Charles Hammel interview

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 9:30 a.m.

Charles Hammel is Austin Maxwell's assigned drug court officerCharles Hammel is a drug court field officer in Yoknapatawpha County. He supervises clients enrolled in drug court, including Austin Maxwell. Detective Armstrong interviewed him by telephone. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Charles Hammel

Charles Hammel: Charles Hammel.

Detective Armstrong: Hi, Charlie. It's Ted Armstrong over at the sheriff's department. How are you doing today?

Charles Hammel: Can't complain. What can I do for you, Ted?

Detective Armstrong: I'm looking for some information about one of your cases. Austin Maxwell?

Charles Hammel: Sure, Austin. Y'all pick him up for something?

Detective Armstrong: No, nothing like that. You know his brother and sister are missing?

Charles Hammel: Oh, yeah. I heard about that. You looking at him for it?

Detective Armstrong: Just getting some background. We don't even know what happened right now.

Charles Hammel: Sure. What do you need to know?

Detective Armstrong: Just wondering how Austin's doing in the program.

Charles Hammel: Not too bad. He finished Phase I with an 87% drug free rate, just above the 85% requirement. He's in Phase II now, and he's at 98%. He'd been 100% drug free, but he failed a random test earlier this week.

Detective Armstrong: Is that going to knock him out of the program?

Charles Hammel: Not if he doesn't slip up again. He hasn't missed any of his meetings or counseling sessions, so I'm hoping it was just a one-time thing.

Detective Armstrong: How much time does he have left?

Charles Hammel: We'll have to see how it goes, but at least another couple, three months.

Detective Armstrong: What's your impression of him as a person?

Charles Hammel: If he can keep himself clean, I think he'll be all right. He had a hard time at first, but everyone does. He's been working really hard the last several months.

Detective Armstrong: Any idea what happened to make him slip up this week?

Charles Hammel: He didn't want to talk about it. Could be he was acting out. Could be this thing with his brother and sister. Could be your average slip-up. A lot of people have a moment of weakness. He seemed real sorry about it, not just putting on an act to get sympathy. We'll see what happens on his next test. That'll really tell the tale.

Detective Armstrong: Does he ever talk much about his family?

Charles Hammel: Not too much. The father is pretty serious about him finishing the program and cleaning up his record. I get the sense Austin really feels that pressure, but he doesn't say much about it.

Detective Armstrong: He ever talk about his brother and sister, Cameron and Caitlin?

Charles Hammel: Not really. I mentioned them once, said I'd heard they won some skating thing, but he didn't really want to talk about them.

Detective Armstrong: Why not?

Charles Hammel: I don't know. It seems like people talk to him about them a lot, but don't really talk to him about him much. You know what I mean? So since then, I don't bring them up. We just talk about him.

Detective Armstrong: When you saw him this week, did he say anything about them being missing?

Charles Hammel: We didn't talk about that.

Detective Armstrong: Did he mention that right now we think he's the last person who saw them before they disappeared?

Charles Hammel: No, he didn't. That might explain the slip though, if he's feeling guilty.

Detective Armstrong: Guilty about doing something to them?

Charles Hammel: Could be, or could be guilt that he didn't watch out for them well enough. I guess the parents are pretty worried?

Detective Armstrong: Oh, yeah.

Charles Hammel: Yeah, and if Austin's feeling responsible for that … I think I better get him in again in the next day or two, just to make sure he's staying on track.

Detective Armstrong: OK, Charlie. Thanks for your help. Listen, if anything comes up about Cameron or Caitlin when you're talking to Austin, let me know, would you?

Charles Hammel: You got it. Good talking to you, Ted.

Detective Armstrong: You too. Thanks again.

Interview ends: 9:39 a.m.


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