Friday, March 12, 2021 – 3:00 p.m.
Joe Ebner is the father of Joanne and Brandon Ebner.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee talked with him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Joe Ebner
Detective Magee: Can you please state your name and address for the record?
Joe Ebner: Yes, my name is Joseph Ebner. I live at 225 Eagles Nest Lane.
Detective Magee: Thank you, Mr. Ebner. We want to talk to you today about Brandon and his friend Daniel Collier. You know Daniel?
Joe Ebner: Yes, of course. Brandon and Danny have been friends since they were kids.
Detective Beckwith: Could you give us an idea of how close they were?
Joe Ebner: Best friends since elementary school, I'd say. The death of Danny's parents made them closer.
Detective Magee: How so?
Joe Ebner: Danny was staying overnight at our house when his parents died of carbon monoxide poisoning. If Danny had been at home rather than here, he would have died too. Too bad they didn't have had a carbon monoxide detector. They'd be alive today. Of course, nobody talked about getting detectors back then like they do now.
Detective Beckwith: So the police looked into the matter?
Joe Ebner: Yeah, I was the one who called them. When Mark—Danny's father—didn't pick him up that morning, I drove Danny home. It was strange. Danny had to use a key to get into the house in the daylight hours, so I waited a bit to see if everything was okay.
Detective Magee: And it wasn't okay?
Joe Ebner: No. They were dead by then. Cops said it was a bungled install, an accident. The Colliers had gotten themselves a hot tub in the house and needed a different water heater for it. Someone cross-threaded a line to the water heater. That's what did them in—tough way to go.
Detective Beckwith: Has Brandon talked to you about Daniel recently?
Joe Ebner: Not really, but I know he's pretty upset about Danny moving away.
Detective Beckwith: He came to us saying that he thinks something bad has happened to Daniel. Has he expressed these concerns to you?
Joe Ebner: Yeah, a little bit. But I didn't know he was that serious about it that he would go to the police.
Detective Magee: What has Brandon said to you about it?
Joe Ebner: He hasn't said much to me. But I know he and Joanne have been trying to find him.
Detective Magee: Joanne?
Joe Ebner: Yes, Joanne Ebner, his older sister, our daughter.
Detective Magee: Have you spoken to her about it?
Joe Ebner: Not really, no. I was under the impression that Daniel was just giving Brandon the cold shoulder. And Joanne is being a good sister, trying to humor him.
Detective Beckwith: So you don't think there's anything really going on that we should be worried about?
Joe Ebner: Well, I don't know. If Brandon thinks something serious may have happened, then he must have his reasons.
Detective Beckwith: But you don't know what those reasons could be?
Joe Ebner: No, I don't. Elise might know more.
Detective Beckwith: Okay. Do you remember what Brandon was doing the first week of January, right after Daniel left for New York City?
Joe Ebner: Not particularly. It was a typical week as far as I can remember. Brandon went to work, came home, played video games. He goes out sometimes to hang out with friends.
Detective Beckwith: Where does Brandon work?
Joe Ebner: He works at that art gallery as an assistant. He's trying to become a photographer.
Detective Beckwith: What do you think about that?
Joe Ebner: I think it's unrealistic, but if he wants to learn the hard way, then that's his choice.
Detective Magee: So nothing out of the ordinary between January 2nd and January 6th?
Joe Ebner: No, nothing out of the ordinary.
Detective Magee: Do you remember when Brandon was working that week?
Joe Ebner: He usually gets home in the early afternoon, but sometimes he works different hours. I don't keep track of his schedule very closely. And I'm at work most days, so I just see him in the evenings.
Detective Magee: Have you noticed any changes in Brandon's behavior since Daniel left?
Joe Ebner: Not really. Maybe he's been a little more depressed than usual.
Detective Beckwith: What about before Daniel left? Were the two of them getting along?
Joe Ebner: Yeah, I think so. You should talk to Elise. She'll know more about all this.
Detective Beckwith: Okay, Mr. Ebner. Thank you for your time.
Joe Ebner: Sure thing.
Interview ended – 3:19 p.m.