Material witness interview
Ruthie Foreman is the head surgical nurse at Baptist Memorial Hospital, where Veronica Smith sometimes performed procedures.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy re-interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
Monday, January 23, 2023 – 4:07 p.m.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Ruthie Foreman
Detective Murphy: Hello, Ms. Foreman. Please come in and have a seat. As you know, we need your name and address for the record.
Ruthie Foreman: My name is Ruthie Foreman, and I live at 67 Stewart Street. I don't understand why you have me back here.
Detective Murphy: Well, we just have a few questions for you to tie up some loose ends.
Ruthie Foreman: I already told you everything I know.
Detective Armstrong: Ms. Foreman, did you have a record of Dr. Smith's cell phone number?
Ruthie Foreman: Of course. I have a record of all the physicians' contact information.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever give out that number to anyone?
Ruthie Foreman: I occasionally give a specific physician's contact number to a member of the hospital staff who's urgently trying to reach them and hasn't been able to.
Detective Armstrong: Did you ever have a situation like that where you had to give out Dr. Smith's number?
Ruthie Foreman: Not that I recall.
Detective Murphy: Do you ever give a physician's number to a patient or a patient's family member?
Ruthie Foreman: Absolutely not.
Detective Murphy: Well, even if that person had a really good reason to need to contact the doctor?
Ruthie Foreman: No reason is good enough for me to break policy.
Detective Armstrong: But you could if you wanted to.
Ruthie Foreman: Excuse me?
Detective Armstrong: If you wanted to give out a number, who would know?
Ruthie Foreman: I would know.
Detective Armstrong: Sure, but if you had a good reason?
Ruthie Foreman: I told you. No reason is good enough.
Detective Armstrong: Are you sure about that?
Ruthie Foreman: Yes.
Detective Murphy: Well, when we spoke the last time, remember we asked you if you knew anybody was harassing Dr. Smith? Do you remember what you said then?
Ruthie Foreman: Some kids were slashing her tires.
Detective Murphy: Right. And have you thought of anything else since then?
Ruthie Foreman: I told you I didn't know of anything else.
Detective Murphy: That's true. You did. Well, first, I want you to know you can rest easy because we've found the person who slashed Dr. Smith's tires. It was not kids. We know who it was, and so the hospital parking lot, the cars there will not be at any risk in the future from that person.
Ruthie Foreman: Really? That's great.
Detective Murphy: We also found out that someone was sending Dr. Smith anonymous text messages. Harassing.
Ruthie Foreman: Oh?
Detective Murphy: But again, no need to worry because we tracked down that person too, and we found out who was sending them.
Ruthie Foreman: That's great.
Detective Murphy: But here's the curious thing. The phone that sent those messages sent a lot of texts and all to Veronica Smith. But there was only one voice call. Do you know who that voice call was to?
Ruthie Foreman: How would I?
Detective Murphy: Well, the good news is that we don't think you the person who sent the text messages.
Ruthie Foreman: Well, that's great because I wasn't.
Detective Murphy: But the one voice call that was made on that phone was to you, so you know who sent those text messages.
Ruthie Foreman: I get a lot of phone calls.
Detective Murphy: I'm sure you do, but the person who was harassing Dr. Smith called you and no one else. What do you think about that?
Ruthie Foreman: I don't know. It was probably a wrong number.
Detective Murphy: Well, it could be, I suppose. How do you think that person got Dr. Smith's phone number?
Ruthie Foreman: I don't know. She must have given it out.
Detective Murphy: That could be, but our records indicate that, in this instance, that's extremely unlikely.
Detective Armstrong: Why didn't you tell us before that drugs were missing from the hospital?
Ruthie Foreman: Who told you that? That's not true.
Detective Armstrong: That's not what we were told.
Ruthie Foreman: Well, I don't know where you're getting your information from, but it's wrong.
Detective Armstrong: We were told that ketamine was missing from the hospital's surgical supply. Aren't you responsible for keeping track of that?
Ruthie Foreman: That's how I would know if anything was missing. Who is telling you these lies? Ask Mr. Kramer. He'll tell you nothing is missing.
Detective Armstrong: Who do you think told us to talk to you? He's the one who said you'd know about the missing ketamine.
Ruthie Foreman: I don't believe you. Why would he say something like that?
Detective Armstrong: All I know is he said you would know about the ketamine. Did you take it?
Ruthie Foreman: You can't accuse me of something like that. Do you have any idea what you're saying? The slight suggestion of that, I could lose my job.
Detective Armstrong: We're detectives. Accusing people is kind of what we do.
Ruthie Foreman: You have to have proof to accuse someone. Do you have any proof that I did anything wrong? I know you don't because, if you did, I wouldn't have a job anymore.
Detective Armstrong: Maybe the hospital is just waiting for the right moment to make their move. Why else would Dwight Kramer tell us that you were the one responsible for taking the ketamine?
Ruthie Foreman: I have no idea why he'd say something like that. You'd have to ask him. Maybe he took it.
Detective Armstrong: We'll have to look into that.
Ruthie Foreman: You should've done that in the first place before you go around accusing innocent people.
Detective Murphy: Last time you talked to us, you told us that you were at the hospital the night that Veronica Smith was killed.
Ruthie Foreman: That's true.
Detective Murphy: You told us you went home for dinner that night and then went back to the hospital.
Ruthie Foreman: Yes, that's correct.
Detective Murphy: You were gone for three hours. What took so long?
Ruthie Foreman: I was home.
Detective Murphy: Having a 10-course meal? What took so long?
Ruthie Foreman: Maybe I did some chores, you know, a load of laundry. I don't remember.
Detective Murphy: Can anyone confirm that you were home all that time?
Ruthie Foreman: No. I live alone since my husband passed away.
Detective Murphy: Did you drive by Dr. Smith's house during that time?
Ruthie Foreman: No, of course not. Why would I go there?
Detective Murphy: Maybe to put the ketamine to use. Isn't that why you took it? To use it on Dr. Smith?
Ruthie Foreman: We're back to that again? I told you I didn't take any ketamine or anything else from the hospital.
Detective Murphy: You did say that. Did you take the ketamine and give it to Kenneth Lemmons? Did you show him how to immobilize Dr. Smith so he could kill her?
Ruthie Foreman: That's it. If you're going to continue making these wild accusations — that you and I both know you have no proof of — then I want a lawyer.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. Your call. We'll just get what we need from Kenneth Lemmons. We'll put that together with the information from the hospital. But I don't think this is going to work out too well for you.
Ruthie Foreman: I— No. I'm done talking to you without a lawyer. Am I free to leave now?
Detective Armstrong: Yep.
Ruthie Foreman: Then I'm going. And if I find out you've told anyone of these wild accusations of yours, I'll sue you and this department.
Detective Armstrong: You know who you sound like? Kenneth Lemmons.
Ruthie Foreman: Oh!
Interview ended – 4:30 p.m.