Smiling young man with close-cropped light brown hair

Josh Carstairs interview

Saturday, July 23, 2022 – 1:15 p.m.

Josh Carstairs works as a landscaper for Alyx's parents and other clients.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Josh Carstairs

Detective Murphy: For the record, please state your name and address.

Josh Carstairs: I'm not sure. I'm crashing with a friend.

Detective Murphy: You don't know your name?

Josh Carstairs: Josh Carstairs. I don't know the address where I'm staying.

Detective Murphy: This friend you're crashing with got a name?

Josh Carstairs: Bob.

Detective Murphy: A last name?

Josh Carstairs: Probably, but I don't know what it is. I get paid in cash. I pay him in cash.

Detective Murphy: Do you know whether you live in an apartment building or a house?

Josh Carstairs: It's a house. There are a bunch of us living there.

Detective Armstrong: Do you know why we asked you to come in today?

Josh Carstairs: Not really.

Detective Armstrong: Is that so? You were seen at the Byrns residence yesterday. Alyx Byrns died under suspicious circumstances.

Josh Carstairs: I'm a landscape tech, and that's one of the properties I handle.

Detective Armstrong: You didn't think to come forward when you heard the news?

Josh Carstairs: I didn't see what I could contribute to the media frenzy.

Detective Murphy: According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, you live at Oak Terrace Apartments.

Josh Carstairs: I did, but I moved.

Detective Murphy: Did you inform the DMV?

Josh Carstairs: I guess not.

Detective Murphy: How long did you live there?

Josh Carstairs: Not long. A month or two.

Detective Murphy: Just long enough to get a Mississippi license and to register your vehicle?

Josh Carstairs: The apartment was too loud for my taste.

Detective Murphy: A lot of transients tell us that.

Detective Armstrong: How well did you know Alyx Byrns?

Josh Carstairs: I didn't really. With all the different equipment I use, I've usually got headphones on. C&L takes care of the billing, so I don't really talk with the people who live on the properties I care for.

Detective Armstrong: C&L?

Josh Carstairs: The landscaping company I currently work for.

Detective Armstrong: I hear Alyx was in the habit of going around topless.

Josh Carstairs: Not that I ever saw.

Detective Armstrong: She never came on to you, a slightly older man in rugged shape?

Josh Carstairs: Nope.

Detective Armstrong: Did you want her to?

Josh Carstairs: I never much thought about it.

Detective Murphy: Is Friday your scheduled day to work at the Byrns property?

Josh Carstairs: I don't schedule my clients. I drive around and see what needs to be done. Every lawn grows at a different rate. Every flower bed needs to be weeded at different times. Shrubs grow at various speeds depending on the lay of the land.

Detective Murphy: Your boss is okay with that system?

Josh Carstairs: I keep more clients happy than any other tech. Don't argue with success.

Detective Armstrong: You talk about success, but C&L is the third company you've worked for in a relatively short time. Why is that?

Josh Carstairs: Some owners are a bit more anal about schedules than others.

Detective Armstrong: When we call your ex-employers, are we going to hear a different story?

Josh Carstairs: We parted on good terms.

Detective Murphy: So what kind of work do you do on a typical property?

Josh Carstairs: Mow. Trim. Weed. Seed. Fertilize. Sometimes I plant new things.

Detective Murphy: Do you carry a knife?

Josh Carstairs: Sure.

Detective Murphy: Do you have it on you?

Josh Carstairs: It was confiscated when I entered the building.

Detective Murphy: We'll need to take that into evidence.

Josh Carstairs: Be my guest.

Detective Armstrong: What did you end up doing yesterday?

Josh Carstairs: I drove past the properties I take care of, the way I usually do. I stopped and worked on the Allen property, the Henderson property, and the Byrns property.

Detective Armstrong: And then?

Josh Carstairs: Then I went to a sports bar and watched whatever game was on.

Detective Armstrong: How does C&L know what to bill the clients?

Josh Carstairs: Well, I make a note when I stop somewhere.

Detective Armstrong: Do you also make a note of what time you arrive and leave?

Josh Carstairs: Sometimes.

Detective Armstrong: Did you make a note of what time you arrived at the Byrns property and what time you left?

Josh Carstairs: Sorry, but no.

Detective Armstrong: What time would you guess you arrived and left?

Josh Carstairs: I arrived probably sometime between 3:30 and 3:45 p.m. I wasn't there long. I just cleaned up some mulch that must have blown out of the flowerbeds along the drive.

Detective Murphy: Did you see anybody while you were cleaning up the mulch?

Josh Carstairs: A green pickup went by, coming down the drive. I didn't see the driver, but I got the plate. 641-JFA.

Detective Armstrong: You made a note of the plate?

Josh Carstairs: To be honest, I thought it might have been a competitor, going after my client. I showed the plate to my boss, but he said he didn't recognize it.

Detective Armstrong: Is there any reason the Byrns family might want to change landscaping companies?

Josh Carstairs: No, but it's a very competitive business. If I'm driving around and I see some other company put a sign on someone's lawn, I stop and ask the people if they'd consider switching to C&L.

Detective Armstrong: You get a bonus for doing that?

Josh Carstairs: You bet.

Detective Murphy: Okay, I think that's all for now, but we might need to speak with you again. You let us know if you move from Bob's couch. Understood?

Josh Carstairs: You got it.

Interview ended – 1:58 p.m.


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