Tuesday, August 31, 2021 – 4:00 p.m.
Elliott Owens provides freelance IT services to customers, including the Harte Agency.
Detectives Murphy and Parker interviewed him at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective E. Parker
- Detective S. Murphy
- Elliott Owens
Detective Parker: Mr. Owens, glad you could make it. Please have a seat.
Elliott Owens: Afternoon, detectives. How can I help?
Detective Parker: Please first state your name, age, and address for the record.
Elliott Owens: Elliott Owens, 32 years old, 1264 Beanland Drive.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Owens, why do you keep twitching your fingers?
Elliott Owens: What? Oh, sorry. I don’t have my Rubik’s cube with me. I like to play with it when I get nervous.
Detective Murphy: And why are you nervous?
Elliott Owens: I’m still reeling over what happened to Annette. Horrible, how anyone could do such a thing.
Detective Parker: Mr. Owens, can you tell us where you were Saturday night?
Elliott Owens: I was at home, just surfing the internet and playing video games. It was a typical weekend.
Detective Murphy: Do you have anyone who can testify to your alibi?
Elliott Owens: Well, yeah. You can just ask my … uh, roommates.
Detective Parker: Can we have their names for the record?
Elliott Owens: Why? I mean, are you going to call them in for questioning? They don’t really like to be bothered.
Detective Parker: If the investigation calls for it, we might.
Elliott Owens: But—
Detective Murphy: Their names, Mr. Owens.
Elliott Owens: Rachel and Jack Owens.
Detective Murphy: You’re currently living with your parents?
Elliott Owens: I know it’s embarrassing at my age. I’m gonna move out soon, after I save up a bit more.
Detective Parker: All right, let’s move on. According to Mr. Harte, you’re doing freelance IT work for Harte Agency?
Elliott Owens: That’s right. I take care of their computer system and database, make sure everything’s backed up and running smoothly.
Detective Parker: How often are you required to physically show up at Harte Agency?
Elliott Owens: At most, once a week, to back up files and run a systems check. Usually Friday afternoons.
Detective Murphy: Were you at the Harte Agency last Friday?
Elliott Owens: I was actually there all last week and the week before.
Detective Parker: What were you doing?
Elliott Owens: Jeff was paying me overtime to work on a special side project with Annette. He thought there might’ve been a mole at Harte Agency because a number of their clients were backing out of deals at the last minute and switching over to Pearce, a rival company. Jeff was convinced that someone in Harte must’ve been releasing information to Pearce, and he wanted me and Annette to find out who that was.
Detective Parker: Was Friday the last time you saw Ms. Wyatt?
Elliott Owens: Yes. We were working late until 10:30 p.m.
Detective Parker: Was anyone else there at that time?
Elliott Owens: No, we were the last ones to leave the office that day.
Detective Murphy: How often did you work alone with Ms. Wyatt in the office?
Elliott Owens: Over the past several weeks, we’d stay late a few nights a week and go in Saturday afternoons.
Detective Murphy: Do you have a key or access to the Harte Agency office after hours?
Elliott Owens: No. Like I said, I’m usually never there. Lately, I go to the office when they’re still open or with Annette and leave with her since she has a key.
Detective Parker: Did you have any contact with Ms. Wyatt after work on Friday?
Elliott Owens: Later that night, around 11:00 or 11:30 p.m., I received an email from her saying that I didn’t need to come in on Saturday.
Detective Parker: What were the results of your investigation? Did you find the mole?
Elliott Owens: Well, no. But we were getting close. I could feel it.
Detective Murphy: Did Ms. Wyatt know the identity of the mole?
Elliott Owens: I don’t know. I don’t think so.
Detective Parker: If she didn’t know, then why would she tell Mr. Harte that he would know who the mole was on Monday?
Elliott Owens: I don’t know. She didn’t tell me everything.
Detective Murphy: What was your role in the investigation?
Elliott Owens: Going through all the Harte Agency files for the past two or three months and monitoring which employees have been viewing which files. Also checking the communication lines for any traces of contact with Pearce Brokers.
Detective Murphy: Does that require you to stay at Harte Agency after hours?
Elliott Owens: Well, yeah. I can’t exactly snoop around people’s computers when they’re working on them during the day.
Detective Murphy: And what was Ms. Wyatt’s role?
Elliot Owens: She was going over the records to see if anyone was looking at info they had no reason to be interested in. Sometimes she went out to try to talk to people to see if she could find out why they switched or how the clients came to them or whatever.
Detective Murphy: She was talking to the clients who left the Harte Agency for Pearce Brokers and to Pearce Brokers employees?
Elliott Owens: Yeah, I guess so. She did that part without me.
Detective Murphy: Where were you while she was doing that?
Elliott Owens: At the office, working on the computers.
Detective Murphy: She left you alone there?
Elliott Owens: Yeah. So?
Detective Parker: Do you know if anyone suspected what Ms. Wyatt was doing?
Elliott Owens: I doubt it. Jeff and I were the only other people who knew. My lips were sealed, and so were Jeff’s, obviously.
Detective Murphy: Did Ms. Wyatt have any enemies at work?
Elliott Owens: Not to my knowledge.
Detective Parker: What was your relationship with Ms. Wyatt?
Elliott Owens: I thought she was great, and I liked her a lot. Probably would’ve liked her more if she’d agreed to go out to dinner with me, but she was nice, pretty, and we were friends. I’ll … I’ll miss her.
Detective Murphy: One last question, Mr. Owens. If you were running this investigation, who would you talk to?
Elliott Owens: Rita Pearce, the head of Pearce Brokers. Also, maybe Tara Copeland, her receptionist. She’s basically Rita’s guard dog. If anyone wants to talk to Rita, they have to go through Tara first.
Detective Murphy: I think that’ll be enough for today. Thank you for your time, Mr. Owens.
Elliott Owens: It’s no problem at all. I want to help out any way I can.
Detective Parker: We appreciate it. We’ll be in touch.
Interview ended – 4:33 p.m.