Tuesday, March 9, 2021 – 2:30 p.m.
Rodney Collier is Daniel Collier's estranged uncle.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee asked him to come to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department again.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Rodney Collier
Detective Magee: Thanks for coming in again, Rodney.
Rodney Collier: I was in the area anyway. It was no trouble. Have you found Daniel yet?
Detective Beckwith: No, not yet. We'd like to ask you a few more questions, starting again with your name and address.
Rodney Collier: Okay. My name is Rodney Collier. I live at 20 Bickerstaff Lane in Oxford.
Detective Magee: Rodney, I'd like you to think back to the last time you saw Daniel.
Rodney Collier: Okay … on New Year's?
Detective Magee: If that was the last time.
Rodney Collier: Yes, it was. He was hungover from a party—like I said before—and set on going to New York.
Detective Magee: About this trip to New York, did he tell you how he planned to travel there?
Rodney Collier: No. I thought he'd just take his car.
Detective Beckwith: Did he mention anything about taking a plane?
Rodney Collier: No.
Detective Magee: How about traveling companions?
Rodney Collier: No. In fact, he told me that morning that Brandon wanted to come with him, but Daniel told him he couldn't take him.
Detective Beckwith: Why did you hold this back the first time we spoke?
Rodney Collier: I didn't know I did.
Detective Beckwith: You said that Daniel never "chatted" that morning?
Rodney Collier: I guess I didn't think that it mattered that much. Daniel just said he told Brandon that he'd be better off staying in Oxford. He had been drinking and driving, so I was more worried about that.
Detective Magee: Did Daniel seem angry or sad in his remarks about Brandon?
Rodney Collier: He just seemed hungover to me. Can I ask why you're so interested in Brandon?
Detective Magee: Because he broke into Vincent Gayle's home and stole Daniel's ring.
Rodney Collier: Wow. You mean Mark's high school ring?
Detective Beckwith: Yes. Do you remember it?
Rodney Collier: Yes. Daniel wore it often. I think it made him feel closer to his father.
Detective Beckwith: Do you remember if he was wearing it New Year's morning?
Rodney Collier: You know, now that you say it … he wasn't. I fixed him a sandwich for lunch, and he wasn't wearing it then. The ring was rather large for Daniel. You would notice it.
Detective Magee: How sure are you Daniel wasn't wearing the ring?
Rodney Collier: I'm not sure… but if Brandon stole it, Daniel must have taken it off at some point before he left for New York.
Detective Magee: Do you remember what you were doing from January 2nd to the 6th?
Rodney Collier: Let me check the calendar on my phone. I was probably at Ole Miss working with students or prepping upcoming classes. I remember I was sick at home the first part of the week. I had to get someone to cover my intersession classes.
Detective Magee: The 4th?
Rodney Collier: And the 5th. Am suspected of something?
Detective Beckwith: Rodney, Daniel's car was abandoned at the airport in Memphis.
Rodney Collier: What? When? Way back in January?
Detective Beckwith: We're looking into it now.
Rodney Collier: Well, I can tell you that Daniel would've never just left his car anywhere. Do you have it now? Where is it?
Detective Magee: It's evidence right now. We impounded it from a tow yard.
Rodney Collier: What are you going to do with it?
Detective Magee: We have to hold on to it for a while.
Detective Beckwith: We'd like you to submit a DNA sample.
Rodney Collier: My God. You think he's dead, don't you?
Detective Magee: We never said that.
Rodney Collier: You didn't have to. I can't believe this. … Of course, you can have a DNA sample.
Detective Beckwith: Can you think of anyone who would have left Daniel's car at the Memphis airport?
Rodney Collier: I really don't know. Like I said before, when he came over on New Year's morning, it was about 4:00 a.m. He was alone, but he had just dropped Brandon off. I gathered that Brandon was disappointed Daniel decided to leave for New York without him, but I didn't get the sense that Daniel thought Brandon was mad enough to do anything to hurt him.
Detective Magee: How well do you know Brandon?
Rodney Collier: Not well. I heard he was a good worker down at C'est Belle, but other than random thoughts from Daniel, I don't know the boy enough to say he wouldn't have done something to Daniel.
Detective Magee: When Daniel arrived at your house that morning, was he driving his own car?
Rodney Collier: Yes.
Detective Beckwith: Do you know of anyone else that may have been involved with Daniel's car?
Rodney Collier: Vince. He knows cars. He used to fix them with my brother when they were in high school.
Detective Beckwith: Why would Vince drop Daniel's car off in Memphis?
Rodney Collier: I didn't say Vince did something with Daniel or his car, just that he knows cars. But … Vince and Daniel were fighting about New York … Thinking about this makes me sick to my stomach.
Detective Beckwith: So you do think Vincent had a role in Daniel's disappearance?
Rodney Collier: I told you before that Daniel was trying to stay away from Vince's house. He would be irate if he knew Daniel slept at my place.
Detective Magee: Why?
Rodney Collier: Vince doesn't think I'm moral enough for my nephew. He considers me a bad influence.
Detective Magee: Are you saying Vince would go to extremes to separate you from Daniel? Maybe against his will?
Rodney Collier: It's in the realm of possibility.
Detective Beckwith: What about you? Would you go to extremes to separate Dan from his, as you say, "homophobic" guardian?
Rodney Collier: No. I've never threatened Daniel and Vince's relationship in any way.
Detective Magee: But Daniel had been coming over to your house.
Rodney Collier: I never turned him against Vince. My family cut me off when I was young. I would never have done the same to Daniel. Whether I like it or not, Vince is part of Daniel's family.
Detective Magee: And you wanted to be part of Daniel's family too, right?
Rodney Collier: I don't think Daniel should have to choose. Vince and I are both his family.
Detective Beckwith: Okay, Rodney, we'll need that DNA sample now.
Rodney Collier: All right, where do I go?
Detective Beckwith: I'll take you back.
Interview ended – 2:59 p.m.