Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 5:45 p.m.
Josh "Tip" Tatum, a part-time clerk at the Big Star grocery store, called 911 to report that he had found a jacket and knife in an overgrown area along Toby Tubby Creek between McLarty Road and South 18th Street. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed Mr. Tatum at his residence. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Josh "Tip" Tatum
Detective Armstrong: Afternoon, Mr. Tatum. I just need to get a few details for our report, and then you can get on with your evening.
Tip Tatum: Sure. Sure. Man, I still can't believe I found that stuff.
Detective Armstrong: Could you go over again how you came to find the items?
Tip Tatum: Yeah. Right. Well, I was coming home from work. I'm a clerk over at Big Star part-time. I got off at 4:00, right, and I was walking home 'cause my car's in the shop.
Detective Armstrong: Where's that?
Tip Tatum: Huh? Oh. Where's the car? It's over at Red's Auto Repair. Took it in this morning for an alternator, and he called me at work and said he'd need to keep it overnight. Great, right? Cold as– uh, damn cold outside today, and I'm stuck without a car. Tried to get hold of somebody to pick me up, but everybody's busy.
Detective Armstrong: So what were you doing at the creek?
Tip Tatum: Oh. Right. Yeah, I live– well, you know where I live. You're here, huh? OK. So I figured it wasn't that far, so I'd just walk it. But I didn't want to stay out in this god awful cold any longer than I had to, so I cut through the back way.
Detective Murphy: How'd you happen to find the jacket and knife?
Tip Tatum: Couldn't miss 'em. Well, I guess you could. Yeah. Probably easy, now that I think on it. But it was the shine I saw. Guess the light just hit it at the right angle and it caught my eye. Must've been off the knife.
Detective Murphy: So it caught your eye. Then what?
Tip Tatum: Anyway, I trotted over to see if maybe it was anything interesting, and there it was. Man, I freaked. I mean, it was all dirty and stuff, but still. Damn. I knew sure enough that was blood, even old and… you know, like it was, and there was that bloody rag thing or whatever it was laying there.
Detective Murphy: Did you touch the items?
Tip Tatum: No, ma'am. Not at all. I leaned over to get a better look, but as soon as I realized what it was, I got the hell away. Man, I was so freaked, I didn't even think about which way to go. But I saw y'all searching around the shopping center with the dogs yesterday, so I knew I'd better call you. I pulled out my cell phone and called 911 right then.
Detective Murphy: That was at 4:21 p.m.?
Tip Tatum: I guess, if you say so. I didn't look at the time. Hell, I don't even know what time it is now.
Detective Armstrong: Thanks, Mr. Tatum. I think that's all we need for now
Tip Tatum: You're welcome. Right. Hey, so was it what it looked like? Somebody got cut up?
Detective Armstrong: We'll be in touch if we need anything else. Thanks for your help. You have a good evening.
Interview ends: 5:57 p.m.