Tuesday, March 8, 2021 – 7:30 a.m.
Vincent Gayle is the guardian of Daniel Collier.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee asked him to come talk to them at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department before work.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Vincent Gayle
Detective Beckwith: Hello, again, Mr. Gayle. We'd like to ask you a few more questions about Daniel.
Vincent Gayle: Whatever you need.
Detective Magee: Would you give us your name and address for the record?
Vincent Gayle: My name is Vince Gayle, and I live at 3 County Road 169 in Alesville.
Detective Beckwith: All right. We'd like to clear some things up about Daniel's trip to New York City. Did he ever discuss with you what his plans were specifically when he got to New York?
Vincent Gayle: Not specifically, only that he was going to join the art scene somehow. That's why I didn't want him to go.
Detective Magee: Because he was going to join the New York art scene?
Vincent Gayle: No, because he didn't have a plan.
Detective Magee: Did he have a place to stay in the city? Relatives or friends?
Vincent Gayle: Not that I know of. He doesn't have any relatives in New York.
Detective Magee: Did Daniel ever speak about a specific New York artist he was interested in working for or studying?
Vincent Gayle: Probably, but I wouldn't know who he was talking about. I'm just a regular working man. I don't have time for all that art stuff.
Detective Beckwith: What about Daniel's travel plans? Was he driving all the way there or flying or what?
Vincent Gayle: He left here in his car, so I figured he was driving.
Detective Magee: Did he say when he was planning on returning to Alesville?
Vincent Gayle: Nope. I hoped it would be sooner than later.
Detective Magee: What was he going to do for money in New York? It's a pretty expensive place.
Vincent Gayle: I have no idea. Again, that's why I told him not to go. He quit his job, so the only money he had coming in was from his dad's trust fund.
Detective Magee: Trust fund? Why didn't you mention that before?
Vincent Gayle: I didn't think it mattered since Daniel hasn't asked for any of the money since he left. I manage the trust fund, and I'm just holding the money until he comes crawling back home.
Detective Beckwith: What have your communications been like since he left?
Vincent Gayle: I think I told you all before. He never says anything to me directly. He only talks on the computer in general Facebook posts. I figured he was still pissed at me, so I didn't really expect to be high on his contact list. Now that you ask, though, it does seem like he should have cooled off some in the last two months. Do you think that he's in trouble?
Detective Magee: Is there any reason why Daniel would've gone to the Memphis airport?
Vincent Gayle: I don't see why. What's going on here?
Detective Magee: Do you remember what you were doing between January 2nd and 6th?
Vincent Gayle: Probably working, the usual routine. Why won't y'all answer my questions?
Detective Beckwith: Mr. Gayle, Daniel's car has been found abandoned at the Memphis airport.
Vincent Gayle: You're kidding. What was it doing there?
Detective Beckwith: You tell me.
Vincent Gayle: I don't know. Daniel never said anything about flying from Memphis. Maybe he was thinking he was going to come back from New York sooner. You know, like only staying up there for a few weeks and then coming back.
Detective Beckwith: What makes you say that?
Vincent Gayle: Well, I guess he only took a few sets of clothes with him. The rest of his stuff is still at the house.
Detective Magee: It's been two months now, though.
Vincent Gayle: You've really got me worried here. Do you think something has happened to him?
Detective Beckwith: You can help us find out by giving us details about the last time you saw Daniel.
Vincent Gayle: I told y'all before that he left on January 2nd. I tried like hell to talk him out of it for a week, but he wouldn't listen.
Detective Magee: He didn't say anything before he left?
Vincent Gayle: Not to me.
Detective Magee: To Sharon?
Vincent Gayle: Not that I know of. Sharon and I were at bible study that night from 7:00 or so to around 10:00 p.m.
Detective Beckwith: Can you think of any reason Daniel's car was parked at the airport?
Vincent Gayle: Maybe he was staying somewhere in Oxford before he left for New York and left his car in someone's care, who then dropped the car off at the airport for him later. Brandon, he's Daniel's best friend. He could've done it.
Detective Magee: Why would Brandon do that? Isn't he looking for Daniel?
Vincent Gayle: Yeah, but he didn't start coming around here looking for Daniel until the last couple of weeks. Brandon probably knew Daniel was coming home a few weeks ago, drove his car to the airport. Now he's freaking out that Daniel didn't come home when he thought he was gonna.
Detective Beckwith: Or maybe Danny never got to New York?
Vincent Gayle: What do you mean? He's been sending messages from there. Just because Brandon's going crazy and obviously got to y'all about him going missing don't mean it's true.
Detective Magee: Did Daniel have any enemies? Someone who'd want to make it seem like he was in New York?
Vincent Gayle: Well, he did work for some guys in Oxford at the auto shop. You know, Mr. Laughlin. Those guys have a shady reputation.
Detective Magee: How so?
Vincent Gayle: You can get your bodywork done cheap there, if you know what I mean. Daniel quit on those guys a few weeks before he left.
Detective Magee: Was Mr. Laughlin mad about it?
Vincent Gayle: I'm not sure. Maybe. From what little I know about the guy, it doesn't take much to make him mad.
Detective Magee: Is there anyone else who could have intercepted Daniel on his way to New York?
Vincent Gayle: Oh, hell yeah, there is! I can't believe I didn't think of it before!
Detective Beckwith: What?
Vincent Gayle: His uncle Rod is probably butting into our lives again.
Detective Beckwith: Tell us about Uncle Rod.
Vincent Gayle: He's a dirtbag. Calls himself an actor but never had a real job for more than a week. Most people can't stand him, including his entire family.
Detective Magee: Why?
Vincent Gayle: Because he's a huge leech. No work ethic. Doesn't go to church. He's got no morals. That's why Daniel's dad, Mark, gave me custody of Daniel, not Rod. You can't trust the guy.
Detective Beckwith: You just said that Rod is butting into your life again. What do you mean by that?
Vincent Gayle: When Rod was younger, he defied his parents enough that they disowned him, wrote him out of the will. His dad died, and his mom got Alzheimer's, and sure enough, Rod comes right back to "take care of his mom" now that she can't remember what a dirtbag he is. All of a sudden, the guy's back in the will.
Detective Magee: Okay, what does that have to do with you and Daniel?
Vincent Gayle: Any time Daniel visited with his Grandma Collier, Rod was there leeching. Rod tried to say that Grandma Collier was happy to have him there, but it was obvious that she wasn't in her right mind most of the time.
Detective Beckwith: When was the last time Daniel met with Rod?
Vincent Gayle: Grandma Collier died in 2016. As far as I know, Daniel hasn't spoken to Rod in years.
Detective Magee: Does Rod still live in Oxford?
Vincent Gayle: Yeah … yeah, he does, so maybe Rod has been getting his hooks into Daniel while I've been at work. Lord knows that's the best time for Rod to do his scheming—when everybody else's at work.
Detective Magee: Why do you believe Rod would want to interfere in your relationship with Daniel?
Vincent Gayle: Obviously for Daniel's trust fund money. Now that Daniel's 20, he'll be getting control of the fund soon. Mark was a rich man when he died, and Rod never liked his brother. It makes sense. Rod's probably worming his way into Daniel's life for the money, just like he did his mom's.
Detective Beckwith: And why would Rod and Daniel take his car to Memphis airport?
Vincent Gayle: To make me think that Daniel was in New York when he never left Oxford. I would be none the wiser. Sneaky bastards!
Detective Magee: All right, we're likely to have more questions in the future, Mr. Gayle, but we need to check on a few things right now. I trust you'll make yourself available if we need to talk again?
Vincent Gayle: Yes, ma'am. I'll be around.
Interview ended – 7:54 a.m.