Sunday, March 7, 2021 – 4:00 p.m.
Brandon Ebner, Daniel Collier's high school friend, was released without charges filed against him for the Gayle residence break-in.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee asked him to come to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department for a follow-up interview.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Brandon Ebner
Detective Magee: Thanks for coming in, Brandon. You can have a seat right there.
Brandon Ebner: Okay.
Detective Magee: I hear you're not being charged for the Gayle home break-in?
Brandon Ebner: The cops let me go.
Detective Magee: All right, then. First, we need you to state your name and address for the record.
Brandon Ebner: Okay. My name is Brandon Ebner, and I live with my parents at 225 Eagles Nest Lane in Oxford. Have you got any leads on Danny?
Detective Magee: Actually, we have some concerns about you that we have to clear up.
Brandon Ebner: What? I told you everything about the break-in.
Detective Beckwith: Are you sure? Because Mr. Gayle says that you knew about their house alarm before you broke in.
Brandon Ebner: So? He told me he got it for the garage.
Detective Magee: The house has the garage attached.
Brandon Ebner: Yeah, well, how was I supposed to know that the alarm worked like that?
Detective Beckwith: Mr. Gayle also said you knew Danny's car was gone prior to your break-in. You told us you went to the garage the day of the break-in and found it wasn't there then.
Brandon Ebner: Yeah, so the car wasn't there either time. It just goes to show that Danny's been missing for a long time, and we've got to find him.
Detective Magee: That's interesting because when we talked to Axyl Floyd, he told us that you had spoken to Daniel and you were going to convince Daniel to pay his debt to Axyl the next time you saw him.
Brandon Ebner: Wow. It sounds like you guys spent the last couple of days checking me out rather than trying to find Danny.
Detective Beckwith: We're just doing our jobs. You were the one who kick-started this whole investigation with your little break-in, so don't blame us. Were you going to meet with Daniel somewhere?
Brandon Ebner: No, man, no. I just told Axyl that to get him off Danny's back.
Detective Magee: And you paid Axyl $50 out of the goodness of your heart?
Brandon Ebner: Yes … I mean no. I don't know. I guess I paid Axyl so he wouldn't be mad at Danny anymore just in case I was wrong, and Danny really was in New York.
Detective Magee: You know something you're not telling us.
Brandon Ebner: No, I've been straight with you. I have.
Detective Magee: But you haven't been giving us the whole truth. Tell us about the last time you saw Daniel.
Brandon Ebner: The last time I saw him, we went to a cabin at John Kyle Park, you know, by Lower Sardis Lake.
Detective Magee: Just the two of you?
Brandon Ebner: Danny and I went down in his car, but we were meeting Keanu May and Claire Rivas there. Keanu's dad rented the place for the night.
Detective Magee: What were you doing?
Brandon Ebner: Just hanging out. We were playing darts. Then Axyl Floyd and his crew crashed the party.
Detective Beckwith: Who was in his crew?
Brandon Ebner: His sketchy girlfriend, Lexi, and one of his trashy bandmates.
Detective Magee: What was his name?
Brandon Ebner: Troy something. I don't know his last name. Anyway, Axyl wanted to buy some pot from Keanu, but Keanu is actually pretty straight-laced and never had any pot to begin with, so he told Axyl he didn't have any. That's when Axyl flipped out.
Detective Beckwith: Was Dan there to see this happen?
Brandon Ebner: Yeah, that's when Danny made this deal with Axyl. Danny would borrow $500 from Axyl and then pay him back double later when Danny got to New York to sell some of his art.
Detective Magee: Okay. What happened next?
Brandon Ebner: This Troy guy got ragingly pissed about not being able to get high or go to the bars or something like that. But Danny was totally cool about it and took Troy out to his car. I followed them out. Danny opened his trunk and pulled out two bottles of whiskey. That's when I saw them.
Detective Beckwith: What?
Brandon Ebner: All the car parts in his trunk.
Detective Beckwith: What did you make of that?
Brandon Ebner: Well, Danny definitely wasn't going to sell art to pay back Axyl.
Detective Beckwith: But didn't you say in your first interview that Laughlin's guys falsely accused Dan of stealing from Laughlin?
Brandon Ebner: Ah, I made that part up.
Detective Magee: Why, Brandon?
Brandon Ebner: Because I didn't want you guys to think Danny was the bad guy here. Plus, you all weren't going to look for Danny if I didn't say something that forced you to. Detective Beckwith was all "I think you're spinning a story" like Nancy Drew.
Detective Beckwith: I think you paraphrased me a bit there.
Detective Magee: Did you ask Daniel about stealing Laughlin's parts?
Brandon Ebner: Not with all those other guys there. I was pretty sure that the car parts were Laughlin's, but I didn't know how hot they were.
Detective Beckwith: If you didn't ask Daniel about stealing Laughlin's parts, why did you assume they were stolen?
Brandon Ebner: Well, eventually, I got Danny outside of the cabin alone. I asked him if the car parts in his trunk were hot. He just said it was better off if I didn't know one way or the other.
Detective Magee: Did you insist on knowing one way or the other?
Brandon Ebner: Absolutely. He still wouldn't tell me. I got so mad I pushed him. He said, "You're drunk, and I'm taking you home." So he did.
Detective Magee: That's it?
Brandon Ebner: Yeah, that's it. So you can see why I'm worried that Laughlin or one of his guys did something to Danny, right?
Detective Magee: Yes. We'll keep working on it. In the meantime, you stay out of trouble, and if you remember anything else, you let us know immediately.
Brandon Ebner: Okay.
Interview ended – 4:27 p.m.