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|Witness Interview: Beau Jenkins, Found Body|
Sunday, October 15, 2000 - 8:20 a.m.
This witness, who discovered the body, was interviewed at the crime scene on CR 2003. While a short preliminary interview was conducted by the Reporting Officer, Deputy P.J. Watson, a formal interview was conducted by the Reporting Investigators, Det. Sam Murphy and Det. Ted Armstrong, when they arrived on the scene. The associated Incident Report is available here.
SM: For the record, sir, could you please state your name and address?
BJ: My name is Beau Henry Jenkins and I live at 521 North 11th in Oxford.
TA: And how old are you, son?
BJ: Seventeen, sir.
SM: You told the first officer that you knew the victim, Mr. Jenkins?
BJ: Oh, just call me Beau. Yes ma'am, I knew the victim. Zoe Chase. Everybody knew Zoe... ah, Ms. Chase.
SM: How did you know the victim, Beau?
BJ: Well, she comes into where I work after school, over at Copy Time. The lady who does her typing, Peggy, she works there too. So we see her sometimes if she has to get something from Peggy and can't wait for Peggy to drop it off. Plus I see her in Kroger sometimes. I do a food delivery program with my youth group and so I go there sometimes too.
SM: What is Peggy's last name?
BJ: LeClaire. Peggy LeClaire.
SM: Got it. Okay, now, we realize you've been through some of the details about finding Ms. Chase with Deputy Watson, Beau, but I'm afraid we need you to go through it again. You feel up to it?
BJ: Sure, okay.
SM: Would you rather go to the Sheriff's Office to finish this?
BJ: No, ma'am, it's okay. I suspect moving to a different location isn't going to erase what I saw, is it? Anyway, I'd rather just get it over with because my parents are expecting me at church in a little while.
SM: All right then. Can you tell us how you came to discover Ms. Chase?
BJ: Well, like I was saying, my youth group delivers food to local shut-ins and I was on my way to make a delivery to Mrs. Crowley. She just lives up the road a piece in Brittany Woods. Anyway, I was driving along, minding my own business and I saw something.
TA: What did you see?
BJ: Well, couldn't make it out at first, just something off to the side of the road. I have to admit I was playing my music pretty loud and probably driving too fast... Guess I wasn't paying real close attention...
TA: It's okay. We don't plan to write you a speeding citation, Beau. What did you see, and when did you see it?
BJ: Yes, sir. Well, I just saw something was off to the side of the road and I wondered, "What the heck is that?" Then when I got closer, I thought, "Oh Lord, it's somebody who's hurt." So I pull over and jump out of the car.
SM: Was anyone else around? Had you seen any other vehicles departing or approaching the scene where Ms. Chase was lying?
BJ: No, I didn't see anyone. I don't think anybody else was on the road 'sides me. It's real quiet up here in the morning, especially on Sundays.
SM: Okay, so you got out of the car and then?
BJ: Then I called out as I was coming up to her. "Hey lady, you okay?" But she doesn't say anything and she's not moving...
TA: When did you realize it was Ms. Chase? Someone you knew?
BJ: A few more steps, then I saw her face. She had blood on her face and her back and was so still. My stomach sunk. I knew she wasn't alive.
TA: How did you know? Did you check her pulse or attempt to revive her?
BJ: I've done enough deer hunting to know when something is dead. It's a stillness in them, you know? But I did check her neck for a pulse. Just in case, you know? I was praying that maybe I was wrong.
SM: Okay. Did you touch the body in any other way?
BJ: Excuse me, ma'am?
SM: I mean, did you move the body or anything else, touch any of her things?
BJ: Oh no, ma'am. I know better than to contaminate a crime scene. I'm studying up on law enforcement. Hope to be working with y'all some day.
SM: I see. What did you do once you checked for a pulse on Ms. Chase?
BJ: I jumped back in the car and drove down to Mrs. Crowley's and got on the phone and called y'all. Then I came back here, like they told me to. I mean, I would have stayed put and tried to secure the crime scene, you know, for y'all, but I didn't know if anybody would drive by any time soon, so I thought I should get to a phone first.
TA: We understand and appreciate your conscientiousness. Was there anything else you noticed?
BJ: I noticed her car in the ditch. That was pretty weird.
TA: Why's that?
BJ: Well, Ms. Chase was a real good driver, couldn't figure how she'd end up in a ditch.
SM: That made you suspicious?
BJ: Yeah, it did. She's a real smart lady and just not the helpless female type, you know? So, I didn't expect to see her put her car in a ditch.
SM: Do you know what would have put Ms. Chase out on this road?
BJ: Sure, she lives out this way. Over on Suncrest Drive.
TA: You've been to her home?
BJ: Oh yeah, a few times. Sometimes, when Peggy is too busy, she asks me to drop off pages and such to Ms. Chase.
TA: That was nice of you.
BJ: I never minded. She's a nice lady.
TA: Do you know if she would have been traveling alone last night?
BJ: No sir, I wouldn't know. We didn't socialize or anything like that. Just sometimes ran into each other and talked for a minute or two.
TA: Do you know if Ms. Chase has any family in town?
BJ: I don't know for sure, but I don't think so. Peggy might know.
TA: Do you know if she lives alone?
BJ: Oh well, I don't like to gossip...
TA: We're not asking you to gossip, son, but we need all the information we can get in order to solve this crime. You understand?
BJ: Well, she kind of has a boyfriend... but I don't know... maybe he lives there, maybe he doesn't.
SM: What's his name?
BJ: Jack... Swanson, you know like the TV dinners?
TA: Okay. Anything else you can tell us about Ms. Chase or anything you saw?
BJ: No sir, I think that's everything I know.
SM: Okay, Beau. Thank you for your help. If we have any further questions, we'll contact you.
BJ: Yes, ma'am, you're welcome. Hope you catch whoever did this. I really do. And I am at your service anytime, anywhere.
TA: Thank you, son. Appreciate it. Now, if you'll just step over there so one of the officers can get a set of your fingerprints, then you can head on to church.
End interview 8:33 a.m.