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Young Woman Buried Alive
9 year old boy tape records
her poignant last words.
Gruesome murders and bizarre crime scenes aren't your run-of-the-mill sights in Oxford, Miss., the university town that has served as home for renowned writers like John Grisham and William Faulkner. Neither of these literary giants could have crafted a tale quite as baffling as the murder case of Purity Knight, a local student who was buried alive and held prisoner for 11 weeks by an abductor who scattered Edgar Allan Poe quotes around the crime scene.
Police in Yoknapatawpha County claim that the murder is related to a stalking incident involving Miss Knight earlier this year, but some locals in Oxford have a feeling that police have left the truth safely buried. There is history behind the death of Purity Knight.
Just two years ago, on the night of April 1, 1995, Purity's sister, Valerie Vilson, was found dead in her apartment. Investigators deny a connection to the murders, but autopsies reveal that both women were cleaned after death and sexually mutilated.
The plot thickens and the coincidences multiply when you consider the nature of Knight's death. Her body was discovered buried in the red clay mounds of Yoknapatawpha County, outside of Oxford, by a 9-year-old boy named Dylan Tull. A fourth grader at Oxford Elementary School, young Dylan regularly played in the graveyard adjacent to the scene of the crime. One day the boy stumbled into a nearby wooded area, then into a clearing near a mound of sand and red clay, when he heard "a sound like a voice coming out of the ground." Tull found Purity Knight buried alive in a large box with grates for air and food, wedged impossibly beneath piles of wet sand. The boy fed Knight fruit and candy and engaged in conversation with her before she died. Certain people involved with the case feel like Knight might have revealed her abductor's identity to Tull, or perhaps the boy even saw the killer. Oxford police recovered cassette tapes of conversations Knight and the boy shared, but there was no name or description of the assailant. "That tape was the most disturbing thing I've heard on this job," said a confidential source close to the investigation. "I only hope that boy's folks realize what a predicament their son has stumbled into. If the killer is still around, and thinks for a minute that the boy knows more than he's telling, we're gonna wake up one morning and find that kid buried up to his eyeballs somewhere."
Ask those Oxford citizens who are "in-the-know," and they'll give you a different read on the case. "There's sure something fishy going on between those two detectives," one confidential source told the NATIONAL STAR. "With all the flip-floppin' loyalties and bungled detective work, I'd say they're doing a right fine job of covering up trails."
Suspicions turned on the police when one of the two central detectives on the case, -- Anderson, was released from the investigation after it was discovered that he knew the victim intimately and had carried out clandestine meetings with her. Some now say the investigation's head detective, -- Armstrong, may be tempted to clear the name of his friend and fellow police officer.
The possibility of an internal scandal grows more intriguing the deeper you dig. A similar murder involving a victim being buried alive in a large box occured in Oregon 10 years ago, around the same time Detective Anderson was living and working in that state. Oddly enough, Purity Knight attended Reed College in Oregon. The make-up of the two coffins were similar in construction said a source close to the investigation. "I'm saying it's a strange coincidence," said the source, "that he was there and a girl is boxed, then he's here and a girl is boxed."

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