Serious man with short dark hair and dark eyebrows

Marty Rutgers interview

Sunday, May 2, 2021 – 9:30 a.m.

Marty "Slim" Rutgers was Barbara's pageant coach when she was younger. Witnesses reported seeing him at the Yoknapatawpha County Literature Festival pageant on Friday night.

Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him the morning after the murder at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.


  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Marty "Slim" Rutgers

Detective Murphy: For the record, would you please state your name and address?

Marty Rutgers: My name is Marty Rutgers, and I live with my mother over on 9 Rubin Drive.

Detective Murphy: Thanks for your time. I know this is early for you.

Marty Rutgers: I just hope I can help. I can't understand how someone could want to harm Barbara. She's just a little girl.

Detective Armstrong: She was 23.

Marty Rutgers: She'll always be a little girl to me. I still remember the first time I saw her trying to hit the marks at Gentlewoman.

Detective Murphy: Gentlewoman?

Marty Rutgers: The Southern Gentlewoman School of Expressive Ballet and Tap. That's where I first met Barbara.

Detective Murphy: You were Barbara's coach at the very beginning, weren't you?

Marty Rutgers: Yes. Barbara wouldn't be where she is today if it wasn't for me.

Detective Armstrong: The young woman is dead.

Marty Rutgers: I know. Over at the catfish farm, I'm the only one on the floor who speaks English. Between that and the noise, I have a lot of time to think, and I wonder if this emphasis on physical beauty is such a good thing.

Detective Murphy: Did you ever discuss your concerns with Barbara or her mother? Is that why they fired you ten years back?

Marty Rutgers: Fired me? We've had our differences, but my finger is still on the pulse. I talk to Susan once a month on the telephone. Our conference calls, she calls them. Susan asks how my mother is doing, and I say fine. I ask how Barbara is doing, and Susan recites every prize the poor girl has ever won.

Detective Armstrong: How often do you see Barbara?

Marty Rutgers: Every day. I keep a scrapbook of her appearances in the Eagle and online. Before I go to sleep, I review the stories.

Detective Armstrong: Do you know why you're here, Marty?

Marty Rutgers: Because of what I did to Barbara. I wonder if I'll ever be forgiven for what I've done.

Detective Murphy: What did you do to her?

Marty Rutgers: She's just a little girl. I picked her out of a crowd and cursed her. She never wanted this. You think in 10 or 20 years, she was going to look back and thank us for turning her into some kind of freak?

Detective Armstrong: In what way were you Barbara's coach?

Marty Rutgers: I signed some forms. I looked out for her. That's why I came to this pageant. I wanted to take her away from all this. I've made up my mind to put things right.

Detective Murphy: Did you tell her this?

Marty Rutgers: I didn't have a chance. I was going to during dinner, but she was busy with someone else at the time.

Detective Armstrong: She didn't have a free minute for her long-time coach?

Marty Rutgers: I'm not very good with people.

Detective Armstrong: That must have bothered you, her not talking to you.

Marty Rutgers: I thought she might be angry with me, so I decided to let her cool down and talk to her later.

Detective Armstrong: When did you talk to her?

Marty Rutgers: We never got the chance. Things happened.

Detective Armstrong: What happened?

Marty Rutgers: Somebody hurt her.

Detective Murphy: Where were you Friday night, Marty?

Marty Rutgers: I sat outside in my car all night, hoping she'd come to the window of her room and look out so I could signal her.

Detective Armstrong: How did you learn her room number?

Marty Rutgers: I didn't. I just watched one window and hoped I was right.

Detective Murphy: Did you see anything unusual or suspicious while you were sitting there?

Marty Rutgers: No.

Detective Armstrong: Did anyone see you?

Marty Rutgers: I didn't see anyone see me. Did Barbara keep a diary?

Detective Murphy: Why do you ask?

Marty Rutgers: Maybe someone was bothering her.

Detective Armstrong: Why would someone bother her?

Marty Rutgers: She's a beautiful little girl. Anyone can see that. Perhaps someone was bothering her, and that's why she was afraid to come to the window.

Detective Murphy: Had you watched her before, sat outside her house perhaps?

Marty Rutgers: No. … Well, maybe. A couple times. I did when she was younger, but then Susan told me to stop because it wasn't in my contract. I just wanted to keep an eye on her to make sure no one was stalking her. But it's just recently that I've realized how her life became twisted and that I'm to blame. I needed to free her from this artificial world before it was too late.

Detective Armstrong: What world is that?

Marty Rutgers: These beauty pageants. I needed to save her.

Detective Murphy: What if Barbara didn't want to be saved?

Marty Rutgers: You're police officers. If you stopped at the scene of an accident and you saw someone trapped in a burning car, would you simply walk away if the person wouldn't grab your outstretched hand?

Detective Armstrong: Did you reach out to Barbara?

Marty Rutgers: I tried, but I couldn't get her attention.

Detective Armstrong: Did you get her attention the night she was killed?

Marty Rutgers: She will never die. She's always in my heart. And my scrapbook.

Detective Murphy: Did you kill Barbara, Mr. Rutgers?

Marty Rutgers: I could never hurt her, even though I have.

Detective Armstrong: Did you in any way physically harm Barbara Dubois Friday evening?

Marty Rutgers: No.

Detective Murphy: Who do you think might have wanted to hurt her?

Marty Rutgers: Everybody loved her, except her enemies.

Detective Armstrong: What enemies?

Marty Rutgers: I have a list. I keep it with my scrapbook. I looked out for her by making sure none of her enemies got close.

Detective Murphy: Can you show us your scrapbook? Maybe if two sets of fresh eyes went through it, we'd see something you missed.

Marty Rutgers: Of course.

Detective Murphy: We could come by the house.

Marty Rutgers: I'll leave it out in case I'm asleep.

Detective Armstrong: We'd appreciate that.

Marty Rutgers: I just wanted to help Barbara.

Detective Murphy: Well, you can help her now by being completely honest with us so we can find out what happened to her.

Marty Rutgers: I have been completely honest!

Detective Murphy: I hope that's true, Marty. I think that's all we need to talk to you about right now. We may have more questions for you later. Would you have any problem with talking to us again?

Marty Rutgers: No. I want to help if I can.

Detective Armstrong: Good. We'll be by to take a look at that scrapbook a little later.

Marty Rutgers: I'll have it waiting for you.

Interview ended – 10:03 a.m.



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