Elroy Murphy interview
Friday, April 11, 1958 – 7:30 p.m.
Elroy Murphy drove County Bus No. 48 on Friday, April 11, 1958 and was the last known person to see Ricky Izard.
The following interview was conducted with Murphy at the Sheriff's Department on the evening of the murders.
- Detective Jack McPhail
- Elroy Murphy
Detective McPhail: Evening, Elroy. I need to ask you a few questions about your route today. I gather you've heard what's happened over at the Izard place?
Elroy Murphy: Yessir, I sure have. Have you found them kids yet?
Detective McPhail: Not yet. I'm hoping you might be able to shed some light on that for us.
Elroy Murphy: I'm not sure what I can tell you, Jack, but I'll try.
Detective McPhail: Elroy, I'm gonna tape this whole conversation if you don't mind. I'd like to get the formalities out of the way. Would you state your name, age, address and occupation for the record please?
Elroy Murphy: Sure thing. That's Elroy Murphy. I'm 27 years. I live over on Glewculley Road a short mile west of the Lee Creek fork. I work for the Yoknapatawpha County School District, been driving County bus No. 48 since the beginning of this school term.
Detective McPhail: Elroy, could you run through what your route is for me? That's the west side of the county, right?
Elroy Murphy: That's right, I have the west side elementary school route, the little kids. I start out there closer to Abbeville at the North County Elementary. I got eleven kids that ride 48 from there. Then I head on down the pike a bit and pick up at Hamblett Elementary. That's another 10 kids. I got 21 in all I carry every day.
Detective McPhail: Where do you pick up Ricky Izard?
Elroy Murphy: That'd be at Hamblett.
Detective McPhail: Now what time do you pick up the kids at Hamblett?
Elroy Murphy: I get there purty near on the dot at 2:10 p.m. every day.
Detective McPhail: Is that when you got there today?
Elroy Murphy: Yessir, sure is.
Detective McPhail: Do you recall Ricky on the bus today?
Elroy Murphy: Yessir, he was on the bus.
Detective McPhail: Did you note anything unusual about his manner today?
Elroy Murphy: No, not that I can say.
Detective McPhail: Did you notice what he was carrying with him on the bus?
Elroy Murphy: Let me think now. He's got this book bag, blue or red I think. He usually has that with him. I can't recall him carrying anything else than that with him today.
Detective McPhail: No lunch box or jacket?
Elroy Murphy: No. I'd guess he took a paper sack in the morning for his lunch. But I wouldn't rightly know about that.
Detective McPhail: Why's that, Elroy?
Elroy Murphy: I don't drive him in the morning. His daddy takes him in to the school. I usually see his daddy leaving when I get to Hamblett most mornings.
Detective McPhail: You see him this morning?
Elroy Murphy: Lemme think a minute, be sure. Yes, I saw him today same as usual.
Detective McPhail: All right then, Elroy. Now your route down County Road 106 is the last. Is that right?
Elroy Murphy: 106, yessir, the old Sadler's Hill Road.
Detective McPhail: How many kids you have on that road, Elroy?
Elroy Murphy: That'd be seven kids. There's three of the Detter kids, then there's Huggins', one at Parker's, and then there's the Izard's.
Detective McPhail: Ricky Izard was your last stop on 106?
Elroy Murphy: Yessir, he was the last off the bus.
Detective McPhail: What time did you drop him off today, Elroy?
Elroy Murphy: It'd be about the same as always, around 2:35 p.m. Only varies by a minute or two generally speaking.
Detective McPhail: You drop him off there at the road?
Elroy Murphy: Yessir, at the end of their driveway.
Detective McPhail: Miz Izard normally meet you there at the end of the drive?
Elroy Murphy: Not always. Probably more often than not she's walkin' down the drive when we pull up, but there's plenty of days I don't see her there.
Detective McPhail: She wasn't there today, was she?
Elroy Murphy: No, didn't see her today.
Detective McPhail: Where do you go after you drop off Ricky Izard?
Elroy Murphy: Well, now, that's a bit touchy there. I used to turn around in their driveway and go on back up 106 from there. Only sensible thing to do, seeing as how I got to go back that way. But I made a miscalculation back a week or so and run over their mailbox. They didn't take too kindly to that, so I've been going on down to the pasture gate and turning around down there ever since.
Detective McPhail: That's about a quarter mile down the road isn't it?
Elroy Murphy: Maybe. Not any further. Takes me only another minute or two that way.
Detective McPhail: You turn around there today, Elroy?
Elroy Murphy: Yessir.
Detective McPhail: You'd be driving back toward the Izard house then, less trees in the way of the yard. Did you happen to look over to the Izard place on your way back up the road? See anything unusual?
Elroy Murphy: Can't say that I recall looking at anything in particular there. I did check up the drive on my way back past and saw the kid walking up the drive. 'Bout all. Nothing else around.
Detective McPhail: You didn't see anyone else, any cars in the drive, anyone around?
Elroy Murphy: No, sir. Not a thing. Can't see as far as the house from the road, the way that drive curves around. I saw Tommy Joe's truck coming on down the road on my way back. Didn't notice anything else.
Detective McPhail: Where abouts did you see Tommy Joe's truck?
Elroy Murphy: Lemme think. It was out to the Blakeney place, I do believe.
Detective McPhail: Did Tommy Joe see you?
Elroy Murphy: Surely did. Waved at him like I always do. Bit hard to miss a school bus.
Detective McPhail: Have you noticed anyone hanging around that area lately, anything out of place?
Elroy Murphy: Can't say as I have. Pretty quiet out that way I'd say.
Detective McPhail: Tell me more about that mailbox incident. I understand Mr. Izard was a bit put out over that?
Elroy Murphy: Hot as hell, more like. You'd think the mailbox was made of gold or something. It wasn't anything special if you ask me. Miz Izard had a nice little flower bed there around the box and that got ruined too. I think maybe that had something to do with it. I felt bad about that part.
Detective McPhail: But not bad about the mailbox?
Elroy Murphy: Well, sir, I might've, but Mr. Izard there went and called the supervisor at the district and got me in a heap of trouble. I got a few knocks against me on the record, and this here incident made my last warning. I got the royal shout‑down over there, I can tell you. I thought sure I was 'bout to lose the job. After that, I wasn't too sorry about the mailbox.
Detective McPhail: What kind of knocks on your record?
Elroy Murphy: Well, same sort of thing. They call them all reckless driving, but I'm not so sure that's a good description. I backed over a fence at a house, slip‑slided on some ice and bashed a stop sign, like that. I can understand a school bus driver got to have a good driving record, but I can't see these things being such an all‑fired important big deal to tell you truth.
Detective McPhail: I guess you must have been pretty put off with Mr. Izard after that. Have a few words with him?
Elroy Murphy: You might say that. I was steamed at first. Like I said, I was afraid I was going to lose my job over it. Imagine, over a dumb ol' mailbox. But I didn't mouth off at Izard. I figured that would be the thing to cinch getting fired, so I kept my mouth shut.
Detective McPhail: I understand you talked about it a bit over at the coffee shop.
Elroy Murphy: I guess I did at that, now you mention it.
Detective McPhail: Seems you made a few threatening remarks about the Izards. I think it was something like, "I could wring those Izards' necks." That ringing any bells?
Elroy Murphy: Oh now, you know I didn't mean anything by that. I might've said something along those lines, but I was just blowing off about maybe losing my job.
Detective McPhail: Well now, Elroy, maybe you did and maybe you didn't mean anything by it. I checked the reports and find that you got yourself into a fight down at Sid's the day after that conversation. Seems you managed to give Jimmy Warren a bloody nose.
Elroy Murphy: That happened.
Detective McPhail: Seems you've had yourself a bit of a temper lately. Easy to let a punch get out of hand, wouldn't you say?
Elroy Murphy: That's true, sure. But I didn't do anything to the Izards, if that's what you're getting at here.
Detective McPhail: Let's go back to when you left off Ricky Izard today. You pulled up to the end of their driveway, that right?
Elroy Murphy: Yessir, the end of the drive there. Let him off right there.
Detective McPhail: And Miz Izard wasn't there to meet him?
Elroy Murphy: No, not today.
Detective McPhail: And that's rather unusual isn't it, Elroy?
Elroy Murphy: I guess you could say that, but she didn't always come down.
Detective McPhail: Now maybe she did come down and had a few more words with you Elroy?
Elroy Murphy: No, sir. Didn't see her today at all.
Detective McPhail: You say you saw little Ricky walking up the drive after you turned around down at the pasture gate and came on back?
Elroy Murphy: That's right.
Detective McPhail: About how far up the drive would you say he was when you saw him then?
Elroy Murphy: I can't rightly say for sure. About to the end of the tree line maybe.
Detective McPhail: That doesn't seem too far up the drive, now does it? Wouldn't you think he'd be further along by then?
Elroy Murphy: Now that you mention it, maybe so. But that's where he was. Maybe he stopped to look at something on the drive. You know how kids are. Some bug or something probably caught his eye.
Detective McPhail: But you're sure that's where you saw him?
Elroy Murphy: Yessir, I'm sure.
Detective McPhail: What was it you said he was wearing today?
Elroy Murphy: Don't think I did say. Let's see if I can recall that. He had on a striped shirt with long sleeves, button down, and some dark pants on. Don't know if they were black or blue, but dark‑colored. That's all I remember.
Detective McPhail: Where did you go after you left your route today, Elroy?
Elroy Murphy: I took the bus back to the County bus yard and cleaned it out some. Clocked out of there around 3:30 or so. You can check with them to get the exact time.
Detective McPhail: Then what did you do?
Elroy Murphy: Let's see. I went on over to Abbeville. I promised a fella I'd help with some tilling work over there, but he wasn't home when I showed up. I went into Willy's Auto and looked at some new tires for my truck. Didn't get them though. Then I went on home.
Detective McPhail: Who might that be you went on over to help out?
Elroy Murphy: Jake Whitley over off of Riverside Road.
Detective McPhail: What time did you get home?
Elroy Murphy: It was about 6:30, I'd guess.
Detective McPhail: You see anyone you know after you clocked out today?
Elroy Murphy: Not to speak of until I got home.
Detective McPhail: Who was home when you got there?
Elroy Murphy: The boys was out in the barn. They come in a bit after I did. Mother was out back. That's it, I think.
Detective McPhail: All right then, Elroy, you have any ideas on who had it in for the Izards?
Elroy Murphy: Only half the county after today, I'd say. I don't know who'd want to kill them though.
Detective McPhail: Any ideas where Ricky might run off to? Ever hear any of the kids talk about hiding places or like that?
Elroy Murphy: No, can't say I have. I know they like to play over to the creek, but not much place to hide around there. I'd check out barns myself, I think.
Detective McPhail: I do thank you for coming in tonight. I'll be back to you if I need anything else.
Elroy Murphy: I didn't have anything to do with this, Jack. I hope you know that.
Detective McPhail: Night, Elroy. I'll be in touch with you.