Canvass – Laughlin employees
While Detectives Beckwith and Magee spoke with Chas Laughlin, other YCSD investigators talked to the current employees of Laughlin Automotive and Body Shop at 2522 University Avenue in Oxford in an effort to find information on the missing 20-year-old Daniel Collier.
The employees were asked about Daniel's interactions in the workplace as well as their whereabouts the first week of January, the last time Daniel was seen in Yoknapatawpha County.
The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all the interviews conducted.
Peter "Buck" Buchanan
Buck Buchanan has been working at Laughlin Auto Body for longer than any other employee, a little over 20 years. He was one of owner Charles "Chas” Laughlin's first hires. Buchanan is a body man, known in the Yoknapatawpha County area for his seamless repairs.
Buchanan reported that he was part of the reason that Daniel Collier was hired in April 2020. He is old friends with Gus Whitwill, the shop teacher at Yoknapatawpha High, and received a recommendation from Whitwill to hire Daniel based on Daniel's drive and artistic ability.
Buchanan said Daniel worked at the shop for about eight months or so. Buchanan recounted that Daniel was a good worker and moved his way from basic services like oil changes and car detailing to doing more advanced paintwork and pinstriping. Buchanan was teaching Daniel more sophisticated bodywork techniques when Daniel abruptly quit in December of 2020.
Buchanan remembers Chas being angry when he heard that Daniel had quit. Buchanan couldn't say why, speculating that Chas bemoaned the loss of Daniel's pinstriping abilities along with the loss of revenue Daniel brought in, or that Chas now had to go to the trouble of hiring another hard-to-come-by competent worker, or both.
In the first week of January, Buchanan split his time between work and home. He mentioned he may have been at The Roadhouse that weekend.