Anil Virani interview
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 9:15 a.m.
Anil Virani was a lifelong friend of Wendy Holloway and gave the eulogy at her funeral.
Detective Armstrong interviewed him at his law office in Pittsburgh.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Anil Virani
Detective Armstrong: Thank you for making yourself available while I'm in town.
Anil Virani: It's no problem. I'll do anything I can to help the investigation.
Detective Armstrong: I'll need your name and address for the record.
Anil Virani: Anil Virani, 5704 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Detective Armstrong: And you're an attorney?
Anil Virani: That's correct. I specialize in civil litigation.
Detective Armstrong: How long had you known Wendy Holloway?
Anil Virani: For most of my life.
Detective Armstrong: When was the last time you had contact with her?
Anil Virani: On the phone? It would have been about three weeks before her death. I called her to tell her I'd met a really great girl who's also a lawyer, and we talked about that some. I hadn't been seeing anyone special for a while, and Wendy was really pleased for me. I hadn't talked to her for maybe a month before that phone call.
Detective Armstrong: You mentioned at the funeral that Ms. Holloway had called you the night she died. Are you certain it was that night? Friday, February 17th?
Anil Virani: Yes, I am. I was out that night. A legal publishing firm had arranged an after-work Friday night function, and some of the people from my firm were going. I like those functions. You get to network, and the food is always excellent. I took my girlfriend, Suzy.
Detective Armstrong: Ms. Holloway called you sometime while you were out?
Anil Virani: Sorry. Yes. I had my phone on Do Not Disturb. She left a message on my voicemail, but it was pretty late when we got back to my place. I didn't check my messages until the next morning.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know what time Ms. Holloway called you?
Anil Virani: I don't remember exactly anymore, but I believe it would have been fairly early in the evening because I do recall there was a message from my dad after hers. He usually calls about 8:30 or thereabouts. So it must have been before that, and of course, we're an hour ahead of Oxford here.
Detective Armstrong: What did Ms. Holloway say in the message?
Anil Virani: I'll try to recall the exact words for you. I've been over and over it in my mind since I found out she'd been killed. She said something like: "Hi, Anil. It's Wendy. I was hoping you'd be there. I really, really need to talk to you. I need you to point me in the right direction because I think I've gotten myself into a bad situation. It's too complicated to explain in a voicemail, but I'm pretty sure it's going to involve legal action. So please, Anil, call me as soon as you can. I need your advice." I think that's pretty much what Wendy said.
Detective Armstrong: Did you call back that night?
Anil Virani: No. As I said, I actually didn't check the messages until the next morning. But I called her as soon as I heard the message and just got her voicemail. I left her a message, and when I didn't hear back from her, I assumed she'd gotten all worked up about nothing, or the problem had resolved itself. Of course, later I found out why she hadn't called me back.
Detective Armstrong: Any idea of the nature of this legal problem?
Anil Virani: No, she didn't tell me what the problem was. I don't know if it was some sort of litigation she was contemplating, or someone was threatening a lawsuit against her. All kinds of things have crossed my mind.
Detective Armstrong: Could it have been a criminal matter?
Anil Virani: I don't think she was involved in anything criminal, but that's just idle speculation. I expect that she wanted me to give some general advice for whatever it was because of my knowledge of the legal system.
Detective Armstrong: Had Wendy ever mentioned using drugs to you?
Anil Virani: I know she used cocaine for a while when she was younger, but she wasn't an addict. Drugs are not part of my life, so if she was using, I don't think it's something she'd talk to me about. It's not something she ever talked to me about while she was in Oxford, that's for sure. I'm not aware of her ever having faced charges over drug use or anything like that.
Detective Armstrong: What do you know about people she associated with in Oxford? Were there any romantic relationships, friends, business contacts that you can recall her mentioning?
Anil Virani: There was her boyfriend, the novelist. That seemed like a sticky situation to me because she said he was married and had been for years to some Southern belle wife. But Wendy was convinced that this was the relationship she'd been waiting for all her life.
Detective Armstrong: Even though he's married?
Anil Virani: She believed the novelist was ready for a life change, that he'd gotten bored with living with an airhead. Wendy's words, not mine. I do know she was considering having a baby whether they got married or not. I think her biological clock was ticking, and she was thinking sooner rather than later.
Detective Armstrong: Anyone else you can think of that she associated with in Oxford?
Anil Virani: I do believe a few men were chasing her. I can understand that. There was a time when I hoped that Wendy and I would be more than just friends, but she never saw me that way. Quite frankly, I don't know what she did see in some of those guys she was with over the years.
Detective Armstrong: Anyone in particular in Oxford?
Anil Virani: I believe there was someone in real estate she had lunch with sometimes, and she did mention a blues musician, but if she told me their names, I don't remember them now.
Detective Armstrong: What about friends in Oxford?
Anil Virani: I don't think Wendy had made any girlfriends down there as such. She was more the type of girl who had men as friends, though she did have a female roommate when she was in Seattle she was close to.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know her roommate's name?
Anil Virani: Jenny. I know she came to the funeral. I think she was still involved in some computer project with Wendy, but I really don't know the details.
Detective Armstrong: Wendy didn't tell you what she was working on?
Anil Virani: Computers are not my thing, Detective. To me, they're just tools. I'm not interested in all the programming stuff. We didn't discuss that, just as I didn't talk about the finer points of litigation with her. We'd talk about how our lives were going, our philosophies, our dreams, general gossip. Normal friendship-type things.
Detective Armstrong: Did she ever mention any trouble or violence while she was in Oxford?.
Anil Virani: No, she definitely did not.
Detective Armstrong: What do you know about her relationship with her brother?
Anil Virani: When we were kids, those two were like oil and water. Peter wasn't a bad guy, but he was always really … thin-skinned when it came to Wendy. And she couldn't resist pushing his buttons.
Detective Armstrong: They didn't get along because she was always needling him?
Anil Virani: There were a few other things too. Like once, when we were in middle school, he came up with an idea involving … what was it? Oh yeah, solar-powered vehicles for the science fair. But Wendy raced in and built the project and submitted it without telling Peter. She ended up winning the award for best in the fair. That didn't help their relationship at all.
Detective Armstrong: Anything else?
Anil Virani: Just other minor stuff. I think she also might have borrowed money from Peter when they were kids and didn't pay it back. That sort of thing.
Detective Armstrong: Did Peter ever do anything to retaliate?
Anil Virani: Not that I know of. That wasn't his nature at all back then. Personally, I think Peter was having a pretty hard time at that stage in his life because his dad walked out and he hardly saw him after that. One of those neglected victims of divorce, I guess.
Detective Armstrong: What about after high school?
Anil Virani: I don't know anything really about Peter's life after he finished high school. Wendy didn't really talk about him, and I don't think he came back to Pittsburgh very often.
Detective Armstrong: Did she say anything about seeing her brother recently?
Anil Virani: Yes, she did. I gather that they became pretty good friends. When she was in Pittsburgh back in August, she told me one of the first things she'd do when she got to Oxford would be to look him up in Memphis. She said her mom was really impressed with the way Peter was now.
Detective Armstrong: Now?
Anil Virani: I guess Peter had developed a drinking problem over the years. It got him in some trouble. But after she got to Oxford, Wendy told me that he'd gotten himself straightened out and was doing really well. They'd gotten together a couple of times.
Detective Armstrong: Can you think of anyone who would want to harm Ms. Holloway?
Anil Virani: No, nobody at all. I wish I could help you more. And I wish I hadn't missed Wendy's phone call that night.
Detective Armstrong: Thanks for your time, Mr. Virani. Here's my card. If you think of anything else, please let me know
Anil Virani: I will. I hope you succeed in finding out who did this to Wendy.
End interview – 9:41 a.m.