Kristal Bentley Waterson was born to Michael and Virginia Waterson on March 23, 1997.
University of Mississippi Southern Studies experts, who commented only after an agreement their identities would not be revealed, said Michael Waterson's family oil money has established him as a longtime political power broker at the local, state, and national levels. They noted that Waterson's activities have earned him many enemies, though no record of opposition to Waterson or his influence can be found in any recent history commentaries on Mississippi politics.
One of the few people willing to answer questions about Kristi's early life is a teacher who changed a "Needs work in social skills" to a "Plays well with others." Only after a guarantee of anonymity did the teacher describe the experience.
"Kristi was a charming child. Based on things I'd heard, I thought she'd be a spoiled brat, but instead, I found her to be a little lost. She had trouble relating to her classmates and tried to ingratiate herself with the kids who taunted her the most. After the first quarter report cards went out, her father asked what we could do about Kristi's scores. We ultimately agreed that his daughter could improve her social skills if the school had a much-needed playground, which he promptly donated."
As a high school junior, Kristi told her friends she was having an intimate relationship with her guidance counselor, Jack Aston. Now a forest ranger in Nebraska, Aston still claims Kristi was the aggressor but doesn't excuse his behavior. "Kristi was starved for attention and approval. Or disapproval. Discipline. When I called it quits, she told her father that I'd made advances, and he relocated me here before the situation could go public."
After high school, Kristi enrolled at the University of Mississippi, although a review of her application on file finds it unsigned. At the same time, the university received "an exceptionally generous contribution from an anonymous but eminently respected benefactor."
Few students remember her attending classes, and one roommate said she never saw Kristi once during the semester they supposedly shared a room. Nevertheless, Kristi received a bachelor's degree in political science and then an MBA.
After Kristi graduated, she was offered an instructor position at the Ole Miss Business Administration School. She accepted the job two weeks later, shortly after the creation of the "Waterson Endowment for the Study and Advancement of Business Development in the South." The following week, new carpeting, executive furniture, and a cutting-edge computer system were installed in the Business School, including Kristi's new corner office.
Current students claim Kristi graded their work generously, canceled class quickly on sunny days, and offered ample "academic counseling" to her male students. The few times she appeared at school functions, she did so "reeking of bourbon," according to a fellow instructor.
John Brewer, head of Kristi's department, said he had found no evidence that Kristi had a drinking problem, and any other complaints about her had been "resolved satisfactorily."