Hannah Waithers interview
Friday, April 11, 1958 – 6:30 p.m.
Initial neighborhood interviews with homeowners living near the Izard home on County Road 106 were conducted at the neighbors' homes on the afternoon and into the evening of the Izard murders, Friday, April 11, 1958.
Hannah Waithers lives north and across County Road 106 from the Izards.
- Detective Jack McPhail
- Hannah Waithers
Detective McPhail: Miss Waithers, I'm Detective McPhail. This is Deputy Kuhn. I'm here about what happened over at the Izards' house today. Have you heard?
Hannah Waithers: Who hasn't? It was quite a shock. Mrs. Hawkins has been on the telephone to everyone whose number she knows. Her sister's been burning up the phone lines too. It's all anyone on our telephone party line is talking about—the murders and the factory layoffs. Come on in. You must be parched. Can I get you anything?
Detective McPhail: No, but thank you. I just need to ask you a few questions.
Hannah Waithers: All right.
Detective McPhail: Miss Waithers, would you please state your name, age, address, and occupation?
Hannah Waithers: Hannah Waithers, 26, and I get my mail at Box 210 on this road. I'm a dental hygienist in Dr. Thornton's office in Oxford.
Detective McPhail: What time did you get home today?
Hannah Waithers: His office is closed on Fridays, so I was off work today. I've been shopping all afternoon for a new dress for tonight. I went everywhere but didn't have much luck. I got home about an hour ago.
Detective McPhail: Was anyone with you?
Hannah Waithers: No, but you can ask all the store clerks on the Square. I went everywhere like I said. What's this got to do with the Izards?
Detective McPhail: Just checking on everyone's whereabouts. Routine, ma'am. Do you know if the Izards had any enemies, anyone with a grudge?
Hannah Waithers: They're about the only people on this road who minded their business, Detective. I didn't really know them very well. I live by myself on the other side of the road on this land my daddy left me, so I don't see much of anybody around here. But I always heard nice things about them. I visited their church once too.
Detective McPhail: Have you heard anything about the mailman or the school bus driver getting angry at the Izards?
Hannah Waithers: Not the mailman, no. But the bus driver, I think I heard someone saying he was the one who knocked down the Izards' mailbox and smashed all those new pansies that Mrs. Izard had planted. I don't really know much else.
Detective McPhail: When was the last time you saw the Izards?
Hannah Waithers: Let me think. I believe it was Monday evening? Yes, I was out front by the road when they drove past, and we waved at each other.
Detective McPhail: Have you seen the children lately?
Hannah Waithers: Not other than Monday. I almost never saw the little girl. Sometimes I would see the little boy playing by the road, but mostly his mom made him stay up close to the house or back on their land. They've got quite a few acres, you know. He had a playhouse out in the woods, he told me one time. But I think that got torn down after those bad storms we had this past winter. Again, I'm not sure. He's a Boy Scout too. Does that help?
Detective McPhail: Maybe. Anything else?
Hannah Waithers: No, I'm sorry. And I'm so sorry to hear about the Izards too. But would you excuse me now? I'm getting ready to go out this evening, and I'm running a little late.
Detective McPhail: Well, now, ma'am, I have just a few more questions for you. We won't keep Frank Abbott waiting too long.
Hannah Waithers: How did you know I was going out with Frank? Well, you're right about that. We're going out to dinner tonight.
Detective McPhail: Frank works at Bowlan, doesn't he?
Hannah Waithers: He did until today. He was one of them they let go.
Detective McPhail: That's too bad. Was he in sympathy with the union?
Hannah Waithers: Yes, he was. He worked very hard to get that vote through. He suspected these layoffs would happen if it didn't.
Detective McPhail: You know Mr. Elliot Perch then?
Hannah Waithers: Yes, I've met him. Frank introduced us.
Detective McPhail: Frank and Perch ever meet here?
Hannah Waithers: Well, I— yes, they have, Detective. They had a few meetings here with some of the men from Bowlan.
Detective McPhail: Richard Izard ever come over to those meetings?
Hannah Waithers: No, I don't think so. I'd think that would be strange with him being the foreman and all, don't you?
Detective McPhail: So he didn't come to these meetings?
Hannah Waithers: No, he wasn't here.
Detective McPhail: How often did they meet here, ma'am?
Hannah Waithers: I think they had four or five meetings here. I'd have to check with Frank on that to be sure.
Detective McPhail: What time of day were these meetings?
Hannah Waithers: Most of them were late at night.
Detective McPhail: As late as midnight, would you say?
Hannah Waithers: Yes, sometimes later.
Detective McPhail: Did you sit in on any of these meetings?
Hannah Waithers: No, I didn't.
Detective McPhail: Do you know what the nature of these meetings was?
Hannah Waithers: Only what Frank told me. I understand they were to plan a strategy for winning over enough men at the plant to pass the union vote. That's all I know, Detective.
Detective McPhail: Do you know who was at these meetings?
Hannah Waithers: Detective, I think you ought to talk to Frank about that. Or Mr. Perch. I really don't know who all was involved.
Detective McPhail: Did Elbert Warren ever come to these meetings?
Hannah Waithers: Yes, he did. Mr. Perch was staying with the Warrens, and Elbert was very committed to unionizing Bowlan.
Detective McPhail: Miss Waithers, you have any reason to suspect that Richard Izard's murder might be connected to this group?
Hannah Waithers: No, I don't, Detective. I know most people around here think that unions are just another word for communism, but that's not true. Nor is it true that union organizing requires any form of violence. I suppose it's possible that the layoffs today might have something to do with it, but that's not to say it has anything to do with the union organizing.
Detective McPhail: Thank you for your time, ma'am. I won't hold you longer right now. I may be back in touch if I have any further questions.
Hannah Waithers: That's fine, and Detective, I know Frank didn't have anything to do with this.
Detective McPhail: By the way, Miss Waithers, you know what kind of car Mr. Perch drives?
Hannah Waithers: Why, yes. He drives a Belair. It's pretty new, I think.
Detective McPhail: Thank you, ma'am. You have a good evening.