The detectives spoke with Missy Hammond's friend and neighbor, Kevin Travers, about what went on in the neighborhood the day before her body was found.
Saturday, January 27, 2001 – 11:09 a.m.
Kevin Travers was a neighbor and friend of Missy Hammond's.
Detectives Armstrong and Murphy interviewed him at his residence, 110 Hickory Street. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.
- Detective T. Armstrong
- Detective S. Murphy
- Kevin Travers
Detective Murphy: For the record, sir, could you please state your name and address?
Kevin Travers: My name is Kevin Travers. I live here at 110 Hickory in Oxford.
Detective Murphy: Can you tell us how you know Melissa Hammond?
Kevin Travers: Missy and I have been neighbors since 1997 when she first moved in next door. I brought over a "welcome to the neighborhood" coffee cake, and we've been friends ever since.
Detective Murphy: Would you say you were close friends?
Kevin Travers: I guess it would depend on what you mean by close.
Detective Murphy: Well, did you spend a lot of time together, hang out? Did she confide in you? That sort of thing?
Kevin Travers: Yes. I'd say that's about right. I'm a photographer and I work out of my house, so I'm around a lot.
Detective Murphy: Did you have any romantic attachment to one another?
Kevin Travers: No, we're just friends. Don't get me wrong. Missy's a great girl, and any man would be lucky to have her love him, but we're just friends. Missy and I take Liddie to the park sometimes. Or if she needs a sitter and nobody's around, I look after Liddie.
Detective Murphy: So, you know her daughter pretty well?
Kevin Travers: Yeah, she's a good kid. We get along pretty good. I got her her first camera, just a little Instamatic, but she's pretty good at it. Real smart little girl. She just got a computer for her birthday, and it came with a little digital video camera. She's been having a good time with that. She's a great kid.
Detective Murphy: When was the last time you talked to Ms. Hammond?
Kevin Travers: Yesterday afternoon. After the knock-down, drag-out.
Detective Murphy: The what? The knock-down, drag-out? What does that mean?
Kevin Travers: She and JP had a fight, again. They're always fighting.
Detective Armstrong: Who is JP?
Kevin Travers: JP Wallace, her boyfriend, though what she ever saw in him, none of us knew. He's bad news.
Detective Armstrong: How is he bad news?
Kevin Travers: He's a creep. Local gossip says he deals drugs sometimes. He must do something for money, only works part-time at some factory job. He can't make enough there to support himself.
Detective Murphy: What did Ms. Hammond have to say about your suspicions? You did share them with her, didn't you?
Kevin Travers: At first, she just said I was imagining things, that it was just gossip. But then lately, seems like she was coming around, but not enough.
Detective Armstrong: Not enough?
Kevin Travers: Well, she was still seeing him. Even though she was saying for the last couple weeks she was going to break it off, she never did.
Detective Murphy: Tell us about the fight they had yesterday. How do you know about it?
Kevin Travers: No way to avoid it. They were out in the front yard, yelling and screaming. Then he jumps in his truck and races off. You could have heard them screaming a mile away.
Detective Armstrong: When did the fight take place?
Kevin Travers: I don't know, must've been about 3:30, 4:00.
Detective Murphy: Could you hear what they were arguing about?
Kevin Travers: Yeah, she thought he was drunk or high. She didn't like that stuff. Her mama died from a drug overdose when Missy was a kid. She had no tolerance for that kind of thing. One of the reasons she and Roger split. He had a problem with that too.
Detective Murphy: Who is Roger?
Kevin Travers: Roger Hammond. Her ex-husband.
Detective Murphy: Her ex-husband has a drug or alcohol abuse problem?
Kevin Travers: Drugs, but supposedly he's kicked it. But I haven't seen him in quite a spell so I couldn't say. I just know it came up in the divorce, and she just was sick about it. Didn't want her child exposed to that. Just like any mother, I suspect.
Detective Murphy: So, they fought in the front yard, and JP took off. Then what happened?
Kevin Travers: I called her to make sure she was OK, if she wanted me to come over or something.
Detective Murphy: Why not just walk across the yard and knock on her door?
Kevin Travers: Missy doesn't like that, people just dropping by. She's pretty firm on that. No, you have to call first. Anyway, we talked a couple minutes. She said she was fine and didn't want any company, so I said OK.
Detective Armstrong: Did she say anything about the fight? What it was about? Anything like that?
Kevin Travers: Like I said, I pretty much heard the whole thing. She just said she'd had it and she wasn't going to see him anymore. She was just going to have a glass of wine and wind down. Relax 'til Liddie came home.
Detective Armstrong: So you just hung up and that was it?
Kevin Travers: No. I told her if she needed anything to give a holler. And reminded her to lock the doors. Someone tried to break in over there about a week back, so I wanted to make sure she was OK. You know?
Detective Murphy: Was Ms. Hammond given to forgetting to lock her doors?
Kevin Travers: No, I don't think so. I guess I was just feeling protective. Anyway, then we said goodbye and hung up. Then about fifteen minutes later, I heard JP pounding on her door and screaming for her to let him in.
Detective Murphy: Did she let him in?
Kevin Travers: Heck no. I went over there and run him off. Told him to beat it or I was going to call the cops.
Detective Armstrong: What did he do?
Kevin Travers: Nothing much. He saw me come out of my house and walked over to me like he wanted to start something. Got up in my face, called me every name in the book and sort of shoved me once like he was trying to get me to hit him. But I didn't. Then he just gave me the finger and got in his truck and raced off. I could smell the liquor on his breath. Just a pathetic loser, if you ask me.
Detective Armstrong: Did you call Ms. Hammond back to see if she was OK?
Kevin Travers: No, I knew she was OK.
Detective Armstrong: How'd you know that? Did she come out and tell you?
Kevin Travers: No. But I saw her at the window. Well, I didn't actually see her, but I saw the curtains move for a second, so I knew she'd seen me run him off. I figured if she felt insecure or something, that she'd have come out or called me. She didn't, so I figured she was OK.
Detective Murphy: Did you see anyone else outside when all this was going on? Anyone who might have seen anything?
Kevin Travers: You might want to talk to the Williamses across the street. The parents weren't home, but the kids were outside with their babysitters. They might have seen something.
Detective Murphy: Do you know the babysitter's name?
Kevin Travers: Brenda… Brenda March or Marsh. Ask the Williamses. They'll know. Joanne or Richard. They're the parents.
Detective Armstrong: Did you see Missy Hammond's daughter at any point during all this with JP?
Kevin Travers: No, Liddie spends Friday afternoons with Roger's parents, thank goodness. At least she wasn't here to see JP acting like that with her mother.
Detective Armstrong: Did you notice when Liddie was dropped off by the Hammonds?
Kevin Travers: No, I guess I was probably in my darkroom developing a few rolls of film I'd taken this week.
Detective Armstrong: And when did you start working on developing your film?
Kevin Travers: I don't know about 5:00 or so. I had a sandwich and made a pot of coffee, and then went in to work. Once I start doing that, I lose all track of time. I guess I finished up around 11:00 or so. I don't know. I was so beat, I just fell into bed and was out like a light 'til morning.
Detective Murphy: So you didn't hear anything else after about 5:00 or so?
Kevin Travers: No, ma'am. I didn't. I wish I'd have decided to do that film later. Maybe if I had, I would've saw something or heard something… I can't really believe this happened. She was such a sweet girl. Who could have…
Detective Armstrong: You can't go second-guessing yourself on these things, sir. Can you think of anything else that happened yesterday that struck you funny?
Kevin Travers: No, nothing. Well, one thing was a little strange. The lights in Missy's living room were on late.
Detective Murphy: How late?
Kevin Travers: Whenever it was that I quit for the night. I saw the porch light was still on and the living room. They usually had lights out by 10:00, and it was probably almost midnight.
Detective Armstrong: But you didn't call to see if there was a problem?
Kevin Travers: No, I didn't want to disturb her. She could have just forgot the porch light and left the TV on without realizing it. I don't know. I just didn't think it was right to call so late.
Detective Murphy: I understand. Can you think of anyone who would want to hurt Ms. Hammond?
Kevin Travers: Not anybody in his right mind. She's a sweet, caring young woman. Who'd want to hurt her?
Detective Murphy: That's what we intend to find out.
Kevin Travers: I hope you do. She didn't deserve this and neither did Liddie.
Detective Armstrong: If we have any more questions, we'll contact you.
Kevin Travers: Any time. Anything at all I can do, don't hesitate to call.
Detective Murphy: Thank you, Mr. Travers.
End interview – 11:48 a.m.