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Witness Interview: Debbie Fitzgerald, Victim's Birth Mother

Friday, November 24, 2000 - 1:31 p.m.

At Det. Ted Armstrong's request, Ms. Fitzgerald came to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department for a follow-up interview.

TA = Detective T. Armstrong
DF = Debbie Fitzgerald

TA: For the record, would you please state your name and address?

DF: My name is Deborah Jane Fitzgerald, I live at 375 Vivian Drive.

TA: Thanks for coming in again, ma'am. Just a few follow up questions and we'll have you out of here in no time.

DF: It's all right I have the day off. Doesn't matter how long it takes.

TA: Okay, well let's get to it. You told us before that you were following Ms. Chase. Is that correct?

DF: I told you I saw her sometimes. But I wasn't following her.

TA: Not at all?

DF: Sometimes I drove by her house after my shift was over.

TA: Because?

DF: In case maybe I could catch a glimpse of her. See if her lights were on.

TA: Why would you want to know if her lights were on?

DF: In case maybe I'd have the nerve to knock on her door again.

TA: There seems to be some indication that you did. Knock on her door, again that is.

DF: No, I didn't. She called me, like I told you before. I saw that column in the paper. The one she wrote about me. Made me cry you know? Guess it wasn't meant to be...

TA: What wasn't meant to be?

DF: Us ever being mother and daughter. I got my few minutes with her and that was all it was. Well, can't cry over spilt milk I guess.

TA: Okay. In terms of following her, did you do anything besides driving by to see if her lights were on?

DF: Well sometimes I'd park and just sit there. You know, just watch the house. Wishing I knew what to say to her.

TA: You ever follow her while she was driving anywhere?

DF: No sir. I saw her sometimes on the Square. I'd wave and she'd act like she didn't see, but I know she did.

TA: Didn't that ever make you angry?

DF: No, it made me sad.

TA: Did you argue?

DF: Nope. Like I said, she called, we were going to have lunch... What's the matter? You think I hurt my little girl?

TA: Should I think you did?

DF: No. But you're acting like it.

TA: I'm just trying to get to the truth, ma'am.

DF: Then find the person who did this to her. I can't help you.

TA: What about her biological father?

DF: What about him?

TA: Is it possible she was in contact with him?

DF: I guess so... she could have been. But how she could have found him I wouldn't know. I ain't seen him since I was sixteen. His family moved away before I went to Lincoln and nobody seemed to know where.

TA: Do you remember his name?

DF: Yeah, Johnny Brown. I imagine there are a lot of those in the phone book, huh?

TA: Did Zoe ever say she wanted to find him or contact him?

DF: No. She never told me she had any plans for doing that.

TA: I'm sorry if I keep asking you the same questions over again, but it's very important. Can you think of anything else your daughter said to you that would give us any idea of what was bothering her?

DF: I been wracking my brain to remember every word she said to me but no... there ain't nothing I can think of. She was just a mixed up kid, too old to be a kid, sure, but a kid anyway.

TA: Why do you say that?

DF: Just the way she acted. Everything was so personal to her, so upsetting... like a little girl. And it's probably my fault. I shouldn't have given her to those people. I should have kept her and made a life for her. She wouldn't have had the jewelry and money and all, but she would've known her mama and her family. I blame myself.

TA: Don't be too hard on yourself, ma'am. No matter how hard you try, you're never going to be able to protect your kids from their lives.

DF: I sure would have liked to try.

TA: Yes ma'am, like every other parent in the world. Thanks for coming in.

DF: Okay. Bye.

TA: Afternoon ma'am.

End interview 1:53 p.m.

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