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Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 3:08 p.m.

Bonnie Daniels, victim's mother

Following lengthy negotiations with Geoffrey Frye, the Daniels family attorney, investigators were able to arrange another interview with Bonnie Daniels.

Because of her husband's poor health, Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed interviewed Mrs. Daniels at her residence in the presence of her attorney. The interview was recorded with the witness's and her attorney's knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Bonnie Daniels
  • Geoffrey Frye

Detective Murphy: Thank you for talking with us, Mrs. Daniels.

Bonnie Daniels: How is my husband? You didn't get him all worked up, did you? He can't take that.

Detective Murphy: He's fine, ma'am.

Bonnie Daniels: I need to go check on him.

Detective Murphy: As soon as we're finished talking, you can do that.

Bonnie Daniels: I think I should go now. I'll be right back.

Detective Armstrong: Ma'am—

Geoffrey Frye: Bonnie, he's fine. Really. Let's take care of this, and then you can see to him.

Bonnie Daniels: All right, if you say so.

Detective Murphy: For the record, Mrs. Daniels, would you state your name, age and address?

Bonnie Daniels: Bonnie Daniels. 1305 Mesquite Drive in Tara Estates. Oh, I'm 51.

Detective Murphy: Thank you. Now, the last time we spoke—

Bonnie Daniels: I apologize for interrupting you, but there's something I think you need to know.

Geoffrey Frye: Bonnie.

Bonnie Daniels: No, it's all right. They need to know, and I should have told them before.

Geoffrey Frye: OK.

Detective Murphy: What is it, Mrs. Daniels?

Bonnie Daniels: I… I'm the one who sent Laurie the money to come home.

Detective Armstrong: Is that right?

Bonnie Daniels: I should have told you before, I know. I just…

Detective Murphy: Why didn't you tell us before?

Bonnie Daniels: I don't know. I was just so upset and I… I think I felt guilty.

Detective Armstrong: What do you have to feel guilty about?

Bonnie Daniels: Isn't it obvious? If I hadn't sent her the money, she probably wouldn't have been able to get here, and she'd be alive today. It's my fault she's dead.

Geoffrey Frye: Now, Bonnie, Laurie was a resourceful young woman. She would have found a way to get home, if you hadn't been able to help her.

Detective Murphy: When did you send the money to Laurie?

Bonnie Daniels: I think it was March 21st or 22nd, right after I talked to her.

Detective Murphy: This is the time you told us about before, when you spoke to her and she was in Pittsburgh?

Bonnie Daniels: Yes.

Detective Murphy: So you spoke to her. She called you or you called her?

Bonnie Daniels: She called me.

Detective Murphy: So she called you, asked you to send her money so she could come home, and you sent her the money?

Bonnie Daniels: She didn't ask me to send it. She demanded I send it. But, yes, I did send her money.

Detective Murphy: How much did you send her?

Bonnie Daniels: $500.00.

Detective Murphy: And when did you next speak to her?

Bonnie Daniels: I didn't.

Detective Murphy: She didn't call to let you know she'd gotten the money?

Bonnie Daniels: No.

Detective Murphy: She didn't let you know her travel plans?

Bonnie Daniels: No.

Detective Murphy: Did you think that was strange?

Bonnie Daniels: I don't know. Yes and no. She was so adamant about coming home, and she even said she wanted to see us, which surprised me. I was happy, of course, but I was surprised because she'd shunned us for so long. But at the same time, she was so angry, and I couldn't understand why. When I didn't hear from her again, I thought— I don't know.

Detective Murphy: What did you think?

Bonnie Daniels: It's… it's not a nice thing to say about your own daughter, but I wondered if maybe she'd tricked me. Maybe she just wanted money and— I told you. It's not a nice thing to say about your daughter and I don't like saying it, but after a week went by and I still hadn't heard from her, I started to think maybe I had to face the fact that she wasn't the girl I knew anymore.

Detective Armstrong: But then you did hear from her.

Bonnie Daniels: What? No, I didn't.

Detective Armstrong: This isn't a game, ma'am. Don't lie to us. It will only hurt you.

Bonnie Daniels: What are you talking about?

Detective Armstrong: We know she called you. Collect. In the middle of the night. After she was already in town. We know that for a fact.

Bonnie Daniels: I don't know what you're talking about. That didn't happen.

Detective Murphy: Come on, now. We have the phone records. We know she called you.

Bonnie Daniels: I don't know what to tell you. It didn't happen. There must be a mistake in the phone records.

Detective Armstrong: Are you kidding? You don't honestly expect us to buy that, do you?

Geoffrey Frye: Detective Armstrong, Mrs. Daniels has answered your question. Berating her isn't going to change it. Move on.

Detective Murphy: Ma'am, did you tell your husband that you'd spoken to Laurie and sent her money to come home?

Bonnie Daniels: No. No, I didn't. I didn't want to upset him.

Detective Murphy: You thought he'd be upset to know she was coming home?

Bonnie Daniels: No, of course not. He would have been happy. I just didn't want him to get overexcited about her coming or for him to be disappointed if she didn't actually show up. I thought it would be better to wait until I knew she was here before I told him.

Detective Armstrong: So did you tell him then?

Bonnie Daniels: When?

Detective Armstrong: When you knew she was here.

Bonnie Daniels: I never knew she was here. I told you that.

Detective Armstrong: See, here's the thing. In addition to that phone call you say didn't happen, we also have a witness who saw you with Laurie around 2:30 in the morning on March 30th.

Bonnie Daniels: What are you talking about?

Detective Armstrong: A witness. Someone saw you. With Laurie.

Bonnie Daniels: That's crazy! That couldn't possibly be true.

Detective Armstrong: Why not? Because you didn't think anyone was around at that hour? Or is this another one of those things that didn't happen?

Bonnie Daniels: It didn't happen. I would never go out at that time of night. I was here, asleep.

Detective Armstrong: You wouldn't go out, even if your daughter called and said she was in trouble and needed you?

Bonnie Daniels: That didn't happen!

Detective Armstrong: What kind of car do you drive, Mrs. Daniels?

Bonnie Daniels: A Toyota Avalon.

Detective Armstrong: Just out of curiosity, what color is the interior of that car?

Bonnie Daniels: Beige.

Detective Armstrong: Uh-huh. And is that the car you drove to pick up Laurie at 2:30 in the morning on March 30th?

Bonnie Daniels: Is that the car I drove? You don't know what you're talking about!

Geoffrey Frye: We've been down this road already. Do you have any other questions?

Detective Murphy: What was Laurie angry about? When you talked to her when she was in Pittsburgh.

Bonnie Daniels: I don't know.

Detective Murphy: She didn't tell you?

Bonnie Daniels: She— what she was saying didn't make any sense. I couldn't understand.

Detective Murphy: Did it have something to do with Melanie?

Bonnie Daniels: I think so, but… it made no sense. I'm telling you.

Detective Murphy: Was it about Melanie and your husband?

Bonnie Daniels: What? No, she never said anything about Bart.

Detective Armstrong: She didn't tell you that you were as crazy as he is?

Bonnie Daniels: No. I don't even know what that means. What does that mean?

Detective Murphy: Was it your idea for Laurie to come home or was it hers?

Bonnie Daniels: She wanted to come home.

Detective Murphy: OK, but who suggested it?

Bonnie Daniels: I don't know. She must have because she never would do anything I suggested. Ever.

Detective Armstrong: Did that make you mad? That she wouldn't do what you wanted her to?

Bonnie Daniels: It was frustrating, of course, but that's how it is with mothers and daughters at times.

Detective Armstrong: Is that how it was with Melanie too?

Bonnie Daniels: I— Melanie was very unhappy before she left. So, yes, sometimes that made her difficult to get along with.

Detective Armstrong: Was Melanie pregnant?

Bonnie Daniels: What? Of course not. She was barely 17.

Detective Armstrong: Are you sure? We'd heard that she was.

Bonnie Daniels: Vicious rumors. People can be so cruel.

Detective Murphy: So it's not possible that she was pregnant?

Bonnie Daniels: We did not raise our daughters to be… like that.

Detective Murphy: What kind of relationship did Forrest Burgess have with Melanie?

Bonnie Daniels: Forrest was engaged to Laurie.

Detective Murphy: I understand, but how did he get along with Melanie?

Bonnie Daniels: They got along fine. He treated her like his little sister.

Detective Murphy: Did their relationship go beyond that?

Bonnie Daniels: What do you mean?

Detective Armstrong: We're asking if he could he have been the father of Melanie's baby.

Bonnie Daniels: What is wrong with you? Forrest was engaged to Laurie. He loved Laurie. He never would have thought of Melanie as anything but a little sister.

Detective Armstrong: So Melanie was pregnant, but Forrest wasn't the father. Is that what you're saying?

Bonnie Daniels: You have a very sick mind, detective.

Detective Armstrong: Was your husband the father of Melanie's baby?

Bonnie Daniels: What! That is… unspeakable! My husband is a highly respected man in this community. How dare you even suggest something like that?

Detective Armstrong: Is it true?

Bonnie Daniels: What is wrong with you? I understand that, in your line of work, you see the ugly side of life on a regular basis, but you have no right to bring that into my home. Get out! Get out of here now! I knew we were right when we decided not to talk to you. and you just proved it. Get out!

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Daniels, we haven't finished our questions.

Bonnie Daniels: Oh yes, you have! I don't have to put up with this kind of— with these inappropriate and offensive accusation! Out!

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Daniels—

Geoffrey Frye: Detective Murphy, I think my client has made her position clear. It's obvious that you've upset her tremendously. Perhaps it would be better to terminate now and schedule another interview at a later time. That will give her an opportunity to regain her composure, and you can take that time to reconsider your line of questioning.

Bonnie Daniels: Oh, no. I'm not talking to them again.

Geoffrey Frye: Bonnie, that's something we'll discuss after they've gone. Detectives, if you'll come this way, I'll see you out.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Frye, we're not finished here.

Geoffrey Frye: I believe we are for today. You may contact my office on Monday to discuss whether we will schedule another interview.

Detective Murphy: We'll talk again, Mrs. Daniels. And I suggest you spend some time thinking about the answers to our questions because we will be asking them again.

Geoffrey Frye: That's enough. This way, please.

Interview ends - 3:45 p.m.

 

People in this conversation

  • Okay, we know that Bonnie drives a Totota Avalon and the interior is beige.
    But the big question we all need to know is, was it red on the outside.
    We know that Laurie was picked up by some light haired woman driving a red car.
    But if it was Bonnie, it appears that she did not take Laurie back to the family home.
    Maybe she took Laurie to a motel for the night.??
    Because Bart knew nothing about Laurie ringing her mother because she was wanting to come home for a visit, and he knew nothing about the $500 that Bonnie had sent to Laurie.
    And if this did true, then it is possible that Laurie had rung somebody else to come and get her.
    I don't really trust Callie Shivers. I've been feeling that she has been providing the detectives with various information, but in my view, only so she wouldn't be considered a suspect.
    And another issue I can't get past, is why was the head in the bucket taken across the country road that did divide the Allison farm and the 2 rented houses.
    For that reason I believe JC Strong was involved.
    Also it would have taken at least 2 or more persons to remove the dead body from the ritual site.
    Also the Roy Strong interview makes me very suspicious that both he and JC were involved. Roy supposedly saw smoke coming from the exact area where the ritual was held. And I believe that both he and JC had been there earlier.
    And it was both Roy and JC who did cut up the body with the hacksaw, and then JC did get rid of the body parts on his mail run.

  • cfp - Bart states that he takes sleeping pills. If in fact he is really that sick, he could very well be on heavy duty stuff for sleep (addiction's not an issue). So I think Bonnie could have taken Laurie home without Bart knowing. The 'without Bart knowing' part gives me pause. Both of them have proven themselves to be complete liars. It may be psychotic denial or it may be self preservation, but they are liars. I can't believe Bart's statement that he didn't know at face value. He may be in the dark about some or all, but I won't believe it until the case is over. (And even then I may argue with it!LOL)
    I have the same feelings you have about Callie and JC. I could add either of them in in a heartbeat. The part of bringing the head across the road bothers me, too. If this was set up to tag Dr. YahYah, why bring the head across the road? If this was done to tag JC, why go with the voodoo angle? If JC did it, why keep the head?
    Roy says he saw the fire's smoke. There had to be at least 2 people (shoeprints and logic). The ritual scene is not where the body was killed or probably cut up (No blood evidence to support). They killed a chicken, did something with a wax ball, brought a wooden crate etc. The body parts, except the head, may not have been there. Still, that's a lot of activity. Roy saw smoke but nothing else? It's my understanding that JC's mail run goes north and the body parts are found south. I might be wrong on that.
    This has been a great case!:)

  • Igillette,
    Since reading your comment I have been doing some map searching.
    After leaving Memphis he could take route 78 down to Olive Branch and then on to Holly Springs down towards Byhalia which was a little bit off route 78.
    He also said he visited little one horse towns in-between on his way back to Oxford and Ole Miss. So I would imagine after visiting Byhalia he takes a different route altogether than the one he took going down, to visit all these one horse towns.
    And regarding the skin on the head being blackened I believe that was done by the solution it was in.
    One person said that the head was burnt, but if that was the case the head would not have had any hair at all.
    I remember reading earlier in the "Case" that the solution was eroding the head.
    I'm also very suspicious of why Roy and JC Strong left town soon afterwards.????
    We also know that Roy and JC both lived in New Orleans for many years and would have been very familar with voodoo, and probably knew about Dr Yah Yah.
    I'm convinced that Roy and JC were involved.
    Half blind Roy saw the smoke, well I don't buy that because I believe he had been at the ritual site.
    If JC did it, why keep the head.? That's a good question. But I think that the solution would eventually erode the skull away. And maybe they didn't expect it to be found so soon.

  • I was thinking about something as I read your comments. Could the head have been kept as some kind of trophy of the killer? Could he/she have kept it where it was so he could visit when he/she wanted without worrying about being caught? I will make more comments as I read more.

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