Liam Sanford is the only child of Deirdre Littleton and Emmett Sanford and is a lapsed member of Pastor Martinson's church since his parents' divorce.
Detectives Armstrong and Parker interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 – 4:45 p.m.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective E. Parker
- Liam Sanford
Detective Parker: Good afternoon, Liam. How are you doing today?
Liam Sanford: I'm fine.
Detective Parker: Are you sure that your mom's okay with you coming in to talk with us by yourself?
Liam Sanford: Oh, she said it's okay since she's working. She says it's 'cause we don't have anything to hide.
Detective Parker: Would you please state your name and address for the record?
Liam Sanford: I'm Liam Sanford. I live at 410 Thacker Loop.
Detective Armstrong: Liam, can you tell us where you were Saturday and Sunday, Easter weekend?
Liam Sanford: Oh right, yeah. I was at my friend Kyle's house all day Saturday. My mom dropped me off there around 10:00 a.m. on her way to work and picked me up at 6:00 p.m. when she got off.
Detective Parker: Is Kyle a friend from school?
Liam Sanford: Yeah, he's one of the guys from baseball. We're the only two freshmen to make the varsity team.
Detective Parker: That's very impressive. Did your mom do anything else Saturday night after dinner?
Liam Sanford: Not really, no. We went home, and she watched TV while I played Call of Duty up in my room. I think she went to bed around 11:00 p.m. That's usually when she goes to sleep.
Detective Armstrong: And how late into the evening were you answering the Call of Duty?
Liam Sanford: Until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. Probably 2:00 since I didn't wake up until noon the next day. I think my mom tried to wake me up to go to the early Easter service, but I didn't want to go.
Detective Armstrong: Not a big churchgoer?
Liam Sanford: Well, my parents and I, we used to go every Sunday. But ever since the divorce, I guess they don't want to see each other, so we all stopped going. I have no idea why my mom all of sudden wanted to go to the Easter service.
Detective Parker: Liam, when did your parents first become members of the Holy Spirit church?
Liam Sanford: I was baptized there, so fifteen years?
Detective Parker: And when did you stop going to church?
Liam Sanford: Last year.
Detective Parker: So since you've been going to the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit church for at least fourteen years, you probably knew Pastor Martinson pretty well.
Liam Sanford: Yeah, he was a pretty cool pastor. He taught me Sunday school for a couple of years in fifth or sixth grade. I liked him better than Pastor Ingram, at least.
Detective Armstrong: How well did you know Pastor Ingram?
Liam Sanford: He was my youth pastor in middle school. He kinda took over Sunday school.
Detective Armstrong: Any reason why you didn't like him?
Liam Sanford: He was too … preachy. Does that make sense?
Detective Armstrong: Oh, yeah. Go on.
Liam Sanford: Well, when I asked him for advice on my parents' divorce, he got really judgmental and seemed like he blamed my dad for the whole thing. But that doesn't mean that he can't be forgiven. I mean, I thought God was all about forgiveness.
Detective Parker: Is that why you personally left the church? You felt like the church was judging your family too harshly?
Liam Sanford: Kind of. A lot of people knew. I was getting pretty really fed up with all these pitying looks I was getting all the time.
Detective Parker: Do you blame the church for the outcome of your parents' divorce?
Liam Sanford: I don't know. A little bit, I guess.
Detective Armstrong: Liam, since you and your mother stopped going to church over a year ago, do you have any idea why she would call Pastor Martinson last month?
Liam Sanford: Last month? I have no idea. I didn't hear anything, and she didn't tell me she called the pastor. Maybe it was to chew him out for ruining my parents' marriage.
Detective Armstrong: How did Pastor Martinson ruin her marriage?
Liam Sanford: Well, look. He was always a good guy and a great guy to talk to, but he should've kept his stupid nose out of my parents' marriage.
Detective Parker: What do you mean?
Liam Sanford: Well, the reason my mom filed for divorce is because my dad told her that he cheated on her. But the thing is, the only reason he told her is because Pastor Martinson told him it was the right thing to do.
Detective Parker: Do you think your parents would still be together if Pastor Martinson hadn't given that bit of advice?
Liam Sanford: Maybe, yeah. I mean, Dad said it was only a one-time thing, and he felt horrible. He never would've done it again.
Detective Armstrong: Do you think your life would be better off if not for Pastor Martinson?
Liam Sanford: Yeah. Dad lost his job, and I barely get to see him anymore. Mom lost her job, and now she starts randomly crying all the time.
Detective Armstrong: Do you ever discuss this with your parents? Do they feel the same way?
Liam Sanford: No. Anything to do with the divorce, they don't want to talk about. That goes for the pastor and the church too.
Detective Parker: Liam, how often do you see your dad?
Liam Sanford: I'm supposed to stay with him every other weekend, but it doesn't always turn out that way.
Detective Parker: How come?
Liam Sanford: Well, like Easter weekend, I was supposed to stay with him, but I guess him and my mom were fighting, so my mom used the excuse that I was going to go to church with her the next day.
Detective Parker: Did you hear from him at all that weekend?
Liam Sanford: I tried calling him, but it was late and my mom had already gone to bed, so I guess he sleeping.
Detective Parker: Around what time did you call?
Liam Sanford: Midnight.
Detective Armstrong: Liam, have you had any contact at all with Pastor Martinson since leaving the church a year ago?
Liam Sanford: Not really. I didn't have anything to say to him. But I guess I am sorry that he passed. It sounded pretty painful, the way he died.
Detective Armstrong: Are you familiar with the Bible verse: "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy"?
Liam Sanford: I pretty much forgot everything I learned at Sunday school. Sorry.
Detective Armstrong: One last question. If you were conducting this investigation, who would you talk to?
Liam Sanford: Probably the people that work at church. There's Ms. Nutt, Mr. Kemp, Pastor Ingram. Oh, and probably this really weird, super religious lady named Zina.
Detective Armstrong: That should be it. Thank you for coming in.
Interview ended – 5:12 p.m.