Canvass – Veronica Smith's friends
YCSD investigators interviewed Dr. Smith's friends and acquaintances to learn more about her and her activities the evening she died.
The interviews summarized are some of the most typical or relevant to the investigation and are representative of all interviews conducted.
Name: Margaret Brittingham
Address: 602 Saddle Tree Circle, Oxford
Dr. Brittingham is an anesthesiologist who met Veronica in 2019. She considered Veronica her best and closest friend, and they often confided in each other.
Dr. Brittingham said Veronica mentioned how uneasy she felt around her brother-in-law, Michael O'Connor, because she could tell by how he looked at her that he still had feelings for her, which made her uncomfortable.
Veronica had also opened up to Dr. Brittingham about how jealous her sister was of her. Veronica thought Elizabeth would love to steal George from her if she got the chance. Still, Dr. Brittingham emphasized that Veronica was not at all worried about George doing such a thing. She was just hurt that her sister would feel that way.
Veronica had also mentioned several times that Dr. Burns has a quick temper, which sometimes made him hard to work with, especially when they had differing views about something. Veronica complained that on those occasions when she and Dr. Burns disagreed, Dr. Mendoza often declined to cast the deciding vote, which prolonged the impasse.
When asked about the text messages Veronica received, Dr. Brittingham said Veronica initially laughed them off as a prank, but after her tires were slashed, she began to worry a lot more. Dr. Brittingham said she gave Veronica a ride home that day, and the next day she took her back to Billee's Auto Service to pick the car up after the tires were replaced.
She said Veronica seemed uneasy on the night she died. They met around 7:00 p.m. at The Roadhouse on January 6th, and Veronica told her she felt like someone was watching her when she left home. Veronica downplayed it as just an eerie feeling she had no proof of. Dr. Brittingham said Veronica was in good spirits when she left the bar around 9:00 p.m. that night.
Name: Lisa Freeman
Address: 1107 Franklin Cove, Oxford
Ms. Freeman works as a cashier/bank teller at The First National Bank of Oxford, where Veronica Smith and George O'Connor do their banking.
Ms. Freeman said she and Veronica had coffee together on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays before work at 7:30 a.m. at the Bottletree. They didn't go out together or talk on the phone, but Ms. Freeman considered them to be more than just acquaintances.
Ms. Freeman said Veronica spoke highly of her husband and her business partners. Veronica often showed Ms. Freeman pictures of her daughter Haley, and Ms. Freeman described Haley as Veronica's pride and joy.
Ms. Freeman said she saw a change in Veronica after the lawsuit was filed, more so in the last few weeks before she died, but she did not consider Veronica suicidal.
Name: Brent Miley
Address: 903 Cumberland Ridge, Oxford
Mr. Miley is a drug representative who met Veronica Smith during sales calls to her practice. Later, they noticed each other while running the annual "Run for Hope" marathon in Oxford in 2021. The two became friends and started running together on Mondays and Thursdays.
Mr. Miley said when Veronica started having health issues that affected her ability to run as she once had, the two of them continued to meet but walked instead because Veronica didn't want to give up exercise altogether.
Mr. Miley said Veronica told him several weeks before she died that she was really glad he was walking with her because her tires had been slashed, and she was starting to feel unsafe.
Mr. Miley described Veronica as very happily married and said his relationship with her was never anything but platonic.
Mr. Miley did not think Veronica was suicidal, and other than the lawsuit and the tire-slashing incident, she seemed content with her life.
Name: Janice Vogel
Address: 542 Hwy 30, Oxford
Mrs. Vogel has been friends with Veronica Smith since both women had volunteered to chaperone a field trip when their children were in the first grade together four years ago. They hit it off and have been friends ever since.
Mrs. Vogel is a stay-at-home mom who babysat for Veronica when Haley was sick and couldn't attend school. The arrangement began after Veronica told her about a time when Haley wasn't feeling well, and Veronica didn't know anyone very well yet, so she took Haley to work with her. Veronica told Mrs. Vogel that Dr. Burns completely overreacted to Haley's presence in the office and told Veronica in no uncertain terms that it should never happen again.
When asked how Veronica felt about the lawsuit, Mrs. Vogel said it was always on Veronica's mind lately, and she was worried about possibly losing her license to practice.
Mrs. Vogel described Veronica as typically pretty straight-laced but described one karaoke night when Veronica got a little tipsy and sang Pat Benatar's "Barracuda." Mrs. Vogel said Veronica was a lot of fun when she had a couple of drinks in her.
Mrs. Vogel said George and Veronica were happily married, and Veronica seemed fine the night she died. She said she met Veronica and Margaret Brittingham at The Roadhouse for a few drinks that night.
Mrs. Vogel felt Veronica was upset about something when she first arrived but seemed relaxed when she left. She said Veronica told her she was going home to take a bath and wait for George and Haley to get home.