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Memo from Child Protective Services

The following is a preliminary memo sent by Lori Evans of Yoknapatawpha County's Child Protective Services unit. Information regarding Tull's current location has been omitted for safety reasons.

TO: Det. Armstrong
RE: Initial report: Dylan Tull
Det. Armstrong,
At your request, I'm writing to give you some preliminary information
with regards to Dylan Tull and his mother, Bonnie Tull. A full report
with follow-up information will follow this memo.
I met briefly with Mrs. Tull on July 28, and also met with Dylan at that
time. I had a follow-up meeting with Dylan at his grandmother's house in
XXXXXXXXX on Friday, Aug. 1. During these meetings my immediate goals
were to establish the circumstances of the boy's interaction with the
victim, Purity Knight, and also to ascertain whether the boy and/or his
mother needed immediate counseling and whether the boy was being
criminally neglected.
1. Circumstances of interaction with victim
From my conversations with the Tulls I have been able to construct the
following timeline of events.
Dylan first interacted with the victim on the morning of Saturday, May
31, while exploring in the woods. Mrs. Tull confirmed that she had worked
until 2 a.m. that morning and slept until about noon. Dylan has his own
keys and has been independently running errands and going places for the
past several months, so his leaving the house on his own is not unusual
behavior for him. When he encountered the victim, Dylan said they talked
and the victim asked Dylan to come back with pens and paper.
Dylan visited the victim a second time on the morning of Monday, June 2.
Mrs. Tull was working the breakfast shift that day. He did bring the
requested items, and the victim wrote a note and asked Dylan to deliver
it to the police. The victim also asked Dylan to bring food on his next
visit. On his way back from the site, Dylan encountered a man who said he
would deliver the note for Dylan. Dylan gave the note to the stranger and
returned home without incident.
Dylan visited the site a third and final time on Wednesday, June 4. As
with the previous visit, Mrs. Tull was working that morning. Dylan
brought the victim an apple and an orange. He also brought with him a new
tape recorder, which he had bought with allowance money at the Salvation
Army and fixed by himself. He talked with the victim and made an audio
On Thursday, June 5, Dylan went to his grandmother's house and did not
see the victim alive again. He revisited the site on Monday, June 9, on
the morning, and was spotted on the scene by Mr. Archer.
Dylan learned that the victim had indeed died when he tried to convince a
friend, Luke Hawthorne, to visit the site the following week. Luke told
Dylan the woods were haunted by "the dead girl." Dylan did not confide
his knowledge of the victim with Luke or anyone and made no further
attempts to visit the site.
2. Assessment of need for counseling
Bonnie Tull has been attending sporadic counseling sessions through the
MHD. In our conversation she said "I know I need help, it's just a matter
of having time to get it;" this incident seems to have spurred her to
take further action. My initial impression was that she is depressive and
would benefit from more intensive therapy, possibly accompanied by
medication. She could also benefit from basic counseling on parenting
strategies and stress management. As a follow-up, I plan to contact Mrs.
Tull's counselor at the MHD and obtain further details as well as contact
several agencies that might be able to help Mrs. Tull.
Dylan Tull has never been referred for counseling, although a number of
his teachers referred to him as "quiet." After speaking with him for
several hours, my impression was that he is extremely withdrawn and has
some anti-social tendencies. Both traits are most likely a product of his
somewhat isolated environment and the independence which has been
necessary for him to survive. Dylan is very intelligent and imaginative
and does not exhibit signs of chronic depression or anxiety, although in
discussing his relationship with the victim he became agitated and upset
on several occasions. Aside from some short-term post-trauma counseling I
believe Dylan does not need further therapy, unless he and his mother
were to undertake some sessions together to learn more about each other
and how they can better interact.
3. Assessment of possible criminal neglect
I do not believe Bonnie Tull has criminally neglected Dylan, and Dylan
should neither be relocated to his father's residence in Florida nor be
placed into foster care. Dylan's grandmother frequently steps in whenever
Bonnie feels most unable to assume the responsibilities of motherhood,
and I believe this arrangement is satisfactory for the present. However,
a reconsideration of Mrs. Tull's custody of Dylan may be appropriate in
the event that she fails to seek the counseling outlined above.
A full report will follow within the week.

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