The detectives visited the Hammonds at their car dealership to talk about their son and former daughter-in-law.
Tuesday, February 6, 2001 – 9:30 a.m.
Thomas and Gloria Hammond are Roger Hammond's parents and Missy Hammond's former in-laws.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed them at Farrell Motors, which they own. The interview was recorded with the witnesses' knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Gloria Hammond
- Thomas Hammond
Detective Murphy: Thank you both for taking the time to speak with us today. For the record please, could you both please state your name and address?
Gloria Hammond: Gloria Hammond. We live at 934 Hayes in Oxford.
Thomas Hammond: And I'm Thomas Hammond. Same address.
Detective Murphy: And your relationship to Melissa Hammond?
Gloria Hammond: She used to be married to our son, Roger.
Detective Armstrong: Did you have any communications with Missy at the time of her death?
Gloria Hammond: Very little. If we talked at all, it was to make arrangements concerning Liddie. That was all.
Detective Armstrong: Was your relationship with her difficult? Did you get along?
Gloria Hammond: I have to admit that I wasn't all that fond of Melissa. From the very start, I just didn't feel like she was the type of woman Roger should marry. Even the circumstances regarding their marriage… what kind of girl gets herself pregnant in high school? I was always a little suspicious of that.
Thomas Hammond: Your son had something to do with that too, you know.
Detective Armstrong: I was fixin' to say the same thing.
Gloria Hammond: No one asked you, Thomas. And it's different for boys. They're expected to, well, sow their wild oats. But, even with our problems with Melissa, we decided it was best for Roger and Liddie if we made an effort to get along.
Detective Murphy: Mr. Hammond, I take it that you don't share your wife's opinion of Missy?
Thomas Hammond: She seemed like a nice enough woman. She put up with quite a bit from Roger during their first few years—
Gloria Hammond: She certainly did not put up with quite a bit from Roger. If anything, she deserted him when he needed her most. That is not what a wife does.
Detective Murphy: And just when did Roger need her most, Mrs. Hammond?
Gloria Hammond: Well, during their first years of marriage, Roger was having a very difficult time. The pressures of working for the first time, being married, being a father, all of these things added up on him, and Roger never dealt with pressure very well. So he struggled with various things. And that's when Melissa chose to desert our son, her husband.
Detective Armstrong: When you say "struggled with various things," are you referring to Roger's drug addiction?
Gloria Hammond: It's an illness. He couldn't help it. And yes, that's precisely when Melissa deserted him.
Detective Armstrong: So the relationship between you and Missy was not a good one?
Gloria Hammond: To say the least.
Detective Armstrong: But she continued to let you see Liddie?
Gloria Hammond: Of course. Why wouldn't she? She knows how much we adore that beautiful little girl. And Liddie loves us. Plus, the way that Melissa chose to live her life, I have to say that I'm very glad we did continue to see Liddie. There's no telling how she would turn out if left entirely up to Melissa.
Detective Murphy: OK, let's leave that for now. Tell me about Roger. Anything at all we should know about him?
Gloria Hammond: He was a wonderful child. And he's always been successful. He played football in high school you know—
Thomas Hammond: When he bothered to go to practice.
Gloria Hammond: Now, that's not true and you know it. He was very important to the team. And they made it to the final round of the playoffs his senior year. After graduation, Roger came to work for us, here at the dealership.
Detective Murphy: Was he really interested in selling cars or was that just an option that he happened to take?
Thomas Hammond: I can't say Roger ever really showed much interest in anything. But it was a good deal for him. He would get to learn all about the dealership and work his way up. So, it's not like it was a terrible thing for him to do.
Detective Murphy: And how is he performing in this job?
Gloria Hammond: Our Roger is great at his job. He was recently promoted to Sales Manager. He brings in quite a bit of business for the dealership. He is simply an amazing salesman. When no one else can close the deal, we send in Roger, and he takes care of it.
Detective Armstrong: I apologize if this next question comes across as disrespectful, but how much did Roger's last name have to do with his promotion? Is he really that good, or is it just because he's your son?
Gloria Hammond: I can assure you, he is that good. If you'd like, I can show you the books, and you can see for yourself just how many sales he creates.
Detective Armstrong: Thank you. We'll let you know on that. Now, concerning his job performance, had he been acting erratic lately?
Gloria Hammond: How do you mean?
Detective Armstrong: I don't know. Being late for work, sloppy clothes, disappearing during the day, anything like that?.
Thomas Hammond: That boy has been late every day of his—
Gloria Hammond: Of course not. Roger sets a very good example for the rest of the staff.
Detective Murphy: OK. Now, your relationship with your granddaughter. You saw her how often?
Thomas Hammond: We pick her up every Friday after school. Usually, we take her out to eat, maybe to the mall. Sometimes we see a movie.
Detective Armstrong: So how did you work out this deal, if you and Missy never got along? Mrs. Hammond mentioned earlier that she was glad that Missy allowed you to see Liddie, but how did this happen?
Gloria Hammond: It's very simple. I stopped by that so-called beauty shop where Melissa worked one day and asked her to come over to our house after work. She seemed hesitant, but she did, in fact, come. I explained to her how much we wanted to see Liddie and how I thought it was important to keep the two families together as much as was possible. And she agreed.
Detective Armstrong: That seems awfully nice of her.
Gloria Hammond: Nice has nothing to it. She knew I was right. But more importantly, it gave her ample opportunity to entertain men at her house. She was just happy to get a chance to do whatever it is she does with the trash she dates.
Detective Murphy: And on these Fridays, you took Liddie home at what time?
Thomas Hammond: Usually we had her home by 8:30 or so.
Detective Murphy: What did you discuss with her mother when you took her home?
Thomas Hammond: We didn't usually see her. We just let Liddie out and watched her go in the house.
Detective Murphy: You didn't walk her to the door or anything?
Gloria Hammond: Why should we? I wasn't about to walk into that house and face whatever was in there. Everyone knew that Melissa used our visits with Liddie as an opportunity to have men over. I'm not going to go in there and face whatever hoodlum she was cavorting with on that particular day.
Thomas Hammond: We always watched to make sure that Liddie made it to the door, that she got inside and everything was OK. When she was inside, she would flash the porch light at us three times to let us know everything was fine.
Detective Armstrong: OK. So, on the Friday before Missy's body was found, what did you do with Liddie while y'all were together that day?
Thomas Hammond: We took her to The Skate Place. She's just learning how to roller skate, and we would watch her go around the rink. After that, we went to Danvers for dinner and Baskin-Robbins for some ice cream, and then we took her home.
Detective Murphy: Where was your son while you were with Liddie?
Gloria Hammond: He was at the dealership, of course. Where else would he be?
Detective Murphy: I'm sure I don't know, ma'am. I thought you could tell us.
Gloria Hammond: Well, he was at work. He's very busy here, you know.
Detective Armstrong: When you dropped Liddie off that night, did she blink the porch lights at you?
Gloria Hammond: Yes, the same as always. Nothing was any different.
Detective Armstrong: What was your reaction when you heard the news about Missy's death?
Thomas Hammond: It was just terrible. I couldn't stop thinking of her and how—
Gloria Hammond: Terrible it was for Liddie. As if the poor girl didn't already have it tough enough. Such a tragedy that an innocent little girl has to go through something like that. We haven't even been able to see her since this happened. Melissa's family said Liddie was too upset, though I notice that doesn't stop them from spending time with her. Have you seen Liddie? How is she?
Detective Armstrong: We haven't interviewed her yet, but we're planning to do that later today.
Gloria Hammond: Well, you tell her that Mama Gloria and Papa Thomas love her and miss her. Tell her we'll see her soon.
Detective Murphy: All right, just a couple more things and then I think we're done here. You recently bought a computer for Liddie?
Gloria Hammond: Yes, she's just started school, and we thought it was important for her education. There was no way that Melissa was going to be able to get anything like that, so we gave Liddie a computer for her birthday in December.
Detective Murphy: Do you remember where you bought it?
Thomas Hammond: We bought it off the internet from the Gateway website. One of the guys at the dealership, Todd, is really good with computers. He helped us choose which one to get, and he placed the order for us. Gloria and I aren't too good with computers unfortunately.
Detective Murphy: Do you remember anything about a digital camera?
Thomas Hammond: I think some sort of camera came with the computer. Todd said that she would have fun with it. And I don't think it cost very much extra, maybe a couple hundred dollars.
Detective Murphy: But the camera definitely came from you?
Thomas Hammond: Yes, I believe so. I can check my records, but I'm almost positive that it's something we ordered. I don't know if it usually came with the computer, or if Todd added that on, but we definitely bought it.
Detective Murphy: I see. Before we finish up here, do either of you have any idea who might have killed Missy Hammond?
Gloria Hammond: Probably one of those hoodlums she liked so much.
Detective Armstrong: Think your son could've killed her?
Gloria Hammond: Certainly not! Roger is simply not the kind of person who would do something like that.
Detective Armstrong: Mr. Hammond? What do you think?
Thomas Hammond: He's got some flaws to be sure, but I don't think he would kill anyone.
Detective Murphy: What about the two of you? Did you either of you have any reason to want to see Missy Hammond killed?
Gloria Hammond: That is outrageous! What kind of people do you think we are? We have been respected members of this community for years. I resent you even asking such a thing!
Detective Murphy: I didn't mean to offend you, ma'am. You understand we do have to ask.
Thomas Hammond: Of course you have to ask. We understand.
Gloria Hammond: We certainly do not understand, Thomas. The very idea is ludicrous!
Detective Murphy: All right. I think that does it for now. We appreciate your time. If you think of anything that might be helpful to us in this investigation, please give us a call. We'll contact you if we have any more questions.
End interview – 10:23 a.m.