1958 background interview summaries

Over 500 interviews were conducted in the original murder investigation. The background interviews summarized here are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation.

The following interview summaries are taken directly from the 1958 case files.

Interviews conducted by Deputy George Lamb.

0830 hours

Reverend Amos Champion
Senior Minister, Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church
RR 8, Box 15, Abbeville, MS

Rev. Champion said that the Izard family was a good, solid, Baptist family.

He had nothing but praise for Miz Izard and her work with the church, particularly with the Home Visitation Committee. He said she was an excellent mother and that the children were happy, well‑cared for, and generally well‑behaved.

He stated his firm belief that it was the "communist influence of the union" that is behind the murders and disappearance of the children.

He said he was unaware of any problems between Mr. and Mrs. Izard, though he recalls very clearly how Jessie Danahy had to be bodily removed from the church premises at their wedding. He stated that it was the "Devil at work."

He said he has not heard anything about Danahy recently and is not aware of any enemies of the family.

0945 hours

Mrs. Euple Sturgis
Primary Sunday School teacher, Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church
Woodson Ridge Road, Box 91, Oxford, MS

Miz Sturgis said she has known Lisa Izard since she was born. She lives not far from the Graham family and has only good things to say about the Graham family and Lisa and Richard Izard.

She stated that both the Izard children were being brought up in the best tradition.

She said Lisa Izard and Miz Graham, Lisa's mother, "were terrified of those communists and their union preaching." She stated that last Sunday, April 6, she overheard Lisa discussing her fears with her mother.

She stated that the Izards had no enemies and this has to be the work of outsiders related to the union.

1020 hours

Mrs. Mable Anderson
Chairwoman, Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Home Visitation Committee
Lee Creek Road, Box 56, Abbeville, MS

Miz Anderson said Lisa Graham (note she never referred to her as Lisa Izard), was one of the kindest souls she knows.

She stated that Miz Izard would always go out of her way to bake or can extra for the Home Visitation Committee and often went along when it wasn't her turn. She said Miz Izard particularly looked out for the children and the elderly people on their list, checking with a sharp eye on their medical conditions.

Miz Anderson said she was "right in the front" at the layoff announcement and saw tears in Richard Izard's eyes when he announced the layoffs. She stated that no one could think he wanted anyone to lose their jobs, and she is sure Richard Izard had no say in who was on the list. She said Bowlan would make those decisions.

She stated that there are a few people at Bowlan that are "natural born no‑goods" that will "take any chance for trouble," but she said she couldn't believe even that crowd would ever think of harming Richard Izard or his family.

She discounted Jessie Danahy as a suspect, stating that "oh, he's all hot air, and he hasn't bothered them in years."

1500 hours


Mr. & Mrs. T. J. Graham
Lisa Izard's parents & members of Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church
Woodson Ridge Road, Oxford, MS

Miz Graham provided several photos of the ring determined to be missing. She stated that it had belonged to her mother, and she rarely saw Lisa when she wasn't wearing it.

She said Lisa may have taken it off while she was doing the laundry, but if she had, it would have been on the tray on the kitchen table which was her habit.

Miz Graham stated that there are likely some photos in the Izard family album showing Lisa wearing the ring. She said Lisa wore it at her wedding.

Interviews conducted by Detective Jack McPhail.

Attended services at the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church and talked with church members, many of whom were laid off from Bowlan Glove on Friday and who knew the Izard family.

General feeling toward the Izard family was positive and the laid-off workers attending services expressed shock that anyone would blame Richard Izard for the loss of their jobs.

Interviews conducted by Detective Jack McPhail.

Pawn Shops in Oxford, Abbeville, Taylor, Sardis, Holly Springs, Batesville, and Toccopola were contacted concerning the missing pearl and diamond ring. Flyers were distributed.

No reports of the ring or the gems as of this date.



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