By MIKE FERGUSON
Of the Baker City Herald
Tillamook County Sheriff Todd Anderson said that the capture of accused killer Edward Morris Saturday in Baker City came about because of two reasons: the determination of the brother-and-sister team who called police after spotting Morris' van on I-84 near Durkee, and the cooperation of the media in putting out information about the case.
andquot;This case would not have come to a close had it not been for the public involvement and the media, who put out his description,andquot; he said during a press conference Saturday night at the Sunridge Inn.
Morris was not carrying a weapon upon his arrest, Anderson said. Authorities left the van parked under guard in the Rite Aid parking lot until Sunday, when it was taken to the State Crime Lab in Ontario.
Morris' arrest came shortly after a pair of motorists, siblings Linda and Thom Martin, phoned the Consolidated Dispatch Office in Baker City. He was arrested without incident upon leaving Rite Aid, Baker County District Attorney Matt Shirtcliff said.
Morris, who sported a shaved head but otherwise appeared very much like the photographs that have been circulated the past two weeks, was moved from an undisclosed location in Baker City to the Baker County Jail at about 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Shirtcliff said. Law enforcement authorities in Tillamook County and the FBI flew him to Tillamook County Sunday.
Morris has been charged with seven counts of aggravated murder. Anderson could not say if prosecutors would seek the death penalty. He was scheduled for arraignment Tuesday.
Anderson said it was andquot;standard practiceandquot; for a prisoner suspected of multiple homicides to be under suicide watch at the jail.
Morris has been andquot;cooperativeandquot; during his interrogation, Anderson said, but the sheriff declined to release any information about what Morris has told police.
There are no more suspects in the case, Anderson said.
andquot;I feel relief for law enforcement, and relief for Renee Morris' mother and stepfather,andquot; he said. andquot;This is a safer place now that he's in custody.andquot;
More than 615 tips have been received since the bodies of Morris' wife and children were found in the Tillamook State Forest Dec. 21, Anderson said. Possible sightings placed Morris in The Dalles; Edmonds, Wash., and British Columbia, but Anderson said Saturday that only The Dalles sighting had been verified.
The sheriff said it would be up to the FBI whether the Martins would receive the $50,000 reward.