On Monday, January 15, 2018, Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed Dr. Smith’s co-workers to learn more about the relationships at the Yoknapatawpha Gastroenterology Center.
The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Name: Jessica Alford
Address: 503 Sisk Avenue, Oxford, MS
Ms. Alford is Dr. Mendoza’s physician assistant. She didn’t care for Smith at all. Alford felt that Smith was a snob and at times too blunt. She said that the mood in the office was good generally, but it had been sober lately. She felt it was due to the lawsuit.
Alford said the doctors got along well together, and for the most part, she loves her job.
Name: Chelsea Bigham
Address: 2037 W. Wellsgate, Oxford, MS
Ms. Bigham is Dr. Smith’s physician assistant, and she is responsible for the overflow rooms at the practice in addition to assisting Smith. She got along well with Smith but doesn’t care for Burns or Mendoza.
She said in the past month or so Smith was short with her and seemed uneasy most of the time.
Name: Vanessa Krieg
Address: 416 Northpointe Lake Drive Oxford, MS
Ms. Krieg is the YGC's patient care coordinator. She was hired and trained by Smith two months before the practice was opened. Her duties include office appointment scheduling as well as hospital procedure scheduling. She has worked with Smith almost five years.
Krieg said Smith was pleasant with her patients and her staff, but Smith’s mood has changed since the malpractice suit was filed. She said Smith confided in her that she didn’t know who she could trust anymore.
Name: Rosie Odell
Address: 407 Jefferson Ave, Unit B, Oxford, MS
Ms. Odell is the receptionist. She said that every relationship in the practice was affected by the lawsuit. She said Smith seemed a little depressed recently, but she completely understood why.
She said she didn’t think Drs. Mendoza and Smith got along well before the lawsuit, and it had gotten worse since. When asked for examples she couldn’t provide any. She just felt the tension between them.
Name: Bobby Penrod
Address: 724 Mogridge Lane, Oxford, MS
Mr. Penrod is Dr. Burns’ physician assistant. He doesn’t have much contact with Smith or Mendoza, but he felt that the relationship between the doctors had changed. He said the tension in the air between the GI doctors was so thick you could almost cut it with a knife.
Name: Glenda Thomas
Address: 443 Beauregard, Oxford, MS
Ms. Thomas is the practice manager. She was hired to make sure that all business within the practice runs smoothly. Thomas said Smith was the friendliest of the three GI doctors. She said there were occasional disagreements between the partners and there seemed to be more as of late.
She said Smith left work early on Friday, January 12th. She was excited about her daughter’s Girl Scout event and her mood seemed better than it had been for a while.