Susan Dubois interview #2
Friday, May 7, 2021 – 2:45 p.m.
Susan Dubois is the victim's mother. The detectives asked her to come in for a follow-up conversation to discuss new information uncovered since their first conversation.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy talked to her again at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Susan Dubois
Detective Murphy: Good morning, Mrs. Dubois. Thank you for coming in.
Susan Dubois: Oh, you're welcome. Do you know who killed my daughter?
Detective Murphy: Before we get started, would you state your name and address for the record, please?
Susan Dubois: Susan Dubois. 3034 Davis Drive. Now, do you know who killed my daughter or not?
Detective Armstrong: We're getting very close, Mrs. Dubois, and that's why we asked you to come in. We have a few things to straighten out. First, we could use your help in understanding Barbara's relationships with several people. You probably knew her better than anybody else.
Susan Dubois: Of course, detective. I'll be glad to help in whatever way I can.
Detective Murphy: First, tell us about Barbara's friends—Rachel and Ingrid. How close were they to your daughter?
Susan Dubois: Rachel was probably her best friend. They'd known each other since they were just kids. They spent a lot of time together.
Detective Murphy: Was Rachel close enough for them to share their most intimate secrets?
Susan Dubois: I suppose so, but I really don't know. I guess you'd have to ask Rachel that.
Detective Armstrong: Did Rachel have any reason to kill Barbara, Mrs. Dubois?
Susan Dubois: Rachel? I can't imagine Rachel hurting anyone, least of all Barbara. She's a sweet girl, and they were truly close friends.
Detective Murphy: But Barbara knew her secret, didn't she?
Susan Dubois: What secret?
Detective Murphy: That Rachel has a serious eating disorder. Maybe Rachel was afraid Barbara would reveal it, and she killed her.
Susan Dubois: Don't be ridiculous! Barbara knew of Rachel's problem, and she urged her to get help. She was worried about her. But that's certainly no reason for murder!
Detective Armstrong: Well, what about Rachel's mother then?
Susan Dubois: I wouldn't know about Erma. She is capable of most anything if she thought it would help Rachel's chances in a pageant. It's hard to imagine she's capable of murder, though.
Detective Murphy: Do you believe the same about Ingrid Freeman?
Susan Dubois: You mean, do I think Ingrid could harm Barbara? Yes, I think Ingrid is capable of doing whatever she had to in order to eliminate tough competition.
Detective Armstrong: We were led to believe Ingrid and Barbara were good friends.
Susan Dubois: Barbara and Ingrid? I can't imagine where you got that. Barbara tolerated her because she had to and because she would never snub anyone, but friends? Not on your life.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about Denny Buchanan. Weren't he and Barbara serious for a while there?
Susan Dubois: Denny? He may have wanted it to be serious, but Barbara broke it off. They didn't really even go together very long. She thought he was shallow and conceited and that he didn't really care for her, just for his image when he was with her. She said he was a jerk.
Detective Murphy: Do you think he might have killed her because she dumped him?
Susan Dubois: I don't think he really cared that much to tell you the truth.
Detective Armstrong: All right, Mrs. Dubois. Can you tell us the secret Barbara was going to reveal in her Truth of the Heart speech?
Susan Dubois: Huh?
Detective Armstrong: You know. The Truth of the Heart speech she was planning to give at the pageant. We found it in her room. It looked as though she was going to reveal something personal. Do you have any idea what that could've been?
Susan Dubois: I really don't know what you're talking about.
Detective Armstrong: Here, Mrs. Dubois. Read for yourself. This is a printed copy of the document we found on Barbara's tablet.
Susan Dubois: Oh, that was her favorite poem! She found it in high school when she was writing a paper. After that, she used to say it a lot. "We wear the mask that grins and lies, / it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes." She recited it so much, even I know part of it by heart.
Detective Murphy: She also says she's going to quit pageant life, follow her heart, and reveal a truth no matter how much it would hurt someone. Was that someone you, Mrs. Dubois?
Susan Dubois: I can't imagine what— no, there was no secret that I know of.
Detective Armstrong: Tell us about Barbara's pregnancy, Mrs. Dubois.
Susan Dubois: Pregnancy? What pregnancy? What are you talking about?
Detective Armstrong: The autopsy showed that she had given birth. Now we need to know about that.
Susan Dubois: That was a long time ago. What possible help could that be in finding Barbara's killer? You're just trying to stir up gossip about her. She's dead! Can't you let her rest in peace?
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Dubois, you want us to find who did this terrible thing to your daughter, don't you?
Susan Dubois: Of course I do, but I…
Detective Armstrong: Then we need to know everything about Barbara. Her relationship with the father of the child and anyone else with an interest in the pregnancy may have a bearing on this case. We can't eliminate anyone yet. So help us here, ma'am. Tell us about her pregnancy.
Detective Murphy: We know when she was a teenager, you left Oxford for nearly a year. Where did she go and why?
Susan Dubois: We went to Atlanta so Barbara could go to a special school to—
Detective Armstrong: Mrs. Dubois! That is a bunch of bull! Several people told us they suspect you left town to cover up Barbara's pregnancy. Now, if you really want your daughter's killer brought to justice, you will tell us about the pregnancy.
Susan Dubois: Oh… dear… I… Don't you understand this could hurt a lot of people?
Detective Murphy: As badly as someone hurt your daughter?
Detective Armstrong: I'm beginning to think you had something to do with your daughter's death. Did you kill your daughter, Mrs. Dubois?
Susan Dubois: What a terrible thing to say to me! How could you possibly think I could do something so awful?
Detective Murphy: Then help us out here, Susan. Tell us about Barbara's pregnancy and the father of her child.
Susan Dubois: But you don't realize what— This will hurt a lot of people.
Detective Armstrong: We need you to tell us all you know. It may be very helpful in apprehending your daughter's killer. If you really want that person found, we need every bit of information you have.
Susan Dubois: Oh… please. Just give me a minute. Could I have a glass of water, please? This is very difficult.
Detective Murphy: Here's your water. Now, about the pregnancy.
Susan Dubois: Yes, Barbara was pregnant when she was 15. She was just a baby herself.
Detective Armstrong: And the father?
Susan Dubois: This won't get out, will it? He never knew. He went to school in Europe when we left Oxford. I think if he finds out now, it'll just tear him apart.
Detective Murphy: What you tell us is confidential unless it turns out to have a bearing on the case when it goes to trial. Then we can't promise anything.
Susan Dubois: Bill. Bill Lamar. They were just kids and thought they were in love, but she was only 15. It could have ruined her life, ruined her future. We went to Atlanta so no one would know.
Detective Armstrong: It must have been expensive to just pick up and move like that. How did you manage?
Susan Dubois: Well, we did. Okay?
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Dubois, we know you were working two jobs, and finances were tight. Did you have help during that year? Financial help?
Susan Dubois: Well, we had someone who helped us out once in a while.
Detective Armstrong: We need to know who, specifically.
Susan Dubois: I don't see how that matters.
Detective Armstrong: Hasn't keeping secrets cost you enough already, Mrs. Dubois?
Detective Murphy: Just get it off your chest, Susan. You'll feel better.
Susan Dubois: I suppose. I suppose I should.
Detective Murphy: Barbara would want you to tell us the truth.
Susan Dubois: Yes, she would. Allie Lamar. She helped us.
Detective Murphy: What would make her want to do that?
Susan Dubois: Allie Lamar contributed to Barbara's care and our support on the condition we never told Bill about the baby. I convinced Barbara that Bill didn't love her and didn't want to see her anymore. She never knew about the money. Allie told Bill that Barbara didn't want to see him anymore because she was going to concentrate on her pageant life.
Detective Armstrong: Did Bill know Barbara was pregnant?
Susan Dubois: No.
Detective Murphy: Barbara never talked to him about being pregnant?
Susan Dubois: She was scared. She was so young.
Detective Murphy: And Allie Lamar backed you up on this?
Susan Dubois: Oh, she instigated the whole thing. She told Bill that Barbara was going to Atlanta to get away from him, that she cared nothing for him and didn't want to see him anymore. She convinced him Barbara was only interested in her pageant career.
Detective Murphy: So you went to Atlanta during the pregnancy. What about after the birth? What happened to the baby?
Susan Dubois: We… we lost her. Barely a day old. We named her Gwendolyn. There was something wrong with her heart, the doctors said.
Detective Murphy: Did Bill ever learn about the baby?
Susan Dubois: No. Allie very carefully managed that.
Detective Murphy: The child that died.
Susan Dubois: Yes.
Detective Armstrong: But you continued to take payments from Allie Lamar.
Susan Dubois: Yes.
Detective Murphy: Didn't Mrs. Lamar know? Or were they payoffs to keep Barbara away from Bill?
Susan Dubois: She had so much money, and we didn't have any. And if Bill and Barbara had ever found out what Allie and I did— I didn't tell her.
Detective Murphy: You had to do more than not tell her, Susan.
Detective Armstrong: Murph, we're wasting our time here. She doesn't want her daughter's killer found. I wonder if the DA is ready to file extortion charges against her.
Susan Dubois: It wasn't extortion. It was Allie Lamar's idea. She gave me the money to give to someone else.
Detective Armstrong: Who?
Susan Dubois: Mary. Mary Jones. I sent it to the Joneses for Billie Jo. We've known them for ages. I knew they wanted a child and wanted to adopt. I got Allie to pay the adoption fees—
Detective Armstrong: By telling her it was Barbara's child.
Susan Dubois: Yes. And Barbara so loved that child like it was her own Gwendolyn, the child she lost.
Detective Murphy: Allie never suspected?
Susan Dubois: She paid to keep things quiet, detective. She didn't nose around. We were out of sight and out of her mind.
Detective Armstrong: Sounds like extortion to me, Murph. How much of that money did you keep, Mrs. Dubois?
Susan Dubois: None of it! I sent it to Mary for Billie Jo. The Lamar sponsorship money went for Barbara's competitions. You can check—
Detective Armstrong: We will.
Detective Murphy: We'll deal with that side of the story later. Someone sent Bill a note to come back for the pageant. Was that you?
Susan Dubois: Oh, no!
Detective Armstrong: Do you know who it could've been?
Susan Dubois: No.
Detective Armstrong: What did you think when you saw Bill Lamar at the pageant?
Susan Dubois: I was shocked when I saw him here. If he and Barbara ever talked— well, I don't think Barbara would ever have spoken to me again.
Detective Murphy: Did you speak to Mrs. Lamar about Bill's return?
Susan Dubois: Yes, Allie about had a fit. She was almost completely panicked.
Detective Murphy: So how many people knew about Billie Jo supposedly being Barbara's child? You, Mary, Barbara, Mary's husband, Allie Lamar, anybody else? And who knew—I mean, thought—that Bill was the father?
Susan Dubois: No, no. Mary and her husband knew Barbara's child died, but they also knew that telling anyone Barbara was ever pregnant would ruin her pageant career, so they kept quiet. Bill didn't know anything, of course.
Susan Dubois: So Mary Jones knew the money was coming from Allie Lamar?
Susan Dubois: No, she didn't. Her husband didn't either.
Detective Armstrong: They didn't ask where you got it?
Susan Dubois: I told them Barbara wanted them to have it, that she took it from her sponsorship money. And I told them it was a secret, and they weren't supposed to know where it was from, so they should never, never mention it to Barbara. They saw how happy Billie Jo made Barbara, so it worked out.
Detective Armstrong: But Barbara must have known?
Susan Dubois: I told her the lawyer made a deal with the Lamars. She was so angry. At first, she didn't want the money. Then I told her we could give it to the Joneses. They had nothing, detective. She was happy to give it to them.
Detective Murphy: Did Rachel Webb know about the pregnancy?
Susan Dubois: Not that I know of.
Detective Murphy: Could anyone else have found out?
Susan Dubois: I don't think so. Billie Jo's adoption records are sealed. I told Barbara over and over that she had to keep quiet. It would have ruined her career.
Detective Murphy: This is one for the books.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you for leveling with us, Mrs. Dubois. We're as eager to solve this as you are, and I think this information you've given us today will help us do that.
Susan Dubois: I don't see how all this helps.
Detective Murphy: Someone who had something to lose wanted your daughter out of the way, Susan.
Detective Armstrong: If Bill Lamar and Barbara ever talked, the scheme you concocted with Allie Lamar would fall apart. Mary Jones would be out all that money then, wouldn't she?
Susan Dubois: You can't think Mary had anything to do with Barbara's death? She loved her like a sister and would never want any harm to come to her.
Detective Armstrong: Mary isn't the only one with a motive.
Detective Murphy: Our investigation is ongoing, Susan, and we need you to keep what we've talked about today completely confidential. If the killer were to somehow learn what leads we're looking into, we might never be able to catch him.
Susan Dubois: Him?
Detective Murphy: Or her. Do you understand? You cannot discuss this with anyone, no matter how innocent you may think they are.
Susan Dubois: I understand. I won't mention it to anybody.
Detective Murphy: Good. Thanks again for coming in today. We'll let you know when we have a suspect in custody.
Susan Dubois: Thank you, detectives.
Interview ended – 3:42 p.m.