Sunday, August 27, 2023 – 1:30 p.m.
Michelle Prescott was Kristi Waterson's cousin and roommate.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed her at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Michelle Prescott
Detective Murphy: Thanks for waiting to talk to us today. Would you please state your name and address?
Michelle Prescott: Michelle Prescott, 588 Hathorn Road, Apartment 232. That's at The Turn, here in Oxford.
Detective Murphy: How old are you, Ms. Prescott?
Michelle Prescott: Twenty-one.
Detective Murphy: What is your relationship to Kristal Waterson?
Michelle Prescott: I'm her cousin. I mean, we lived together. We were roommates.
Detective Murphy: For how long?
Michelle Prescott: Since I started college here. That was in 2019, the fall of 2019 — four years. I'm sorry. This is harder than I thought.
Detective Murphy: That's all right. We can wait.
Michelle Prescott: No. Go on.
Detective Murphy: Ms. Prescott, can you tell us what happened today?
Michelle Prescott: All right. I came home about 9:00 a.m. Maybe a little before. I came in and didn't think anything was wrong. Kristi slept in a lot. I went to my room and began putting away my clothes and things. I noticed my makeup remover was missing. She was always taking without asking. She would run out of her shampoo or her toothpaste at the last minute, and then she would just take what she wanted. She didn't plan well. I went in and saw she wasn't in her bed. And in the bathroom, the light was on in the closet, and I saw— well, I saw her, and I called the police.
Detective Murphy: Where were you before you got back to the apartment?
Michelle Prescott: I stayed the night with my boyfriend.
Detective Murphy: What's his name?
Michelle Prescott: Rob LaRouche. Over on Elm Street.
Detective Murphy: When did you go over there?
Michelle Prescott: We had a date. I met him at 7:00 p.m. or so. We went for a drive and watched a movie: Sense and Sensibility. It's one of my favorites. He'd never seen it.
Detective Murphy: Where did you go on your drive?
Michelle Prescott: Just down some back roads is all. We just wanted to get out and enjoy the weather, you know?
Detective Armstrong: What time did you get back?
Michelle Prescott: About 8:30 p.m., I think.
Detective Armstrong: Did you go out after that at all?
Michelle Prescott: No. We had reservations for later at the Downtown Grill, but we weren't up for a late night and all that wine. We would've gotten home after 11:00 p.m., and we both wanted to get an early start, so we just ordered pizza.
Detective Murphy: When you left, was Kristi at home?
Michelle Prescott: Yes. I think she had plans, but I don't know. It's hard to think that's the last time— that I wouldn't see her again. I'm sorry. It's still a shock.
Detective Murphy: Of course.
Michelle Prescott: Please, go on.
Detective Armstrong: Did she mention any specifics at all?
Michelle Prescott: No. She was meeting someone, I think. But I couldn't tell you who.
Detective Armstrong: Did she have a steady boyfriend, maybe going on a date?
Michelle Prescott: No. Not recently. There was someone, but they broke up back around the end of last school year. I can't believe this. I'm sorry. It's just so terrible.
Detective Armstrong: Do you recall her boyfriend's name?
Michelle Prescott: Hunter — Hunter Nelson, I think. I mean, I didn't know him well.
Detective Murphy: How long did they date?
Michelle Prescott: It was for some while. I mean, I guess she started seeing him after Thanksgiving.
Detective Murphy: Would you say they had an intimate relationship?
Michelle Prescott: If you're asking if they had sex, I'm confident they did. Of course, I never saw anything, but Kristi told me.
Detective Murphy: How did they meet?
Michelle Prescott: Well— it's terrible to talk about this so soon after— well, after everything. But I believe they met through Kristi's class. I mean that he was a student.
Detective Armstrong: Isn't that against the rules?
Michelle Prescott: I'm sure it was. It's not something Kristi and I agreed about. I'm not saying we argued, but I preferred to know as little as possible about it. She was as discreet as she could be. Anyway, they broke up, I think—or maybe they got back together. Recently, she mentioned something about a date, but I never heard a name. I'm afraid I didn't keep track.
Detective Armstrong: You seem troubled by Kristi's love life.
Michelle Prescott: No, not troubled. I certainly can't judge. It's just that it was, as you say, against the rules. It seemed imprudent to me. Reckless.
Detective Murphy: When they broke up, was this Hunter fellow angry?
Michelle Prescott: I'm sorry, I don't know the particulars.
Detective Murphy: Did they ever fight?
Michelle Prescott: Kristi never mentioned anything like that, but if you're implying he might have driven her to — I mean, I can't imagine he'd do that. I didn't know him, but I know Kristi. She wouldn't associate with anyone dangerous.
Detective Armstrong: You just said she was reckless.
Michelle Prescott: Yes, but— I only meant in terms of dating students— dating a student. She wasn't a fool.
Detective Armstrong: Students? Were there others?
Michelle Prescott: I'd rather not say. I hate to think— I wouldn't want her reputation to be harmed.
Detective Murphy: Please. It's important we know everything.
Michelle Prescott: Of course. I'm sorry. It's still so shocking. But yes, I believe she dated a few students. I couldn't tell you the particulars. As I said, I tried to keep out of it as much as possible. It was a sore point, and I preferred to avoid pressing on the bruise.
Detective Armstrong: Well, Ms. Prescott, I hate to press on the bruise, as you put it so delicately, but it seems you know more, and you need to tell us. You said Kristi was reckless. What did you mean by that?
Michelle Prescott: Just as I said—simply that dating students was foolish to my mind, especially when you consider what was at stake. I mean her reputation on the faculty, her entire career.
Detective Armstrong: She wasn't concerned about that?
Michelle Prescott: She never thinks about the future. She never thought perhaps someday she might want to be with someone who wouldn't appreciate her past. The quality of people you choose to associate with, it says so much about a person. Maybe she didn't realize it has to be a deliberate choice. She acted without thinking.
Detective Armstrong: Unlike you, right?
Michelle Prescott: Pardon?
Detective Armstrong: You don't strike me as reckless.
Michelle Prescott: All I meant is that it's important to be cautious. To realize actions have consequences.
Detective Murphy: Did you and Kristi argue about her love life?
Michelle Prescott: Not argue, no. It's more accurate to say I was concerned. I was concerned that— well, I didn't like how casual she was about the consequences. She thought money could undo any mistakes she made. She wrecked cars, caused scenes, did anything she could to get noticed. The more she did, however, the more people looked away. Her father's money saw to that. I thought that was reckless, too—to spend money that way, throw it around.
Detective Armstrong: You said you and Kristi talked about her relationship with Hunter Nelson. What did she tell you exactly?
Michelle Prescott: I don't remember exactly.
Detective Murphy: Please, Michelle. It's important.
Michelle Prescott: I'm sorry. It's just so disturbing to talk about now. She didn't tell me much, to be honest. I mean, I didn't want to hear the details. All she said was that he was a good lover, and I ended the conversation there. She knew it upset me to hear, but she always tried to tell me anyway, as though she enjoyed making me upset. Most of the time, I just left the room.
Detective Murphy: This happened frequently?
Michelle Prescott: She liked to talk about her exploits, yes. I told her I didn't want to hear about it. I mean, I would try to head the conversation off in a different direction. I wanted her to consider counseling, to be honest. It was worrisome to me. I mean, I was worried about her health along with everything else. She told me she liked to be rough, and it didn't seem she was taking any precautions against disease.
Detective Murphy: Rough how?
Michelle Prescott: Sometimes there were bruises. You see why I was concerned.
Detective Murphy: Bruises where?
Michelle Prescott: On her neck, thighs, marks on her wrists, as though— well, as though she'd been tied up. It's too horrible to think of now. I mean, I didn't do enough to stop her.
Detective Armstrong: What about names? Can you tell me the names of any of her other boyfriends?
Michelle Prescott: I don't know. I didn't want to encourage her. Perhaps that was my fault. I just wanted to distance myself.
Detective Armstrong: You had your own reputation to think of, right?
Michelle Prescott: No, it wasn't like that. I just I couldn't stand to be a part of it. She wouldn't even consider help. What more could I do for her? She and I disagreed about it. I mean, it was an impasse. We simply avoided arguing about it.
Detective Murphy: What about girlfriends?
Michelle Prescott: Pardon?
Detective Murphy: Did Ms. Waterson have sexual relationships with women?
Michelle Prescott: No. Or not that I knew of.
Detective Armstrong: Was Rob LaRouche in any of Kristi's classes?
Michelle Prescott: Pardon?
Detective Armstrong: Your boyfriend. Was he one of Kristi's students?
Michelle Prescott: No. I mean— he's a business major, so naturally, it might have been one of his requirements to have a lecture of hers. But if you're suggesting other than that—they were involved—it couldn't be possibly farther from the truth. Absolutely not.
Detective Murphy: All right. Michelle, do you remember when you last saw Kristi's ex-boyfriend?
Michelle Prescott: Well, let's see. It was March when they broke up, I think. I've seen him since then, though. He's friends with Dewey, the apartment manager. That's something I really don't know much about, but I do see Hunter's car here near Dewey's apartment. The last time was … last week, maybe last Sunday? I certainly didn't notice him or his car any time yesterday.
Detective Murphy: Tell us more about this Dewey.
Michelle Prescott: Dewey Devoe. He's the handyman here, the apartment manager.
Detective Armstrong: Did Kristi ever date him?
Michelle Prescott: No. That's a cruel thing to say. No. In fact, she was angry with him, or we both were. A few weeks ago, her parents were here for a visit, and Aunt Ginger fell and broke her hip. Terrible. It was because of the refrigerator. There was a leak we'd asked Dewey to fix months ago, but he never did, so there was water on the floor, and she slipped.
Detective Murphy: That's terrible.
Michelle Prescott: I know! I told Kristi she should sue, and I think she was considering it. Anyway, she's all right now. Aunt Ginger is all right. I mean, her hip is okay. She can get around with a cane.
Detective Murphy: You say Kristi was going to sue Dewey?
Michelle Prescott: Him, I'm not sure. The owner of the complex would be my bet. I didn't know the details. The lease is in her name, so it was entirely her decision.
Detective Armstrong: Were there any troubles you knew of in terms of Kristi's job? Or maybe money trouble?
Michelle Prescott: Money is not something she had trouble with, no. We're both fortunate that way. And I wouldn't know about her job. She seemed to be doing fine, as far as I could tell. She seemed to be content where she was.
Detective Murphy: Is there anyone who disliked Kristi or maybe had a grudge against her?
Michelle Prescott: Kristi was like a sister. No one hated her. I just can't imagine. It's absolutely monstrous.
Detective Murphy: Okay. We may need to talk with you again at some point, but thanks for your time.
Michelle Prescott: Of course.
Detective Armstrong: Please call if you think of anything else.
Michelle Prescott: Thank you. I will.
Interview ended – 2:17 p.m.