Investigators chase lead in Kelly Morris case

September 26, 2008 7:08:01 PM PDT
Eyewitness News has learned investigators called in a special K9 unit on Friday in their search for a missing Granville County mother.

Investigators said the three-week search for Kelly Currin Morris now extends beyond a 10-mile radius. On Friday, law enforcement focused on a wooded area with farms and ponds near Hawley School Road and Brassfield Road.

Investigators said they were following up on several leads in the case and dismissed community rumors they had located Kelly Currin Morris.

Meanwhile, volunteers are hanging purple ribbons throughout Granville County to remind the public a beloved mother is still missing.

It's been three weeks since family and friends have heard from Kelly Currin Morris. The mother of two went missing September 4, the same day her home mysteriously caught fire off Tump Wilkins Road in Stem. Her vehicle was discovered less than a mile from her home with her purse, keys and cell phone locked inside.

With the help of the SBI, the Granville County Sheriff's Department remains focused on the fire that destroyed Morris' home in Stem. Investigators said it was arson. They've named Kelly's husband as a 'person of interest' in the fire and his wife's disappearance. According to search warrants, William Scott Morris is the focus of a criminal investigation.

Two search warrants in the case remain sealed. But, a third warrant served this week said Scott Morris was the last to see his wife alive on Wednesday, September 3. The warrant suggests he has given investigators conflicting statements about his wife's whereabouts and what he was doing the after her disappearance.

In an interview, he said his wife went looking for their lost dog around 9:30 p.m. while he showered and then went to bed.

But, phone records show Scott called his father at 9:45 p.m., asking him watch the couple's children while he went to search for Kelly. Scott believed Kelly was cheating on him, according to an affidavit.

When his father arrived, Scott left in a green 1996 Toyota pickup truck. Investigators have since seized the vehicle and removed fibers as well as a twig from the truck as part of their investigation.

Scott's statements about his whereabouts in the hours before the couple's home caught fire conflict with other witness interviews and surveillance video at a local restaurant.

According to the warrant, Kelly's oldest daughter recalls he was awaken by an early morning phone call from another tow truck driver that wanted to meet at Scott's storage lot on the morning of September 4. But, the driver told investigators it was Scott who phoned him to postpone the previously planned meeting by two hours.

During that time, Scott said he stopped by the BP Station on Main Street in Creedmoor where he worked before taking his daughters to school. He met the driver at the storage lot around 8 a.m. Video surveillance at the storage lot confirmed their meeting.

Scott also told investigators he went directly to a Hardee's restaurant in Butner and then returned to his job in Creedmoor, taking Highway 56 to Main Street. But, surveillance images show he arrived at the restaurant nearly an hour after leaving the storage lot. When he left the Hardee's parking lot at 9:15 a.m., he turned in the opposite direction that he told investigators he had traveled, according to the warrant.

Two hours later, the home he shared with his wife, daughter and stepdaughter was engulfed in flames. The children have told investigators their dogs were locked inside their crates before they left for school. But, investigators said when firefighters arrived at the scene, the dogs were outside.

Multiple interviews with Kelly's friends and family suggest the couple had a difficult marriage that often turned violent. According to the warrant, Scott had "punched holes in the wall during arguments and once threw a computer out of a window."

Wanda Hollis, Kelly's mother, told Eyewitness News that her daughter had planned to divorce her husband and had sought the help of an attorney. She was starting a new job in Raleigh on the same day she disappeared. Her hope was to save enough money to leave the marriage peacefully, said Hollis.

"She was very miserable in her marriage and so was he," said Hollis, refuting claims Kelly had an affair. "It's been a real tough year. She would call me crying. I would calm her down and she would say,'Mama, I just feel like I'm losing it.'"

Despite the rain, Morris' relatives said they will continue their search efforts over the weekend. Volunteers are selling t-shirts that read: Team Kelly Currin Morris, Keep Hope Alive. The shirts are an effort to raise awareness and money for the search.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Granville County Sheriff's Department.


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