Buford & Clara Howard interview
Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 1:00 p.m.
Buford and Clara Howard are neighbors of Ryan Rand. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed them at their residence. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Buford Howard
- Clara Howard
Detective Armstrong: Mr. Howard, Mrs. Howard, I appreciate your agreeing to talk to us.
Buford Howard: Certainly. Anything we can do to help.
Detective Armstrong: You've lived here how long?
Buford Howard: Three years this May. Ever since I got a job with Financial Services at the university.
Detective Armstrong: Are you familiar with Ryan Rand?
Buford Howard: We certainly are. Seems like a nice boy. Polite.
Detective Armstrong: What can you tell us about him as a person?
Buford Howard: Lord, that'd be mighty hard to answer. We know of the boy, but I can't say that we know him, if you know what I mean.
Clara Howard: He used to pet sit for us before Pickles passed.
Buford Howard: That's right. I'd forgotten that. He used to take care of her when we went out of town for the weekend. Did a good job. Took good care of her, even when she was sick as a dog. Still, never really talked with him much. Just small talk when he brought the cat home and we paid him.
Clara Howard: I gave him lemonade some days. Fresh-made. From my mother's recipe.
Buford Howard: I don't think he needs to know that, hon.
Clara Howard: Oh. I'm sorry.
Detective Armstrong: That's all right, Mrs. Howard. In this business, you never know what might be important. Have you seen Ryan lately?
Clara Howard: I'm not sure. It's been so cold, nobody with any sense is going out much.
Buford Howard: I saw him a couple, three weeks ago.
Detective Murphy: Anytime since then?
Buford Howard: Could be. Like I said, we don't know the boy much more than just to say hello.
Detective Armstrong: Are you familiar with Ryan's cars?
Buford Howard: Oh, yeah. We see them coming in and out now and then. Mostly in that convertible for the past year.
Clara Howard: Such a pretty car. And he's a nice-looking boy. I always wave to him when he passes. If I see him, of course.
Buford Howard: I doubt he's interested in your waving to young Rand.
Clara Howard: Of course, dear.
Buford Howard: He's got another car too. Older. A Honda, I think. Haven't seen it much since he got the Beamer.
Detective Murphy: Do you recall anything unusual during the last month?
Clara Howard: Bud?
Buford Howard: You're not going to bring that up again, are you?
Detective Murphy: Bring up?
Clara Howard: I heard something. One night back at the beginning of January.
Buford Howard: She thinks she heard something.
Clara Howard: I know what I heard, Bud.
Detective Armstrong: What did you hear, ma'am?
Clara Howard: Way over in the morning, around four o'clock, I heard a car outside. I'm a real light sleeper, don't you know. You just can't be too careful, the way things are these days. And it was just so close. I thought it was somebody out in our drive when I woke up, and it scared me so that I just laid there, listening. I thought sure it was one of those awful drug gangs come to rob us and do who knows what kind of terrible thing–
Buford Howard: Clara.
Clara Howard: Well, I did.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see the car, ma'am?
Clara Howard: Well, no. Not the car as such. I saw some taillights, way on down the street. Like I said, I was so scared I just laid there like I was froze in place, listening. Then I thought maybe it wasn't quite close enough to be in our drive. And I couldn't hear anybody breaking in. And just about the time I worked up my nerve to think about getting out of bed to look, I heard it leaving. I got up then, real quiet like, and peeked out the window.
Detective Murphy: But you didn't see the car?
Clara Howard: No, sir. I surely didn't. By the time I got up and slipped to the window, it was way down the street, nearly out of sight.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Howard, did you hear the car?
Buford Howard: Not a damn thing. And I'd be surprised if she did either.
Clara Howard: Bud!
Buford Howard: Hon, you know you woke me up, and I didn't hear or see anything at all. Not a thing. Got up and checked the whole house too. Forgot to slip into my house shoes and nearly froze my feet.
Clara Howard: I didn't wake him 'til after. That's why he didn't hear anything.
Detective Murphy: So you didn't see or hear anything, Mr. Howard.
Buford Howard: No, ma'am, I did not.
Detective Armstrong: And you heard a car so close-sounding you thought it was in your drive, Mrs. Howard?
Clara Howard: Yes, sir, I surely did. No matter what Bud says. I know what I heard. I remember I looked in the Eagle the next day to see if anybody'd been robbed or terrorized or anything. What kind of people are up driving cars at 4:00 in the morning?
Detective Armstrong: Could the car have been at Ryan's condo?
Clara Howard: I suppose it could've been. You know, it never entered my mind that it might be. He's not one of those types who's in and out at all hours.
Detective Armstrong: Did it sound like one of his cars?
Buford Howard: She doesn't know something like that.
Clara Howard: Bud!
Buford Howard: Go ahead. Tell them.
Clara Howard: I don't know. Cars all sound the same to me.
Detective Murphy: Have you noticed any cars in and out at Ryan's any time in the last two or three weeks?
Clara Howard: Well, there must have been.
Detective Murphy: Do you recall the last time?
Clara Howard: Well, it wasn't yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before that.
Buford Howard: Hon.
Clara Howard: I'm sorry. I don't remember. Bud?
Buford Howard: I have no idea.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you, Mrs. Howard. Mr. Howard. Here's my card. If you happen to see Ryan, would you give us a call?
Clara Howard: I'll be on the lookout, young man. I know you law officers have a hard life, trying to catch those awful people. Just like on Law & Order.
Buford Howard: Clara, don't get started.
Interview ends: 1:27 p.m.