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Claire came forward with a tip in the Frederick Miller death investigation

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 – 3:30 p.m.

Claire Rivas is a student at Yoknaptawpha High School. She contacted the tip line to say she might have some information related to Frederick Miller's death.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Claire Rivas

Detective Armstrong: Claire, we appreciate you coming forward and talking to Detective Murphy and me here at the station.

Claire Rivas: Like, it’s not a problem at all. I think it’s horrible what happened to Mr. Miller. I hope I can help.

Detective Murphy: Before we get started, would you state your name and address for the record, please?

Claire Rivas: Sure. I'm Claire Rivas. I live at 212 Timber Lane.

Detective Murphy: Thanks. So what do you want to tell us?

Claire Rivas: Well, me and my friends go hang out in the woods near my house. We're right inside the Holly Springs National Forest. It’s peaceful out there. It’s nice to just get away from everything.

Detective Armstrong: How often do you hang out there?

Claire Rivas: We’re there probably three or four times a week.

Detective Armstrong: What do you do?

Claire Rivas: We just hang out and talk. Maybe smoke some cloves. I know that’s bad, but I just want to be honest here.

Detective Armstrong: Listen, I’m not here to lecture you about smoking, though I’m sure you’re smart enough to know how bad that is for you. Who do you usually hang out with in the woods?

Claire Rivas: Usually Mitch Freedman and Keanu May. Sometimes other kids hang out, but those are the two I’m usually with.

Detective Murphy: And you’re sure that you’re not smoking anything else out there?

Claire Rivas: I swear.

Detective Armstrong: We’re not here to bust you. I’m not investigating some kids smoking herb in the woods. That’s not my department.

Claire Rivas: We don’t smoke pot or drink out there. We just smoke and hang out.

Detective Murphy: So what did you see while you were out there?

Claire Rivas: Yeah, I think it was the Saturday before Mr. Miller got killed. Me and Keanu and Mitch were hanging out, it must have been about five o’clock or so. We saw Ms. Bragg out there.

Detective Murphy: How do you know her?

Claire Rivas: She volunteers at the school. She gives me and my friends a hard time for no reason. She’s annoying.

Detective Armstrong: What was she doing in the woods?

Claire Rivas: She was out there with a bow and some arrows. She was shooting at a target shaped like a person.

Detective Armstrong: Was she with anybody?

Claire Rivas: No, she was alone.

Detective Murphy: Was this the first time you had seen her in the woods?

Claire Rivas: Yeah, we had never seen her out there before.

Detective Armstrong: So she’s in the woods shooting at some targets. That's interesting… but doesn’t really mean that she had something to do with Mr. Miller's death.

Claire Rivas: But that’s not the weirdest part. This time, she was wearing an athletic jacket. I had on shorts and a t-shirt and was still sweating like crazy. It made no sense for her to be wearing that.

Detective Armstrong: Like a letterman’s jacket?

Claire Rivas: Yep, from our school.

Detective Armstrong: That is out of the ordinary. Had you ever seen her wearing this jacket before?

Claire Rivas: Nope, never. Only kids who play sports at our school wear them.

Detective Murphy: How often do you see Ms. Bragg?

Claire Rivas: At least three or four times a week at school.

Detective Murphy: Did Ms. Bragg see you and your friends in the woods?

Claire Rivas: No, we were up on a little bit of an elevated area behind some bushes and trees. She looked up in our direction once, but I don’t think she saw us. She just kept shooting.

Detective Armstrong: How long did you watch her for?

Claire Rivas: At least half an hour or so. We got bored and left, but she was still going.

Detective Murphy: And how was she doing with her archery?

Claire Rivas: She was, like, way good. She hit the target right in the center a few times as well as in the head. She was laughing too, like a self-satisfied laugh. She seemed pretty proud of herself. Whenever she missed, she would yell and swear. It was pretty entertaining to watch.

Detective Armstrong: Did she say anything to you that week at school or mention that she may have seen you?

Claire Rivas: No, not at all.

Detective Murphy: Have you seen her out there anytime since then?

Claire Rivas: No, but it's not like we're out there every day or anything.

Detective Murphy: Have you ever seen anything else unusual out there?

Claire Rivas: Nope, just what I told you.

Detective Armstrong: So why did you wait so long to tell us?

Claire Rivas: Well, I saw all that stuff in the news about false leads. This seemed like something that could be something.

Detective Murphy: It's been almost two weeks since Mr. Miller was killed. It didn't seem like something that could be something before now?

Claire Rivas: I just figured y'all would find whoever did it. I don't really think it was Ms. Bragg. I mean, she's a bi— a pain and all, but she's, like, somebody's mom. Whose mom shoots somebody with an arrow?

Detective Murphy: And that's the only reason? You're sure?

Claire Rivas: Well … okay, here's the thing. My parents don't know I've been hanging out in the woods. You don't have to tell them, do you? They would not approve.

Detective Murphy: We'll see what we can do.

Detective Armstrong: Thanks for coming forward, Claire. We appreciate it. And cut it out with the smoking.

Claire Rivas: You’re right. It’s a gross habit. I should know better.

Interview ends – 3:53 p.m.

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