Former neighbor horrified, but not surprised by East Providence murder

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A former neighbor of Dr. Clive Bridgham was horrified to learn of the former chiropractor’s murder, but said he also feels bad for the man charged with killing him.

Investigators have yet to comment on a possible motive for Bridgham’s murder but did confirm the suspect, Owen Morris, was a former patient of Bridgham’s and made a complaint against him based on an incident from 2016.

Morris, who was 19 at the time, accused Bridgham of “violating the professional boundaries of the chiropractic physician-patient relationship.” Bridgham surrendered his chiropractic license as a result in late 2017.

Morris, now 21, was arrested Monday in connection with Bridgham’s death. The descendant of the prominent Bridgham family was found dead inside his East Providence home earlier this month.

Morris was arraigned Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge and ordered held without bail. Court documents obtained by Eyewitness News stated he “needs a mental health advocate” and “medical attention.”

The documents also revealed police dug into Bridgham’s past as part of their investigation, looking for health department records including complaints made against the doctor.

One of Bridgham’s former Pleasant Street neighbors on Wednesday told Eyewitness News he had to move away because his relationship with Bridgham was so strained. The man, who declined to be identified, said he felt Bridgham was a danger to children and young adults and even though he was shocked to hear of his murder, said it didn’t come as a surprise to him.

In a police report from 1999, a neighbor told East Providence Police that Bridgham had sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy, but the boy’s family had declined to pursue charges.

Another Department of Health complaint against Bridgham from 2003 accused him of having a sexual encounter with a patient, according to a consent order.

East Providence Police Chief Christopher Parella said Tuesday that everything police looked at, which would include complaints they obtained, contributed to Morris’ arrest.

Eyewitness News contacted the R.I. Department of Health to find out if there were other formal complaints made against Bridgham, but a spokesperson said the agency cannot comment on specifics of complaints nor say how many complaints were filed.