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Witness Interview: Milton Wilenski, Victim's Friend

Thursday, July 27, 2000 - 9:15 a.m.

This witness was interviewed at his law office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Det. Ted Armstrong. The interview was taped on a portable tape recorder with Mr. Wilenski's knowledge and consent.

TA = Det. T. Armstrong
MW = Milton Wilenski

TA: Thank you for making yourself available while I'm in town.

MW: It's no problem. I'll do anything I can to help the investigation.

TA: I'll need your name and address for the record.

MW: Milton Wilenski, 5704 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

TA: And you're an attorney?

MW: That's correct. I specialize in civil litigation.

TA: You had been a friend of Wendy Holloway for some years?

MW. For most of my life.

TA: When was the last time you had contact with her?.

MW: It would have been about three weeks before... her death. I called her to tell her I'd met a really great girl who's also a lawyer and we talked about that some. I hadn't been seeing anyone special for a while and Wendy was really pleased for me. I hadn't talked to her for maybe a month before that phone call.

TA: You mentioned at the funeral that Ms. Holloway had called you the night she died. Are you certain it was that night, Friday July 14?

MW:Yes, I am. I was out that night, but she left a message on my answering machine. A legal publishing firm had arranged an after-work Friday night function and some of the people from my firm were going. I like those functions, you get to network and the food is always excellent. I took my girlfriend Suzy. It was pretty late when we got back to my place. I didn't check my messages until the next morning.

TA: Do you know when Ms. Holloway called you?

MW: I don't remember exactly anymore, but I believe it would have been fairly early in the evening because I do recall there was a message from my dad after hers. He usually calls about 8:30 or thereabouts. So it must have been before that, and of course, we're an hour ahead of Oxford here.

TA: What did Ms Holloway say in the message?

MW: I'll try to recall the exact words for you. I've been over and over it in my mind since I found out she'd been killed. She said something like: "Hi Milt, it's Wendy. I was hoping you'd be there. I really, really need to talk to you. I need you to point me in the right direction because I think I've gotten myself into a bad situation. It's too complicated to explain right now, but I'm pretty sure it's going to involve legal action. So please, Milt, call me as soon as you can. I need your advice." I think that's pretty much what Wendy said.

TA: Did you call back that night?

MW: No. As I said, I actually didn't check the messages until the next morning. But I called her as soon as I heard the message and just got her answering machine. I left her a message and, when I didn't hear back from her, I assumed she'd gotten all worked up about nothing, or the problem had resolved itself. Of course, later I found out why she hadn't called me back...

TA: Any idea of the nature of this legal problem?

MW: No, she didn't specify that. Don't know if it was some sort of litigation she was contemplating, whether she was looking at taking out a restraining order against someone - all sorts of things have crossed my mind. I don't think she was involved in anything criminal, but that's just idle speculation. She didn't state what the problem was. I expect that she wanted me to give some general advice for whatever it was, because of my knowledge of the legal system.

TA: Had Wendy ever mentioned using drugs to you?

MW: I do know that she took cocaine for a while when she was younger, but she wasn't an addict. Drugs are not part of my life, so if she was using, I don't think it's something she'd talk to me about. I know some lawyers have gone down the cocaine trail, but that's not for me. It's not something she ever talked to me about while she was in Oxford, that's for sure. I'm not aware of her ever having faced charges over drug use or anything like that.

TA: What do you know about people she associated with in Oxford? Were there any romantic relationships, friends, business contacts that you can recall her mentioning?

MW: There was her boyfriend, the novelist. That seemed like a sticky situation to me because she said he was married and had been for years to some Southern belle wife. But I know Wendy was convinced that this was the relationship that she'd been waiting for all her life. She felt that the novelist was ready for a life change, that he'd gotten bored with living with an airhead. That's what Wendy called the wife - an airhead. I do know that Wendy was thinking about having a baby, whether they got married or not. I think her biological clock was ticking and she was thinking sooner rather than later. 

TA: Anyone else you can think of that she associated with in Oxford?

MW: I do believe a few men were chasing her. I can understand that. There was a time when I hoped that Wendy and I would be more than just friends, but she never saw me that way. Quite frankly, I don't know what she did see in some of those guys she was with. Since she went to Oxford, I believe there was someone in real estate she had lunch with sometimes, and she did mention a blues musician. I don't think Wendy had made any girlfriends down there as such. She was more the type of girl who had men as friends, though she did have a female roommate when she was in Seattle, who she was close to. That was Jenny. I know she came to the funeral. I think she was still involved in some computer project with Jenny, but I really don't know the details. Computers are not my thing, Detective. To me, they're just tools for producing documents. I'm not really interested in all the programming stuff. We didn't really discuss that, just as I didn't talk about the finer points of litigation with Wendy. You save that for your lawyer buddies. We'd talk about how our lives were going, our philosophies, our dreams, general gossip. Normal friendship-type things.

TA: Did she ever mention any trouble or violence with any of the people you've mentioned while she was in Oxford?.

MW: No, she did not.

TA: What do you know of her relationship with her brother?

MW: When we were in school, I think he was jealous of her natural ability. There were a few other things too. Like once, when we were in middle school, he came up with an idea involving solar-powered vehicles for the science fair. But Wendy raced in and built the project and submitted it without telling Peter. She ended up winning the award for best in the fair. That didn't help their relationship at all. She had a bit of a tendency to capitalize on other people's ideas. I think she also might have borrowed money from Peter when they were kids and didn't pay it back. That sort of thing. Personally, I think Peter was having a pretty hard time at that stage in his life because his dad walked out and he hardly saw him after that. One of those neglected victims of divorce, I guess. I don't know anything really about Peter's life after he left high school. Wendy didn't really talk about him and I don't think he came back to Pittsburgh very often.

TA: Did she say anything about seeing her brother recently?

MW: Yes, she did. I gather that they became pretty good friends. When she was in Pittsburgh back in January, she told me one of the first things she'd do when she got to Oxford would be to look him up in Memphis. She said her mom was really impressed with the way Peter was now. She did tell me over the phone that he'd gotten himself straightened out and was doing really well. They'd gotten together a couple of times.

TA: Can you think of anyone at all who would want to harm Ms. Holloway?

MW: No, nobody at all. I wish I could help you more. And I wish I'd been there the night of Wendy's phone call.

TA: Thanks for your time, Mr. Wilenski. Here's my card. If you think of anything else, please let me know

MW: I will. I hope you succeed in finding out who did this terrible thing.


End interview 9:41 a.m.

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