Man with close-cropped dark hair and facial hair, wearing a crucifix

Pastor Leo Ingram

Thursday, March 18, 2021 – 3:30 p.m.

The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit church held a prayer service for Daniel Collier.

After the service was over, Detectives Beckwith and Magee met up with Pastor Leo Ingram. Their conversation was recorded with his permission.

Participants

  • Detective P. Beckwith
  • Detective J. Magee
  • Pastor Leo Ingram

Detective Beckwith: Moving service, Pastor Ingram.

Pastor Ingram: Yes, it was my honor, but I wish I didn't have to do these services for people so young.

Detective Beckwith: Yeah, we know what you mean. Our job's the same way.

Pastor Ingram: What can I do for the both of you today?

Detective Magee: We were wondering if you could talk to us about Daniel.

Pastor Ingram: I don't know how much I could tell you.

Detective Magee: We understand and respect clergy confidentiality.

Pastor Ingram: It's not that. It's because Daniel had left the church months before his death.

Detective Beckwith: Specifically, or did he just stop showing up?

Pastor Ingram: He just stopped showing up around late last September.

Detective Magee: Do you know why?

Pastor Ingram: I have a guess. I ran into him by happenstance in October at Lamar Park. I was at a church picnic and saw him talking with a friend. The friend left, and I walked over to say hi. You know, to guide a lost sheep back to the flock.

Detective Beckwith: Did you know the friend?

Pastor Ingram: No.

Detective Magee: Boy or girl?

Pastor Ingram: Girl. I didn't know her. It's been so long. I don't think I'd be able to identify her if I wanted to.

Detective Magee: What was his reaction to your greeting?

Pastor Ingram: He was cordial, but I had the sense that he wanted to leave … or wanted me to leave. I said to him something like, "Hey, haven't seen you in church lately."

Detective Beckwith: What did he say?

Pastor Ingram: He said, "And you're not gonna."

Detective Beckwith: Did he say why?

Pastor Ingram: He said he was done with organized religion. His life has been hard, and he hadn't felt that God cared one little bit about whether he lived or died.

Detective Beckwith: Okay.

Pastor Ingram: I told him God loves all of his children, especially during the times we're struggling. I offered to pray with him if he wanted.

Detective Magee: Did he accept?

Pastor Ingram: No, he said he had questions instead.

Detective Magee: What questions?

Pastor Ingram: He asked if gay people were accepted at the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit. I told him everyone is welcome at our church.

Detective Beckwith: How did he react?

Pastor Ingram: He said he doubted it. I told him that having homosexual feelings isn't sinful. Just acting on them is. He recoiled at that, saying his uncle was gay and a good man, no matter what the church says. I asked him if his uncle was thinking about joining the church.

Detective Beckwith: What did he say?

Pastor Ingram: He said maybe he was, but his uncle is openly gay and is afraid the church members might be bigots. I told him it was okay because we're all sinners, and the best place for sinners is church.

Detective Magee: Then what did he say, if anything?

Pastor Ingram: He asked whether or not my opinion would change if his uncle was HIV positive. I told him no.

Detective Beckwith: Did Daniel have any more questions?

Pastor Ingram: No. He just said that if his uncle planned on joining the church, he would come back. Otherwise, not to expect to see him—Daniel—around much.

Detective Magee: Why are you only telling us this now?

Pastor Ingram: I'm sorry. The first time we spoke, I thought you were only looking for information about the one night you mentioned—the bible study night. At that time, I was under the assumption—a naive one, I guess—that Daniel was very much alive.

Detective Magee: Meaning?

Pastor Ingram: While our conversation wasn't pastor-to-parishioner or private per se, it was very personal. So if Daniel was alive, I didn't want to spread rumors about him and his family if it was unnecessary.

Detective Beckwith: So now it's necessary?

Pastor Ingram: Yes, because Daniel is dead. Bigotry has been the cause of many murders in the past. I figured you should know.

Detective Magee: Did Daniel tell you how he found out his uncle had HIV?

Pastor Ingram: He has an uncle?

Detective Magee: Didn't you just say Daniel told you about his uncle?

Pastor Ingram: Oh, see, this is why I didn't say anything at first. I figured Daniel didn't even have a gay uncle. I thought he was speaking about himself the whole time. He actually has a gay uncle with HIV?

Detective Magee: Yes.

Pastor Ingram: My goodness. God sure challenges us with a complicated world, doesn't He?

Detective Beckwith: You could say that.

Pastor Ingram: Well, I guess it goes without saying that I've never had the good fortune to meet his uncle.

Detective Magee: So his uncle never approached you regarding this prayer service?

Pastor Ingram: No. And, as far as I know, he wasn't here today.

Detective Beckwith: No, we haven't seen either.

Pastor Ingram: I would imagine from what Daniel said that his uncle would be apprehensive about coming to a church service with people he didn't know well enough to trust.

Detective Magee: Was this conversation at Lamar Park the last time you spoke to Daniel?

Pastor Ingram: I'm afraid it was.

Detective Beckwith: Did Daniel ever come back to church?

Pastor Ingram: Sadly, no.

Detective Magee: Do you have anything else you'd like to add about Daniel or his family?

Pastor Ingram: Not that I can think of.

Detective Magee: How did Vincent feel about Dan not coming back to church?

Pastor Ingram: I didn't talk to him specifically about it, but given that Vince is a God-fearing man, I would guess that he'd be pretty upset.

Detective Beckwith: Did Vincent or Sharon ever tell you about any arguments he might have had with Daniel?

Pastor Ingram: I think that question is too close to the line, Detective Beckwith.

Detective Beckwith: Did Vincent suspect that Daniel was gay?

Pastor Ingram: I couldn't answer that if I even knew.

Detective Magee: How have Vincent and Sharon been coping since they found Daniel had died?

Pastor Ingram: As well as someone can after their boy was murdered. You probably should ask them personally.

Detective Magee: Understood.

Pastor Ingram: I believe I have said as much as I can, detectives. I sincerely hope you find the person or people that did this to Daniel.

Detective Magee: So do we. Thank you for your help, Pastor Ingram.

Interview ended – 3:53 p.m.

 

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Comments (1)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Dudes, the GPS shows the car at the Gayle residence after Vince and Sharon say Daniel had left by car... AFTER. What are you waiting for? There's also some timeline anomalys in their statements.

  Matt
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