Thu. May 12th, 2022

Lee Rodarte was a manager at the Bone Fish restaurant who killed a server there named Savannah Gold, in his car in the restaurant’s parking lot. She was 21 years old. Within minutes after the murder he texted her mother and brother text messages filled with misspellings, claiming she was leaving with a boyfriend.  He first denied any knowledge when questioned by police but three days after her disappearance he admitted to slashing her tire, killing her and directed investigators to her body in a body of water. He claims the murder was accidental. The incident was recorded on security cameras but investigators could not see what happened inside of the vehicle. Below is the interrogation video and transcript. The confession was edited out when it was published but everything leading up to, and following the confession remains. When it is the edited parts are released, the transcript will be updated. A case summary can be viewed here.

Lee Rodarte Interrogation Transcript

[conversation between investigator and officer about uncuffing Rodarte]

Officer 1:  Put your hands on your head, I’ve got to pat you down.

Lee Rodarte: Yes sir.

Officer 1:  Spread your legs for me. Do you have anything in your pockets?

Lee Rodarte: Nothing. They got it all.

Officer 2: I’ve got his hat and um [inaudible] in my trunk. I’ll go get them.

Officer 1: Okay. I just want to… Just our policy, you know what I mean?

Lee Rodarte: Yes sir. Yes sir.

Officer 1: Could you do me a favor? I’m going to have you take that apron off.

Lee Rodarte: Okay.

Officer 1: [inaudible] You can go ahead and have a seat right there for me. I’ll be right back, okay?

Lee Rodarte: Yes sir.

Officer 1: Need a water or anything?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, I’ll take some water.

Officer 1: Water? Yup, give me one second.

[Investigator leaves and returns with a bottle of water]

Lee Rodarte: [inaudible] Would it be, uh, possible if I could use the restroom?

Officer 1: Yeah, give me one second. Let me get my partner real quick and we’ll walk you there.

Lee Rodarte: Yes sir, no problem.

Officer 1: No problem.

[Officer 1 closes and opens the door]

Officer 1: You can come on.

[Rodarte leaves and returns from bathroom]

Officer 1: I’ll be right outside just knock if you need anything, okay? Just give me a couple minutes.

[90 minutes of silence]

Detective 1:  Hey man

Lee Rodarte: How are you doin?

Detective 1: Good good. Do you remember me from the other day? Detective Reeves?

Lee Rodarte: Yes, sir.

Detective 1: Uh, this is my partner, Detective [inaudibale]. She was interviewing some of the other folks, waiters and other staff people the other day, so she didn’t have the chance to come down at the time. Um. I want to talk to you, well actually, we wanted to… do you want some more water?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah. Actually, would it be alright to use the bathroom one more time?

Detective 1: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ll walk you out there. Grab, ah, hang on one second, let me grab something.

Lee Rodarte: No problem.

Detective 1: No worries.

[Detective 1 and Rodarte leave to bathroom]

[Detective 1 and Rodarte returns 7 minutes later]

Detective 1: You want some water?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, yes please if that would be alright.

Detective 1: Got a water?

[Detective 1 exits and returns]

Detective 1: Um, like I said, I kind of want to go over some stuff. We talked the other day for just a few minutes, and I had some concerns about a couple things and um, oh okay, um I wanted to talk to you about Savannah. So, I just have a couple of things that came up that I wanted to ask you about specifically that didn’t seem to line up. So, I wanted to come down to talk to you. Alright?

Lee Rodarte: Alright.

Detective 1: So, lets get a couple, let’s make sure I got your basic information. It’s Lee. Tell me how you pronounce your last name.

Lee Rodarte: Rodarte.

Detective 1: Rodarte. And that’s R-O-D-A-R-T-E and it’s 1081 Halifax Road, Jacksonville. What’s the zip?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, 32216.

Detective 1: 32216. Okay. Date of birth is 8/11/88?

Lee Rodarte: Yup.

Detective 1: And you’re 5’11”?

Lee Rodarte: Yup.

Detective 1: And what’s your approximate weight?

Lee Rodarte: Um… It’s been a while since I weighed myself but probably about 163, something like that.

Detective 1: 163? Okay, what color eyes do you have?

Lee Rodarte: Brown.

Detective 1: Brown? Hair is…

Lee Rodarte: Brown.

Detective 1: Brown. And what’s your phone number?

Lee Rodarte:  904-452-6094.

Detective 1: Okay. And your social, do you know your social?

Lee Rodarte: Pretty sure I do.

[edited out]

Detective 1: And white male. And how old are you?

Lee Rodarte: Um. I’m 28.

Detective 1: 28? And can you read and write?

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 1: What’s the last school you went to?

Lee Rodarte: Forest Highschool. Before it was [inaudible]

Detective 1: When did you graduate from there?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, ‘06.

Detective 1: Okay. 2006. Alright, and you can read and write. Have you had um, have you drank any alcohol today? Any drugs today?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I took an Adderall that my buddy gave me.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Because I was there late last night, and I was super tired like [inaudible] take this.

Detective 1: Alright, Adderall?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1: And do you normally take that?

Lee Rodarte: Nah, I was, I’ve taken one long time ago. I wouldn’t say high school. A little after high school but it’s been years.

Detective 1: Okay, uh, but nothing to drink, alcohol wise?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: Okay and how, about what time do you think you took the Adderall?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, It was probably twelve-ish.

Detective 1: Like noon?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1: Okay. And do you understand what I’m saying though? You able to communicate okay enough? It didn’t, you know, make you not be able to…

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: Okay. And no alcohol. And you said you can read and write?

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 1: Alright. Perfect, awesome. Okay, I want to ask you some questions, but I want to go over your rights. We are currently at 501 East [street] Street, which is the police memorial building. Today is August the 5th, 2017 and it’s approximately 7:15. Make sure about that. Yep. 7:15 p.m. give or take. Um, can you, will you read that? Just that top line for me?

Lee Rodarte: You have the following rights under the United States Constitution.

Detective 1: Perfect. I will read these with you, and you can kind of just follow. Um, you do not have to make a statement or say anything. Anything you say can be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before you make a statement or before any questions are ask of you and to have the lawyer with you during any questioning. If you can not afford to higher a lawyer, one will be appointed to you before any questioning if you wish. If you do answer questions, you also have the right to stop answering those questions at any time and consult with your attorney or with a lawyer. Do you understand those rights?

Lee Rodarte: Yes sir.

Detective 1: Okay awesome. If you just sign there that you understand that. That isn’t admitting or not saying anything, it’s just saying that you understand your rights.

Lee Rodarte: Okay.

Detective 1: Perfect. I appreciate it that. Alright so, um, Savannah. You said you knew her, and guys had… Uh, you knew her from work. I mean, just fill me in. How long have you known her…?

Lee Rodarte: Like I said, I have known her obviously since she start, since she started working there. Um, I would say probably about eight months ago or so we started hanging out outside of work. Um, and at the time I had a girlfriend. Um, but we kind of, you know, we kind of connected, me and Savannah. So, we hung out a little bit here and there. Um, got pretty close. Uh, we come from I guess somewhat similar, uh, backgrounds I guess you should say.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um, she didn’t have it the best growing up, neither did I. So, we kind of connected. Hung out for a while. Probably would say a period of two, three months. Um, and then she started using drugs a lot. Now, I used them with her, not the same drugs that she used all the time, um but I did them with her a couple times. And then she started to get heavy into them.

Detective 1: Oh, gotcha.

Lee Rodarte: So, um. I kind of just, uh, try to take a step back and, you know, put things off. Um, and after that, um, me and my ex started kind of chit chatting again [cross talk]

Detective 1: Okay, and who’s that? What’s her name?

Lee Rodarte: Her name’s Chelsea.

Detective 1: Okay, alright.

Lee Rodarte: Um, so, we kind of started chit chatting again, never really hundred percent because obviously she was still kind of upset about me hanging out with Savannah and stuff like that. Um, and then probably a month or so ago, um, I saw Savannah again at work and she looked healthy again. You know, she gained a little bit of weight and uh, just, you know, friendly talk at work. You know, telling her, you know, hope everything has been good and she told me, you know, that I guess she did a lot of drugs and ended up in the hospital. She ended up missing like, I want to say, a couple days, three or four days of work.

Detective 1: Oh okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um, so obviously, you know, me being pretty close to her I was concerned and everything. But after she came back, she looked good. She ended up telling me that, I guess, uh, you know, over those four days she detoxed pretty well. She kind of caught a… new sense into why she should do so much drugs …

Detective 1: Good for her.

Lee Rodarte: so much. And like I said, she looked good. She started looking healthy so, uh, we were kind of talking here and there and we hung out a couple times. Um, she came over to the house and we just kind of kicked back, drank a couple beers, watched movies, stuff like that. Um, and then as we hung out, you know, after a couple times, she brought drugs over. Um, and I told her, you’re doing really good. You can’t, you know, you shouldn’t be doing it again. You’re finally gaining weight. Because when we were together the first time, she was you know, she got really petite and just didn’t look well. Which is kind of why I took a step back plus, uh, my father used a lot of drugs growing up, my mother used a lot of drugs growing up. And it was just kind of a hard thing to see, you know, every time that we hung out.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Like I said, we did, uh like we took some pain pills here and there, on occasion, but then she started like bringing heroin over and stuff like that. That’s, uh. My mom was addicted to methamphetamines when she was, when I was younger. So those hard, like hard drugs does kind of scare me a little but so that’s why I stepped back the first time. Then I felt like she was better as we hung out recently and then she brought drugs over to my house the last time we hung out and uh, we would text here and there. I would ask her how she was doing, you know, hope her day was going good just… because I told her the last time we hung out I was like, you know, you’re doing really well, stop doing this, you know, you can do it.

Detective 1: Yeah, yeah. No doubt.

Lee Rodarte: Um, and I heard that she kept, was doing the same thing.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um, so, we texted a couple times and I end up telling her “hey, you know, for one I’m dealing with a lot of personal stuff myself right now as it is. I’m a little depressed. Um, but I think we’re moving too fast. I think we should stop talking”. Um, and she said “I understand, it’s completely fine. No problem”, you know. She said “I’ll delete your number. I’ll never text you again”.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: And I said “same”. And I was like “I’m sorry. Like, I didn’t mean to, you know, try to jump back into things, I just, I think we moved too fast”. Um, and I said I wouldn’t text her either. Just to be, you know, kind of split.

Detective 1: Mutual, yeah.

Lee Rodarte: Um, and that was the last time that we text.

Detective 2: When was that?

Lee Rodarte: Um, it was probably a couple, two or three weeks ago.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Sometime in July.

Detective 1: Right right. Yeah, I think that was one of the things you said was that was the last time that you had contact with her as far as, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth so you correct me if I’m wrong”

Lee Rodarte: That’s the last time that I text her.

Detective 1: Text or phone call or messenger or any like that is two to three weeks?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1: Okay. And um, the last time… When was the last time you saw her?

Lee Rodarte: This is what I was [inaudible]. I didn’t tell you the truth when we talked [inaudible]. The last time I saw her was Wednesday afternoon.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um. I heard that she has been, basically telling a lot people at work that, um, we hooked up a bunch a couple days before that and that she was going to like, tell about the whole situation and try to get me fired.

Detective 1: Why, why would that get you fired?

Lee Rodarte: Well, I’m a manager and she’s an employee.

Detective 1: Okay, so you guys aren’t supposed to fraternize?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1: Okay, I gotcha.

Lee Rodarte: And she just told people she was out with at work at the restaurant that we were having sex and hooking up and stuff like that. That I was her boyfriend and this and that. Um, so I was a little upset. Obviously, you know, I care about my job. Um…

Detective 1: Sure, how long have you been working there again?

Lee Rodarte: Um, it’ll be five years in December.

Detective 1: Okay, yeah. Right.

Lee Rodarte: So I was a little upset. Um, so. I met her in the parking lot at BoneFish.

Detective 1: When was this?

Lee Rodarte: Wednesday afternoon.

Detective 1: Okay. Do you know what time or about?

Lee Rodarte: Um, it was about 5:30.

Detective 1: Okay.

Detective 2: When you say you met her, was she meeting you too or…

Lee Rodarte: Um, I didn’t call her…

Detective 2: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: I just drove up there to see if maybe she was working. I was going to, you know, talk to her and um…

Detective 1: Did you know if she was working that night?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I did.

Detective 1: You did not.

Lee Rodarte: I did.

Detective 1: Oh, you did.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1: Oh, I’m sorry. So, you knew she was working that night.

Lee Rodarte: So, I drove up there and was hoping I would get the chance to talk to her.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um, I pulled in the parking lot. She pulled in a little bit after me. I parked. And I said “Hey, can I talk to you for a second?” um, and she said “yeah, what’s up?” and I was like “I heard you’ve been saying some things about me and you continuing to hang out and we’re boyfriend and girlfriend and she asked me, she said “Can I come sit in the car because I just did some heroin and I’m a little paranoid”.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: I said, “why are you doing that?” You know, you’ve been doing really well, you shouldn’t be doing that.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um and, she came and got in the car and I explained to her the situation that, I told her that servers and Bone Fish were coming to me and telling me that you’re telling people when you’re out that we’re having sex and we’re boyfriend and girlfriend and I said “I would appreciate, you know, I need you to stop. Because for one this is jeopardizing my job. We agreed to, you know, split. Stop talking mutually and just move on and you know, be cordial or whatever” but um, it was nothing more than that.  And she said “I’m going to do what I want, uh, you can believe what you want, I didn’t tell anybody anything” and I told her, I said “the girl that you were out with told Chelsea that we were still having sex and that you were just at my house like yesterday, hanging out” and..

Detective 1:  That she was out with when?

Lee Rodarte: That Savannah was out with a couple nights prior.

Detective 1:  Okay. Gotcha.

Lee Rodarte: I guess at one of the bars [cross talk]

Detective 1:  And who’s that?

Lee Rodarte: The girl that she…

Detective 1:  Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: The girl that she was with? He name was Rachel.

Detective 1:  Rachel. Okay. Rachel told Chelsea that…

Lee Rodarte: Savannah was saying that uh… cause me and Chelsea talk, we are very, you know, friendly at work, you know. We joke back and forth “haha” and uh, um, and Savannah said “Yeah, I did say that”, you know, uh “I don’t really like Chelsea”, you know. And I said “look, you need to stop because for one, like I said, we agreed to go our separate ways, and this is jeopardizing my job and it is making me really upset having to come into work. You know? Or talk to Chelsea and she just constantly, you know, badgering me about stuff that you’re saying that isn’t true.

Detective 1:  Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: Um. And I told her that she needs to stop. Um. At that point…

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: I said “Stop, I’m serious. I don’t want to talk to you, it’s not good for us, so let’s stop” and she just said, “why did you do that?” I said “well, I’m upset” and she said, “fuck you”, you know “you’re a piece of shit”. She said she was going to keep talking, telling lies and stuff about me and everything like that, and I said…


Lee Rodarte: and at that point, uh, she had a phone in her hand, she got out of the car and walked towards the main entrance of San Jose.

Detective 1:  So, like if, um.

Lee Rodarte: So, like if this is…

Detective 1:  I know Bone Fish is over here, this is San Jose, this is the bank over here in this area. Where were you guys parked?

Lee Rodarte: She was parked here.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um, to the left of the five-star ATM.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: I was parked here.

Detective 1:  Okay, alright, so you’re like here?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah, um, I was, I was probably three spaces away.

Detective 1:  Okay, from her car?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um so.

Detective 1:  And what do you drive?

Lee Rodarte: I drive a Chevy Malibu.

Detective 1:  Okay. What color is it?

Lee Rodarte: Silver.

Detective 1: Silver Chevy Malibu.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Does it have Colorado tags, Florida tags, Georgia tags?

Lee Rodarte: Florida tags.

Detective 1:  Okay. And um, did you, when you got there did you pull into the parking place or did you park sideways, did you…

Lee Rodarte: I backed in, I backed in.

Detective 1:  Okay, you backed in.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  You backed into this parking space over by the bank area um, by the five-star ATM.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1: And you’re driving a Silver Chevy Malibu with a Florida tag. Okay. And she pulls in over on this side of you?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Okay, so like, if you’re in your car and you’re sitting here, she would be on your left, the driver side.

Lee Rodarte: So, if I’m sitting facing forward, yeah, she would be on the driver’s side.

Detective 1:  Does she back in, does she pull in?

Lee Rodarte: She pulled in.

Detective 1:  Okay. Alright. So, when she gets out she’s close enough to you and that’s when you motioned her over or called her over or said “hey can I talk to you”…

Lee Rodarte: Yeah, I said “hey can I talk to you”.

Detective 2: Were you by yourself?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 2: Okay. Nobody in the car with you?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1:  Nobody in the car with her?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1:  Okay, alright. What was she wearing?

Lee Rodarte: Um, her uniform.

Detective 1:  Her uniform. Okay. Alright. And then she comes over, she says “can I get in the car?” If I say anything wrong, correct me. Okay? I’m going to repeat back but if I don’t get something right, I need you to make sure I’m saying the right thing. Okay. Um, you say “hey, can I talk to you” and she walks over, approaches on the driver’s side. You in the car or out of the car?

Lee Rodarte: In the car.

Detective 1: Okay. You’re sitting in the driver’s seat?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Okay. Um, and she, she asked if she can get in because she just did heroin and she, how does she do it? Does she shoot up, smoke it, snort?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, she snorts it.

Detective 1:  Okay. And then…

Lee Rodarte: She’s told me she shot up before, but…

Detective 1:  Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: Never in front of me.

Detective 1:  Okay, and then she comes and gets in the car with you?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Is your car a two door or four door?

Lee Rodarte: Four door.

Detective 1: Four door. Does she get in the front seat, back seat?

Lee Rodarte: She gets in the back and I ask why she got in the back.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um, and she was like “I just don’t want anybody to see me”, you know.

Detective 2: And when did you get in, too?

Lee Rodarte: Um, she said “you can come back here, and we can talk”

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: So, I got out and got in the back seat.

Detective 1:  Okay so you guys are both in the back seat now?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Okay, gotcha. Alright, alright. I wasn’t sure. Um, and then how the conversation went basically you’re telling her to leave you alone. Stop harassing you or why are you telling people we’re having sex and you guys; um you don’t want to jeopardize your job.

Lee Rodarte: I just told her, you know, especially since she was high I was like “we just don’t need to have anything to do with each other” and uh, she said “fuck you, I’m going to keep doing this” and whatever. So…

Detective 1:  Alright.

Lee Rodarte: So, I got out and…


Detective 1: And then you got back in and then what did you say to her?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I said “you know, could you leave me alone? Like, I’m serious, I don’t want to talk to you.” And she said, “fuck you, why’d you do that?” And I said, she continued to say that she was going to do whatever she wants and say what she wants no matter what and I knew in my mind it was because she was high.

Detective 1:  Yeah, so what did you say to all that? [cross talk] Obviously you got to get pissed.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah, I got aggravated.

Detective 1: I would too.

Lee Rodarte: I got frustrated and I said [edited] and then…

Detective 1:  Now you [edited]

Lee Rodarte: No you go ahead.

Detective 1:  Um, we were told that had happened before to her car. Have you heard that?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I didn’t hear that her car was vandalized before.

Detective 1:  You have?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1:  Okay, so you didn’t know about that.

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1:  Okay. Same deal, okay. Alright. Okay, what were you saying something about, the um, you were, did you get back in the car?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  And did you get in the front seat or back seat?

Lee Rodarte: I got in the front seat.

Detective 1:  Okay. That time you got in the front seat. Where is she?

Lee Rodarte: She was in the back seat still and at that point I said, you know, “now leave me alone”. She responded [edited] and she said, “fuck you” you know, “I’ll do what I want” and she got out, and it looked like she was either texting or calling somebody.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um, because as she started walking towards the, there’s an entrance to the, um, to the plaza…

Detective 1:  Okay, closer towards the 295.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: I wouldn’t say she was walking along the edge of the plaza, but she was walking maybe towards this way and I would say an older model Ford pickup…

Detective 1:  Mm-hm

Lee Rodarte: Green.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Uh, drove past me and around, and she got in.

Detective 1:  Okay. So, um, she, had she, when you guys are talking in the car back and forth, she’s not, is she calling somebody while you guys are talking back and forth on the phone?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I didn’t see, she didn’t call anybody, no. She had her phone in her hand.

Detective 1:  Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: But um, but I don’t think she texts anybody.

Detective 1:  So, she gets out of the car with you and starts walking this direction.

Lee Rodarte: I was in the car.

Detective 1:  You were in the car, but she got out.

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 1:  Now you’re in the front seat. So, she gets out of the back seat and starts walking towards, or in the direction of, not necessarily paralleling San Jose, but she’s walking towards 295 or down towards that entrance area, um, and then she has her phone and you thought she was calling somebody.

Lee Rodarte: Um, she was, she had it in her hand and it looked like, I mean, I couldn’t tell if she was texting or not or anything…

Detective 1:  But she had her phone out.

Lee Rodarte: She had her phone out and she was looking at it. And then, uh, it looked like she was going to put it up to her ear and then the green truck came around …

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: And

Detective 1:  So how long do you think, um, it was between the time she got out and started using her phone and that green truck pulled up?

Lee Rodarte: Um, maybe five minutes.

Detective 1:  Okay, so wow. So, if she called somebody, they got there in five minutes to pick her up.

Lee Rodarte: I mean, like I said it looked like she, she was going to call somebody and that’s when the green truck came around and she got in.

Detective 1:  Okay. Okay. She gets in the truck. What happened at that point?

Lee Rodarte: Um, they drove back around, kind of looped around a little bit

Detective 1:  Which way did they drive?

Lee Rodarte: So, she was say, here. The green truck comes here, and then kind of like, loops around, and it looked like, I guess they exited that way and at that point I left.

Detective 2: They exited going which way down [inaudible]?

Lee Rodarte: Um, toward [inaudible]. I guess to leave the, uh…

Detective 1:  So, they come out of the back side of this bank, like this way…

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Towards Clair and San Jose.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  And then you pull out. Which way do you go?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I go around and then go out…

Detective 1:  The same way.

Lee Rodarte: The same way, yeah.

Detective 1:  And where do you go from there?

Lee Rodarte: From there, I go home.

Detective 1:  Go straight home.

Detective 2: Tell me your route that you went.

Lee Rodarte: Uh, 295 all the way to Peach Blvd, Peach Blvd to Grove Park.

Detective 1:  How long does that usually take you? Depending on traffic obviously.

Lee Rodarte: Mmm… [inaudible] I think it usually takes me about 25 minutes or so.

Detective 1:  Okay. What happened to your neck?

Lee Rodarte: That was self-inflicted, actually.

Detective 1:  Why?

Lee Rodarte: I just been having a hard time, uh, I couldn’t…

Detective 2: To your neck?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah and [displays arm]

Detective 2: What did you use?

Lee Rodarte: A knife.

Detective 2: When did you do that?

Lee Rodarte: Um.. sometime in July.

Detective 2: You did that in July and it’s still…

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 2:  Bloody-ish.

Lee Rodarte: Well, it’s, I kind of peel the scab here and there at work. [inaudible] stuff like that. I peeled it last night working.  Um, this was coming off a bit today, so I peeled that a little bit.

Detective 1:  Okay, let me see.

Lee Rodarte: But this and this was the same night. This one was just a lot worse…

Detective 1:  Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: Than this one was.

Detective 1:  Okay, and this was in July?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Like a few weeks back?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Okay. Okay. So, who, could you see who the person in the truck was?

Lee Rodarte: Um, the truck had fairly tinted windows. I saw a baseball cap.

Detective 1:  Yeah. Okay. Guy, girl, white, black?

Lee Rodarte:  I couldn’t really tell, if it was a guy or a girl. Um, I just remember seeing the truck drive and her get in.

Detective 1:  Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: I’m sitting in the front and the truck drives right past me and I saw a baseball cap through the passenger window. Um, but…

Detective 1:  So, it seemed like she knew the person?

Lee Rodarte: I mean, she got right in.

Detective 1:  Had you ever, um, seen that truck before?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1:  Never.

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1:  Have you seen it since then?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: Did she say…

Detective 2: Why… Go ahead.

Detective 1: Did she say anything to you when she got out of the car other than fuck you?

Lee Rodarte: She was just like “fuck you. I’m going to do what I want.”

Detective 1:  She doesn’t say anything other than that? Okay.

Detective 2: Why didn’t you mention this before since we’ve been looking for this girl? I mean, don’t you think this information [cross talk]

Lee Rodarte: I mean it definitely, it definitely does. And I regret not saying anything before. Um, I mean, I talked to Chelsea and she said, “you need to tell them everything you know”.

Detective 1:  When did you talk to Chelsea? You talked to Chelsea about this?

Lee Rodarte: Yes. Um, the day that it happened. Because, I mean, her whole issue was me hanging out with Savannah prior.

Detective 1:  Sure, and if Savannah is out of the picture then you guys can be free to have your relationship, be back together.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  Yeah, I mean. Savannah is in the way, in essence. She kind of creeped in, she sounds like an ass to you. If she’s out there telling people you guys are having sex, or if you are, um then she’s the one pushing your buttons, she’s pushing Chelsea…

Lee Rodarte: I mean I told Chelsea I was going to tell her to leave me alone.

Detective 1:  You were going to tell Savannah?

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  When did you tell Chelsea that?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I believe it was Tuesday night, maybe.

Detective 1:  Tuesday. Okay. Um, and you, how do you guys talk? Facebook? Text?

Lee Rodarte: Text message.

Detective 1:  Okay. And do you have a Facebook?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1:  You don’t have one at all?

Lee Rodarte: Um… I had one. I deactivated it, maybe a month or two ago.

Detective 1:  It’s still there, just don’t use it or…

Lee Rodarte: I deactivated it the account.

Detective 1:  Okay, so you don’t even have one that’s out there then.

Lee Rodarte: No. Um, I did have one when Savannah and I first started talking. That was kind of how we talked.

Detective 1: A way for you guys to talk without Chelsea knowing what was going on. I’m not telling Chelsea I’m just…

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1:  So, when I come up and talk to you yesterday, I’m not threatening, I’m talking to everybody up there, what?

Lee Rodarte: I freaked out, to be honest with you.

Detective 1:  That this girl is missing?

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 1:  Okay, but you know she’s been missing. I mean, you knew from, from essence from day one, that she’s been missing. And you um, you freaked out [cross talk]

Lee Rodarte: Obviously you know, you know I was the last one to see her, so I was a little bit scared about that. Um, and…

Detective 1:  How do you know, you just said you weren’t the last one to see her, you just said somebody in a truck…

Lee Rodarte: Well, I mean, the last one to see her at Bone Fish. Last one she’s heard from, had contact that anybody knows of.

Detective 1:  Sure.

Lee Rodarte: Um, and I know, thought that I had a warrant out already.

Detective 1:  Okay. What’s the warrant for?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, I didn’t go to a court date for a ticket.

Detective 1:  Okay. Okay. But I talked to you last night and I didn’t have handcuffs, I wasn’t threatening in any way…

Lee Rodarte: Definitely not but I mean…

Detective 1:  And I left so what were you, what were you, if you were worried you were going to get arrested then it would have happened.

Lee Rodarte: Well, that’s another reason that uh, my, Chelsea called me, and I said “you know, I told them I didn’t know anything, what do I do now, you know, I already…”

Detective 1:  When did you tell Chelsea that? When did you talk to her?

Lee Rodarte: Um, about

Detective 1:  It had to be after last night so was it today?

Lee Rodarte: No. I didn’t talk to her today.

Detective 1:  Okay, so how was I up there talking to you at about 11 o’clock but you talked to her after?

Lee Rodarte: I’m sorry, it was earlier in the day. I, cause, obviously I told her what happened, the day that it happened. Um, and told her that I was going to tell Savannah to leave me alone.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: The day before. And after I told her about what happened about me, you know, getting in the car with some guy. Um, she, we talked a little bit just about, you know, how it’s kind of crazy, you know what I’m saying. And I said, “you know, she hasn’t hung out with the best of people in her past.”

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: Um, she asked if I knew who it was. Said “no”. Um, just told her it was a green truck. Um, and then everything happened, and her mom and police came up there and everything like that, so we talked Thursday night. And she said, “you need to tell somebody”.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: And I was like, how, I don’t know what to do, I’m scared. You know, I don’t want to get in trouble for, you know, anything or have anything, you know, be a suspect or anything like that. Which, I mean, was obviously not the right decision to make.

Detective 1:  Yeah, yeah.

Lee Rodarte: Because now…

[cross talk]

Detective 2: We could have been three days ahead with this.

Lee Rodarte: Obviously. Obviously now it looks, um…

Detective 1:  So, um, so you’re saying that there’s a green, what kind of truck was it?

Lee Rodarte: It looked like a Ford. Mid-90’s.

Detective 1:  Mm-hm. Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: It was a two door. Maybe the one with the little third door that you open from the side.

Detective 1: Okay. Um, well, the good thing about that is, um, we should be able to verify all of that, all of this kind of thing, so that won’t be a problem at all. Um, yeah, I’m just, I don’t know. So you said you told her that you had talked to us, but I don’t think, chronologically I don’t think that matches up.

Lee Rodarte: We, we talked Thursday and…

Detective 1:  Not last night [inaudible]

Lee Rodarte: No. We talked Thursday after like, her mom and everything was on the news.

Detective 1: Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: And she called me and was like “hey everything is all over the news. Uh, you need to, you need to tell somebody you know. She said “Call the hotline” or something like that.

Detective 2: Did you call the hotline?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I told her I did just because in my head I wasn’t, I was scared to call that night.

Detective 2: So, but did you ever call the hotline?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: So, this, you haven’t told anyone about this yet, other than Chelsea.

Lee Rodarte: Chelsea is the only person that knows.

Detective 1:  Okay. Okay. You …

Lee Rodarte: Just because I felt like I could, you know, [cross talk]

Detective 1:  So how did that conversation go with you and Chelsea, um?

Lee Rodarte: She kept asking me what happened, you know, what happened. And I would tell her and she said it’s crazy. Um, and then she told me that, you know, I need to call somebody and let them know that I was talking to her Wednesday, um, before the news said she went missing.

Detective 1: Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: And I said I would.

Detective 1:  Okay.

Lee Rodarte: And I didn’t.

Detective 1:  How did, how did the conversation end with you guys?

Lee Rodarte: She was, she told me, she basically said she’s not going to, she doesn’t want to associate with me because I talked to Savannah on Wednesday. [cross talk]

Detective 1:  You already told her you were going to do that.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1: Okay, so, here…

Lee Rodarte: See, the thing with, me and Chelsea would argue all the time about me not telling Savannah…

Detective 1: To cut it off or whatever.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah. Yeah.

Detective 1:  But you go up, and you meet, Chelsea knows you’re going to go meet Savannah Wednesday afternoon.

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 1:  She knows that. Afterwards, do you guys talk about how that conversation went?

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 1: Okay, so you guys, so she knows how the conversation ended.

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 1: And you told her that night, Wednesday night, about the truck and about the [edited]. Was there ever, you just called her and told her?

Lee Rodarte: No, we spoke first via text.

Detective 1: Okay, um. So, you text her from your phone [edited] so that’s on your phone?

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 1: Okay, so that text message is on your phone?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: Why not?

Lee Rodarte: [Edited] You know, they said Savannah was missing, ‘cause I freaked out. I was like, holy crap.

Detective 1: Yeah. That sounds like, sounds crazy.

Lee Rodarte: Which is, which is… I mean obviously me sending a picture of one of the things they pointed out on the news kind of, scared me.

Detective 1: Sure, absolutely. Um, so how, how, did you all get together or talk anymore Wednesday night? How, did she do a follow up with you? How did the conversation go? How did the rest of Wednesday go?

Lee Rodarte: Um, we, she called me on my way home. Um, and you know, asked where I was. I told her, I was like “pulling into my neighborhood”. Um, and then we just talked about the situation. She asked what I said to Savannah. What Savannah said to me and you know [edited] Because she was texting me while Savannah and I were talking and I didn’t reply because we were talking and, you know, we were going back and forth so I didn’t text her back. So I told her I’m not ignoring you, we were talking [edited] So she called me and asked me what I was doing, I said I was in my neighborhood, about to go home. Uh, went home. Uh, we texted a little bit more here and there. She asked me what I was doing, told her I was eating. I sent her a picture after I got out of the shower because she was like “oh you haven’t gotten any pics” this and that so um as I was getting out of the shower I got the text message and texted her a picture of me getting out of the shower and uh she said she didn’t believe I was home or something like that.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: So I sent her a picture. And other than I hung out at the house.

Detective 1: Okay.

Detective 2: By yourself?

Lee Rodarte: No. I have a roommate.

Detective 2: Okay, what’s his name?

Lee Rodarte: Aaron. A-A-R-O-N. Bieger. B-I-E-G-E-R.

Detective 2: B-I-E-G-E-R.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah, he’s um,

Detective 1: P or B?

Lee Rodarte: B.

Detective 1: B. Okay, he’s what? I’m sorry.

Lee Rodarte: He’s who I moved in with.

Detective 1: Okay. So, Wednesday night over at your house it’s you and Aaron.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah.

Detective 1: Okay. Okay.

Detective 2: Is Aaron there when you get home?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 2: What time did he get home?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, 11ish.

Detective 1: Okay.

Lee Rodarte: A little bit after.

Detective 2: So before that you just hung out at the house by yourself and ate?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I ate some dinner, took a shower, Chelsea actually came over Wednesday night, if I’m not mistaken.

Detective 1: Okay.

Detective 2: And what did you all do?

Lee Rodarte: Just hung out, watch movies, drunk a couple beers.

Detective 1: Okay. Um. So where, where, when she’s in the car what is she, what does she say to you about what her plans are? So, she’s scheduled to work that night. So, she’s going to work?

Lee Rodarte: We didn’t talk about, uh, I assumed she was going to work. Um, she was in her uniform.  But she didn’t say, when she got out of the car she doesn’t say anything after she gets out of the car.

Detective 1: And she gets in that truck she, lets be honest, we wont even call her she, Savannah, okay. Um, Savannah, again with this picture if we are using it in the same place, from where you’re drawing was, they drove over here. You’re here, and you, they drive out over here. Do they stop? Does she stop and get out and go to work? Does the truck keep going?

Lee Rodarte: Um, I didn’t see once they turned the corner past the ATM. Once she got in and they left, I left. Cause I just…

Detective 1: Did you run into them on the road anywhere?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: Okay. Did she call you later on or text you later on?

Lee Rodarte: Savannah? No.

Detective 1: No other contact with her?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: So, where’s Savannah right now?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 1: Where would I find her?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 1: That’s my prime objective is to find her.

Lee Rodarte: Definitely.

Detective 1: I think time’s running out on her and I think that….

Lee Rodarte: I mean, I’ve, I should have said something to you guys when I talked to you guys.

Detective 1: Oh yeah yeah yeah.

Lee Rodarte: I should have said something Wednesday or when Thursday when it was brought to everyone’s attention.

Detective 1: So, tell me how I go from nice guy, never met you, you seem like a nice guy, I come up and talk to you, again, you know, you agreed there was nothing threatening or anything about our conversation. Just asking you for some simple basic things. Where we just talked for a few minutes. And you, um, didn’t tell me this story. I’m not going to say the truth because I think there’s holes in this story too.

Lee Rodarte: Okay.

Detective 1: Um, so you don’t tell me this story and then today we’re talking again because I brought you down to talk to you because I found holes in that story that didn’t match up and now you’re telling me another story that has holes that does not match up. So, where’s Savannah?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 2: Why were you being hesitant about Chelsea being at your house? First you said that you were by yourself, you ate alone

Lee Rodarte: Yes, I ate dinner alone. Yes.

Detective 2: Right, but that’s not true either because you ordered Pa Pa Johns for you and Chelsea. [cross talk]

Lee Rodarte: I ate, I ate corndogs earlier in the evening and when Chelsea got there, she was hungry, so I said…

Detective 2: But you clearly said you were alone.

Lee Rodarte: When I ate the corndogs, yeah.

Detective 2: Okay, yeah. Well you know what I’m saying.

Lee Rodarte: I remember specifically texting Chelsea “I’m eating corndogs”.

Detective 1: And all that is on your phone?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 2: Why would you delete all that?

Detective 1: Just a conversation with you and Chelsea you would delete about “I’m having corndogs”?

Lee Rodarte: That text might be on there.

Detective 1: Okay, but she…

Lee Rodarte: We got to talking about me going up to Bone Fish and everything like that.

Detective 1: Yeah. Yeah.

Lee Rodarte: Chelsea said, you know “don’t involve me”, you know…

Detective 1: Does Chelsea believe you?

Lee Rodarte: She, I don’t know…

Detective 1: Okay. Um, just so you know, Chelsea thinks you’re bullshitting. Okay, because we’ve talked to her. We’ve talked to a lot of people.

Lee Rodarte: I mean, that’s about the gist of, you know, Chelsea’s attitude towards me for the most part for the past months. Ever since me and Savannah.

Detective 2: Is that because you’re a liar? I mean, to her, in the past?

Lee Rodarte: That’s pretty much what she labels me as, yeah. Because…

Detective 2: Do you lie?

Lee Rodarte: Not about every, no, obviously to her about hanging out with Savannah and stuff like that…

Detective 2: Okay.

Detective 1:  And you lied to me, about Savannah.

Lee Rodarte: Yes sir.

Detective 1: Okay. So, I’m just, I’m not trying to say anything…

Lee Rodarte: I understand.

Detective 1: I’m just trying to lay out the facts. I want to find this girl. I need to find her.

Lee Rodarte: I understand.

Detective 1: Here’s a couple reasons I need to find her. One is, um, I’m hoping that she is still alive. And that’s really, I’m really do, I’m holding out for that, um, and if she’s not alive then I think she and her family are due that knowledge. I think they need some closure. Um, cause I think the reality is, if somebody you know is dead somewhere a parent would want to know.  I think if, do you have kids?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: Okay so, one day when you have kids, you, what beyond certainty is, is whatever kind of person she is, and I’m not about to say what kind of person she is, um, because I’m not making any judgements. I’m saying, this human being, if she’s alive, then I want to find her. I need to make sure she’s okay because it’s been several days now, she hasn’t been around. Some, there’s, things that happen to the human body and some people can’t stand a lot of things that can transpire. But the other thing is is if she’s not alive this family deserves better than this. This family deserves better than somebody who works with her and who has knowledge but won’t tell the police because they’re worried about their own ass. Because that’s pretty cheap. I’m going to be honest with you

Lee Rodarte: I agree

Detective 1: Your feelings in it? I don’t really care about your feelings. What I care about finding her. So, where is she?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know where she is.

Detective 1: Where is Savannah?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 1: I need to know Savannah is so I can let her family is.

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know where she is.

Detective 1: You don’t know because you had something done with her and you weren’t involved with that part? I don’t know. Tell me something. What can I work with?

Lee Rodarte: I told you the last time I saw her.

Detective 2: That’s not true because we have proof. We have proof. And that’s why we’re sitting here, Lee. At this point where we need that for her. I mean, I look at that little girl and I think of my little girl. My little girl that’s her age. That’s who I think about. If that was my little girl, I couldn’t imagine. I don’t care what she said about you or whatever. But my little girl is that age.

Detective 1: Maybe…

Detective 2: And you’re not telling the truth.

Detective 1: Maybe something get’s out of hand in the car.

Lee Rodarte: I didn’t do anything.

Detective 2: Okay, you didn’t do anything, but she was in your car. She never got out of your car. She never got out of your car, Lee.

Detective 1: We’re not saying you did anything. I’m trying to find her. I didn’t say you did anything.

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know where she is.

Detective 2: Well, we can prove that you left with her in the car. So please, do, do, do everybody a favor and just tell us.

Detective 1: Where is she?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 1: You got to be able to separate. We’re not saying you did anything to her. I don’t know, she’s on drugs. Maybe she passed out. I don’t know. I’m not in that car with you guys. I know that she’s in that car with you. I have proof of all of this.

Detective 2: Okay I’m going to ask you Lee, you tell us now if you’re being honest [inaudible] are you being honest?

Lee Rodarte: Yes.

Detective 2: Okay then let’s start being honest. She never got out of your back seat. Lee, she never got out of your back seat. Video cameras don’t lie. How do you know, how do you know, how do you think I know this information, Lee? I wasn’t there. But a video camera caught it.

Detective 1: Tell me what happened.

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 1: How did, how, what happened to her? Was it an overdose? Is that what happened? I don’t know. I’m not in the car with you guys. You just said she was in your car and she had admittedly done heroin. Bodies overdose all the time, is that what happens? Did she overdose?

Detective 2: Okay, well so tell us when you left with her in the car, that is what is shown, we can’t make up that. We can’t falsify video camera, Lee. I’m not lying to you. Because you know I’m telling the truth because you know what’s on the video. How else would I know that? I don’t unless I have the video. Where did you go with her?

Lee Rodarte: I didn’t go anywhere with her.

Detective 2: You did.

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 2: You did. So, the video cameras lie?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know this, I mean…

Detective 2: Well, I’m telling you, I’m telling you I’m not lying. I’m not making that up. That’s why I’m so passionate about this. This is someone child. You might not have kids, but damn it, she’s someone’s kid. It’s not fair to her mom with stage four cancer. When all she wants to know is where her daughter is but have this man sitting over here. A 28-year-old man, that first says you haven’t seen her, you didn’t see her that day, to now the roles have reversed a little bit, because we have been doing our background okay? And now you’re saying that she was sitting in your car, which all lines up with the video, actually, I’m glad you said you got in the back seat with her, all that lines up [edited]. You know what doesn’t line up? That passenger door comes open, and shuts, opens and shuts. She never gets out of that car. And you drive off. She never gets out of that car. There is no green truck. And that’s not right to her. We are fact finders, Lee. We don’t have anything personal against you.

Detective 1: No, no. Not at all. It’s over. Just tell us what happened.  Where is she?

Detective 2: We’re fact finders, just doing our job.

[Rodarte shakes head “no”]

Detective 2: No, no, no. Where did you go with her? Where did you go with her, Lee. You’re human, you’re human, you’re a man. Where did you go with her? I know you’re not that cruel inside. Seriously, where did you go with her?

Detective 1: Maybe, maybe you don’t know where she is now. Where did go with her?

Detective 2:  Please. Please. I’m begging you, Lee. Please. Please tell us. Please don’t make us waste any more of our time. Just tell us. Please tell us, please. I’m begging you; I know you’re not evil. Just tell us where she is. I’m begging, please. Please. Can you please just tell me? Is that how you want it, people to think. I know you’re not an evil person. I don’t see that in you. I don’t see that in your history. I don’t hear that those things about you at work. Please tell us where you went with her. She never got out of your car. Please tell us, please, please. I’m begging you. For her family. Please. Please. She didn’t get out of her car and you know that obviously. Please. Please, Lee. I’m begging you as a human.

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 2: You do.

Lee Rodarte: Like

Detective 2: Just please, Lee. Please. Please don’t make us do this any longer.

Detective 1: For her, for her, for her family. [cross talk] Just tell us where she is. Where did you go?

Detective 2: Can you, can you just tell us? Where did you go with her then?

Detective 1: Where did you go with her? Can you at least tell us that?

Detective 2: Can you at least tell us that part? Where did you go with her afterwards? She didn’t get out of your car and you know that obviously

Detective 1: Yeah [inaudible] that’s why we are here. Just tell us where. Where did you go with her? Tell us that. At least put us in that direction. I owe her family. We’ve been, no one, we are not saying that you intentionally did anything. Just tell us where you went.  Please.

Detective 2: Lee.

Detective 1: You’ve been doing great. You already told us everything we already know.

Detective 2: It’s not right, Lee. This isn’t right for her family or for anybody. No one should have to go through this. I’m just, I’m just human like you are. She’s human. Her family. Everyone has feelings. Please. Now’s, now’s the time to tell us because I don’t think you’re any kind of evil person and I feel like you are going to tell us the truth. I do, I do believe that you’re going to tell us the truth because I believe you do have a conscious. Now’s the time. Please.

Detective 1: [inaudible] Where’d you guys go? I think you’re a good man, I think you want to do the right thing.

Detective 2: When you all left out of there you went down Clair lane and made a left on San Jose back to 295 and you get up on 295. Okay. Where else did you go before you went home? I mean I know you eventually went home.

Lee Rodarte: I didn’t go anywhere. I went straight home.

Detective 2: Okay, so what did you all do when you got home? Savannah was with you. She was with you. And that’s okay at that point but I know that, here does she go from there? Is she still at your house?

Lee Rodarte:  No.

Detective 2: Okay. Is she still in your car?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 2: Okay. Well then, where is she?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know where she is.

Detective 2: Okay. Where did you last drop her off at?

Lee Rodarte: I didn’t drop her off.

Detective 2: Okay, tell me.

Detective 1: Where did you guys go?

Lee Rodarte: We went to my house, we did some drugs, hung out for a little. Then she said she was going to catch an Uber home.

Detective 2: Okay, and did she call Uber?

Lee Rodarte: She pulled her phone out, looked like she was using it, I wasn’t hoovering over her. I was pretty high. I wasn’t, she told me she was leaving. She walked out the door.

Detective 2: What was going on in the back seat? What was going on in the back seat for the doors to be kicked open? She kicked open that door three times, Lee. She kicked it. We saw it. And you know I’m not making it up because I wouldn’t know this, because I wasn’t there, I would not know this, unless we had video or it. Correct? Yes. Okay, I’m not trying to trick you. I’m just a fact finder.

Detective 1: We’re to going to lie to you.

Detective 2: That door was kicked open three times. Obviously, something went wrong in that back seat. [inaudible] tell me about that. What happened in the back seat, did she get mad at you?


Lee Rodarte: We got in arguments plenty of times where she said doesn’t care what happens or anything like that.

Detective 2: Let’s be honest, no one’s going to go with some man willingly after all that. No one’s going to do it. Please tell me where Savannah is.

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 2: You do know and right now is the time. You’re so close and I know, I know you’re going to tell me. I know you are because I just, I just know you are ‘cause I know you want to do the right thing. You’re scared to do the right thing. I get it.

Lee Rodarte: Yeah

Detective 2: I do.  I’m not…

Lee Rodarte: Can you just tell me what I’m being charged with, please?

Detective 2: Yes.

Detective 1: I want, I want to find her.

Detective 2: I don’t know that yet but at least I do know that your, [inaudible] for your arrest for the DWLS

Lee Rodarte: For what?

Detective 2: For the DWLS. [cross talk] Where, where is Savannah?

Lee Rodarte:  So, what am I being charged with now? Driving with a suspended license?

Detective 2: I don’t know yet. I got to talk to the attorney that’s sitting out there watching this interview. Where’s Savannah?

Lee Rodarte: I don’t know.

Detective 2: You do know. So you’re going to make me, and our team, and this whole entire sheriff’s office and every person in this community to get out there after, you know, we, after they know the truth of who she left with and see’s the struggle in the back seat of your car? And you’re going to make all of us go and search Jacksonville for her when you could easily tell me where she is? Is that what we’re going to put everybody through?

Detective 1: Think about it. Alright. Sometimes people do wrong things. Alright? Sometimes people make mistakes. It’s what you do afterwards. We got a family that needs closure. They’re now coming to the reality that she’s no longer with us. I need closure for them. When stuff gets out that you guys left together and all that type of stuff, do you want people to remember you as the guy who said “okay, look, I’m going to do the right thing”? Or do you want your family and everybody else to think that you’re some evil, heartless person who won’t tell us where she is? Why would you put your family through all of that? I don’t think you’re that kind of guy. I don’t think you’re evil. Something got out of hand, I get it.  What you do after that? Here’s what you do, you do the right thing now. Just tell us where she is. Closure for her family.

Detective 2: Lee, we understand. Listen, we understand.

Detective 1: We’re not trying to hit you on anything.  I’m telling you we are thinking of this girl and her family and your family.

Lee Rodarte: She was…

Detective 1: Please tell me where to go find her. That’s how people will remember you.


Detective 1: We can work with that. You got to do the right thing now. You can do this. You can do the right thing.

[20 minutes edited out]

[Both detectives leave]

[Detective 1 Returns]

Detective 1: I just want to clarify something with you real quick? Okay, um when you [inaudible] I appreciate you being honest about everything.


Detective 1: Um, Have a seat over here. You want some more water or anything?

Lee Rodarte: No.

Detective 1: Give me a few minutes to finish go talking to her.

[Detective 1 exits]

Lee Rodarte: [crying]

[Officer enters]

Officer: Excuse me. Let me get a few more photographs of your hands. [Police radio] Just your hands. I want you to stand over here. Oh yes, hold them like that.

[Police radio]

[Six photo snaps]

Turn them to the other side.

[police radio]

[Six photo snaps]

[Officer exits]

[Rodarte knocks on door]

Staff 1: Yes sir.

Lee Rodarte: Uh, I just have a question.

Staff 1: Yes sir.

Lee Rodarte: One, am I going to be able to get a phone call at some time.

Staff 1: Well yes sir. We’ll, we’ll take you over to the jail and you’ll be able to make a call over there. Yes sir. What’s your other question?

Lee Rodarte: Uh, never mind. The other question is really… ridiculous.

Staff 1: Oh, okay. Alright. Well if you need anything just knock again and I’ll, we’ll try to..

Lee Rodarte: You guys don’t smoke in here, no?

Staff 1: No sir, unfortunately it’s a no smoking building. So, okay.

[staff 1 closes door]

Lee Rodarte: [inaudible] [crying] Damn it, why are you stupid?

Lee Rodarte: Fuck Chelsea. I should have realized she never loved me [cry].  Ah.

[people in another room]

Lee Rodarte: [sigh and grunts]

Lee Rodarte: [inaudible cries] going to jail. My mom’s going to die when I’m in jail. Can’t believe. Fucking idiot, Lee. Fucking stupid. Why are you here? Go…Jeez.

Lee Rodarte: [paces room then puts head on wall] [inaudible cries: what’s wrong with you?] Stupid. [inaudible] it’s so stupid. I’m fucked. Fucked.

Lee Rodarte: [paces room] [inaudible cries] [drinks water] [cries] I guess [inaudible] never tell the truth. [inaudible] I never [inaudible] I loved you. This was never meant to be. What Chelsea thinks. Fuck Chelsea and what she thinks. Fuck it. You did the right thing. She was s’cold. I’m so sorry Savannah, I’m so sorry. Stop! Fuckin’ get killed in jail.

Lee Rodarte: [getting tissues] [inaudible]

Lee Rodarte: Oh man.  Fuck [inaudible], you’re a piece of shit. Savannah was nice to you.  But somebody was a bitch to you. How does that make any sense? Somebody that gave two shits about you. [inaudible] nice.

Lee Rodarte: [puts on jacket] Last time you get to wear your chef coat. Fuck me. [getting tissues]

Lee Rodarte: It’s not supposed to be you. It’s not supposed to be you, Lee. [inaudible] fucking life. God damn it, Chelsea.

Lee Rodarte:  Everything. Cold places man. Get it through your fucking head. Could have just told her to leave, no. Should have grabbed her back.

[Staff 1 enters]

Staff 1: Alright. Okay Lee. Stay right there.

Detective 1: I want to thank you again for being truthful. Um, and you’re right you did have uh one for the driving [inaudible] um, so the deal from here is, you’ll be booked in tonight. Then you will make a first appearance. Um, tomorrow depending on what time you get in or how full they are. It’ll be first thing in the morning or in the afternoon. Probably the afternoon is what I’m thinking. And then at that point you’ll uh, get to see the judge and then you’ll be assigned an attorney but tonight you should be able to make your phone call. Okay? Um, I was going to ask you but I didn’t want to bug you a minute go. I was out there talking to her. One of the [edited]

Lee Rodarte: Alright

[All exits]

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