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Mountain Home Police Department

Incident Report
Investigating officer: Wayne Ford
Reported by: Judith Knight
Address: 143 Lake View Drive, Mountain Home, Arkansas 72653
Incident date: 4/18/97
Incident time: 4:40 p.m.
Suspects: none at this time

Description of Incident:

Dispatch received a 911 call from Mrs. Knight, who reported having received a "horrible letter" in the mail. I was patrolling in the vicinity of Lake View Drive and proceeded to the Knight home. Mrs. Knight, who was there alone, produced the items in question. The letter arrived in an 9 X 12" manila envelope addressed to Frank and Judith Knight, 143 Lake View Drive, with no return address. The postmark was dated 4/14/97, from Jackson, Mississippi. The Knights' address had been typed onto the envelope. There were no other marks. The sender had sealed the envelope without moistening the underside of the flap, instead using a strip of duct tape. Mrs. Knight had slit open the envelope along the crease above the flap using a letter opener.

The letter was composed on a sheet of common low-grade white paper, the text was attached to the paper one line at a time. (Note: Attached in the same manner as the note affixed to polaroid photos mailed to investigators several days later-Armstrong).

The text of the letter reads as follows:

she is impure
but I can help
I can purge her sins
but the price is high
the price is death!

clean and dead
alive sin sticky

there is a special place behind the church
dark inside they bed together
you put her dowry there

PUT HER DOWRY THERE

do you love your dirty daughter living?

Initial Investigation:

Mrs. Knight appeared distraught. She said the mail usually arrives in the mid-afternoon and that she'd arrived home after a day of volunteering at the SPCA just before she called. She said she usually puts most of the mail on Mr. Knight's desk, but opened the letter in question because she thought it might contain photos from a recent church choir event.

I asked Mrs. Knight about the content of the letter. She said she was "absolutely sure" it referred to her daughter, Purity Marie Knight. Mrs. Knight explained that Purity "is in a lot of trouble these days" and has been out of touch with her parents for some time. She said Purity severed contact with them in June of last year while traveling in Europe and the Middle East. Mrs. Knight added that Purity has been taking classes at Ole Miss since January, but hasn't been back to Mountain Home.

Mrs. Knight said authorities from Oxford contacted her in March of this year, reporting that Purity was missing. Mrs. Knight said that at the time she and her husband assumed that Purity had decided to abandon college. Since then Mrs. Knight said she and Mr. Knight have been "hoping to hear from her. Usually she lets us know she's OK. She doesn't want us in her life, but she lets us know she's OK."

I asked Mrs. Knight if she understood what the letter might mean. She said she thought it was a death threat. I asked if she knew where the "place behind the church" was, and she said she didn't, adding that there's just an open lot behind the church she and Mr. Knight attend. She and Mr. Knight attend Church of Christ the Avenger, 113 Willow Street. Mrs. Knight said she didn't know about any of the other churches in town. I asked her if she knew anyone in Jackson or if her daughter knew anyone in Jackson. Mrs. Knight said she had a cousin there, but otherwise didn't know of anyone. She said she didn't know about Purity.

I asked Mrs. Knight if I could come back the next day to talk with her more. She said that would be fine, adding that her husband would be home too.

I spoke with Hal Larson at the post office. He said no one noticed anything unusual about the Knights' mail. He said that Robbie Lane has been delivering mail on Lake View Drive for the past 6 months and had been on duty all week.

I also spoke with Det. Anderson of the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department in Oxford, MS. He confirmed that Ms. Knight has been missing since March, adding that she disappeared after a prowler was spotted near her apartment taking pictures of her through the windows. Anderson said no new leads have surfaced since the stalking incident.

REPORT FILED 19:57 p.m. FRIDAY, APRIL 14
COPY FAXED TO YOKNAPATAWPHA COUNTY S.D., 4/15/97
COPY FAXED TO JONATHAN PECK, F.B.I./JACKSON FIELD OFFICE, 4/15/97

 


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