Interview: Canvass of OMS Students
With the permission of the school and the parents, Detectives Armstrong and Murphy canvassed RJ Brandt's classmates at Oxford Middle School. The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Name: Beau Miller
Mr. Miller said he was among the students who first saw the skull when RJ Brandt pulled it from his backpack on the school playground. His first reaction was that it was fake and he laughed. Upon closer inspection, he felt that it was real and said it "creeped [him] out" and made him feel kind of sick to his stomach. He said some of the other kids thought it was cool and wanted to touch it. When asked if he knew where RJ Brandt got the skull, Mr. Miller said RJ claimed somebody left it on his doorstep, then laughed and said he'd dug it up in his yard. Mr. Miller found the show-and-tell to be too gruesome for his tastes and returned to the school cafeteria well ahead of the other students.
Name: Beth Grassly
Ms. Grassly said RJ was waving the skull around to scare the other kids. She thought it was just another childish prank on the part of RJ Brandt. She added that RJ liked to make things up and that she figured he made the skull from a kit he bought at the costume shop. When RJ Brandt offered to let her hold it to prove that it was real, she declined. Instead, she ran to inform a teacher.
Name: Tim Wheaten
Mr. Wheaten said he was able to hold the skull and thought it was really cool. It made him think that maybe RJ wasn't as geeky as he thought. RJ promised him that if he brought his camera to school the next day, they could take pictures and post them on the Internet. When asked if he knew where RJ Brandt got the skull, Mr. Wheaten said RJ claimed he had dug it up in a cemetery when he likes to hang out. Mr. Wheaten added that he assumed RJ was lying because he heard him tell other kids he dug it up in his backyard.
Name: Mary Lathrom
Ms. Lathrom saw the skull only briefly because the teacher was making RJ put it back in the backpack and dragging him away as she approached the scene. When asked if she knew where RJ Brandt got the skull, she said she heard the other kids saying a lot of different things, but she never heard RJ say where it came from.