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Witness Interview: Chris Thurman

Thurman is director of the Summer Sun Day Camp. He met with Det. Armstrong to review his witness statement.

A = Armstrong
T = Thurman
A: Thanks for coming in. For the record, we need you to state your name, date of birth, and address.
T: Christopher Mallory Thurman, December 10, 1963. I live at 200 N. Lamar .
A: All right. Why don't you start by describing the camp?
T: It's a program funded by the county and state. We get a little federal money too. Basically, it's a day camp run by the parks and rec department, for kids eight through 13. A lot of families where both parents work use it. Also single parents - it's cheaper than daycare or having a babysitter, and we try to do some interesting things. We run the camp out at Bramlett Elmentary School, so there's a playground, and we can use the AV equipment. We go to the pool every week, and do art projects and crafts. We go to the library sometimes.
A: Who staffs the camp?
T: Aside from myself there's one other person from the parks and rec department to help run things. Then we hire mostly college-age kids to be counselors.
A: How many staff are there?
T: A total of 10.
A: How many children are enrolled this year?
T: Forty-six. Usually we have fifty to sixty, but this year was low.
A: What are the dates?
T: July seventh through August first - it's about a month. Monday through Friday from 8 to 3.
A: How long have you been involved in the camp?
T: Gosh, I don't know. Ever since I started working at parks and rec, which has been six, seven years now.
A: All right. Now would you describe the training session you attended?
T: Well, I received a notice from the sheriff's department, explaining that you were looking for a child in connection with the investigation. It asked us to cooperate by looking out for possible signs of trauma or any kind of knowledge of the event. There was a seminar, I believe that was on the 25th, where we got some more information and kind of a psychological view of what the child might be like, and what steps we would need to take. It was a couple of hours.
A: And this was the information you used to conclude that Dylan Tull was the one?
T: Yes. He fit the profile pretty much to the letter. We see a lot of kids who maybe don't come from happy homes, so for a while I just kept an eye on it. By the time I called you though I was pretty sure something was radically wrong.
A: Yes. The witness statement covers the details of your observations. Is there anything you'd like to add?
T: Not really. Only that the more I think about it the more tragic it is. You've got a mother and a kid just struggling along, and the kid is lonely, and he winds up involved in something so gruesome.
A: Have you had any contact with Dylan Tull since he left camp?
T: No. I understand he's staying with his grandmother, which I think it good. I understand they have a good relationship. Maybe when this whole thing is over he and I will have a chance to talk some more.
A: What were your impressions of Mrs. Tull?
T: I talked about that a little in my statement. Basically, I think she could use some help, or maybe she's already getting some. I'm pretty much just guessing here but it seems like she got in over her head with getting married too young and having a kid, and she's been completely dragged down by it.
A: How many times did you come in contact with her?
T: Just a couple. I met her the first day of camp when she dropped Dylan off. Then we had that phone conversation I told you about, and I didn't see her again until after I called you. She stopped by, I guess it was the day after I called you, to thank me for getting involved. She said the whole thing had been a wake-up call for her and she was going to try harder. I sure wish her luck.
A: Thank you, Mr. Thurman. I think that's all for now.

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