Holly Puskus interview
Saturday, July 15, 2023 – 2:15 p.m.
Holly Puskus is the cheerleading coach at Yoknapatawpha High School and is the person who called 911 to report finding Katy's body.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Holly Puskus
Detective Armstrong: Thanks for talking to us. I know it's been a difficult day. Would you please state your name and address for the record?
Holly Puskus: My name is Holly Beri Puskus. I live at 206 Price Street, here in Oxford.
Detective Armstrong: Tell us what happened this morning.
Holly Puskus: Well, we had a mentoring event with the middle school cheerleaders scheduled for 10:00 a.m. today. I was running late, but I expected Katy to have things started and running smoothly, as she had done on numerous occasions in the past. When I got there, she hadn't arrived yet, but Jennifer had stepped up and was telling everyone what to do.
Detective Armstrong: Was it typical for Katy to be late?
Holly Puskus: Not at all. When she still hadn't arrived by 10:15 a.m., I called her home. Her mother said she had left early that morning so she could stop at her grandmother's before practice. I told her we'd check the path Katy usually took, just in case something might've happened. Mrs. Brown was very upset because it wasn't like Katy to be late or just not show up.
Detective Armstrong: And you were the one who found Katy in the woods?
Holly Puskus: No, Jennifer Adams did. Poor girl. She's in a state of shock. Coming upon the body like that, even given their difficulties.
Detective Armstrong: Where were you when Jennifer found Katy?
Holly Puskus: I was maybe 10 or 15 feet behind her on the path. We split up to look for her.
Detective Armstrong: And when Jennifer found her, what happened?
Holly Puskus: She yelled for me to come see. She seemed like she was frozen in place. I ran over, and I saw Katy lying there … I knew she was dead, but at the same time, I couldn't believe it.
Detective Armstrong: How did you know?
Holly Puskus: Her eyes were open, but she wasn't blinking. She wasn't moving at all. It was terrible. Who would do something like that to her?
Detective Armstrong: That's what we want to find out. So after you saw Katy, then what did you do?
Holly Puskus: I walked Jennifer back to the parking lot, and I called 911.
Detective Armstrong: Did you call anyone else while you were waiting for the first officer to arrive?
Holly Puskus: I called Helen Reade, the cheerleading coach at the middle school, just to give her a heads-up. She was going to try to move everyone over to the gym at the high school to get them away from … everything, but I don't know if that worked out because I've been here.
Detective Murphy: You said before that Jennifer and Katy had difficulties. Like what?
Holly Puskus: Just the usual. Boys, position on the team. I like my girls to be competitive, to strive to be the best.
Detective Murphy: If you were investigating this case, who would you be looking at as someone who might've hurt Katy?
Holly Puskus: Surely you aren't thinking it was one of my girls?
Detective Murphy: Just for the sake of argument, if you had to name one.
Holly Puskus: If I had to pick one of them, I'd have to say Jennifer.
Detective Murphy: Why her?
Holly Puskus: Well, last week at practice, they had some heated words. It progressed to a pushing match, and before I could get to them, Katy slapped Jennifer right across the face. I heard later that Jennifer had said some unkind things about Cody.
Detective Murphy: Cody?
Holly Puskus: Katy's younger brother. In fact, it's happened more than once. You see, Cody isn't a popular boy. I heard he sometimes shows up uninvited when the girls are hanging out getting pizza or coffee or whatever. It makes some of them uncomfortable. Jennifer actually suggested we change mascots, but I told her Cody probably just wanted to be part of the group and she should cut him some slack.
Detective Murphy: Change mascots?
Holly Puskus: Cody is the school mascot at games. He wears the costume, interacts with the crowd, helps to get them fired up for the game.
Detective Murphy: Did any of the other cheerleaders complain about Cody?
Holly Puskus: No. You have to understand Jennifer. Just between us, she can be a little stuck up. No one is good enough to breathe the same air, not unless he's a star or rich.
Detective Armstrong: What would you say if we told you someone said you were more than a little angry at Katy yourself?
Holly Puskus: That's absurd. These girls are like my family. I admit that sometimes I get a little frustrated with them, especially Katy, but that's just because I knew she could do great things in cheerleading. She had a natural talent.
Detective Armstrong: Well, Ms. Puskus, thank you again for talking to us. We may need to get more information from you later. May we call you again if we need anything else?
Holly Puskus: Of course, detective.
Interview ended – 2:44 p.m.