Robin Maxwell follow-up interview

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - 8:20 a.m.

Detective Murphy re-interviewed the victims' motherDetectives Armstrong and Murphy went to the Maxwell residence to tell them what was found at St. Peter's Cemetery. Although the bodies had not yet been officially identified, the sheriff's department wanted the Maxwells to be aware of the discovery before hearing about it on the news or from another source.

After the preliminary notification, Detective Murphy interviewed Mrs. Maxwell while Detective Armstrong interviewed her husband, Todd Maxwell. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.


  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Robin Maxwell

Part 1

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Maxwell, I understand how difficult this is. Let me know if you need to take a break. Some of these things we've gone over before, but I'd like to be sure we have it all down.

Robin Maxwell: Thank you. I hope I can help, Detective Murphy.

Detective Murphy: First, just for the record, please state your name and address.

Robin Maxwell: Robin Ross Maxwell. 103 Pleasant Drive.

Detective Murphy: Thank you. Let's go back over the timing from Thursday night, January 2nd, to when you last saw Cameron and Caitlin on the morning of the 3rd. You had a farewell dinner. Is that right? Tell me about that. Who was there?

Robin Maxwell: Well, let's see. Yes, we always have a special family dinner when Cameron and Caitlin are leaving for an extended period for training or competitions. I fix their favorite foods: seafood and Caesar salad. It's just family. Todd and I, Austin, Cameron and Caitlin. A time to spend together when the family is going to be apart for a bit.

Detective Murphy: How did everyone get along at dinner?

Robin Maxwell: Pretty well. We laughed and talked. Austin was a little withdrawn, but we all knew he resented the trip somewhat because it interfered with the plans for funding his music. He was pleasant enough though. It didn't get out of hand. I think he made one or two remarks but tried to keep it from ruining the meal, and it didn't.

Detective Murphy: About what time did you start and end dinner?

Robin Maxwell: Let's see. We sat down in the dining room about 5:30 p.m. and by about 7:00 p.m. we were clearing the table. Austin went out for a bit to practice with his band, and Cameron and Caitlin packed their things. I put in a last load of laundry of odds and ends the kids needed.

Detective Murphy: Were there any phone calls that night, any visitors?

Robin Maxwell: Cameron talked to one of his friends right before dinner. I think Caitlin called Maggie later on to say good-bye. I called my mother, and Cameron and Caitlin talked to her for a few minutes. That's all. No visitors.

Detective Murphy: What time did everyone go to bed that night?

Robin Maxwell: Cameron and Caitlin were in bed between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. Austin got home a little before 11:30 p.m. and went to bed. and Todd and I went to bed about the same time.

Detective Murphy: What time did you get up again?

Robin Maxwell: Well, Todd and I walked back through everything like you asked us to do. I had the alarm set for 1:30 a.m. I got up and folded the laundry and made coffee. Todd was up shortly after I was. That must have been about 1:40 or so. He had a cup of coffee and went out to get gas in the car. I got Cameron and Caitlin up just a little after 2:00 a.m.

Detective Murphy: When did Todd get back home?

Robin Maxwell: Todd came back in about that time, just after 2:00 a.m..

Detective Murphy: Then what happened?

Robin Maxwell: I made a nice breakfast, waffles and blueberry syrup, eggs and bacon for us. I got Austin up about 3:00 a.m., and he and Todd put the kids things in the car. Austin left with Caitlin and Cameron between 3:10 and 3:15 a.m.

Detective Murphy: Then you went back to bed?

Robin Maxwell: We rinsed the dishes and put them in the dishwasher, and then Todd and I went back to bed, yes. We were in bed by 3:30 a.m.

Detective Murphy: Did either of you go out at all after Austin, Cameron and Caitlin left?

Robin Maxwell: No.

Detective Murphy: All right. Did you hear Austin come back in?

Robin Maxwell: No, I didn't. We were asleep and had the door closed.

Detective Murphy: So you don't know for certain what time he came home?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, that's right.

Detective Murphy: What time did you get up?

Robin Maxwell: Todd and I got up at 7:30 a.m.

Detective Murphy: Was Austin at home at that time?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, he was. His car was outside, and he was in bed.

Detective Murphy: When did you next talk to Austin?

Robin Maxwell: He got up about noon, and we had something to eat together.

Detective Murphy: What did he say about dropping Caitlin and Cameron off at the bus stop?

Robin Maxwell: He said he dropped them off just fine, and came home and went to bed.

Detective Murphy: He didn't tell you they'd argued?

Robin Maxwell: No, he didn't tell me about that until later, after we found that they were missing. I think he didn't want to upset me at the time.

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Maxwell, explain for me again why it was that Austin drove Caitlin and Cameron to the bus stop rather than you or Mr. Maxwell?

Robin Maxwell: OK. Well, we usually did that when they were taking the bus. Have Austin drive, I mean. I– everyone thinks I get too emotional when Cameron and Caitlin, or anyone else in the family for that matter, are leaving for an extended period. So I guess we just got into the habit of doing it that way, saying the good-byes at the house and having Austin drive them over there. If we were driving to Memphis, sometimes Todd or I or both of us would go.

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Maxwell, did you notice any scratches or cuts on either your husband or Austin in the day or so after Cameron and Caitlin left?

Robin Maxwell: No, nothing like that.

Detective Murphy: Anyone using bandages, complaining of being sore, having headaches?

Robin Maxwell: No, not that I can recall.

Detective Murphy: Was there anything odd or unusual about the time period between just before Cameron and Caitlin left the house to the present?

Robin Maxwell: No, nothing. I've thought and thought about it. There's just nothing I can remember that seems out of place.

Detective Murphy: OK, thank you. Now I understand that Cameron talked with a friend of his and went out a few times while he was in town. Can you tell me about that?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, that's Ryan, Ryan Rand. He and Cameron have been friends since they were little, since first grade.

Detective Murphy: Would you like to take a short break, Mrs. Maxwell?

Robin Maxwell: No, no I'll be all right. Let's go on. Ryan and Cameron talked on the phone several times, and they went to see a movie.

Detective Murphy: Did Cameron go out anyplace else while he was home, talk with anyone else?

Robin Maxwell: Other than family, I don't think he talked to anyone else in Oxford on the phone. He and Caitlin both talked with Mike and John. That's Mike Morton and John Kennedy their coaches in Memphis. They talked with Allison Gallagher about some music they wanted to use.

Detective Murphy: Is that all?

Robin Maxwell: He ran a few errands. He and Caitlin went shopping twice. He drove over to Magnolia Transit and picked up the bus tickets. I'm sure he spoke with people he ran into while he was out. Just about everyone in Oxford knows who he is. That's everything I can recall.

Detective Murphy: What about Caitlin? Do you remember where she went, who she talked to?

Robin Maxwell: Let's see, she and her friend Maggie – that's Maggie Jenkins. You've talked to her I think – they talked on the phone a few times and went to see a few movies. Caitlin didn't really like the public attention, being recognized and signing autographs and things, so she tended to stay at home. Everyone loved them so, you know. I– we– no one can understand this, why this had to happen. It's such a terrible. I miss them so much. I don't know how we're going to go on, get past this.

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Maxwell, would you like that break now?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, maybe for a minute, thanks.


Part 2


Detective Murphy: Are you ready to continue now?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, I think so. Let's go on.

Detective Murphy: How is Austin holding up, Mrs. Maxwell?

Robin Maxwell: Not very well. He blames himself. He keeps saying, if only he hadn't just left them there, if he'd waited with them, this wouldn't have happened. I asked Dr. McGhee to see him and see if he can help him, if maybe some sedatives– but you know I worry about Austin and medications.

Detective Murphy: Yes, I understand, Mrs. Maxwell. Has Austin been showing signs of using drugs again?

Robin Maxwell: No, oh, I know he's slipped a few times since entering the program. But now, with his album and everything, I think he's trying really hard. I think he's doing a lot better. Sometimes, I'm worried.

Detective Murphy: Worried he'll go back to drugs?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, I've lost two babies, I don't want to lose Austin, too.

Detective Murphy: You know that Austin has been hanging out at the Dickerson place?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, I was shocked to learn that. I am so upset, that Ronald Sill. He's bad news. I don't– I can't let Austin get mixed up in all that again.

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Maxwell, did you see any signs that Austin might have been high or drinking the night he drove Caitlin and Cameron to the bus?

Robin Maxwell: No, oh no. I'm sure he wasn't. I'd know. I usually can tell. I would never– Todd and I wouldn't let him drive if we saw signs of that.

Detective Murphy: Let's talk about Austin's music for a bit. How much money was it that you and Mr. Maxwell were going to give Austin for this album project?

Robin Maxwell: Oh. We'd agreed on $25,000.

Detective Murphy: And that was to be a gift or a loan?

Robin Maxwell: A gift, not a loan. An investment really. An investment in Austin. We are proud of him. He doesn't see that much. He thinks we care more about Caitlin and Cameron than about him, but it's not true. We have put a fortune into skating, not so much into Austin, but we've always been willing to.

Detective Murphy: Austin was very upset when he didn't get the money wasn't he?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, he was. He was disappointed. He was angry. We didn't really mean not to give it to him. It would just be delayed a few weeks, but he felt he had to have it then. I think he understood, really, but it was hard for him to accept it. He took it harder than we thought he would.

Detective Murphy: You had planned to give him the money later?

Robin Maxwell: Yes. You can ask Todd about the details, but we had to liquidate more funds and that takes some time. We have a special account set up for things like this.

Detective Murphy: Let's talk about skating for a bit. I understand that you maintain a small apartment in Memphis near the ice rink for extended training weeks up there. Who would go stay with Caitlin and Cameron? How did that work?

Robin Maxwell: We have a two-bedroom apartment a few blocks from the mall where the rink is. When Cameron and Caitlin were still in school, either Todd or I would go up and stay with the kids during the week when they had to be there every day. We had a tutor for them, sort of a combination of home schooling and public school here in Oxford.

Detective Murphy: That must have been hard on them. How did they do in school?

Robin Maxwell: They were both good students. Caitlin got better grades than Cameron for the most part. Skating is hard work. Long hours on the ice and in the gym, then hours of studying and sleep. Not much else.

Detective Murphy: So Caitlin and Cameron didn't have any close relationships, any girlfriends or boyfriends?

Robin Maxwell: No, not really. They dated a bit, went to the movies, to a concert, but nothing serious. There wasn't time for that.

Detective Murphy: Any odd incidents with neighbors or anything like that in Memphis?

Robin Maxwell: No. We spent most of the time at the rink. The apartment was a place to sleep, eat and study, not socialize. I think we only said hello to people there in the halls, didn't get to know anyone.

Detective Murphy: How did Caitlin and Cameron get along with each other? Any rivalry or jealousy there?

Robin Maxwell: They got along pretty well. They were brother and sister spending most of their time together. They fought, usually about minor things, but sometimes they'd have disagreements about music or routines. Caitlin was really a better skater than Cameron, and they both knew that. Cameron would get into times when he didn't want to practice, and Caitlin would get very upset with him, feeling he wasn't trying hard enough. They had their disagreements, but they also had ambition and drive. They couldn't have come as far as they did in skating without that.

Detective Murphy: Tell me more about what happened after what happened at Nationals last year? How did they each react to that?

Robin Maxwell: Well, they were devastated, of course. We all were. What happened to Caitlin was an awful accident. Sliding on an edge like that, falling, it was crushing. All the hours, weeks, months, years of training go right out the window. Cameron was mad about it. He felt it was a stupid mistake. He was embarrassed.

Detective Murphy: Did he blame himself?

Robin Maxwell: No, he blamed Caitlin for quite a while after that. But it wasn't her fault. Those things can happen, and when they do, the consequences are big losses. They talked about leaving skating. I think Caitlin was depressed enough and her confidence shaken enough that she couldn't see herself coming back from that. It takes some time to get that back. But they did.

Detective Murphy: So they decided to continue skating. They weren't forced into that?

Robin Maxwell: No, not at all. Todd and I encouraged them to stick with it. To double the determination and win in the remaining championship series, to not lose faith. We knew they would regret it if they quit. They did apply themselves and did very well through the rest of the year.

Detective Murphy: If Cameron and Caitlin had quit skating, what would they have done?

Robin Maxwell: Well, they were talking about going on to college now. Caitlin was interested in sports medicine, and Cameron was interested in– well, he wasn't sure what he was going to do. He talked about a few things, finance like his dad or business, but he wasn't sure.

Detective Murphy: How did you and Mr. Maxwell feel about the mistake at Nationals?

Robin Maxwell: Very disappointed. I was disappointed for the kids. It was so hard on them. Todd was maybe even more disappointed. He was upset about it. But Caitlin and Cameron are good skaters. It wasn't the end of the world. That's why we didn't want them to give up, to quit. They had such a future. Everyone thought so. It's so sad. I can't imagine, now it's all gone. They are gone, and they'll never know that feeling or have that chance.

Detective Murphy: Would you like to take another break, Mrs. Maxwell?

Robin Maxwell: No, not now. You know, we've had so many people, calls, cards, telegrams since the news got out about them being missing. People we don't know. Everyone loved them. It's such a helpless feeling. Such an outpouring of love, everyone, everywhere. Caitlin and Cameron touched so many lives. I wish they knew that. I hope they can see that. I know they're in God's hands now. I hope they're together. I didn't– I couldn't– I– we don't– you know, it's just so hard. They touched so many people, people praying for us, grieving with us. I'm just so touched by it all.

Detective Murphy: Are you sure you are up to answering more questions, Mrs. Maxwell?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, yes of course. Let's get this over with. I– we have to know, find out why, how this happened.

Detective Murphy: Fine, we'll continue then. Mrs. Maxwell, do you have any guns in the house, other weapons?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, we have a few. Austin was interested in hunting for a while when he was high school, but he didn't stick with that. He prefers fishing. He and Todd go out to Sardis and fish. I don't know where they are though. You'll have to ask Todd.

Detective Murphy: Has anyone had the guns out lately?

Robin Maxwell: Oh no, I don't think they've been used in years.

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Maxwell, this is a list of people that were on the Magnolia Transit bus that morning. Do you recognize any names? Anything stand out to you?

Robin Maxwell: No, no one. I don't see anyone I know.

Detective Murphy: Did you all have life insurance policies for Cameron and Caitlin?

Robin Maxwell: Yes, I can get them out for you.

Detective Murphy: That'd be helpful. We'd like to see them. What was the amount of the policies and who are the beneficiaries?

Robin Maxwell: They were both $100,000 policies with an option to automatically increase when they turned 21. Todd and I are the beneficiaries. You can ask Todd more about that. He arranged for them.

Detective Murphy: Thank you, we'll do that. Do you have any relatives buried at the St. Peter's cemetery?

Robin Maxwell: No, we don't. We have a family plot at the First Baptist. That's our church.

Detective Murphy: Have you had any close friends or relatives buried here in Oxford in the last year?

Robin Maxwell: No, no we haven't. Except we will now, won't we? I– this is– I feel so helpless.

Detective Murphy: We're almost finished, Mrs. Maxwell. You're doing just fine. Now, you've had a chance to look over the skating rosters again. Have you found anything that might indicate to you that there was anyone in the sport that might be involved?

Robin Maxwell: No, I still can't– I don't see anyone that would do something like this. Who would do this? I can't– there is no sense in this at all.

Detective Murphy: Mrs. Maxwell, I have to ask you this question. Did you have anything to do with what happened to Caitlin or Cameron?

Robin Maxwell: Oh my God, no. No. I didn't. I had nothing to do with it. I loved them. They're my babies. They should be ice skating , instead of in some morgue covered in mud. No. I had nothing to do with it. Detective, I've had enough. I've answered enough questions. I'm sorry I have to stop.

Detective Murphy: That's fine Mrs. Maxwell. We can talk again later. I want you to know how very sorry we are for you and your family. We'll do everything we can.

Robin Maxwell: Yes, thank you, Detective. Find out who did this. Find out what happened.

Interview ends: 9:27 a.m.



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