Tuesday, March 3, 2020 – 3:08 p.m.
Following lengthy negotiations with Geoffrey Frye, the Daniels family attorney, investigators were able to arrange another interview with Bonnie Daniels.
Because of her husband's poor health, Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke with Mrs. Daniels at her residence in the presence of her attorney.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Bonnie Daniels
- Geoffrey Frye
Detective Murphy: Thank you for talking with us, Mrs. Daniels.
Bonnie Daniels: How is my husband? You didn't get him all worked up, did you? He can't take that.
Detective Murphy: He's fine, ma'am.
Bonnie Daniels: I need to go check on him.
Detective Murphy: As soon as we're finished talking, you can do that.
Bonnie Daniels: I think I should go now. I'll be right back.
Detective Armstrong: Ma'am—
Geoffrey Frye: Bonnie, he's fine. Really. Let's take care of this, and then you can see to him.
Bonnie Daniels: All right, if you say so.
Detective Murphy: For the record, Mrs. Daniels, would you state your name, age, and address?
Bonnie Daniels: Bonnie Daniels. 1305 Mesquite Drive in Tara Estates. Oh, I'm 51.
Detective Murphy: Thank you. Now, the last time we spoke—
Bonnie Daniels: I apologize for interrupting you, but there's something I think you need to know.
Geoffrey Frye: Bonnie.
Bonnie Daniels: No, it's all right. They need to know, and I should have told them before.
Geoffrey Frye: Okay.
Detective Murphy: What is it, Mrs. Daniels?
Bonnie Daniels: I… I'm the one who sent Laurie the money to come home.
Detective Armstrong: Is that right?
Bonnie Daniels: I should have told you before, I know. I just…
Detective Murphy: Why didn't you tell us before?
Bonnie Daniels: I don't know. I was just so upset and I… I think I felt guilty.
Detective Armstrong: What do you have to feel guilty about?
Bonnie Daniels: Isn't it obvious? If I hadn't sent her the money, she probably wouldn't have been able to get here, and she'd be alive today. It's my fault she's dead.
Geoffrey Frye: Now, Bonnie, Laurie was a resourceful young woman. She would have found another way to get home if you hadn't been able to help her.
Detective Murphy: When did you send the money to Laurie?
Bonnie Daniels: I think it was December 21st or 22nd, right after I talked to her.
Detective Murphy: This is the time you told us about before, when you spoke to her, and she was in Pittsburgh?
Bonnie Daniels: Yes.
Detective Murphy: So you spoke to her. She called you, or you called her?
Bonnie Daniels: She called me.
Detective Murphy: So she called you, asked you to send her money so she could come home, and you sent her the money?
Bonnie Daniels: She didn't ask me to send it. She demanded I send it. But, yes, I did send her money.
Detective Murphy: How much did you send her?
Bonnie Daniels: $500.00.
Detective Murphy: And when did you next speak to her?
Bonnie Daniels: I didn't.
Detective Murphy: She didn't call to let you know she'd gotten the money?
Bonnie Daniels: No.
Detective Murphy: She didn't let you know her travel plans?
Bonnie Daniels: No.
Detective Murphy: Did you think that was strange?
Bonnie Daniels: I don't know. Yes and no. She was so adamant about coming home, and she even said she wanted to see us, which surprised me. I was happy, of course, but I was surprised because she'd shunned us for so long. But at the same time, she was so angry, and I couldn't understand why. When I didn't hear from her again, I thought— I don't know.
Detective Murphy: What did you think?
Bonnie Daniels: It's… it's not a nice thing to say about your own daughter, but I wondered if maybe she'd tricked me. Maybe she just wanted money and— I told you. It's not a nice thing to say about your daughter, and I don't like saying it, but after a week went by and I still hadn't heard from her, I started to think maybe I had to face the fact that she wasn't the girl I knew anymore.
Detective Armstrong: But then you did hear from her.
Bonnie Daniels: What? No, I didn't.
Detective Armstrong: This isn't a game, ma'am. Don't lie to us. It will only hurt you.
Bonnie Daniels: What are you talking about?
Detective Armstrong: We know she called you. Collect. In the middle of the night. After she was already in town. We know that for a fact.
Bonnie Daniels: I don't know what you're talking about. That didn't happen.
Detective Murphy: Come on, now. We have the phone records. We know she called you.
Bonnie Daniels: I don't know what to tell you. It didn't happen. There must be a mistake in the phone records.
Detective Armstrong: Are you kidding? You don't honestly expect us to buy that, do you?
Geoffrey Frye: Detective Armstrong, Mrs. Daniels has answered your question. Berating her isn't going to change it. Move on.
Detective Murphy: Ma'am, did you tell your husband that you'd spoken to Laurie and sent her money to come home?
Bonnie Daniels: No. No, I didn't. I didn't want to upset him.
Detective Murphy: You thought he'd be upset to know she was coming home?
Bonnie Daniels: No, of course not. He would have been happy. I just didn't want him to get overexcited about her coming or for him to be disappointed if she didn't actually show up. I thought it would be better to wait until I knew she was here before I told him.
Detective Armstrong: So did you tell him then?
Bonnie Daniels: When?
Detective Armstrong: When you knew she was here.
Bonnie Daniels: I never knew she was here. I told you that.
Detective Armstrong: See, here's the thing. In addition to that phone call you say didn't happen, we also have a witness who saw you with Laurie around 2:30 in the morning on December 30th.
Bonnie Daniels: What are you talking about?
Detective Armstrong: A witness. Someone saw you. With Laurie.
Bonnie Daniels: That's crazy! That couldn't possibly be true.
Detective Armstrong: Why not? Because you didn't think anyone was around at that hour? Or is this another one of those things that didn't happen?
Bonnie Daniels: It didn't happen. I would never go out at that time of night. I was here, asleep.
Detective Armstrong: You wouldn't go out, even if your daughter called and said she was in trouble and needed you?
Bonnie Daniels: That didn't happen!
Detective Armstrong: What kind of car do you drive, Mrs. Daniels?
Bonnie Daniels: A Toyota Avalon.
Detective Armstrong: Just out of curiosity, what color is the interior of that car?
Bonnie Daniels: Beige.
Detective Armstrong: Uh-huh. And is that the car you drove to pick up Laurie at 2:30 in the morning on December 30th?
Bonnie Daniels: Is that the car I drove? You don't know what you're talking about!
Geoffrey Frye: We've been down this road already. Do you have any other questions?
Detective Murphy: What was Laurie angry about? When you talked to her when she was in Pittsburgh.
Bonnie Daniels: I don't know.
Detective Murphy: She didn't tell you?
Bonnie Daniels: She— what she was saying didn't make any sense. I couldn't understand.
Detective Murphy: Did it have something to do with Melanie?
Bonnie Daniels: I think so, but… it made no sense. I'm telling you.
Detective Murphy: Was it about Melanie and your husband?
Bonnie Daniels: What? No, she never said anything about Bart.
Detective Armstrong: She didn't tell you that you were as crazy as he is?
Bonnie Daniels: No. I don't even know what that means. What does that mean?
Detective Murphy: Was it your idea for Laurie to come home, or was it hers?
Bonnie Daniels: She wanted to come home.
Detective Murphy: Okay, but who suggested it?
Bonnie Daniels: I don't know. She must have because she never would do anything I suggested. Ever.
Detective Armstrong: Did that make you mad? That she wouldn't do what you wanted her to?
Bonnie Daniels: It was frustrating, of course, but that's how it is with mothers and daughters at times.
Detective Armstrong: Is that how it was with Melanie too?
Bonnie Daniels: I— Melanie was very unhappy before she left. So, yes, sometimes that made her difficult to get along with.
Detective Armstrong: Was Melanie pregnant?
Bonnie Daniels: What? Of course not. She was barely 17.
Detective Armstrong: Are you sure? We'd heard that she was.
Bonnie Daniels: Vicious rumors. People can be so cruel.
Detective Murphy: So it's not possible that she was pregnant?
Bonnie Daniels: We did not raise our daughters to be… like that.
Detective Murphy: What kind of relationship did Forrest Burgess have with Melanie?
Bonnie Daniels: Forrest was engaged to Laurie.
Detective Murphy: I understand, but how did he get along with Melanie?
Bonnie Daniels: They got along fine. He treated her like his little sister.
Detective Murphy: Did their relationship go beyond that?
Bonnie Daniels: What do you mean?
Detective Armstrong: We're asking if he could have been the father of Melanie's baby.
Bonnie Daniels: What is wrong with you? Forrest was engaged to Laurie. He loved Laurie. He never would have thought of Melanie as anything but a little sister.
Detective Armstrong: So Melanie was pregnant, but Forrest wasn't the father. Is that what you're saying?
Bonnie Daniels: You have a very sick mind, detective.
Detective Armstrong: Was your husband the father of Melanie's baby?
Bonnie Daniels: What! That is… unspeakable! My husband is a highly respected man in this community. How dare you even suggest something like that?
Detective Armstrong: Is it true?
Bonnie Daniels: What is wrong with you? I understand that, in your line of work, you see the ugly side of life on a regular basis, but you have no right to bring that into my home. Get out! Get out of here now! I knew we were right when we decided not to talk to you, and you just proved it. Get out!
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Daniels, we haven't finished our questions.
Bonnie Daniels: Oh, yes, you have! I don't have to put up with this kind of— with these inappropriate and offensive accusations! Out!
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Daniels—
Geoffrey Frye: Detective Murphy, I think my client has made her position clear. It's obvious that you've upset her tremendously. Perhaps it would be better to terminate now and schedule another interview at a later time. That will give her an opportunity to regain her composure, and you can take that time to reconsider your line of questioning.
Bonnie Daniels: Oh, no. I'm not talking to them again.
Geoffrey Frye: Bonnie, that's something we'll discuss after they've gone. Detectives, if you'll come this way, I'll see you out.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Frye, we're not finished here.
Geoffrey Frye: I believe we are for today. You may contact my office later this week to discuss whether we will schedule another interview.
Detective Murphy: We'll talk again, Mrs. Daniels. And I suggest you spend some time thinking about the answers to our questions because we will be asking them again.
Geoffrey Frye: That's enough. This way, please.
Interview ended – 3:45 p.m.