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Witness Statement: Teri Leyton
Teri Leyton was witness to an incident March 17, 1997 at 26160 Goodnight Road, locally known as Cooter's Farm. Investigators believe that the individual described by Ms. Leyton may be the abductor and murderer of Purity Knight. Fearful for her own safety, Ms. Leyton has not agreed to the release of her statement until now.
I was contacted by the Oxford Police department to come in and make a statement about what I saw at Cooter's in March.
On March 17, 1997 there was a big party at the Cooter's. March 17 is like a holiday for the Shovels. Something to do with Archea, but I'm not sure exactly what. It's just another good excuse for a big party for most of us. I like the band and go to the parties sometimes, but I'm not into the Shovel cult. That day I had to work until 4:00 pm. I went to a sorority party with some sisters before Cooter's. It was me, my boyfriend at the time and another couple. We got to Cooter's around 8:00 pm, maybe a few minutes before that.
The way Cooter's is laid out, the barn is behind the house and for parties, they open up the barn and have a bon fire outside. There is a low roof on the barn you can get to from the hay loft in the barn. I was sitting up there on the roof watching everyone. Most people were outside around the fire. There were some tables set up with coolers and things like that.
I noticed this one guy, he was a Goth. There are a few around, but this guy was strange. He wasn't into the party, he was sort of hanging out on the edges. He wasn't talking to anyone, he just didn't seem to fit in. So I watched him.
At first I was studying his clothes, they were fancier than what I'm used to seeing. He had on this long sleeved black shirt with big, droopy sleeves. There was a gold criss cross design embroidered on the sleeve. I kept trying to figure out what it was because it sort of looked like words or something more than just a design. He had on smooth, dark leather leggings, I think black, high boots, and a black vampire type cape with a red silk or satin lining. He was made up, white face paint, black eyeliner, and black hair. Later I could tell up close it was a rinse. He also had red nail polish.
After awhile, maybe an hour, an hour and a half I guess, I realized he was watching Purity and Josh. They were hanging out together pretty tight. It was obvious they'd been partying most of the day so I don't think they noticed this guy at all. He would stay in the crowd but on the edges and away from the light from the fire and just stared at them. It gave me the creeps. Every now and then he'd pass a joint around with someone, and he was drinking beer, but it was obvious he was really eyeing those two. It was eerie, spooky, gave me the creeps with the firelight and that costume and that staring.
Around 9:30 or 10:00 I went down to get another beer. There was a cooler set up right inside the barn and while I was there this guy came over to get a beer so I saw him face to face under the lights. I almost dropped the beer when I looked up and he was standing there. Like I said, creepy. He just stared at me for a minute and went back outside. He had dark eyes, probably brown. He was shorter than Eric, my boyfriend, definitely under six feet. He was medium weight, not skinny but thin. I noticed his hands, they looked thick to me, big. No beard or mustache. I couldn't tell what color his hair was, the rinse was jet black. I definitely did not recognize him as someone I've seen around before.
I went and got my boyfriend and pointed him out to see what he thought about this guy. He and his friend thought the guy looked totally out of place and the costume was just too good. They decided he must be a narc so they went after him. They chased him out toward the road in front of the house and tackled him. I think there were a few punches thrown and the guy ran off. They lost him in the dark. They didn't see or hear a car either. It made it even creepier, here we are out in the middle of nowhere and the guy vanishes.
I didn't really know Purity, I knew who she was, but we didn't have any classes together or anything. Eric and I went over later and told her and Josh about this guy. They weren't really worried about it all. They agreed with Eric and Gary it must have been a narc.
Later on after Purity disappeared, I don't remember what day, Eric's car got keyed on campus. He's sure it was the same guy that did it. We were thinking this might be the guy that took Purity, we were both getting paranoid. We broke up over it. I left school, took a withdrawal for the rest of the semester. I'm not coming back until this guy is caught.
Teri Leyton
July 22, 1997

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