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|Witness Interview: Natasha Van Moore, Former Employee and Client|
Friday, April 21, 2000 - 11:00 a.m.
In response to the detectives' interview request, Natasha Van Moore arranged an appointment with them at her residence and office at Old Taylor Road.
SM = Det. S. Murphy
SM: Thank you for taking time to see us, Ms. Van Moore.
NVM: I always believe that, whenever the police express an interest in speaking to a person, one should always make oneself available to them at the earliest possible time.
TA: You've had interactions with the police before?
NVM: Oh, nothing serious, of course. Just minor college pranks the police took an interest in from time to time.
SM: Before we go too much farther, would you please state your name and address for the record?
NVM: Of course. Natasha Van Moore. 2100 Old Taylor Road.
TA: Thank you. Now these college pranks you mentioned, did they happen in Nashville?
NVM: Why, Detective. Have you been checking up on me?
TA: Just the basics. When and where you were born, where you attended school, how long you've been in Oxford, things like that.
NVM: Your interest in me is very flattering. Yes, I did attend college in Nashville. Vanderbilt. We could be rather high-spirited at times, but I've grown up since then.
SM: I'm sure. You've heard by now that Trudi Rose was found dead in her office a few weeks ago, haven't you?
NVM: Yes, I did hear about that. It's a tragedy, really. Trudi was always very good to me.
SM: Do you know anything about it?
NVM: Only what I've read in the papers. You think she was poisoned? Do you have any idea who might have done such a terrible thing?
SM: You don't think Mrs. Rose might have accidentally or intentionally poisoned herself?
NVM: Oh, certainly not. Why on earth would she want to do something like that? The Trudi I knew was always very upbeat, very optimistic. I can't imagine she'd want to harm herself in any way.
TA: Did you have any reason to harm her?
NVM: No! Of course not. Trudi did me countless favors over the years. She gave me a job when I first moved to Oxford. She taught me the basics of running a small business. She was always a very good friend to me.
TA: She introduced you to your ex-husband, Ken Edwards, didn't she? Was that another one of the favors she did for you?
NVM: Yes, it was. She was always so good at matching two people together, like she could see things in the two of them they couldn't see themselves. It was almost like magic, in a way...
TA: Did she have that same magic touch when she matched you and Ken Edwards up?
NVM: Yes... yes, she did.
TA: Well that relationship didn't turn out too well for any of you. Did you blame her for that?
NVM: Not really. We all shared some portion of the blame, all three of us.
SM: Were you still friendly with Trudi Rose after your divorce? After Mr. Edwards sued Cupid's Couples?
NVM: Oh yes. She didn't fault me for what Ken did. We both knew he was just upset and looking for someone to blame besides himself. In fact, we had lunch not long before she died, the Friday before, I think.
SM: What did the two of you talk about at that lunch?
NVM: Nothing in particular really. Just chit chat as I recall.
SM: Where did you have lunch?
NVM: Um... Figgy's, I believe.
TA: Ms. Van Moore, where were you on Monday, April 3rd?
NVM: I don't remember specifically.
TA: Take a minute to think about it. It's important.
NVM: Well, let me check my book. Um... oh yes. That's right. I worked out in the morning. I went out to lunch. Then I taught classes that afternoon.
TA: Did you eat lunch alone that day?
NVM: Um... no. I ate with Billie and Kay. We went over to Ajax.
SM: Who are Billie and Kay?
NVM: Billie Jasper and Kay Ramsey. They're my roommates. They also work for me at Good Graces.
TA: You have roommates? You did very well in your divorce settlement. Why do you need roommates?
NVM: Well, I don't need roommates, per se, Detective. But Billie and Kay are my friends and they're not as well off as I am. Plus, I don't especially care for living alone.
TA: Will they confirm your statement about the events of April 3rd?
NVM: I'm sure they will. Why wouldn't they?
TA: You mentioned you ate lunch at Ajax. Your ex-husband told us he also had lunch at the same place that day. Did you see him?
NVM: No. Ken has lunch earlier than I do. I prefer to eat later, after the lunch rush has died down. Ken's more traditional. He likes to eat at noon every day.
TA: How often do you see Ken Edwards since your divorce?
NVM: Not very often. I do see him occasionally around town or when I go into the bank, but we never speak. There's still too much bad blood between us, I suppose.
SM: When you were married to Mr. Edwards, did he ever talk about Mrs. Rose or Cupid's Couples?
NVM: No, not in a bad way. He was always so happy they had helped us find each other. After we split up, I'd imagine he had quite a bit to say about them, but I wasn't there to hear it.
TA: What caused the break up of your marriage?
NVM: I don't see how that's relevant. That doesn't have anything to do with what happened to Trudi.
TA: Actually Ms. Van Moore, it's up to us to decide what's relevant and what's not. Now according to our information, Mr. Edwards learned something about your past that led him to file for divorce. What was that?
NVM: With all due respect, Detective, you can surely understand that this is a very painful topic for me and I'd really rather not discuss it.
SM: We understand this is difficult for you. However, we really do need an answer.
NVM: When I was in college... You won't tell anyone about this, will you? A lot of people wouldn't understand.
SM: I can't make any promises, but we'll do what we can.
NVM: Well... okay. When I was in college, some of my friends and I used to play this game. We would get dressed up and go out to some of the best restaurants and hotel bars in town. The game was to see who could pick up the wealthiest man or the best looking man or whatever parameters we set up for the evening. After a while, we got to know some of the men, the ones we'd see all the time. Eventually, some of them found out about the game and they'd help us out, steer certain men in our direction, things like that. It was really all in fun. No one got hurt and we all had a great time. None of us ever thought it was a big deal at all.
SM: But you didn't tell Mr. Edwards about this game?
NVM: No. I didn't think he'd understand. I told you, he's very traditional. And of course, I was right.
SM: How did he find out about it?
NVM: During the Christmas season after we got married, we gave a lot of parties, one nearly every weekend between Thanksgiving and New Year's. They were all for different people, you understand -Ken's business associates, people from the various charities we were involved with, and of course, there was the one for our friends.
TA: The details of your social life are fascinating, Ms. Van Moore. But what does this have to do with how your husband found out about your past?
NVM: At the last party, one of Ken's old friends happened to be in town, so Ken invited him to join us. Back then, Ken was so happy about our marriage, proud really. He wanted all of his friends to meet me. Anyway, it happened that this man, his friend, was someone I... how should I say it? Knew well in Nashville. Someone who'd played the game with us. Anyway, the man told Ken all about the game, what we'd done, what I'd done. Ken was furious. Of course, he didn't say anything to me until after the party was over, but we had a real knock-down-drag-out after everyone had gone home. He said he wanted a divorce right away. I tried talk to him out of it, but I wasn't getting anywhere, so I left. I thought, if I gave him some time to cool off, we could work it out. But I never got to go back. The next day, he had all my belongings packed up and delivered to me. It was over, just like that.
SM: Did he ever mention Cupid's Couples at that time?
NVM: No. If you want my opinion, he only sued them because he felt he'd lost against me. He wanted to just kick me out in the cold, after I'd married him, loved him, slept with him every night. I wasn't going to let that happen, not after the way he treated me at the end.
TA: You know Corinna Morgan?
NVM: Of course. We used to work together at Cupid's Couples years ago. She took over my job when I left.
SM: You and Corinna are both from Memphis. Did you know her there?
NVM: No, I didn't. We lived in different parts of town and she's a few years younger than I am. We just never happened to run into each other. I didn't meet her until she came to work at Cupid's Couples.
TA: You still in touch with her now?
NVM: Not actively. I see her around occasionally.
TA: Have you talked to her since she got fired from Cupid's Couples?
NVM: Not that I can think of.
SM: You don't sound surprised that she was fired.
NVM: No. I heard about that. I suppose Dana must have told me about it.
NVM: Dana Pomeroy. She works there. I know you know who she is. You've already spoken to her.
SM: You know Dana? How do you know we've spoken to her?
NVM: Well, the paper said she was the one who found Trudi, so it's only natural to assume you've spoken to her.
SM: But how do you know her? She started working at Cupid's Couples long after you left.
NVM: When she was at Ole Miss, she took a couple of classes at Good Graces through her sorority. We got to be friends. And she helps me out from time to time with balancing the books and other administrative tasks.
TA: Dana works for you and Cupid's Couples?
NVM: Yes. She was part time at Cupid's Couples for quite a while. She needed to make more money than she could get from one part time job, especially after she graduated. So I paid her to do some part time work for me as well. Between the two jobs, she managed to make ends meet.
TA: Do you know why Corinna Morgan was fired from Cupid's Couples?
NVM: Not really. It seems like I heard something about her being accused of stealing files, but I find that very hard to believe. Corinna's very honest, to a fault you might say.
TA: Ms. Morgan told us she believes Dana Pomeroy framed her for the theft of the files so she could take over her job.
NVM: Really? That's very interesting. I don't think Dana would do that, but who knows? I wasn't there. Maybe I should be keeping a closer eye on her...
SM: Do you know anything about poisons, Ms. Van Moore?
NVM: Poisons? No, nothing to speak of.
SM: Do you keep any poisons around the house here?
NVM: No. I mean, I have drain cleaner, pesticides, household cleansers, things of that sort. I suppose all of those could be poisonous, couldn't they?
SM: Do you ever buy or bake brownies?
NVM: Not usually. We don't keep too many fattening foods around here. They're too tempting and we're all trying to watch our figures. And I'm not much of a cook, I'm afraid. I'm trying to learn, but so far I'm not very good at it.
TA: When was the last time you saw Trudi Rose?
NVM: When we had lunch together.
TA: You didn't see her after that?
NVM: No, not that I recall.
SM: Thank you for your time, Ms. Van Moore. We'll be in touch if we have any more questions.
NVM: Not at all. You know where to find me if I can be of further