Providence Inn and Suites Owner Operated Motel Without a License

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department, Columbia Police, and the Columbia Health Department did an inspection at the Providence Inn and Suites motel Friday.

Andrea Waner, Public Information Officer for the Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Human Services, said the inspection is required by the state when someone is applying for a lodging license.

"It is a top to bottom inspection," Waner said. "We are looking at absolutely everything."

The Columbia Fire Department found seven violations. The violations included lack of, or broken, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and electrical problems.

"There were a number of rooms that had missing or faulty smoke alarms," Battalion Chief Brad Fraizer said. "The fire alarm system needed to be reinspected there is an annual inspection required for fire alarms. There were a couple of minor issues like outlet covers that needed to be put on there was a hole in the ceiling in one area that needs to be corrected."

The motel officially closed Thursday, May 1. The announcement to close came after 16-year-old Morgan Myers was found dead in a guest room at the motel on April 3.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Jacobs said his offices is pursuing legal action against Keith Owens, the current motel owner. It started in July 2013. Below is a timeline of the process.


  • July 22, 2013: The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services sent a letter to The Providence Inn and Suites Motel advising it of the requirements to be licensed.
  • Oct. 1, 2013: The Department determined the motel was operating without a license.
  • Feb. 25, 2014: The probable cause statement was notarized by Stacey Kempker.
  • March 28, 2014: This is when the letter was dated by the health department and sent to Jacobs' office.
  • April 2, 2014: The letter was received by Jacobs.
  • April 14, 2014: Information and probable cause statement was filed, and Owens court date was set.


Owens has been criminally charged with a misdemeanor for operating lodging without a license.

According to the 911 call center, there were 358 emergency calls made to the motel in 2013.

When KOMU 8 News went to the motel to get a comment Nicole Johnson, the motel clerk, said Owens was on the property, but would probably not give us a comment. KOMU 8 News has been trying to reach Owens for a month.

Johnson claimed she did not know anything about Owens operating the motel without a license.

Jacobs said Sabrina Bennett is serving as the legal counsel for the Department of Health, but was not available for comment.

Owens' arraignment is scheduled for May 15 at the Boone County Courthouse.