Canvass - Taylor residents

The Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department conducted a canvass of the Taylor community in the vicinity of the Allison farm. Investigators were looking for potential witnesses who might have seen or heard anything unusual in the area at any time during the preceding six weeks.

The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.


County Road 323 residents

Mary Childress
448 CR 323, Taylor, MS
1.3 miles east of human remains scene

Ms. Childress, who lives with her mother, Myrtie Childress, said neither of them noticed any strange activity, aside from the usual kids racing up and down the road in cars.

Childress noted that their house is some distance from the road and that she and her mother turn in early every night, so they would not necessarily be aware of any late-night activities of any kind.

Childress said no strangers have called upon their home nor have they heard anything unusual.

 

Lester & Murice Owens
277 CR 323, Taylor, MS
.3 miles east of human remains scene

The Owens farm is set back from the road and obscured by trees.

Mr. and Mrs. Owens said they don't pay attention to who comes and goes, and neither recalled seeing any strange cars or people on the road or near the bridge.

Mr. Owens said he recalled hearing a female scream coming from the woods on the west side of his property on February 22, 2020, at approximately 10:00 a.m.

 

JC Strong
265 CR 323, Taylor, MS
.18 miles west of human remains scene

Repeated visits to Strong's residence met with negative results. No answer to knocks on the doors and no vehicle observed on the property.

 

Joe Pye Weed & Gretchen Farnsworth
261 CR 323, Taylor, MS
.4 miles west of human remains scene

Mr. Weed is a reporter for the Oxford Eagle. Weed's fiancée, Ms. Farnsworth, was at work at Square Books in Oxford at the time of the interview.

Weed said he frequently saw unfamiliar cars drive by. He added that he never pays attention to cars because everybody who lives on CR 323 drives by his house, and he doesn't know everybody on the road because he chooses to mind his own business.

Weed said his neighbor, JC Strong, frequently had visitors, mostly female, within the past several weeks. Weed remembered one guest in particular — a short, stocky male, who stayed for several days at Strong's house.

Weed said he had contact with this visitor during the first weekend of February when the man appeared to be preparing to wade into the swimming hole behind Strong's house.

Weed said he was sitting on his back porch when he noticed the man and called out to warn him that the small pond had snakes in it. Weed said the man replied, "Good!" and waded in.

According to Weed, the man was in the water for about 15 minutes, then got out and returned to Strong's house. Weed said he didn't know why the man was wading in the pond, and he did not see the man put anything into or take anything out of the water.

Weed added that he had heard a gunshot coming from the Allison farm one night several weeks earlier.

County Road 3065 residents

Arthur Chariot
10 CR 3065, Taylor, MS
.6 miles west of human remains scene

Mr. Chariot, a painter, could not recall any suspicious people in town, but he recalled a conversation he shared with two men on February 21, 2020. Chariot said the men told him they were visiting Oxford from Athens, Georgia, and rode out to Taylor to see the town.

Chariot said the men inquired at his studio about the area, but he didn't remember their names. Chariot described one as tall and hefty, approximately 6' 1" and 250 lbs. with thinning red hair and the other as approximately 5' 8" and 180 lbs. with short black hair and glasses.

Chariot characterized the men as awkward and rigid, and he said found it odd that they had inquired about Taylor as "they hardly seemed interested in being alive."

Chariot also said he recalled hearing a gunshot coming from the Whitehead farm one night approximately four weeks earlier but said he didn't think anything of it because it was common to hear gunshots in the country at night, particularly with coyotes about.

 

Commodore & Patrice Hughes
21 CR 3065, Taylor, MS
1.9 miles west of human remains scene

In response to questions about anything or anyone unusual in the area, Mr. Hughes, a retired farmer, said a UFO had landed in the woods behind his house approximately one month previously.

Hughes insisted that alien beings had exited the ship and taken one of his neighbor's cows. YCSD records show a report filed by a patrol officer on January 27, 2020, that coincides with Hughes's story.

Hughes described the experience as traumatic and said his wife has been unable to speak since the incident.

 

Norma Rowsey
Rowsey's Market
11 CR 3065, Taylor, MS
.8 miles west of human remains scene

Mrs. Rowsey, owner and proprietor of Rowsey's Market, said she found her store vandalized on the morning of Wednesday, February 12, 2020, upon arriving for work at 6:15 a.m. Rowsey said she reported the incident to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department, but no arrests have been made to date.

An incident report filed on the same date confirms Rowsey's estimation of damages: a scarecrow stolen from the front porch, a windmill upset in the rear of the building, water spigot on the north side of building broken off, spray painted vulgarities on the west side of the building, and the mailbox on the porch destroyed. No signs of break-in.

Inspection of the market's premises revealed stacks of plastic buckets in the rear of the establishment. When asked if she had any pool chlorine buckets, Rowsey said she wasn't certain because various people brought her buckets to plant flowers in, but most of the buckets were from a friend who regularly brings fertilizer buckets. She said she didn't recall any missing buckets, but she did not keep an inventory.

When asked if she had noticed anyone suspicious in the area, Rowsey said, "Everybody's suspicious to me."

Rowsey said she routinely notes strangers who visit her store and "catch [her] eye." She provided descriptions of several such persons whom she observed in recent weeks.

A tall, thin, African-American male, approximately 6'0" and 130 lbs. in his early 20s, who came in Rowsey's store on foot and appeared nervous around the end of December 2020.

A Caucasian businessman, approximately 5'10" and 150 lbs., mid-40s and balding, who passed through town and took lunch of cheese and crackers on the front porch of the market during the first week of April

Two teenage girls around 16 — one approximately 5'4", 150 lbs. with freckles and long blonde hair, and the other approximately 5'6", 90 lbs. with greasy brown hair — who sat on the porch drinking Cokes for an hour or two on February 9, 2020.

 

Janice Templeton
9 CR 3065, Taylor, MS
.9 miles west of human remains scene

Ms. Templeton is the postmistress at the Taylor Post Office.

Templeton said the only thing she recalled that was out of the ordinary was arriving at work one day approximately six weeks previous and finding a man's tennis shoe on top of the mailbox outside the post office.

Templeton said the shoe stayed there for several days, and then she saw a dog playing with it. She never saw the shoe after that.

When asked about JC Strong, Templeton described him as surly and lazy, but said that they'd had few problems during their brief exchanges each morning for the three years that she held the postmistress job.

Templeton said that Strong's personality fit him, and that he didn't make trouble at work, though she'd heard from various neighbors that he had a tendency to create disturbances in Taylor at night.

Templeton said she last saw Strong on Friday, February 21, 2020, at approximately 8:30 a.m. when he finished his shift.

 


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