Rupert Coates interview

Rupert Coates spoke to detectives the morning after his wife's deathSaturday, November 23, 2013 - 10:12 a.m.

Rupert Coates was the victim's husband. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the residence he shared with the victim. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Rupert Coates

Detective Armstrong: We're so sorry for your loss, Mr. Coates.

Rupert Coates: Thank you.

Detective Armstrong: We do hate to bother you at a time like this, but we need to ask you a few questions. I hope you understand.

Rupert Coates: Yeah, I guess so.

Detective Armstrong: First, will you state your name and address for the record?

Rupert Coates: My name is Rupert Coates and I live here at 210 Elm Street in Oxford, Mississippi.

Detective Armstrong: Were you with your wife when she collapsed?

Rupert Coates: No, I was on my way to the conference. I got a call on my cell phone from Sandra – Sandra Moss, her supervisor – that Diane had collapsed at the dinner and the ambulance was taking her to Baptist Memorial, so I went directly there. But it was too– she was already gone.

Detective Murphy: So you weren't at the YCCC earlier?

Rupert Coates: No, we planned to meet at the conference reception for a drink before dinner, but I got a phone call just as I was going out the door, so I was running late.

Detective Murphy: But you saw her earlier in the day?

Rupert Coates: Well, I saw her in the morning before I left for work.

Detective Armstrong: And that was here at your home?

Rupert Coates: Yes.

Detective Armstrong: Did you notice anything different about her? Or anything unusual in the way she was acting?

Rupert Coates: No, she was the same old Diane.

Detective Murphy: The "same old"?

Rupert Coates: I mean there was nothing different or unusual that I noticed. She was babbling on about the conference: how hard she'd worked, what important people were coming, the famous authors who would be there. That kind of stuff.

Detective Murphy: You say she was "babbling." Does that mean you weren't interested?

Rupert Coates: No, not at all. I just meant I'm not talkative in the morning. She is… was. I'm sorry. I can't believe this happened. I can't believe she's gone. How could this be happening?

Detective Armstrong: Would you like a break, Mr. Coates?

Rupert Coates: No, let's get this over with.

Detective Armstrong: Can you think of anyone who would want to harm your wife?

Rupert Coates: Of course not! No one harmed her. She collapsed, for God's sake!

Detective Armstrong: If someone did do something that caused her death, you'd want us to find out who it was, wouldn't you?

Rupert Coates: Yes, of course. I'm sorry, but this is all just so unbelievable.

Detective Murphy: Did your wife have any health problems, Mr. Coates?

Rupert Coates: Well, she had a TIA about six months ago, back in May. But she'd been treated for it and seemed to be fine.

Detective Murphy: A TIA?

Rupert Coates: Yeah, you know a transient something attack – a mini-stroke. She evidently had a bit of numbness of one hand and slurred speech for a few minutes. But she said the doctor told her she was OK now.

Detective Murphy: Can you tell us her doctor's name?

Rupert Coates: John Lipinski

Detective Murphy: Has she been taking any medication?

Rupert Coates: I don't know what she was taking. I didn't see her take any pills, and she didn't mention any medicines.

Detective Armstrong: It sounds like you and your wife didn't communicate much.

Rupert Coates: Things were a bit strained lately, I'll admit, but it wasn't anything serious. We're both so busy with our jobs that it's hard to find time together. That's all. It's something all couples have to work through. We were no different. I figured when the conference was over, we'd have time to do that, but now….

Detective Murphy: Tell us, Mr. Coates, how did your wife get along with the people she worked with?

Rupert Coates: To hear Diane talk, Sandra didn't appreciate her, and her fellow workers were jealous of her. I chalked it up to the usual petty office stuff and didn't take it seriously. To tell the truth, Diane was a bit paranoid.

Detective Armstrong: What do you mean by "paranoid?"

Rupert Coates: Oh, you know. So-and-so was talking behind her back. Sandra was trying to hold her back because she was afraid Diane was after her job. That kind of stuff.

Detective Armstrong: But you didn't take it seriously?

Rupert Coates: I think you have to overlook that kind of stuff. Diane had a tendency to make a mountain out of a molehill. Look, I'm exhausted. Are we about through here? I need to make some arrangements, I guess. And call her family. Oh my God, I almost forgot. What am I going to say to her family?

Detective Murphy: Is there anything else you can think of that we should know?

Rupert Coates: No. I can't think of anything, but then I just can't think so well right now.

Detective Armstrong: Thank you, Mr. Coates. We'll be in touch.

Rupert Coates: Please let me know what you find out about how this happened. It is just so unreal. I still can't believe it.

End interview - 10:39 a.m.

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