Canvass – Gayle neighbors
On March 6, 2021, YCSD Investigators conducted a canvass of Vincent Gayle's small Alesville neighborhood seeking information on the potentially-missing 20-year-old Daniel Collier.
The neighbors were asked about the last time they saw Daniel and any recent interactions they may have had with his guardian, Vincent Gayle, and/or Mr. Gayle's girlfriend, Sharon Hathaway.
The interviews are presented in summary and not verbatim and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Hunter and Grace Tatum, both age 33
1 County Road 169
The Tatums are Vincent Gayle's next-door neighbors to the south. They have lived at their current address for the last ten years.
They describe Vincent Gayle as a laid-back-sort-a-guy who would say ‘hi' to you if you were out for a walk but not much more. The Tatums reported that most of the time, they see Vincent mowing the lawn or cleaning up his yard or burning up garden refuse in the burn barrel behind his home—things the Tatums described as "typical homeowner stuff."
The Tatums knew Sharon Hathaway as well but said she was less likely to be outside doing yard chores.
Grace Tatum crosses paths with her mainly while each is on their morning jogs. Grace characterized Sharon as almost too friendly. Sharon often talks about herself throughout the run, so much so that Grace sometimes cuts her jog short just to get a break from her. The Tatums feel that Sharon would rather be living in Oxford proper than Alesville.
Hunter Tatum described Daniel Collier as a loner, saying that he rarely saw Daniel with more than one or two people at a time. Hunter reported seeing Daniel most often in Vincent's open garage, painting or working on cars, especially during the summer months.
The Tatums said they had never witnessed any time, at least in their perception, where there was obvious discord in the Gayle household.
The Tatums reported that they had not seen Daniel around since New Year's Eve weekend. Grace Tatum did say she remembered that cars were coming and going at the Gayle residence during the weekend, but she doesn't remember which cars she saw.
She also remembered seeing Vincent out in his backyard at his burn barrel on the afternoon of January 4 when she let out her dog. She said the only reason it struck her as unusual is that she thought Vincent would normally be at work at that hour, but she just figured he had taken an extended break from work for New Year's.
Jeremy Davidson, age 25
6 County Road 169
Jeremy Davidson is Vincent Gayle's neighbor directly across County Road 169 to the east. Davidson has only rented the house across the road for a couple of years and said he really only knows Vincent Gayle and Sharon Hathaway by sight, although they seemed friendly enough.
Jeremy had talked to Daniel Collier on several occasions last summer when Daniel was out on his driveway, painting what Jeremy described as little sculptures made of old car parts. Jeremy had stopped over to view Daniel's creations when Daniel was painting, at which time Daniel would give Jeremy a tour of his work.
Jeremy remembered that Daniel mentioned sometime in August or September of 2020 that he was thinking about going to New York City to attend an art school. Jeremy told Daniel he thought that was a great idea. When Jeremy asked Daniel when he was leaving, Daniel responded that he'd like to leave sooner rather than later.
The last time Jeremy saw Daniel was during the late afternoon on New Year's Eve. Jeremy was getting his mail from his street-side mailbox at the time. Daniel was with another guy his age who Jeremy had seen before but did not by name. Jeremy said Daniel and his friend were getting into Daniel's car, which was parked in the driveway. He saw the two briefly talk about something very intently inside the car before they drove off. Jeremy was not in a position to hear the conversation.
Jeremy, a medical student at Ole Miss, was still on winter break, so he went to visit his parents in Starkville over the New Year's weekend. When he returned to Alesville on January 2nd at around 10:30 p.m., he didn't see Daniel, but his car was back, parked in the same place in the driveway as it was on December 31st.
Nicholas and Heather Lynn Rae, ages 45 and 40
15 County Road 169
Nicholas and Heather Lynn Rae are Vincent Gayle's next-door neighbors to the north. Like the other neighbors, the Raes reported that the members of the Gayle household are rather private but are cordial when spoken to.
Nicholas said Vincent Gayle and Daniel Collier often scurried back inside when they saw him outside as if they wanted to avoid idle chit-chat. At the same time, he sometimes caught himself scurrying back inside his own home to avoid Vincent's girlfriend's overbearing nature.
Nicholas said he had begun what he believed were neighborly conversations with Sharon Hathaway a number of times last summer only to find her overtly flirting with him, even though his wife was usually within earshot. Heather Lynn confirmed Nicholas's account. The Raes conceded that Sharon's flirtatious ways may be innocent but wouldn't be shocked if Sharon were to cheat on Vince in time.
The Raes don't remember for sure when they last saw Daniel, but they guessed it was mid-December of last year. They said he was acting normally at that time in their estimation.
Heather Lynn was pretty sure she saw two cars leave the Gayle residence before dawn on January 5. She remembers it because she had started a new early-morning exercise routine as a 40th birthday promise to herself to stay healthy, and she was downstairs at the time. She thought it was unusual because she believed Vincent and Sharon liked to go out on the weekend and were not really early risers. In addition, even though County Road 169 isn't well-lit, both cars did not turn on their headlights until well after they had left the Gayle residence.
Doris Mallette, age 77
21 County Road 169
Doris Mallette is Vincent Gayle's neighbor, two doors to the north. Mrs. Mallette reported that she has lived in the Alesville neighborhood since she was, in her words, knee-high to a grasshopper but doesn't get out much since her husband Henry died in 2013.
She said she didn't know anyone in the Gayle household. She claimed that she was too old to have the time or the inclination to care what was going on with people who lived down the road.