday night. Winds gusted to 25 mph, and rain pelted officers as they stood watch around the van.

The van still had Oregon license plate WSH-171. Anderson had said the van had a sticker that said "Promise Keepers" and a sticker that honored Beaverton-based Christian evangelist Luis Palau. But neither sticker was ever on the van, Anderson said Saturday.

"The people who were trying to help us out gave us ones that didn't exist," Anderson said. "It is what they believed or remembered was on the back."



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