Middle-aged brunette woman with a wry smile

Joy Stillman interview

Tuesday, February 6, 2024 – 1:30 p.m.

Joy Stillman is Blake Jenson's birth mother.

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


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Joy Stillman

Detective Armstrong: Have a seat and state your name and address for the record.

Joy Stillman: My name is Joy Stillman, and my address is 1367 Alvarado Street, San Francisco, California. When I called you, I thought you could tell me what's going on. I wasn't expecting an interrogation.

Detective Armstrong: This isn't an interrogation. It's an interview. Why are you here in Oxford now? You've been away for a long time, as I understand it.

Joy Stillman: Yes, I've been away a long time, but I came back to talk to my son.

Detective Armstrong: Who is your son?

Joy Stillman: Blake Jenson was my son.

Detective Armstrong: Your son? Wasn't he Luther and Agnes Jenson's son?

Joy Stillman: I guess it depends on how you define "son." I gave birth to Blake, so I am his real mother.

Detective Armstrong: Isn't it true that you sold him to Mr. and Mrs. Jenson, and they raised him without any help from you?

Joy Stillman: I didn't sell him. I was young, and I made a terrible mistake. I was seventeen, and I had a life to live. I didn't want to be tied down with a baby, with rules and responsibilities. I just wanted to get away from here. I've paid for that mistake again and again.

Detective Murphy: Did you come back to erase that mistake?

Joy Stillman: No! If I were going to do that, I would've done it long ago. I just found out that I have WPW. I wanted to let Blake know that he should have it checked out. It's hereditary.

Detective Murphy: Why the sudden interest in Blake's welfare?

Joy Stillman: I've caused enough pain. I wanted to do something right.

Detective Murphy: Why didn't you just make a phone call?

Joy Stillman: I was afraid to call my parents, and I couldn't find a number for Blake. I decided meeting face-to-face might help get some closure on everything, so I chose to fly down. My folks don't even know I'm here. They've probably disowned me and never want to see me again.

Detective Armstrong: You've given your surname as Stillman.

Joy Stillman: Yes. After I hit rock bottom, I met a wonderful man, Bill Stillman. He helped me get my life together, and later, we got married and had two children. But nothing has ever taken away the pain I carry from giving away my first child.

Detective Armstrong: You gave your first child to your parents. You didn't send him to Timbuktu. You could have seen him anytime.

Joy Stillman: You don't understand the situation.

Detective Murphy: When did you arrive in Oxford?

Joy Stillman: Late Saturday, around 9:00 in the evening.

Detective Armstrong: Were you around your parents' house the night Blake died?

Joy Stillman: No, I drove by a few times that morning and once after lunch. I was trying to get up the nerve to stop, but I couldn't. I thought I saw him once, and I started to pull in the drive, but someone else cut in right in front of me, so I didn't turn in.

Detective Murphy: Is your husband here in town with you?

Joy Stillman: Yes.

Detective Murphy: How does he feel about you dredging up the past?

Joy Stillman: Bill encouraged me to come here and face this. Now, it's too late. Detective, what happened that night? What caused Blake's death?

Detective Armstrong: This is an ongoing investigation. We can't divulge any information at this time.

Joy Stillman: Well, okay, then. That's what I wanted to know, so if you can't tell me, I need to go now. I don't really have anything else to say.

Detective Armstrong: We'd like to ask you a few more questions if you would just—

Joy Stillman: I don't know anything else. I am free to leave, right?

Detective Murphy: Yes, of course. We'd just like—

Joy Stillman: Okay, then. When you finally can tell me what happened to Blake, please give me a call.

Detective Murphy: Will you be staying in town long?

Joy Stillman: No. I have no reason to be here anymore.

Detective Murphy: Please let us know when you leave and where you'll be going, Mrs. Stillman. We may need to ask you some more questions before this is over.

Joy Stillman: Is that absolutely necessary? Oh, all right. I'll keep you posted. Can I go now?

Detective Murphy: Yes, ma'am.

Interview ended – 2:05 p.m.


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