Jessica Durham interview #2
Sunday, June 4, 2023 – 10:03 a.m.
The detectives asked Ms. Durham to come in again to answer a few follow-up questions regarding the weekend of May 20, 2023. Upon arrival, she gave investigators permission to examine her vehicle for possible evidence.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy spoke with Ms. Durham at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Jessica Durham
Detective Murphy: Please state your name and address for the record.
Jessica Durham: Jessica Anne Durham, 116 Thacker Loop, Oxford.
Detective Murphy: Ms. Durham, thank you for coming back in again. I only have a few more questions, and I'll try to make it quick.
Jessica Durham: It's all right, ma'am. I don't mind.
Detective Murphy: For the record, you have already agreed to let our forensic techs examine your vehicle and collect anything they find. Is that correct?
Jessica Durham: Yes, ma'am. Will you have my car very long?
Detective Murphy: Our technicians are pretty efficient. I'm sure we can return the car to you before too long. I hope that doesn't inconvenience you too much.
Jessica Durham: No, not too bad. Jed will drive me wherever I need to go, I guess. But like I said, I just know you won't find anything more damning than some petrified McDonald's fries. You really think my car could have evidence?
Detective Murphy: Your vehicle matched an eyewitness's description. We would be remiss in our duty if we didn't have it examined, if only to dismiss it as a possibility.
Jessica Durham: Oh, I see… so other vehicles are being checked.
Detective Armstrong: Phone records indicate that you spoke to Mickie Webster four times on May 20th. I'd like to go over each call.
Jessica Durham: Yes, sir.
Detective Armstrong: You first called Ms. Webster at about 9:15 a.m., correct?
Jessica Durham: Yes. I called her to see if I could borrow her truck to move. I told you all this the first time we talked.
Detective Armstrong: You talked for 23 minutes. You must have talked about something other than borrowing Ms. Webster's truck.
Jessica Durham: Oh, I don't know. You know, chit-chat. I asked how she was and all. She said she was a little depressed, you know, over Dev. Still carrying a torch for him, I guess. She asked my advice about it.
Detective Armstrong: What did she ask you, exactly?
Jessica Durham: She asked if she should leave. "What would you do if you were me, Jess? Would you stick it out, or would you just get the hell out?" That's how she put it.
Detective Armstrong: And what was your answer?
Jessica Durham: I think I said something like, "Hang in there. It'll get better." I felt bad for her, you know, but I really didn't want to talk about that. I wasn't really comfortable talking about her and Dev personally, so I think I told her a joke. Then I asked her if she'd been to the shoe sale down at JC Penny. They had a half-off sale. Then I asked her, could I borrow the truck.
Detective Armstrong: What do you think she meant? When she asked you if she should get the hell out?
Jessica Durham: I don't know, and I didn't ask either.
Detective Armstrong: Why not?
Jessica Durham: Like I said, I didn't feel comfortable discussing her and Dev—their relationship—with her. He was a friend of mine too, and I didn't like being put in the middle. Besides, that stuff is personal, you know what I mean? None of my business.
Detective Armstrong: Let me put it another way. When she said "get the hell out," do you think she meant her job at the restaurant, having any type of relationship with Mr. Beauchamp, or did she mean should she just leave town?
Jessica Durham: Oh … That's a good point. I didn't really think of it, but it could be she meant getting out of town. When she and Dev first split, she talked a lot about just leaving Oxford and finding a new place. "Clean slate" is how she put it.
Detective Murphy: Do you remember the last time you had your car cleaned?
Jessica Durham: No, sorry. I guess I ought to be ashamed to admit that. I keep meaning to get it down to the car wash.
Detective Murphy: Please don't apologize. In this case, it may work in our favor. I saw you have vinyl floor mats in your car. Have you always had those?
Jessica Durham: Yes, ma'am. I kept thinking I would get around to getting the nice ones, but you know how it is. Always something more important to spend your money on.
Detective Armstrong: The next two calls you made to Ms. Webster on the 20th were both two minutes long, one at about 8:00 p.m. and then again around 9:00 p.m.
Jessica Durham: Yes, sir. See, at first, we thought we would only need the truck for one day. Boy, were we wrong! So I called her to ask if it was okay if we kept it another day, but I just left a message because I got the voicemail. Then about an hour later, I asked Jed to try her again, and he got the voicemail and left another message.
Detective Armstrong: So at about 10:00 p.m., Ms. Webster called you back?
Jessica Durham: Exactly right. She asked how it was going, and I told her we were just not making the progress we expected and so on. She was just a doll and said not to worry, that we could keep the truck as long as we needed.
Detective Armstrong: So that's why you didn't return the truck until Monday morning?
Jessica Durham: Well, we didn't finish until about 2:00 a.m. Sunday night, I mean Monday morning… well, you know what I mean. And we sure weren't going to go knocking on her door at that hour. And, of course, we didn't even know at that time what had happened to Dev and all… Anyway, I guess I didn't even hear about it until Monday late in the morning. I was so tired, I didn't bother with the morning news that day. Anyway…
Detective Murphy: Did Ms. Webster tell you where she had driven your car during that weekend?
Jessica Durham: No. Like I said, Jed actually did the swap with her, and he isn't much for chit-chat. He just took it over, found an envelope taped on the door with the keys inside, then got in my car and drove it to the shop.
Detective Murphy: She didn't answer the door?
Jessica Durham: No. Well, the last time we talked, we said we didn't know just when we would be by, but probably Monday morning. She said she might just leave the keys for us because she might be sleeping.
Detective Murphy: I see.
Jessica Durham: That's not so unusual. People do that all the time. Anyway, it made sense to us.
Detective Armstrong: Did you happen to notice how many miles Ms. Webster put on your car over that weekend?
Jessica Durham: Jed said it was less than 20 miles. Less than we put on her truck.
Detective Armstrong: When you got the car back, did you notice anything unusual about it? Any stains or smells that weren't there when you lent it to her?
Jessica Durham: I don't think so. Well, just one little thing. I found a cigarette butt in the ashtray. But like I told you before, I found out later that she started smoking again, so I doubt it means anything… right?
Detective Murphy: Thank you so much for coming in again. We'll call you just as soon as we're finished with your vehicle. The sheriff's department really appreciates your cooperation, Ms. Durham.
Jessica Durham: You're welcome, ma'am. Any time. Goodbye.
Interview ended – 2:13 p.m.