Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 1:00 p.m.

Mr and Mrs. Howard are Ryan Rand's neighbors

Buford and Clara Howard are neighbors of Ryan Rand. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed them at their residence. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Buford Howard
  • Clara Howard

Detective Armstrong: Mr. Howard, Mrs. Howard, I appreciate your agreeing to talk to us.

Buford Howard: Certainly. Anything we can do to help.

Detective Armstrong: You've lived here how long?

Buford Howard: Three years this May. Ever since I got a job with Financial Services at the university.

Detective Armstrong: Are you familiar with Ryan Rand?

Buford Howard: We certainly are. Seems like a nice boy. Polite.

Detective Armstrong: What can you tell us about him as a person?

Buford Howard: Lord, that'd be mighty hard to answer. We know of the boy, but I can't say that we know him, if you know what I mean.

Clara Howard: He used to pet sit for us before Pickles passed.

Buford Howard: That's right. I'd forgotten that. He used to take care of her when we went out of town for the weekend. Did a good job. Took good care of her, even when she was sick as a dog. Still, never really talked with him much. Just small talk when he brought the cat home and we paid him.

Clara Howard: I gave him lemonade some days. Fresh-made. From my mother's recipe.

Buford Howard: I don't think he needs to know that, hon.

Clara Howard: Oh. I'm sorry.

Detective Armstrong: That's all right, Mrs. Howard. In this business, you never know what might be important. Have you seen Ryan lately?

Clara Howard: I'm not sure. It's been so cold, nobody with any sense is going out much.

Buford Howard: I saw him a couple, three weeks ago.

Detective Murphy: Anytime since then?

Buford Howard: Could be. Like I said, we don't know the boy much more than just to say hello.

Detective Armstrong: Are you familiar with Ryan's cars?

Buford Howard: Oh, yeah. We see them coming in and out now and then. Mostly in that convertible for the past year.

Clara Howard: Such a pretty car. And he's a nice-looking boy. I always wave to him when he passes. If I see him, of course.

Buford Howard: I doubt he's interested in your waving to young Rand.

Clara Howard: Of course, dear.

Buford Howard: He's got another car too. Older. A Honda, I think. Haven't seen it much since he got the Beamer.

Detective Murphy: Do you recall anything unusual during the last month?

Clara Howard: Bud?

Buford Howard: You're not going to bring that up again, are you?

Detective Murphy: Bring up?

Clara Howard: I heard something. One night back at the beginning of January.

Buford Howard: She thinks she heard something.

Clara Howard: I know what I heard, Bud.

Detective Armstrong: What did you hear, ma'am?

Clara Howard: Way over in the morning, around four o'clock, I heard a car outside. I'm a real light sleeper, don't you know. You just can't be too careful, the way things are these days. And it was just so close. I thought it was somebody out in our drive when I woke up, and it scared me so that I just laid there, listening. I thought sure it was one of those awful drug gangs come to rob us and do who knows what kind of terrible thing–

Buford Howard: Clara.

Clara Howard: Well, I did.

Detective Armstrong: Did you see the car, ma'am?

Clara Howard: Well, no. Not the car as such. I saw some taillights, way on down the street. Like I said, I was so scared I just laid there like I was froze in place, listening. Then I thought maybe it wasn't quite close enough to be in our drive. And I couldn't hear anybody breaking in. And just about the time I worked up my nerve to think about getting out of bed to look, I heard it leaving. I got up then, real quiet like, and peeked out the window.

Detective Murphy: But you didn't see the car?

Clara Howard: No, sir. I surely didn't. By the time I got up and slipped to the window, it was way down the street, nearly out of sight.

Detective Murphy: Mr. Howard, did you hear the car?

Buford Howard: Not a damn thing. And I'd be surprised if she did either.

Clara Howard: Bud!

Buford Howard: Hon, you know you woke me up, and I didn't hear or see anything at all. Not a thing. Got up and checked the whole house too. Forgot to slip into my house shoes and nearly froze my feet.

Clara Howard: I didn't wake him 'til after. That's why he didn't hear anything.

Detective Murphy: So you didn't see or hear anything, Mr. Howard.

Buford Howard: No, ma'am, I did not.

Detective Armstrong: And you heard a car so close-sounding you thought it was in your drive, Mrs. Howard?

Clara Howard: Yes, sir, I surely did. No matter what Bud says. I know what I heard. I remember I looked in the Eagle the next day to see if anybody'd been robbed or terrorized or anything. What kind of people are up driving cars at 4:00 in the morning?

Detective Armstrong: Could the car have been at Ryan's condo?

Clara Howard: I suppose it could've been. You know, it never entered my mind that it might be. He's not one of those types who's in and out at all hours.

Detective Armstrong: Did it sound like one of his cars?

Buford Howard: She doesn't know something like that.

Clara Howard: Bud!

Buford Howard: Go ahead. Tell them.

Clara Howard: I don't know. Cars all sound the same to me.

Detective Murphy: Have you noticed any cars in and out at Ryan's any time in the last two or three weeks?

Clara Howard: Well, there must have been.

Detective Murphy: Do you recall the last time?

Clara Howard: Well, it wasn't yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before that.

Buford Howard: Hon.

Clara Howard: I'm sorry. I don't remember. Bud?

Buford Howard: I have no idea.

Detective Armstrong: Thank you, Mrs. Howard. Mr. Howard. Here's my card. If you happen to see Ryan, would you give us a call?

Clara Howard: I'll be on the lookout, young man. I know you law officers have a hard life, trying to catch those awful people. Just like on Law & Order.

Buford Howard: Clara, don't get started.

Interview ends: 1:27 p.m.


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People in this conversation

  • I can't help but be suspicious that it was 4am on the 3rd January, and they had come back to Ryan's to store the luggage until the evening, when the Honda hatchback was seen on Molly Bar road by Alan Philbert at 10.21pm on the 3rd January. In Ryan's interview picture he was wearing his shirt up to his elbows and he didn't appear to have any visible scratches.

    from Home Hill QLD 4806, Australia

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