Corrie Townsend interview
Monday, January 11, 2021 – 3:05 p.m.
Katie Masters' parents suggested that investigators talk to their daughter's best friend, Corrie Townsend, because she and Katie spent the day together before Katie was murdered.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department. Because Corrie Townsend is 18 years old, her parents didn't need to give consent for or be present during the interview.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Corrie Townsend
Detective Murphy: Have a seat. I'm Detective Murphy. This is my partner, Detective Armstrong. Would you please state your name and address for the record?
Corrie Townsend: My name is Coralee Jane Townsend, and I live with my parents at 140 Colonial Road, right here in Oxford.
Detective Murphy: We know you're upset, Coralee, but we really need to talk with you while the events are still fresh in your mind.
Corrie Townsend: I know. It's just so hard. I miss her already! I feel … lost, you know?
Detective Armstrong: Here's a tissue. Now, try to calm down.
Corrie Townsend: I am trying. What can I do to help?
Detective Murphy: Coralee, let's just go over the events of that day. Maybe something will give us a clue we can use to find out who did this to Katie. I know it's hard, but it's very important.
Corrie Townsend: Please call me Corrie. Calling me Coralee is freaking me out even more.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. Corrie, what time did you and Katie get together yesterday?
Corrie Townsend: A little before 11:00 in the morning. We always take—I mean, we always took turns driving. Yesterday, it was my turn.
Detective Armstrong: Please just walk us through your day.
Corrie Townsend: We went to McDonald's to get something to eat. Katie's ex was there, and he can't stand the fact that she dumped him. He won't leave her alone. That morning though, he didn't say one word to her. He just stared at her the entire time we were there. It creeped us out.
Detective Murphy: Why is that?
Corrie Townsend: Because he looked at her like he hated her guts. It was a horrible stare, just really creepy and weird.
Detective Armstrong: What is this ex's name?
Corrie Townsend: Bobby Canton.
Detective Armstrong: Then, what happened next?
Corrie Townsend: Me and Katie ate, and then we went to the library to do our homework. The creepy church guy was there, so we tried to avoid him and found a table in the back.
Detective Armstrong: About what time did you get to the library?
Corrie Townsend: I don't know. Maybe 11:45 a.m.? I"m not sure.
Detective Armstrong: Okay. This creepy church guy, tell us about him.
Corrie Townsend: He was just always trying to get us to have a bible study with him. He said he wanted to "save our wretched souls." He was nice about it, but he made us feel like we were doing something wrong even when we weren't, so we tried to stay away from him.
Detective Armstrong: Is that where you usually see him? At the library?
Corrie Townsend: Yeah.
Detective Armstrong: Do you know his name?
Corrie Townsend: No. We basically just avoided him, like I told you.
Detective Armstrong: How long did you stay at the library?
Corrie Townsend: It seemed like forever! I guess it was around 4:00 p.m. when we left.
Detective Armstrong: So, then what did you do?
Corrie Townsend: After that, we went to the skate park. Katie didn't want to go home because her folks were out, and she had been getting some strange calls.
Detective Murphy: Threatening calls?
Corrie Townsend: Nah, just hang-ups and heavy breathing. The Caller ID always said Unknown Caller or whatever, so she couldn't really block him.
Detective Armstrong: Were you ever with her when she got these calls?
Corrie Townsend: Yeah, a couple times. She put it on speaker so I could hear, but it was just heavy breathing like I told you. Katie told the guy if he didn't have the guts to say anything, he had no business calling her. She tried to make a joke of it, but I could tell she was a little scared.
Detective Armstrong: Did either of you have any guesses about who it could've been?
Corrie Townsend: At first, I thought it was Bobby, but I don't think he's smart enough to block his number like that, so I don't know.
Detective Armstrong: Do you think Katie knew who it was?
Corrie Townsend: No. If she knew who it was, I don't think she'd get freaked out like that.
Detective Murphy: Corrie, what happened at the park?
Corrie Townsend: We skated for a while, and then some boys asked us to play Frisbee with them.
Detective Murphy: What were their names?
Corrie Townsend: Oh, we didn't know them, but they were cute! Katie is a total flirt, and she was flirting big time with the tallest and hottest one.
Detective Murphy: So you spent the rest of the afternoon playing Frisbee with them?
Corrie Townsend: No, we didn't play very long because the boy started taking it too serious and making passes at her. And then he asked her to leave with him to go party.
Detective Murphy: What did she say?
Corrie Townsend: She pushed him away and ran off laughing at him. She thought it was funny, but I could tell he wasn't happy.
Detective Armstrong: Did he follow her?
Corrie Townsend: No, but he did say some ugly things to her, called her some names, and said she would be his someday. Then he turned around and started throwing the Frisbee again with his buddies.
Detective Murphy: Where did she run off to?
Corrie Townsend: My car. Our shoes were all dirty, so we decided to go to the laundry and wash them off. Both of our moms hate when we track dirt in the house.
Detective Armstrong: What laundry did you go to?
Corrie Townsend: The Wash-All on University Avenue?
Detective Armstrong: What time was it when you got there?
Corrie Townsend: I have no idea what time it was. I'm not a clock-watcher. Sorry. Maybe an hour and a half after we left the library?
Detective Murphy: So around 5:30 p.m.?
Corrie Townsend: I guess?
Detective Murphy: That helps. What did you do next, Corrie?
Corrie Townsend: After we cleaned off our shoes, Katie was thirsty and wanted a snack—she had a thing for Funyuns and root beer—so she went over to the Kangaroo Express.
Detective Murphy: Why did she pick the Kangaroo Express?
Corrie Townsend: I don't know. It's right there. Besides, that Jimmy who worked there, he didn't know how to act when Katie was around. He tripped over his own feet. Katie never even spoke to him, but she would give him her best flirty look, and he would stutter like crazy. She loved the effect she had on guys.
Detective Murphy: So you two went to the Kangaroo Express a lot?
Corrie Townsend: Not a lot.
Detective Murphy: Often enough to know the clerk and for him to know you.
Corrie Townsend: Well, yeah, but it's not like we're best friends with him or anything.
Detective Murphy: I understand. So you and Katie both went to the Kangaroo Express?
Corrie Townsend: She went.
Detective Murphy: You didn't go with her?
Corrie Townsend: No, I was texting with my friend Emma about our math test, and Katie didn't want to wait, so she just went.
Detective Murphy: Did she walk?
Corrie Townsend: Yes. It's right there.
Detective Murphy: And you stayed in the laundry?
Corrie Townsend: No, I waited in the car. We were going home after because I had to be home by 6:00 p.m.
Detective Murphy: Did she say anything before she left?
Corrie Townsend: Well, I told her they wouldn't let her in there barefooted. She laughed and said she'd wear her skates. When she got them on, she said, "I'll be right back," and she left. Oh god, I never saw her again.
Detective Armstrong: How did you end up leaving without her?
Corrie Townsend: After she'd been in there for a while, I texted her to see what was taking so long. She didn't answer, so I drove over there and went inside to see what was up.
Detective Armstrong: And?
Corrie Townsend: I didn't see her, and Jimmy said he thought she'd left already, so I texted her to tell her I'd bring her books and stuff to school and she should let me know if she needed a ride, and I went home. I didn't want to be late.
Detective Armstrong: You didn't think you should wait longer?
Corrie Townsend: She knew what time I had to be home, so I figured she found another way home.
Detective Armstrong: Did you try to call her before you left?
Corrie Townsend: Yeah, but she didn't answer.
Detective Armstrong: Are you sure she had her cell phone with her?
Corrie Townsend: Yeah. Obviously.
Detective Armstrong: Why didn't you call the police or her parents when she didn't come back?
Corrie Townsend: Well, I should have. I know that now. I just thought she decided to go party with those boys after all. I wasn't worried. Does that make it my fault? I should have called.
Detective Murphy: No, that doesn't mean it's your fault. There's nothing you could have done. Please don't cry.
Detective Armstrong: After she left the laundromat, did you see or hear anything?
Corrie Townsend: I heard some screeching tires, but I didn't see anything.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see any other customers at the Kangaroo Express when you were there?
Corrie Townsend: Maybe? I didn't notice.
Detective Murphy: Corrie, it was pretty cold yesterday. Did Katie have a coat or anything?
Corrie Townsend: Yeah, she has this long coat she likes to wear skating because of how it catches the breeze kinda like a cape.
Detective Murphy: And she was wearing that yesterday when she went to the Kangaroo Express?
Corrie Townsend: Yeah. Didn't you see it when you …?
Detective Armstrong: Corrie, if we got some photos of people from the skate park, do you think you could recognize the boys you were playing Frisbee with?
Corrie Townsend: I think so. Do you think it was one of them who attacked Katie?
Detective Armstrong: I don't know, but we'd like to talk to them to find out if they saw anyone hanging around.
Corrie Townsend: Do you think someone I know did this? Should I be scared?
Detective Armstrong: It's always a good idea to be alert, but we don't have any reason to think you might be in danger.
Corrie Townsend: Okay. Please can I go now? Talking about all this is really freaking me out.
Detective Murphy: Yes, you can. But please call us if you remember anything else, anything at all.
Interview ended – 3:33 p.m.