Sam Tuttle interview
Monday, May 3, 2021 – 10:30 a.m.
Sam Tuttle was Barbara's sponsor for pageants until last year and attended the Yoknapatawpha County Literature Festival pageant.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at his business, Tuttle Confections, at 927 Whirlpool Drive.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Sam Tuttle
Detective Murphy: For the record, could you please state your name and address?
Sam Tuttle: My name is Sam Tuttle. I live at 902 Cleveland Avenue.
Detective Murphy: You sponsored Barbara Dubois through most of her pageants. Why not this one?
Sam Tuttle: Her mother fired me last year. Susan said she found a better sponsorship deal elsewhere.
Detective Murphy: That must have hurt, seeing as how you'd brought Barbara along from almost the very beginning.
Sam Tuttle: It was a painful break because I'd become part of the family—Barbara's Uncle Sam.
Detective Armstrong: How much business do you figure you lost when the Dubois family fired you?
Sam Tuttle: It's always difficult to determine the effectiveness of advertising. Maybe my involvement in the pageants sold a ton of chocolates, or maybe it only cost me money. In the end, I was in it for something else.
Detective Murphy: And what was that?
Sam Tuttle: Barbara. I can't believe she's gone. She was a great kid. By sponsoring her, I got to watch her grow up. I got to be there. She was always so proud whenever she mastered a new skill. Couldn't wait to show me.
Detective Armstrong: And then you were cut off.
Sam Tuttle: That's Susan for you. What? Did Platinum Chocolates offer to throw in an extra ten a week? Offer to license Barbara's likeness to produce chocolate beauty pills? Except for Marty, her coach, I was probably Barbara's best friend in the world, but that wouldn't matter to Susan.
Detective Murphy: You were at the pageant the night Barbara was killed?
Sam Tuttle: Susan could restrict access, but she couldn't stop me from attending public events.
Detective Murphy: Restrict access?
Sam Tuttle: Susan didn't want me around Barbara. She thought it would send a mixed message, complicate the arrangement with Platinum. This past Christmas was the first in 17 years that I didn't spend at their home.
Detective Armstrong: Are you sure it was Susan who fired you? Maybe Barbara was behind the decision. Maybe she thought it was time to go in a new direction.
Sam Tuttle: Barbara wasn't like that. She never took the pageants seriously, never took herself seriously. Barbara got to dress up, perform a little, play the star, but she never thought she was a star. She was just having fun.
Detective Murphy: Even though there was a new sponsor, you provided chocolates to the finalists. Susan must not have liked that.
Sam Tuttle: She made it possible. I never would have presented Tuttle Confections to the contestants while I was sponsoring Barbara. That wouldn't have been right. This time there wasn't any conflict of interest. I talked to Allie Lamar about the possibility, and she loved the idea.
Detective Armstrong: Instead of sponsoring a contestant, you sponsored the pageant.
Sam Tuttle: In a small way.
Detective Murphy: And that sponsorship gave you access again.
Sam Tuttle: I got to wear a plastic nametag to dinner that identified me as a pageant sponsor.
Detective Armstrong: What time did you leave the convention center that night?
Sam Tuttle: Very late. It's hard to explain the buzz. Barbara was a finalist, not that I was surprised, and I couldn't have been more proud if she was my own daughter. I may have been on the outside, but even walking the empty halls by myself kept that feeling of excitement alive.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you saw Barbara?
Sam Tuttle: At dinner. I ignored Susan's evil eye and shook Barbara's hand.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see anybody while you were out walking the halls?
Sam Tuttle: I probably passed everybody. There's nothing like the last night of a pageant. Tomorrow, people will be heading home, focused on how to improve for next time, but on Friday, the bubble hadn't burst yet. Everybody is nuts.
Detective Murphy: Did anyone seem more nuts than usual?
Sam Tuttle: These are pageant people. You ever see that comedy where the mothers of the contestants tried to sabotage each other? It could have been a documentary. The kids, for the most part, they're normal. It's the people around them that are warped.
Detective Murphy: You'd be describing yourself as well?
Sam Tuttle: I paid for the privilege of raising someone's daughter. Does that sound normal? Allie was the one I felt sorry for. This was all new to her, and she looked as though she'd been attacked by those alleged lab rats of hers. I watch too many movies.
Detective Armstrong: What else did you see that night?
Sam Tuttle: I saw a bubble getting ready to burst.
Detective Armstrong: If you had to name someone who could be responsible for what happened to Barbara, who would it be?
Sam Tuttle: Oh, I've been on the outside for a while now. I really couldn't say.
Detective Armstrong: Is there anyone you'd say definitely did not do it?
Sam Tuttle: Susan. I can't imagine her doing anything to hurt Barbara.
Detective Murphy: We'll be conducting a thorough investigation, and we might need to talk to you again. Will that be a problem?
Sam Tuttle: Not at all. Anything I can do to help.
Detective Murphy: Thanks for your time, Mr. Tuttle. We'll be in touch.
Interview ended – 10:49 a.m.