Chuck Ward interview
The detectives spoke to Brenda Marsh's friend who was with her the afternoon of January 26th.
Monday, February 12, 2001 – 4:00 p.m.
Chuck Ward has been identified as the second teenager seen with Brenda Marsh, who was babysitting at the Williams residence across the street from Missy Hammond's residence, on Friday afternoon, January 26th.
Ward's mother, Vivian Ward, brought him into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department for an interview with Detectives Armstrong and Murphy.
The interview was recorded with the witnesses' knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Chuck Ward
- Vivian Ward
Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in to talk with us. Could you state your name and address for the record?
Chuck Ward: Chuck Ward. I live at 906 VanBuren.
Detective Murphy: And how old are you?
Chuck Ward: Fourteen.
Detective Murphy: We understand you were present at 312 Elm Street on the afternoon of January 26th. Is that correct?
Chuck Ward: Yes.
Detective Murphy: How did you happen to be there?
Chuck Ward: My friend, Brenda, was babysitting over there, and I went by to hang out with her for a little while.
Detective Murphy: Why?
Chuck Ward: Why?
Detective Murphy: Yes. Why?
Chuck Ward: I dunno. Just 'cause, I guess.
Vivian Ward: That's not much of an answer, Chuck. Why were you there?
Chuck Ward: I like Brenda. I thought it would be fun to hang out with her for awhile.
Detective Murphy: How would you characterize your relationship with Brenda?
Chuck Ward: What do you mean?
Detective Armstrong: Is she your girlfriend or is she just a friend?
Chuck Ward: I don't know. Sort of both, I guess.
Detective Murphy: What time did you arrive at the Williams residence?
Chuck Ward: I don't know. Around 3:30 maybe.
Detective Murphy: So where were you between 3:00 p.m., when school got out, and the time you arrived at the Williamses'?
Chuck Ward: I went As Seen On TV and played some pinball.
Detective Murphy: Did you have permission to go to the Williamses'?
Chuck Ward: What do you mean?
Detective Armstrong: Did your parents say it was OK?
Chuck Ward: I didn't ask them.
Detective Armstrong: Did Mr. or Mrs. Williams say it was OK?
Chuck Ward: No.
Detective Armstrong: Did Brenda say it was OK?
Chuck Ward: Well… yeah.
Detective Murphy: Who was at the Williams residence when you arrived?
Chuck Ward: Just me and Brenda and Rick and Teddy and Jenny
Detective Murphy: You're sure?
Chuck Ward: Yeah.
Detective Armstrong: Did you notice anything unusual in the neighborhood that day?
Chuck Ward: Well, you know, there was that whole thing that happened across the street.
Detective Armstrong: What was that?
Chuck Ward: This guy came over to that lady's house, and a little while later, they had this big argument.
Detective Murphy: Did you know the guy or the lady?
Chuck Ward: No. Brenda said the lady was named Missy and the guy was her boyfriend.
Detective Murphy: Can you describe them?
Chuck Ward: I don't know. The lady had long dark hair, and she was kind of pretty. The guy had kind of dark hair too. I don't know.
Detective Murphy: Did you notice what either of them was wearing?
Chuck Ward: I don't know. The guy was just wearing regular clothes. The lady was wearing some kind of… I don't know, nightgown or something, I guess.
Detective Armstrong: You said you saw them arguing. Could you tell us about that?
Chuck Ward: We were outside in the yard, and they came out of the lady's house all yelling at each other.
Detective Armstrong: Did you hear what they were saying?
Chuck Ward: No. We were kind of trying to distract the kids, you know, that Brenda was babysitting? So they wouldn't think it was a big deal.
Detective Murphy: Why were you trying to distract them?
Chuck Ward: I don't know. It just seemed bad, you know what I'm saying? Like they might get scared if they really paid attention to them arguing.
Detective Armstrong: Did you think the argument was scary?
Chuck Ward: No. Not scary. Just… not good. You know what I'm saying? Like I didn't think they oughta be yelling at each other like that. It just seemed like it might turn into something bad.
Detective Armstrong: Did it turn into something bad?
Chuck Ward: No. The guy took off, peeled out in his truck. The lady went back in her house after that.
Detective Murphy: Do you remember what time that was? When the guy left?
Chuck Ward: Not really. Maybe 4:00 or a little later? I don't know. It wasn't too long after I got there.
Detective Armstrong: Did you notice anything else happening at the lady's house that afternoon?
Chuck Ward: You mean when the guy came back?
Detective Armstrong: He came back?
Chuck Ward: Oh yeah, just a few minutes later.
Detective Murphy: How many minutes later?
Chuck Ward: I don't know. Ten? Fifteen? About that.
Detective Armstrong: What did he do when he came back?
Chuck Ward: He went up to the lady's front door and banged on it.
Detective Armstrong: What happened?
Chuck Ward: That other guy who lives next door to the lady, he came out of his house and walked up to the other guy.
Detective Murphy: Do you know that man's name?
Chuck Ward: No. Brenda probably knows.
Detective Murphy: Did you actually see him walk out of his house?
Chuck Ward: Yes.
Detective Murphy: He didn't come from some other place near his house? He actually came from inside his house?
Chuck Ward: Yeah. That's what I said, right? He came from inside his house.
Detective Armstrong: What did he do then?
Chuck Ward: The first guy, the lady's boyfriend? He saw this other guy walking toward him, and he went over to him and got all up on him, like he wanted to fight him.
Detective Armstrong: Did he? Fight him?
Chuck Ward: No. The one guy was sort of shoving the other guy and yelling at him, but the other guy didn't do anything. I guess he was kind of a wimp.
Detective Armstrong: Could you hear anything they said?
Chuck Ward: No. The one guy was yelling and you couldn't really understand him, and the other guy wasn't talking very loud. I told Brenda, I said, "I should go over there," but she wouldn't let me.
Detective Armstrong: So how did it end?
Chuck Ward: The one guy finally pushed the other guy kinda hard and gave him the finger. Then he took off again.
Detective Armstrong: He left? The lady's boyfriend?
Chuck Ward: Yeah. And then the other guy just went back in his house. What a wuss!
Detective Murphy: What do you mean? You thought he should have done something else?
Chuck Ward: I don't know. Just that one guy was kind of challenging him to a fight, you know what I'm saying? And the other guy just didn't do anything at all. He shoulda done something.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see anyone else in the neighborhood that afternoon?
Chuck Ward: No… I don't think so.
Detective Murphy: Are you sure?
Chuck Ward: Yeah, I think so. I don't remember anybody else.
Detective Murphy: What time did you leave the Williams residence that day?
Chuck Ward: About 5:00, I guess. I wanted to get home before my parents.
Detective Murphy: Really? Why?
Chuck Ward: Um…
Vivian Ward: Tell us, Chuck. Why?
Chuck Ward: Because they get mad if I'm not home when they get home.
Detective Murphy: Is that the only reason?
Chuck Ward: Yeah. What other reason is there?
Detective Murphy: I don't know. Is there any other possible reason?
Chuck Ward: No.
Detective Armstrong: OkK. Thanks for talking to us, Chuck. If you remember anything else that happened that day, you be sure to let us know, okay?
Chuck Ward: OK.
Detective Murphy: Mrs. Ward, we appreciate your cooperation. If we need to talk to your son again, we'll be in touch.
Vivian Ward: That'll be fine. Just let us know.
Detective Armstrong: Y'all have a good evening.
End interview – 4:27 p.m.