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Witness Statement: Chris Thurman
Thurman is director of the Summer Sun Day Camp.


I became involved in the investigation at the request of the Sheriff's Department. They were looking for a child who might have been involved in the Purity Knight case, and they held a training session for camp and daycare staff so we could be on the lookout.
Dylan came to my attention during the first week of our camp. He was withdrawn and counselors had difficulty drawing him into games, songs, and other group activities. We sometimes get really shy kids but most of them loosen up after the first couple of days and make some friends. Dylan was different - he really kept to himself. He gave the impression of being someone who spent a lot of time alone.
 
A couple of kids who approached Dylan in the first week were given rough treatment. One boy, Jerry Brownne, was persistent about trying to include Dylan in an ongoing game of tag with a group of kids during the outdoor play periods. Jerry had taken Dylan by the arm and was trying to coax him to join the group. Dylan called Jerry a "maggot" and elbowed him pretty hard and knocked him over, then ran off to the far edge of the playing field. One of the counselors approached Dylan and had a talk with him, during which Dylan apparently said he wanted to go to the library and didn't like to play. Dylan later apologized to Jerry, but he never did join the game of tag.
 
Another incident involved Luke, who was Dylan's only friend at the camp. It was in the second week. Luke climbed up on the jungle gym and refused to come down because he said he was scared of touching the ground. He said Dylan had told him the school had been built on top of a cemetary and all the ghosts might come up at any time and grab them. It took a couple of counselors maybe an hour or so to convince Luke to come down. When confronted, Dylan repeated his story to me. I asked him if he was scared by the ghosts, and he said he wasn't, because he was a "ghostbuster" and possessed special powers. I asked him whether he could use those powers to save Luke if the ghosts came, and Dylan replied that he was pretty sure "nothing could help Luke. He's a goner." He was very calm about this, even though as I said Luke was his only friend.
 
At the end of the second week I was concerned enough to call Dylan's mother and discuss the matter. I told her I felt like Dylan was not really enjoying the camp and wasn't getting much of a growing experience. Sometimes in these situations parents have suggestions, such as playing a certain game the child likes or singing certain songs to help them feel more at home and more interested in the activities. I did get through to Bonnie and we had a talk, but she seemed unconcerned about the situation. She said Dylan was a "weird kid, but a good kid" and she thought he was doing fine. Bonnie said she's divorced and raising him on her own. She said she works full-time during the school year and part-time in the summer. It sounded like a tough situation, but I was concerned because Bonnie seemed to be completely distanced from Dylan - I had the impression she wasn't really up to taking on the job of raising a kid and had maybe given up on it.
 
However, after my conversation with Bonnie Dylan seemed to settle down a little. By then it was the third week of the camp. I asked him and Luke to be in charge of feeding the iguana - I have a pet iguana and keep him in the classroom while camp is in session, and each week a couple of people are in charge of taking care of it. Luke and Dylan were very reliable and went to the extra step of finding some more branches to add to the habitat in the iguana's terrarium. Dylan in particular would check on the animal first thing every morning and at every available free moment during the day. I remarked that he seemed to be making good friends with the iguana, and Dylan said he was just trying to make sure he (the iguana) was comfortable and safe. I asked Dylan what things might hurt the iguana or make it unsafe, and Dylan said he once had a goldfish who died in the bowl when he changed the water.
 
All of these incidents contributed to my suspicion that Dylan might possibly be involved with the Knight case. However, the art projects he completed on July 22 and 23 were the determining factors. I saw the drawings on July 23 in the afternoon, and immediately contacted the sheriff's department saying that I thought we had a possible match with the boy they were looking for. At their request, I asked Dylan if I could have his artwork. He gave them to me without complaint but asked if they would be safe. I said they would and promised to return them when I was through looking at them.
 
After I reported the incident, Dylan did not return to the camp. I have been apprised of the fact that the department is following up and that Dylan is staying with relatives out of town.
 
Signed,
 
Chris Thurman
July 29, 1997

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