Friday, March 12, 2021 – 4:30 p.m.
Joanne Ebner is a freelance journalist and Brandon Ebner's sister.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee talked to her again at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Joanne Ebner
Detective Magee: Please state your name and address for the record.
Joanne Ebner: Joanne Ebner. 450 Beauregard Circle.
Detective Magee: Thank you, Ms. Ebner. We wanted to follow up with you about Daniel. Have you discovered anything else about his possible disappearance?
Joanne Ebner: Not really, no. I did take my car into Laughlin Body Shop to see what I could find. I talked to Chas, and I asked him about Daniel.
Detective Magee: What did he say?
Joanne Ebner: Not much, but that guy's definitely shady. I asked if he'd heard from Daniel, and he was really short with me.
Detective Magee: How so?
Joanne Ebner: He just said no and then changed the subject back to my car. I couldn't get anything out of him. Could you?
Detective Magee: Beg pardon?
Joanne Ebner: Could you get anything out of him, or was he also tight-lipped with you?
Detective Beckwith: We're still actively working on that.
Joanne Ebner: Interesting. Tight-lipped syndrome must be contagious.
Detective Magee: Ms. Ebner, did you see or talk to anyone else there?
Joanne Ebner: See? Yes. Talk to? No. There were other guys working in the back, but I didn't get a chance to speak with them. The energy was really weird while I was there.
Detective Beckwith: How so?
Joanne Ebner: Except for the occasional whir of a pneumatic tool, or something, it was quiet in there. No chit-chat to speak of, except for a few whispered conversations. It was creepy. I felt like Laughlin was hiding something.
Detective Beckwith: What did he do to make you think that?
Joanne Ebner: I feigned a fascination with car repairs and asked if I could go back and watch what they were doing. He gave me a real sideways look and told me customers weren't allowed in the garage.
Detective Magee: I'm pretty sure that's true for insurance purposes. He is liable if you get hurt.
Joanne Ebner: Yeah, right. Liability. That was his concern.
Detective Magee: Are you still monitoring Daniel's social media activity?
Joanne Ebner: Well, yeah, especially since the last time we met, I had to explain to you what catfishing was. It didn't give me the greatest confidence, you know? Unless, of course, you're just keeping things close to the chest.
Detective Magee: What did you find?
Joanne Ebner: There really hasn't been much to monitor. I've sent him a few direct messages, but he never replies.
Detective Magee: I see. And what about Brandon? Have you talked to him about this recently?
Joanne Ebner: Of course. He talks about it all the time. He seems to be stuck, not sure what to do. He's really hoping that you guys will be able to figure this out. I could help you do that.
Detective Beckwith: You're helping now. Thank you. Let's talk about Daniel and Brandon's relationship.
Joanne Ebner: I'm pretty sure we addressed that last time I spoke with you.
Detective Beckwith: Right. In your last interview, you said they were inseparable. Did they have any kind of argument right before Daniel left?
Joanne Ebner: No, not that I know of, and I think Brandon would have mentioned that to me.
Detective Magee: When was the last argument between them that you were aware of?
Joanne Ebner: They don't argue, detective. If anything, they bicker. Like an old married couple. They've been besties since childhood, and I'd say their arguments are minor and involve stupid things.
Detective Beckwith: Can you give us an example?
Joanne Ebner: Oh, I don't know, let me think. I remember once Brandon was mad at Daniel because Daniel blew him off last minute to hang out with some girl or something. But neither ever stayed mad for long.
Detective Beckwith: Is there any kind of rivalry or anything like that?
Joanne Ebner: No. Not at all.
Detective Magee: Is it possible that Daniel simply has moved on with new, more sophisticated friends in New York and wants to sever all ties?
Joanne Ebner: Quite the contrary.
Detective Beckwith: Maybe Daniel got tired of Brandon. Maybe now that he's a legitimate artist in New York, he thinks of Brandon as amateurish and embarrassing and just wants to cut him loose.
Joanne Ebner: Absolutely not. None of what you're speculating is remotely possible. They are close, detective. Very close. Brandon is not involved in Daniel's disappearance.
Detective Magee: That you know of. And we have to check everything, as you know. Your brother's whereabouts between January 2nd and 6th are not easily corroborated.
Joanne Ebner: He has no motive. I mean, it's ludicrous, detective.
Detective Magee: Okay, Ms. Ebner. The week after Daniel left, what were you doing?
Joanne Ebner: I'd have to look. I don't recall specifically what I did on which day. I freelance, and I work from home most of the time. I know I met with the editor of the Oxford Weekly Planet to discuss a possible assignment.
Detective Magee: What day was that?
Joanne Ebner: Let me check my phone. … It was January 5th at 2:00 p.m.
Detective Beckwith: What's the name of the person you met with?
Joanne Ebner: Her name is Carol Carter. I have a weekly writer's support group on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. until around 2:00 p.m. That would've been the 2nd, and the meeting ended around 3:00 p.m. I didn't leave the house on the 3rd, but I was cramming to meet a deadline, so I may be able to retrieve a time stamp on the document, or there may be a way to track my keystrokes—
Detective Magee: Ms. Ebner—
Joanne Ebner: Please let me finish. On the 4th, I interviewed some folks who moved here from Houston after Hurricane Harvey wiped out their home and family-owned restaurant. They crowdfunded and reopened here. Their story is guaranteed to give megawatt feels. I'm not willing to share with you any details yet. Once it's published, I'll give you their contact information. My whereabouts also are not easily corroborated.
Detective Beckwith: All right, Ms. Ebner.
Joanne Ebner: I also was not involved in Daniel's disappearance. I also have no motive. I appreciate that you're required to pursue every possibility to do your job. That said, I'd like to leave now if you don't mind. I have some work to do.
Detective Beckwith: Of course.
Joanne Ebner: I know it's textbook to have victimization perpetrated by an intimate acquaintance, but that's not what happened here. I hope you move on from this part of your investigation for Daniel's sake. He needs to be found, detective. We need to find him.
Detective Beckwith: Thank you for your time today.
Interview ended – 4:53 p.m.