The detectives had a conversation with an unexpected visitor

Joy Stillman interview

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – 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. I thought when I called you that you could tell me what is 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 the Jenson 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 tell you.

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: We need you to 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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