The detectives asked Edith about her tenant, Charles Tatum, and her 911 call

Monday, May 21, 2018 – 10:00 a.m.

Edith McElroy was Charles Tatum's neighbor and landlady. Her 911 call led to the discovery of his body.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Edith McElroy

Detective Armstrong: Thank you for coming to us today, Mrs. McElroy. Are you feeling better?

Edith McElroy: Oh, yes, I think so, but I just can't get used to the idea that Charles is gone. I hope I can get through this.

Detective Murphy: Just take your time, Mrs. McElroy. If you need anything, let us know. Now, will you state your name and address for our record, please?

Edith McElroy: Yes, of course. I'm Edith McElroy, and I live at 107-A Combs Street.

Detective Armstrong: You were the person who called 911 the morning of May 20th?

Edith McElroy: Yes, I was.

Detective Armstrong: And when was the last time you saw Detective Tatum?

Edith McElroy: Well, let's see. I called Sunday morning. I hadn't seen him since Wednesday afternoon.

Detective Armstrong: Would you tell us a bit about that? Where, exactly, did you see him and under what circumstances?

Edith McElroy: I was working in the side yard on my flower garden. Charles came out to say hello. We visited for a few minutes, and then he went back inside.

Detective Murphy: Do you know what time that was?

Edith McElroy: Oh, probably 3:00 or 400 p.m. I didn't have my watch on. I try to get away from the clock when I'm outdoors.

Detective Murphy: Did he seem any different than usual to you?

Edith McElroy: What do you mean "different"?

Detective Armstrong: Did he seem worried or stressed, for example?

Edith McElroy: Oh my no! He seemed in good spirits. He was laughing and joking. Oh, what made him do such a terrible thing? I wish he'd talked to me. Maybe I could have helped.

Detective Murphy: Would you like a glass of water?

Edith McElroy: I don't think water would help… but I guess I could try. Oh, it's just so tragic. I feel so terrible. He was such a nice man. He was like family to me. I just can't believe he's gone. I'm going to miss him so.

Detective Armstrong: I know how hard it must be for you to talk about it, ma'am, but we really need your help. Would you like to take a minute before you go on?

Edith McElroy: Oh no. I'm sorry, Detective; I'll try to stay focused and control myself. Let's continue. I'll do whatever I can to help.

Detective Murphy: You and Detective Tatum live in the same structure in different apartments. Is that right?

Edith McElroy: Yes, after my husband died, I had the house remodeled, so there are two separate living quarters. Charles had the front, and I have the back. I felt safer being away from the street, and I still had my view of my backyard. We each had our own entrance, so it wasn't unusual that our paths didn't cross every day.

Detective Armstrong: Did you hear anything out of the ordinary during the week?

Edith McElroy: I can tell you what I heard, and you can decide if it was unusual. I heard him go out Wednesday night. I think it was about 9:00 p.m. But that isn't unusual. He often went out on his evening off.

Detective Armstrong: Is that right?

Edith McElroy: In fact, when I talked to him Wednesday afternoon, I asked if he and Marion — she's his current lady friend, you know — had a hot date that night. He laughed and said she was out of town, but he might go down to Mugshots later and have a drink with his cop buddies.

Detective Murphy: Did you hear him when he came home?

Edith McElroy: Oh, heavens no. I can't usually stay awake past 10:00 p.m. I was probably dead asleep when he got home, and I sleep pretty soundly. I have a slight hearing loss, so once I'm asleep not much bothers me. Although, now that we're talking about it, I remember waking up around 1:00 a.m. like something had startled me, but I didn't hear anything and went right back to sleep.

 

Detective Murphy: Are you sure about the time?

Edith McElroy: I had looked at my digital clock, and it was a bit after 1:00. You don't think I heard the shot, do you? Oh, God, what if the shot woke me? I could have called 911 and maybe saved his life! Oh God, it's my fault he's dead. Oh, no…

Detective Murphy: Now, now, Mrs. McElroy. It isn't your fault. You can't blame yourself. Can you tell us if you heard anything else that night?

Edith McElroy: No, I went back to sleep and didn't wake up until nearly 6:00 a.m.

Detective Murphy: Did you hear anything else after that night that concerned you?

Edith McElroy: It was more what I didn't hear that concerned me.

Detective Armstrong: What do you mean, Mrs. McElroy?

Edith McElroy: Well, you know, you get used to certain sounds that a house makes. The water runs, or the toilet's flushed, or a certain spot on the floor creaks when someone walks on it. I didn't hear any of those familiar sounds that I hear when Charles is there. I sometimes see him during the day, but I was gone the better part of Thursday, Friday and Saturday so didn't see hide nor hair of him.

Detective Armstrong: What did you think was going on?

Edith McElroy: At first, I thought maybe he was with Marion at her house, but then I remembered him saying she was out of town. So then I thought, well, maybe he was on a job. You know, a stakeout or undercover. He does that sometimes. But he almost always lets me know when he's going to be gone several days, and this time — nothing.

Detective Armstrong: At what point did you start to get concerned?

 

Edith McElroy: By Saturday night I was really worried. I thought of trying to call him at work, but I figured I was just being a nosy old lady and it was none of my business. What if he was lying there suffering all that time? If I'd called 911 sooner, I might have saved his life! Oh, I wish I'd trusted my instincts that something was just not right. Oh dear…

Detective Murphy: Here, take a sip of your water.

Edith McElroy: Oh, thank you. I'm sorry to behave so badly, but I just can't believe he's gone. This is a nightmare!

Detective Armstrong: Do you know Marion's full name?

Edith McElroy: I should. I met her. But I'm sorry, I just can't think of it right now. They went together for about six months. Maybe some of his friends in the department know her. I'm sorry, but I just can't remember her last name.

Detective Murphy: Would you recognize her if you saw her again?

Edith McElroy: Oh yes, of course.

Detective Armstrong: Okay, Mrs. McElroy. Is there anything else you think we should know?

Edith McElroy: I don't know, Detective. I'm not thinking very clearly. Could I call you if I think of anything else? I need to go home and lie down.

Detective Murphy: Of, course. Do you need a ride?

Edith McElroy: No, thank you. I'll be fine.

Detective Armstrong: Thank you for coming in, Mrs. McElroy.

Interview ended – 10:33 a.m.

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Comments (6)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I really wish I could see the video of this interview. Body language tells so much more then text. Or even just the audio of the interview would suffice.
*Who are his cop buddies he went out with to "mugshots".
*I think talking to the bartender...

I really wish I could see the video of this interview. Body language tells so much more then text. Or even just the audio of the interview would suffice.
*Who are his cop buddies he went out with to "mugshots".
*I think talking to the bartender at Mugshots should be the next step. Also, seeing if there are cameras in or around mugshots bar.
*The girlfriend, Marion, could also be next on the list to speak with. Only to confirm her alibi that she was "out of town".

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Seen as I am just an officer...I didn’t see anything. But what did you find specifically that she said?

 
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I still think that girlfriend Marion Sanders had something to do with the murder. There would have been a struggle if he saw the person pulling a gun on the sheriff, but what if he was distracted by who the person was instead of what the person...

I still think that girlfriend Marion Sanders had something to do with the murder. There would have been a struggle if he saw the person pulling a gun on the sheriff, but what if he was distracted by who the person was instead of what the person was holding?

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Your opinion makes sense. But, until we learn more about her whereabouts, one must not theorize until all the data is complete.
I'd like to follow my own line of inquiry. The witness, the elderly landlady Edith McElroy, claims detective Tatum...

Your opinion makes sense. But, until we learn more about her whereabouts, one must not theorize until all the data is complete.
I'd like to follow my own line of inquiry. The witness, the elderly landlady Edith McElroy, claims detective Tatum was going out to "the mugshot" bar with his cop buddies. She also claimed she is a sound sleeper but, on the same night around 1am she woke suddenly startled. Could be nothing, could also be she heard the gunshot in her sleep but didn't realize it.
The fact that only one shot to his head with the same gun everyone on the police force is used to having makes sense to me that a fellow cop would know how to use it and be quite a good shot with it.
Still, these are all theories and need to be looked into. The girlfriend, Marion, also needs to be looked into. But, I think we'll find her alibi of being out of town to be the truth.
I want biographies and reports on all of the officers he went out with on that previous Wednesday night.

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This makes me a slight bit suspicious about what happened in that bar. Were any of his enemies in it? Or maybe another cop wasn't on his good side. But this...this makes me wonder another thing: what if the murder wasn't at where Edith reported...

This makes me a slight bit suspicious about what happened in that bar. Were any of his enemies in it? Or maybe another cop wasn't on his good side. But this...this makes me wonder another thing: what if the murder wasn't at where Edith reported him to be? What if he was shot at the bar and set elsewhere, back in his residence? It would certainly be the only way a fellow policeman could have commuted the murder.

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*comitted

 
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