Emails to Monica


Investigating Officer(s): Det. S. Murphy. Det. E. Parker
Incident No.: 003016-16F-2024
Case Description: Monica Drum homicide investigation

Emails from Lori Schultz to Monica Drum excerpted from a USB thumb drive (Evidence item 003016-34) found in Monica Drum's safe deposit box in Memphis, TN.


August 9, 2017

Dear Monica,

I'm so excited about your new job in Mississippi. I think it will be a good change for you to get out of Cincinnati after all that's happened there.

I think you said on the phone that the job starts in September. Have you decided when you're going to move? You really should go as soon as you can get ready. There's nothing to keep you in Cinci now except being close to your parents. And I'm sure they don't want you to miss out on this opportunity just because of them.

I can't wait to hear all about Oxford. I wonder if it will be the mythic South that we've always heard about? Do you think it's at all like Faulkner wrote about? After all, that's his hometown, isn't it? You enjoyed him so much when we were in high school. You must be pretty excited about living in his old stomping grounds. It'll be so fun when I come to visit!

Please call me or message me when you've got your new address and phone number. I think it's going to be great for you, Monica. I really do.

Love ya!


December 8, 2017

Dear Monica,

I know you're probably still getting settled in Oxford, but I haven't heard from you since you sent the postcard with your new address. You must have a phone number by now. Did you forget to send it to me?

I hope you're adjusting to the new environment. Is it very different from where we've lived before? I bet they really get into the whole Christmas thing in small-town Mississippi. Do they have a lot of decorations and stuff? It must be really strange not to have any snow or any chance of it!

Are you planning to go home for the holidays this year? Scott and I have to stay in Washington this year. The business is keeping us so busy that we can't get away.

I really hope you're doing well, sweetie. I'm sure all the qualms you had about moving south were unfounded. Write me or call me soon and let me know you're OK.




March 7, 2018

My dear Monica,

I just got your letter today. It can take so long for the mail to get here from Mississippi!

Sweetie, you sounded so lonely in your letter. I hope you know you have lots of friends, even if they don't live in Oxford. And the people there will grow to love you, just like we do. But you have to give them a chance, Monica.

What's that old theory? If you want a friend, be a friend? I know I'm not there with you, and sometimes I wish I was, but I bet it would help a lot if you would just loosen up a little. I know you feel uncomfortable around people you don't know, but just try to relax some. And let's face it. Sometimes, you can be a bit abrasive. You know I'm not being mean, but truth is truth. I know you have to be firm and direct, even aggressive, in your job, but that doesn't always have to carry over into your social life.

Maybe I haven't told you exactly what you wanted to hear, but I hope it's helped somehow, anyway. You know I love you!


June 24, 2018

Hey Monica!

I can't believe your parents are going to Israel! Are you going to be able to get time off to go with them? I know you've only worked there a short time, but Monica! Israel! You've always wanted to go!

I bet if you told them at the paper that you would work weekends and through the Christmas holidays, they'd probably let you take the time off. It is only for three weeks. How could they say no?

But Monica, you have to ask them soon. Give them some time to make their decision. Don't wait 'til the last minute like you usually do and just hope you've put them in a position where they can't tell you no. That may have worked for a while in Cinci, but this is a smaller paper. There aren't as many people to cover for you on short notice. Please listen to me, this once, Monica. This is an opportunity you can't afford to lose!

I know your work is important to you, but you've dreamed of going to Israel for so long now. You've just got to do whatever it takes to go! You get to work on it as soon as you finish reading this letter. And let me know what happens...



September 6, 2018

Oh, Monica,

I don't know what to say. I know you must be so disappointed about Israel. What bad luck that your parents decided to go during the November vote!

But you'll get to go one day, I just know it. Maybe you and I can go together, the way we always talked about in California. It would be fun to have a girls' trip, wouldn't it? We haven't gotten to hang out like that, just us, for so long. We can make plans on Sunday when I call.

Until then, sweetie, just do your best to keep your spirits up. They must think you're very valuable at the paper if they'd ask you to give up such a big vacation. I'm sure they don't have anyone else in Mississippi who can cover the elections as well as you will!

Love ya!



March 22, 2019

Dear Monica,

It's been ages since I actually sat down to write you a letter. But we've talked on the phone so much in the last few months that writing too just seemed redundant. But I haven't heard from you in a while, so I thought I'd just go ahead and scribble out a letter before I forgot how. Haha.

It must be this new story you've been covering about the rape that's keeping you so busy. What a terrible situation! We prefer to think things like that don't happen in small towns, but I guess no place is immune anymore. If they ever were...

I know you hate to be asked, but have you been dating anyone lately? Honestly, I don't think you've been out on a legitimate date since you and Tommy broke up. And that was nearly four years ago! You've just got to stop working so much. You can't marry a career, and you don't want to be alone all your life. OK, I'll stop sounding like your mother now. I'm sure you hear quite enough from her! Haha.

Give me a call or just drop me a postcard and let me know you're still alive. I'd hate to think you'd worked yourself to death!



September 1, 2019

Dear Monica,

Just a quick "wish you were here." Scott and I are on our annual Labor Day trek to bask in the last fun and sun of the season. This year, we came to Steamboat Rock because it's close to home, and we can't be away from the business for too long.

It's so lovely here! Not too hot, and it's not overrun with children like so many vacation spots are on this last hurrah of summer. They've got a great little coffee shop near here that you'd really love. Maybe next year you could come with us. Who knows? Maybe you'll even have a cute guy to bring along.

Well, Scott has signed us up for archery lessons. Can you imagine? Anyway, the lessons start pretty soon, so I'd better get going. Just call me William Tell…


October 2, 2019

Dear Monica,

I hope this catches you before you leave for the conference. Where is it this year? Louisiana? Should be quite an adventure!

I'm enclosing a rather unique paperweight that Scott and I picked up on our last buying trip. When I saw it, I immediately thought of you. Haha. Hope you like it.

I talked to my mom yesterday. She saw your parents somewhere in town and said they look great. Semi-retirement must agree with them! Maybe you and I could visit our folks at the same time this Christmas. Then we can check out the old stomping grounds together and see how much has changed.

Have fun at your conference and do take some time to relax in between sessions, OK?

Love ya!


November 22, 2019

Dear Monica,

I just got off the phone with you, and I still can't believe the guy was acquitted! After the articles you sent me, I thought he'd be convicted easily. Why on earth didn't he bring up his timecard before? And why didn't the police check on it in the first place or talk to the witnesses who saw him working? What are they, Mississippi's own version of the Keystone Kops? The Yoknapatawpha Yokels?

I'm probably getting carried away. I doubt it's completely the cops' fault. I'm sure the D.A., the judge, and the defense attorney all had a hand in letting this guy off too. Sometimes, the intricacies of the legal system completely mystify me.

I'm just so outraged for that poor girl! I can only imagine how you must be feeling! You were convinced he was guilty, maybe you still are. We both know that an acquittal in court doesn't necessarily mean he didn't do it. There are so many technicalities that can factor into these things!

This probably isn't what you need to hear right now. I started out to make you feel better, and I've ended up venting my own feelings and getting awfully worked up in the process. Sorry, sweetie.

Anyway, I hope the verdict isn't too upsetting for you. At least the girls in the community know to watch out for the guy, now that you've written all those articles about him! Maybe you should keep an eye on him for a while to make sure he doesn't try it again. I bet a lot of young girls come into that store of his!

Take care,


December 6, 2019

Dear Monica,

It was a fantastic surprise to see you over Thanksgiving, even though it was such a short visit. And even though it was in Kent, where there's absolutely nothing to do after 9:00 p.m. haha!

It's too bad Scott couldn't come, but you know how weird that whole situation is. My parents still aren't too thrilled that Scott and I aren't married. You know how traditional they are. He did have a lot of work to do, but I think Scott just didn't want to deal with the tension if he came to Ohio. He's really disappointed that he didn't get to meet you, though.

You're looking so well and happy, Monica! Oxford must really agree with you. I admit I was a little worried at first. And actually, I was worried again when that rapist was acquitted. But it seems like you're bouncing back in your usual fashion. Nothing ever gets you down for long!

I hope you're making some plans for your Christmas in Oxford. Get a tree, buy some decorations, etc. Don't just put your head down and work all the way through the season, just because you don't have any family nearby. I know how tempted you'll be to do just that.

Look for our Christmas card in a couple of weeks. Scott drew it himself, and it's at the printers now. I think you'll really like it.

Talk to you soon!


December 17, 2019

Dear Monica,

I want you to call the police right now! Put this letter down and call them immediately. You've got to tell them that this man has been threatening you! How else can they protect you?

You're still reading, aren't you? You haven't called them yet, have you? Well, I'm not writing another word until you call the police.

After you talk to them, call me and let me know what they said.


December 20, 2019

Dear Monica,

Aren't you glad you finally got the police involved? They talked to him, and he hasn't called you again, right? What a nutcase!

Now, forget all about him and enjoy the holidays. And quit working so much!




February 14, 2020

Dear Monica.

Happy Valentine's Day and congratulations on the promotion!! I'm so excited for you. I guess all that work was worth it, after all.

Maybe, with the bump in salary, it won't take as long to save for that trip to Israel. Now you can probably go before we hit the big 4-0, which isn't so far away even though it seems like a long time.

Don't just work extra late to celebrate this promotion, Monica. Go out for dinner and drinks with friends. Maybe even see a movie! Go nuts! haha

I'm so proud of you, Monica. This is only the beginning.



July 23, 2020

Dear Monica,

I can't believe you've found a way to get the money to go to Israel! Here I was, thinking it would take a while, and you say you might be able to go before the end of the year? Wow!

This must be some plan you've cooked up since you're being so secretive about the details. I hope one day you'll be able to tell me everything. It sounds really juicy!

In the meantime, keep making plans and get all the money you can! But Monica, don't do anything crazy. I don't think you would, but…

Love ya!


October 16, 2020

Dear Monica,

Sorry you're going to have to put off your trip to Israel for a little while longer. These things always take more money than you think when you start out.

Scott and I won't be able to get to Ohio for the holidays this year. Business is just too hectic right now. Are you going to be able to make it? I bet your parents would love to see you. You haven't been back since Thanksgiving last year, have you? I know things must be pretty busy for you with the elections coming up, but my mom said your parents really miss you. It's the worst part about moving away from home, isn't it?

Maybe, since you're putting off the Israel trip anyway, you can come out here to see us instead. Let's talk after the holidays, when things have calmed down some, and see if we can find a time for you to come out.




February 15, 2021

Dear Monica,

You won't believe what Scott and I did last night!! We were passing through Las Vegas on our buying trip and decided to stop. We weren't in a big hurry, and it seemed like an entertaining way to kill a few hours. Well, we were walking down the Strip, just seeing what there was to see, and believe me, there's a lot to see.

We were passing by a wedding chapel when a man popped out and asked us if we would come in and act as witnesses for a couple getting married. Since we weren't in a hurry and it seemed like one of those quintessential Vegas moments, we did it.

They were a cute couple, both in their fifties, and they'd met playing blackjack at Harrah's. They'd only known each other a few days, but they just got really into the Valentine's Day spirit. (And probably a few other spirits, if the truth were known.) Well, I guess Scott and I got pretty into the Valentine's spirit too, because after we were witnesses for Charlie and Janice, they were witnesses for us. That's right! We got married, completely on a whim.

I haven't even called my parents yet! They'll probably be thrilled that we finally did it, and aren't "living in sin" anymore. But I bet they're going to be disappointed, though not really surprised, that we didn't have a traditional church wedding with all our friends and family. I wish they could have been there, and you too, Monica. But when we decided to stop in Vegas, we didn't have any idea that we'd be married when we left.

The people who run the chapel took some hysterical pictures of us and of Charlie and Janice after our ceremonies. I'll send you some after we get home. You won't believe them!

Well, we've decided to turn the end of this buying trip into a honeymoon. Scott's actually packing up the car now, so I'd better run. I still can't believe we did something so impulsive!

Love ya!


June 19, 2021

Dear Monica,

Well, it looks like 2021 is turning out to be a good year for both of us. Congratulations on the big promotion, Managing Editor! That's very impressive, lady.

I want to hear all about the new job. It sounds like a lot of responsibility. Will you still be able to do any reporting or will the editing stuff take up most of your time?

I bet this means you won't be able to go on vacation with us this Labor Day, right? You'll probably be too busy with your new duties. I know how you get. Well, maybe Scott and I can make plans to come to Oxford instead.

Well, I've got to run. Scott's out of town again, and I've got a million things to do. You continue to make us so proud of you. Keep up the great work, Monica!

Love ya!


November 2, 2021

Dear Monica,

I haven't heard from you in ages. You haven't sent me a letter in months, and I can't seem to catch you on the phone at home anymore. You must be working entirely too much. Or maybe it's that cute reporter who's taking up so much of your time.

Take a break and give me a call or scribble out a note. I worry about you. Let me know that you're still OK.




January 2, 2022

Dear Monica,

Just a quick note to wish you a happy birthday. Hope you had a good holiday. We've been so busy with all the Christmas shoppers at the store, I barely get a chance to think. Sorry I haven't been able to call or write in a while.

Hope everything is going OK with you. Did you ever decide to go out with that reporter, Richie? I know that the work relationship plus personal relationship thing didn't work out too well with Tommy, but that was ages ago. Maybe you should give this one a shot. What could be so bad?

Give me a call and let me know what's up with you.



October 25, 2022

Dear Monica,

It's too bad that Richie couldn't go with you to the conference. I guess you'll just have to increase your staff so he'll be available to go in the future. Haha.

Hope everything else is going well with you. I'll call you in the next couple of weeks to see what your holiday plans are. At the moment, Scott and I are planning to go to Ohio for Thanksgiving, but that could still change.




May 26, 2023

Dear Monica,

Seems like I'm always writing to congratulate you lately. This time, congrats on the Eagle winning that general excellence award. You really have done wonders at that paper!

It's too bad that Richie couldn't go with you to the conference. I guess you'll just have to increase your staff so he'll be available to go in the future. Haha.

Don't forget to have a little fun while you're there. You don't have to work all the time, you know.




January 1, 2024

Dear Monica,

Happy 40th! Every year, I like it more and more that you're the older one. That five minutes still makes you more elderly. Haha. What did you do to celebrate this year?

I hope you and Richie aren't still bickering. From what you've told me, it sounds like he just wants to be close to you, Monica. Don't be so hard on him.

Well, Scott's taking me out to dinner for my birthday, so I need to go get ready. I'll talk to you soon.



March 13, 2024

Dear Monica,

I wish you and Richie could have joined us for our annual "Spring Break" vacation because we're having a great time. It would have been a good opportunity for you to relax and forget about work for a while.

I'm sorry you had to fire people from the paper. That's one of my least favorite things at the store. It's never easy to let anyone go. Were any of the people very upset? I had to fire one of our cashiers not too long ago, and she just cried and cried. It was horrible. I hope your experience was better than that.

I'm glad to hear you talking about the trip to Israel again. It's been so long since you've mentioned it. Do you think you've saved up enough money yet? I think you're right to target next fall as a good time to go. If you go early enough, you'll still be able to get back in time for the elections.

I hope you're at least taking some time off during this weekend since you had to back out on actually going away. You work too hard, Monica!

Love ya!


May 29, 2024

Dear Monica,

It's great that the paper won another general excellence award. Some big-city paper is going to try to hire you away, for sure. Sorry that you didn't get to go to the conference this year.

I gather, from what you've said, that part of the reason you didn't go was that you're working on that top-secret, money-making project again. I know how much you want to go to Israel, but I hope you haven't taken up stripping to make a quick buck. Haha.

I hope things are getting better between you and Richie. If you argue so much, maybe you should just go with your instinct and break up with him. I mean, he sounds like a nice guy, but if you're not happy, what's the point? If there are more bad times than good, it's not really a positive sign.

Scott and I are planning to go to Ohio next month, and guess what? We're going to stop by Oxford first and visit you. I can't believe that after all this time, you still haven't met Scott, even though you've talked to him when you call. But we're going to change that in just a few weeks. I can't wait! I think you two will really like each other in person, not just on the phone.

I'll be in touch when I know more details about our trip. I'm expecting you to make some time available to show us all the sights of Oxford while we're there. So get ready to mark your calendar. I'll talk to you soon!




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