Detective Possell in a private investagator working on cases
in Yoknapatawpha County.
February 17, 2010
Well gang, I've spent a good bit of time tracking down
information y'all have asked for. The simplest thing is probably to
just tell you what I found out and you can draw your own conclusions.
After a whole lot of searching, I finally located Paulette
Milstrom, Devlin's former fiancée. Her married name is Paulette
Reed and she and her husband, Professor Winston Reed, are currently
living in Vienna, Austria. Professor Reed is in his third year of a
five-year sabbatical from the University of Chicago to teach and
research a book at the University of Vienna. Before going to Austria,
Professor Reed had been on the faculty at the University of Chicago for
15 years, where he is a tenured professor in European History. He
teaches the same type of courses at University of Vienna. I finally got
Mrs. Reed on the phone and she told me she hadn't seen or spoken to
Devlin since their break up in 1993. She sounded sad when I told her
Devlin was dead and seemed pretty horrified when I told her how it had
happened. She said she and her husband have not been back to the States
since moving to Austria in 2007. So far, I haven't found any travel
records to contradict that.
Somebody wanted me to find out how Devlin spent his last 48
hours. Well, it took some doing, but I think I've got a pretty good
handle on it. Here's what I was able to find out.
On Friday, January 1st, Devlin started off the day with his
usual morning run around 6:15 a.m. He went over to Home Plate around
8:00 that morning and stayed there until about 2:00 p.m. when he went
home for a while. I don't know for sure what he was doing at home that
afternoon, but he was probably making phone calls, maybe taking a
siesta, things like that. Whatever he did, he was back at Home Plate
around 5:00 p.m. and he worked all through dinner. He left the
restaurant around 11:00 p.m. and headed over to City Grocery for a
drink after work to wind down. The bartender said Devlin didn't stay
too long. He left for home around midnight. I couldn't find any
indications that he had any visitors or that he left home again until
the next morning.
On Saturday, January 2nd, Devlin took his morning run around
6:00 a.m. John Jackson came over to pick up the baseball gear around
8:00, and then Devlin left for Home Plate around 8:15. He left the
restaurant around 3:00 p.m. and went over to Figgy's, where he met
Jordan Rodale for a late lunch. Devlin got back to Home Plate around
5:00 p.m. and we all pretty much know what happened after that. He left
Home Plate around 10:00 p.m., got home about 10:15, a woman came over
about 10:25, John Jackson returned the baseball gear as late as 10:30,
and the woman visitor was seen leaving around 10:45. What happened
after that is anybody's guess right now.
The Cleaning Crew
I caught up with Marisa Lewis and Anita Ruiz from Dixie
Darlins Cleaning Service on their lunch break Friday. I agreed to buy
them lunch and they agreed to talk to me about Devlin. I asked how long
they'd been cleaning Devlin's house. They weren't sure how long Dixie
Darlins had been working for him, but they'd been assigned to him since
April 2009. They'd cleaned his house every other Wednesday since then.
They said Devlin usually was there to let them in, but didn't stay
while they cleaned. He generally left for work after they arrived and
they locked up when they left.
I asked them if anyone else was ever at Devlin's house when
they got there and they said at the beginning sometimes there was a
woman, who left with Devlin when he went to work. But they never saw
her at Devlin's house after sometime around the end of the summer. The
few things she kept at Devlin's house disappeared around the same time.
I showed them pictures of Kat Dixon, Mickie Webster, Emma Gower and
Millie Hodges. They picked out Mickie Webster as the woman they'd seen
at Devlin's house. I asked if they'd ever seen any other women or
indications of other visitors at Devlin's house, but they didn't
remember any. They told me they hadn't seen any signs of overnight
guests in the last few months.
I asked if Devlin ever gave them any special instructions
about cleaning. They said, in the last six weeks or so before his
death, he'd been very protective of his study. He'd made a point of
asking them not to disturb any incoming faxes or any papers on or in
his desk. Marisa told me that one time in December she'd accidentally
knocked some papers off his desk on to the floor. She'd picked them up
and put them back on the desk, but apparently he was pretty upset when
he saw they'd been moved. He'd even called the Dixie Darlins office to
complain, which he'd never done before, about anything.
I asked if they'd ever noticed anything else unusual, but they
couldn't think of anything. They did confirm that they'd last cleaned
Devlin's house on December 30, 2009. They said that, even though he'd
a little strange recently, they would miss him and thought his death
was very tragic.
I went out and talked with Devlin's neighbors on Saturday
afternoon, February 5. Since it was the weekend, most of them were home.
I talked first to Mrs. Oxbow. I reminded her that she'd told
the police she saw Devlin return home at 10:15 p.m. on the night of the
murder. I asked her if she was certain about the time. She indicated
that 10:15 was an estimate but it could have been a few minutes earlier
or later. I told her about John Jackson saying he'd gone to Devlin's
house around the same time and asked if she remembered seeing him. She
said she didn't, but that she got a telephone call from her
daughter-in-law, Frances, right after Devlin got home. Mrs. Oxbow said
they talked for about 15 minutes and she could have been talking to
Frances when Jackson went to Devlin's.
I asked her why she noticed the young woman arrive around
10:25, if she was still on the phone at that time. She said when she
heard the car drive up in front of Ms. Gower's house and stop, she went
to the window to see who it was. She saw the young woman get out of the
car, walk down the street past her house, and approach Devlin's house.
Mrs. Oxbow told me she thought it was strange that the woman parked so
far away from Devlin's house, so when she got off the phone around
10:30, she went outside to get a closer look at the car. Apparently
Mrs. Oxbow takes her position as Block Captain of the Neighborhood
Watch very seriously. She said she walked down her front lawn a little
ways to get what she could of the license plate, but she didn't want to
go all the way out to the street because she didn't want Devlin or the
woman to see her out his front windows. While she was outside getting
the tag number, she heard Devlin and the woman visitor arguing. I asked
Mrs. Oxbow if she noticed what the woman was wearing and she thought
the woman might have had on a red shirt and dark pants, but couldn't
say for sure or give any more detail than that.
Next, I went across the street and talked to Emma Gower. I
asked her if she was positive she never saw a car parked in front of
her house the night Devlin was murdered. She repeated her story that
she was watching movies in the den on the back side of her house and
didn't see anything that happened out on the street. I didn't think she
was telling me everything, so I pushed her a little more to see if I
could knock something loose. Finally, she admitted what she hadn't told
the police for obvious reasons - she smoked "a joint or two" that night
while she was watching videos, and she really didn't get up off the
couch for hours because she was so "relaxed." My instinct says she had
finally told the whole truth.
I asked her if she and Devlin were friends, since it didn't
seem like she was very upset about his death. She told me they only
knew each other to wave and say 'hey' across the street. And even
though she and Devlin weren't close, she still thought it was pretty
upsetting that a murder happened so close her house. She said she
didn't feel quite as safe in her neighborhood as she once did, but she
didn't believe her life in particular was in danger.
Mr. Newton wasn't at home and I didn't have any questions for
Mr. Shaw, so I went on over to John Jackson's house to talk to him.
I know Jack from seeing him around town at the Grocery, Proud
Larry's, Murff's, the Jubilee Lounge and other places where people hang
out. When I started across the street to his house, he was just driving
in from a pick up softball game at park. I told him I wanted to talk
about Devlin and he invited me in for a beer. I asked him if he was
sure about the time he went over to Devlin's to return the sports
equipment that night. He told me he thought it was around 10:15, but he
couldn't be positive. It could have been as late as 10:30. I wanted to
know why he brought the equipment back so late at night and he said
when he'd borrowed the baseball stuff earlier that day, Devlin had
asked him to return it as soon as he was finished with it. Jack noticed
Devlin's lights were still on when he got home that night so, after he
went in his own house to "freshen up," he walked over to Devlin's front
door to give him the equipment back. I asked if he remembered what was
in the bag and he thought there were some mitts and balls, a bat, and
maybe some other small stuff at the bottom.
I asked him if he'd noticed anything unusual when he went over
the Devlin's house. Jack told me it was a little strange because most
times he dropped by, Devlin would invite him in for a beer. But that
night, Devlin didn't look very happy when he opened the door and he
sort of used his body to block Jack from entering or even really seeing
in. When Jack heard the woman laugh, he said she didn't sound like she
was having a very good time. Jack described it as a bitter kind of
laugh. He decided Devlin must have been in the middle of something and
just gave him the equipment bag and went back home. I asked if he'd
recognized the woman's laugh, but he didn't.
I reminded Jack that some of the other neighbors mentioned
seeing a dark-colored foreign sedan parked in front of Ms. Gower's
house that night. I asked him why he hadn't seen it. He asked me where
exactly the car was and we walked out in front of his house so I could
show him roughly where we thought it had been parked. He pointed out
that we'd had to come all the way out to the street to see the spot and
told me he'd just walked through his and Devlin's front yards that
night to get to Devlin's front door that night. Before I left, I asked
if he'd noticed anything unusual going on over at Devlin's house
lately, but he hadn't. He said Devlin might have been spending more
time at home than he had in the past, but he didn't think that really
qualified as strange.
I think we're on the verge of making a breakthrough in this
case, folks. There's still a lot of information to sift through, but if
we can just get the right pieces lined up in the right way, I think
we'll be able to close in on a real suspect. Keep the tips coming.
We're getting close. I can feel it.