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Interview

Ben Archer found the body of Purity Knight. Archer was on a morning walk with his dog

 

 

Question: Could you, for the record, state your name and address please.
Answer: Benjamin Archer. I live at 107 Fairlawn Drive. That's here in Oxford.

Question: What do you do Mr. Archer?
Answer: I'm a student loan administrator over in the Bursar's office.

Question: At the university?
Answer: Yes.

Question: Could you go ahead and describe what happened on the morning of June 9?
Answer: Sure. I was out for my walk. I walk every morning just as the sun is coming up.

Question: Where were you walking?
Answer: My usual route: out toward the high-school, up the hill and then back along the backside of the cemetery near the woods. That's where I found the boy. Actually my dog found the boy. She must've heard him or something because she pulled the leash out of my hand and ran into the woods. When I found her, she was with a little boy.

Question: Okay, let's talk about the boy.
Answer: Sure, what do you want to know?

Question: What was he doing? Did he say anything to you?
Answer: He was crouched down on the ground. I heard some crying and then it sounded like he was talking to himself. Scolding himself actually. He was completely ignoring my dog. I stopped and listened.

Question: Had you ever seen the boy before? Who was he?
Answer: I don't know him. It was still sort of dark.

Question: What happened next?
Answer: I walked towards him, called out. You know, to see if he was all right. I thought he might've been bitten by a snake or something.

Question: And then?
Answer: Well, as I got closer, I could see that he was digging in the soil. He didn't hear me until I got closer. Then he just ran. I think I scared him or something because took off so fast that he ran into a sapling.

Question: Was he hurt?
Answer: Must not have been too badly because he jumped up and kept running.

Question: How old do you think the boy was?
Answer: Young.

Question: How young?
Answer: I don't know, eleven, twelve. Is somebody going to answer that phone?

Question: Don't worry about that Mr. Archer. Let's stick to the subject.
Answer: Okay.

Question: Did you try to follow the boy?
Answer: Hell no. I'm not too old a man, but there's no way I could've caught up with him.

Question: So what did you do?
Answer: I went to where he was digging. It was getting lighter and I could see that he'd been digging something up.

Question: Could you, in your own words, describe what it was he was digging up?
Answer: Well, at first I thought it was like a utiltiy box or something.

Question: A utility box.
Answer: Yes, except it was wooden. Just a small box with a lid that came off. You saw it, didn't you?

Question: Please, sir, just describe it in your own words.
Answer: Well, when you took the lid off, you could see that it was a tunnel, or something and there was an opening at the bottom. On the side actually.

Question: Were you able to see inside?
Answer: Yes, not very well at first, but after the sun came up more and my eyes adjusted to being in the woods, I could see that there was a person inside. All I could see was her hair at first. Brown hair. I don't know why but it wasn't until I realized it was a person that I smelled anything.

Question: A smell?
Answer: My God, yes. Rot. It was like the summer that our house-cat got wedged in the air-conditioning duct. Make your eyes water!

Question: Okay, okay. What did you do next?
Answer: I dug next to it, above where the opening was and that's when I found the coffin part. It was strange, a coffin with this access door. Like for air or something. It was the girl inside. The one that's been in the papers. She didn't look so good, but I knew it was her.

Question: So, what did you do?
Answer: Well I ran to the payphone and phoned you all.

Question: The Sheriff's department?
Answer: Uh, yes.

Question: Then?
Answer: The woman said she'd send some deputies out to take care of it. I waited there.

Question: Did you notice anything else out of the ordinary? I mean besides the boy and what he'd dug up?
Answer: No, not really.

Question: How about scrape-marks on the trees?
Answer: No. Scrape-marks? I didn't notice anything like that. I wasn't looking at the trees. I mean, it was enough to worry about with the boy and the woman underground. Maybe they're antler marks, you know, like a buck-deer makes.

Question: Have you ever seen deer near the woods?
Answer: No. There's no deer, as far as I know, within ten miles of that area. The humming from the big power-lines north of town scares them all away. At least that's what a guy told me once.

Question: What do you think made the scrapes then, if not deer?
Answer: I have no idea.

Question: Is there anything else you can think of?
Answer: Mmmm. Well no, nothing jumps out at me.

Question: Anything at all, Mr. Archer. The smallest thing could be important.
Answer: No. I could go back out there and look around if you like.

Question: That's out of the question, sir. Please leave that to the investigators. I'm just concerned with what you saw that morning.
Answer: Then no, there's nothing else.

Question: Will you please call us if you think of anything?
Answer: Of course.

Question: Thank you for your time, Mr. Archer. We may be in touch soon.
Answer: All right. Good-bye.


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