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Case Summary

Aiden Fucci Case Summary

On Sunday May 9th, 2021, Tristyn Bailey was a 13-year-old cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy that everyone described as being a wonderful person and a role model to her peers. Tristyn was last seen around the midnight between Saturday and Sunday by her family. After failing to locate her in the morning, Tristyn’s family reported her missing at 10:00 a.m. and police began the search.

Tristyn Bailey

As part of their investigation, local police pulled surveillance footage in her Durbin Crossing neighborhood in St. John, Florida. This footage first showed two teenagers, one assumed to be Tristyn, near the North Amenity Center at 1:15 a.m., around an area of the neighborhood that has a community pool, gym, and playground. At 1:45 a.m., the teenagers were seen walking East down Saddlestone Drive. Less than 2 hours later at 3:27 a.m., only one of the two teenagers were spotted walking down the road holding a pair of shoes.

A 14-year-old boy who lives in the same Durbin Crossing neighborhood and goes to Patriot Oaks Academy was questioned in an attempt to locate Tristyn or identify the teenagers on the video. In the beginning he was cooperative and made admissions during his initial statement. He repeatedly changed his story throughout his interaction with police. When his mother asked why he was carrying his shoes, he simply stated that his feet hurt.

Aiden Fucci Mugshot

Around 6 p.m. a resident of the neighborhood found Tristyn’s body at the South end of a retention pond in the woods behind the houses at the end of the Saddlestone Drive cul-de-sac. After the discovery of her body and the investigation going from a missing person’s case to a murder investigation, Fucci stopped cooperating. While in custody in the back seat of the Deputy’s cruiser, Fucci took a selfie while giving the peace sign and posted it to Snapchat with the caption “Hey guys has inybody seen Tristyn lately”. The police are aware of this social media activity and have submitted it as evidence.

Fucci’s selfie taken from the back of a deputy’s cruiser

Tristyn’s body was found fully clothed. The manner of death was not immediately released, but the State’s Attorney’s Office initially stated that Tristyn was stabbed more than once, with the police expressing that they will not disclose the number of times but would say that it was “horrific”. Significant injury to her head and other trauma was also noted. After review by the medical examiner it was released that Tristyn was stabbed 114 times, with 49 of the injuries being defensive wounds to her arms and hands indicating that she put up an courageous fight. The tip of a blade was found embedded in Tristyn’s scalp.

Armed with evidence gathered during their investigation, local authorities were able to obtain a search warrant for Fucci’s home and surrounding areas. A foldable Buck knife was located in a retention pond behind Fucci’s home by divers. Inside of the residence, police found a bloody shirt and shoes that belong to Fucci. The discovered clothing match the clothing seen on the surveillance video.

Tristyn Bailey

Aiden Fucci was arrested Sunday evening, May 9th, 2021, the same day as the crime was committed. On Monday, Fucci was charged with Second Degree Murder. While the Judge read the charges to Aiden Fucci, he stated that he is being charged with second degree murder or “murder committed with a depraved mind but without premeditation”. On May 27th after a Grand Jury meeting, Fucci’s charge was upgraded to first degree murder. This means Fucci will be tried as an adult. If convicted, this charge typically holds a 25 to life sentence. Do to his age, his case will likely be eligible for review at 25 years old. This case is still developing, and the summary will be updated as more details emerge.

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Case Summary Uncategorized

Jah’Sean Hodge Case Summary

On May 5th, 2020, 9-year-old Jadalee Pagan was brutally attacked by a family friend, Jah’Sean Hodge in Saint Cloud, Florida. Jadalee’s mother, Veronica Snyder, calls Jah’Sean Hodge Jadalee’s uncle, although there is no relation. Minutes after the attack, police made contact with Jah’Sean Hodge where he refused to obey orders to stop, shouted to shoot him multiple times, and rushed an officer who ended up shooting and killing him as he tried to retreat after the taser proved ineffective. While Jadalee Pagan was still too injured to speak while in the children’s ICU, her mother spoke to news stations and said that police had shot the wrong person. She stated that Jah’Sean Hodge was attempting to protect Jadalee from an unseen intruder and was injured during the incident. She continued by saying that “he saved his niece’s life” and that he was a hero.

This response led to a public outcry despite all evidence pointing to Jah’Sean as the only perpetrator in the attack. When Jadalee became well enough to speak, she named Jah’Sean and only Jah’Sean as her attacker while still in the ICU. After this, Jadalee’s mother changed her opinion and made a statement saying “we finally got answers, and I have a lot to accept, but I just want to say that St. Cloud Police Department did their job. Let’s just not make this any worse than it is”.

Additionally, DNA evidence from the knife and barbell used to stab and bludgeon Jadalee, blood on Jah’Sean’s shirt, and skin under Jadalee’s fingernails all pointed to Jah’Sean being the only attacker. Jadalee has survived the attack and has recovered well.

Background Information

Jadalee Pagan

Jadalee did not grow up with her mom, Veronica Snyder, since she was incarcerated in 2012 shortly after Jadalee was born. She was released in September of 2018. Even at the time of the incident, Veronica Snyder typically stayed in her boyfriend’s apartment downstairs while her two children, mother, and brother lived in the upstairs apartment. Jah’Sean Hodge, who Veronica Snyder calls her brother, though is of no blood relation, did not live upstairs with Jadalee but did stay there sometimes according to Veronica’s mother. He was a close friend of the family.

Attempted Murder

On May 5th, 2020, Veronica’s mother left to go to Walmart with Veronica’s brother, who was dropping her off there. Before she left the house, 21-year-old Jah’Sean took a shower, and was last seen on the floor by the TV with 9-year-old Jadalee. They both were on their phones. As far as Veronica’s mother could tell, everything was normal, including Jah’Sean’s behavior. Minutes after she left, Veronica’s boyfriend heard a scream from upstairs while in his downstairs apartment. Hearing a commotion wasn’t unusual living in an apartment building that housed several children. Veronica’s boyfriend jokingly said, “who screams like that?”, to which he was told that it was probably Jadalee mad at a game. After walking to his kitchen, he heard a second scream that sounded aggressive and like a man “in rage”. From the downstairs apartment with her boyfriend, Veronica then heard Jah’Sean say “Oh my God” while running down the stairs. Upon looking out the window, she witnessed him running south down their road.

Location of Incident

Veronica and her boyfriend ran up to the upstairs apartment to investigate the noises and found Jadalee covered in blood on the living room floor. Veronica’s boyfriend told a neighbor to call 911 and also called himself. His call came into emergency dispatchers first at 12:43 P.M., and the neighbor’s call came in less than a minute afterwards, about 10 or 15 minutes after Veronica’s mother left to go to Wal-Mart. On Veronica’s boyfriend’s 911 call he can be heard pleading for an ambulance and states that he is not sure what happened but that the child is bleeding from her head and needs immediate help. On the neighbor’s 911 call, the neighbor went upstairs to the apartment and relayed to dispatchers that there was a knife involved. As Veronica’s brother was nearing the apartment building after dropping off their mother at Wal-Mart, he receives a call from Veronica telling him that Jadalee is bleeding. When he arrived, he saw Veronica holding Jadalee’s bloody body, took her from Veronica, and loaded her into the car to go to the hospital.  On the way to the hospital, the car used to transport Veronica and Jadalee was stopped by police where Saint Cloud Police Department first got confirmation that Jadalee had definitely been stabbed and was bleeding profusely from her neck.

When they arrived at Saint Cloud Regional Medical Center, a patient access employee heard Veronica and her brother yelling for help saying that Jadalee had been stabbed. A paramedic who was doing screenings for COVID 19 outside of the hospital’s emergency department transported Jadalee from the vehicle into the hospital and noted that blood was “bubbling” out of Jadalee’s neck and overheard Veronica and her mother talking about an “uncle” that wasn’t related to them possibly being responsible. Once inside the hospital, a nurse heard Veronica’s mother state “you know he was going to do this” to Veronica, but who she was talking about was not said. Because of the severity of Jadalee’s injuries, she was transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital and was admitted into the children’s ICU. There, she continued to receive treatment and surgeries for her injuries, and it was noted that a “J” was carved into her forehead. Veronica was not able to stay with Jadalee because of COVID 19 precautions. Instead, she made appearances on local news where she said that Jah’Sean was actually a victim of the attack by an unknown perpetrator and was running erratically covered in blood trying to find the person who attacked him and Jadalee.

Jah’Sean Hodge

When police went to the house where the incident happened, they found blood on the main door to the apartment building, the stairs and wall leading up to the apartment, both sides of the apartment door, on the carpet in front of and further back from the television in the living room, and on the door of one of the bedrooms. Inside of the kitchen sink was a bloody knife with the blade broken from the handle and in the bedroom with the bloody door, blood was found on a barbell with weights on both sides. Veronica’s boyfriend said the knife was originally near Jadalee on the floor where the blood stains were, but he moved it to the sink when it was almost stepped on.

On May 8th police began to try to interview Jadalee while she was still in the children’s ICU. Interviewing her took many attempts because she would often get upset, not respond, or become confused. In one attempt she was asked if she knew how she got hurt and she said she did not know. When asked if she remembers being at her house, she said that she had a dream where Jah’Sean stabbed her. She then goes on to ask for them not to be brought there. During another interview with Jadalee in the children’s ICU, Jadalee named Jah’Sean as the only perpetrator multiple times and said “I stood up to say ‘hi’ and then I said ‘why do you have that knife in your hand?’” to which he responded “it was you” before stabbing her. She also stated that he choked her while “killing her”.

Jah’Sean’s Movements After the Attack and Police Shooting

After Jah’Sean left the apartment, he jogged south on the apartment’s street and about a block away he passed two teenagers on a golf cart who called 911 because he was bleeding and acting strangely. During police interview they stated that at one point he looked like he was on the opposite side of the street and may come out into the middle of the street and tapped his fingers together like he may be attempting to get their attention but then went back to the other side of the road and continued to run. They made eye contact with Jah’Sean but he never said anything. In their 911 call they noted that he had blood on his hands, chest, and head. Behind them was a U-Haul driver that also passed Jah’Sean but he didn’t make an attempt to flag them down either. Shortly afterwards a 12-year-old child saw Jah’Sean who pointed in his direction and yelled to “get back in the house”.

Jah’Sean Hodge’s Movements

Jah’Sean continued south until he reached the driveway of a person he did not know and laid face down in their driveway. A neighbor saw this and asked Jah’Sean if he was okay and he said “yes”. This neighbor went inside before coming back out 10 seconds later to see Jah’Sean running north towards O P Johnson Park, before jumping a fence on the corner of a block about two and a half blocks from the apartment. Here, he opened a camper door of a person he did not know and went inside before jumping the fence into another person’s yard where he removed his shirt inside of their screened in pool area. He then ran across the street from this house before police make contact with him while he’s in their front yard, shirtless and covered in blood. He first approached Officer Fertic who was on the passenger side of the patrol vehicle. Officer Fertic repeatedly ordered Jah’Sean to stop and pulled out his taser. Jah’Sean responded by saying “shoot me then” and continued to approach him. Officer Dunn stepped out of the driver side door and pulled out his firearm. Jah’Sean then abruptly changed his focus and rushed Officer Dunn. The taser was deployed without any effect, Officer Dunn attempted to retreat, then fired his firearm 4 times, killing Jah’Sean Hodge. The officers performed CPR until EMTs arrived.

Evidence

As a result of canvassing a two-block radius of the attack, police recovered several pieces of evidence along with witness accounts. Many witness statements were taken, none of which showed anyone running in front of Jah’Sean or anyone leaving the apartment building besides Jah’Sean. Surveillance video also showed Jah’Sean jogging down the street, not chasing anyone. At one point, a police officer saw someone matching Jah’Sean’s description jogging down the road before losing sight of him.

Bloody Barbell in Apartment

Witnesses heard banging and noises that were recognized as weights being dropped and clanked together. The bloody barbell found in a bedroom in the upstairs apartment not only tested positive for Jah’Sean and Jadalee’s blood and no one elses, Jah’Sean’s bloody fingerprint was left on it. The knife blade and handle found at the crime scene tested positive for Jadalee and Jah’Sean’s blood and no one else. Similarly, the shirt Jah’Sean removed in a neighbor’s screened in pool area only had his and Jadalee’s blood. Jah’Sean’s DNA was also found under Jadalee’s fingernails. There was no evidence or DNA from a third party.

Knife Used in Attack

Upon autopsy, it was found that Jah’Sean Hodge had 14 stab wounds, most being on the left side and superficial, consistent with being self-inflicted. This is collaborated with text messages recovered from his phone that indicated that he attempted to kill himself at or around the time of the attack. Three of the stab wounds were more substantial, with one nicking a lung, another piercing his chest wall, and one cutting through his pinky to the bone. Toxicology only showed cannabinoids in his system.

Conflicting Stories

Complicating this tragic case was the inconsistencies in stories. These inconsistencies fueled theories that led to the public outcry. For example, according to statements made to police, Jah’Sean’s behavior was normal when he was last seen with Jadalee directly before the incident. In one of these statements Veronica’s mother said that Jah’Sean had taken a shower, was laying on the floor near Jadalee in front of the TV, and was acting normally. Contrary to what was said in police statements, Veronica said to a doctor at Saint Cloud Regional Medical Center that she witnessed Jah’Sean “acting crazy and running around the house”. What Veronica saw and heard during the incident has also been inconsistent. In a police interview, Veronica told police that she went downstairs to have a cigarette after her mother and brother went to Wal-Mart. Minutes later she heard him run down the stairs saying “oh my God” then saw him through the downstairs apartment window running south on their street.

Jadalee Pagan’s Birthday

When another officer was driving Veronica to Arnold Palmer Hospital she made and received several calls. In one of the calls she told the person on the other end that she passed Jah’Sean on the stairs while she ran upstairs from the downstairs apartment and noticed blood on his hands. On another call made during the car ride she said that she had seen him “chasing the guy that had hurt Jada”, though she didn’t see anyone he was chasing. While at Saint Cloud Regional Medical Center, Veronica told a patient access employee that she was laying in her bed in the downstairs apartment when she heard screaming coming from upstairs and this time she also said that Jah’Sean passed her on the stairs. When she told the patient access employee, she specifically said he said nothing to her.  To the patient registration coordinator, she said that she was gardening outside when she heard a scream and that she saw Jah’Sean running from the house, bloody. This also contradicts her boyfriend’s statement which said she was in his apartment with him. The next time she spoke to the patient registration coordinator, she said that she didn’t see anything and that she thought he was chasing after someone. The patient registration coordinator stated that at this time she stopped asking Veronica questions because she felt that her “story was changing every time they spoke about it”.

Through these statements and high emotions, a third-party attacker theory developed. A rumor began that someone had run through the back yard and was possibly involved. This was ruled out after police interviewed a neighbor who was watering their flowers in the back yard of the apartment building during the incident. This neighbor stated that they heard what they thought was kids jumping around before Veronica began screaming for help. They stated they never saw anyone in the back yard of the apartment building and that the back yard can not be accessed through the common area of the house.

Although the mother’s of both Jadalee and Jah’Sean speculated publicly that Jah’Sean was actually a victim of the attack and was behaving strangely because he was wounded and trying to find the attacker, statements made by Veronica and others show that even those closest to the situation suspected Jah’Sean from the beginning. An example of this would be the statement reported by the paramedic doing COVID 19 screenings at Saint Cloud Regional Medical Center where Veronica and her mother were suspecting Jah’Sean was responsible for the attack immediately after getting to the hospital. Still, statements to news outlets continued to be made until Veronica heard Jadalee tell investigators that Jah’Sean was the culprit numerous times, and DNA evidence showed only Jah’Sean’s DNA. In the end, Veronica spoke to the media again and expressed that she struggled to believe that Jah’Sean was the attacker because of his relationship with the family, but she conclusively knows who did it now, though she will never know why.

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9-1-1 Transcripts

Jah’Sean Hodge Case 911 Transcript – Neighbor

On May 5th, 2020 Veronica Snyder found her 9-year-old daughter, Jadalee Pagan, with multiple life-threatening injuries after being left alone with a family friend, Jah’Sean Hodge. Jah’Sean was bloody and wounded when seen running away from the apartment and did not stop to tell anyone that Jadalee was injured or how he was hurt. Jadalee had sustained stab wounds to her face and neck including a 12-centimeter gash across her throat penetrating through the muscle and trachea, along with temporal, orbital, and sinus cavity fractures. While Veronica tended to her daughter and brought her to the hospital with Jadalee’s uncle, Jah’Sean exhibited strange behavior before being contacted by police where he yelled at them to shoot him while running towards them failing to obey commands. He was shot and died as a result of those injuries. The following is a transcript of the 911 call placed by the neighbor of Veronica Snyder and Jadalee Pagan.

Dispatcher: Saint Cloud Police Department [inaudible] how can we help you?

Witness: I need an am… Yeah, we need an ambulance right now.

Dispatcher: What’s the address? What is the address?

Witness: Um, [censored]

Dispatcher: Okay, so stay on the line with me, um, I just, I have some questions for you while we get them on the way. What is the number you are calling from?

Witness: Uh, [censored] going on, I, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on.

Dispatcher: Okay, just repeat that phone number for me in case we get disconnected.

Witness: [censored]

Dispatcher: I’m sorry, I can’t hear [inaudible], just the last four.

[background yelling]

Dispatcher: The last four of the phone number ma’am.

Witness: [censored]

Dispatcher: Tell me exactly what happened.

Witness: Uh, I don’t know. Something happened with my neighbor’s child.

Dispatcher: Did she fall? Did they fall? I think we are getting another call on it as well.

Witness: I’m, I’m, I’m really not sure. I really don’t know.

Dispatcher: Okay, okay. Is, is there any way we could take the phone and, and, to get closer to find out what happened?

Witness: I just know that there was a knife involved. I think one of the kids were left alone and…

Dispatcher: Okay, do we know how old the patient is? How old the child is?

Witness: Uh, she’s like 9 or 10?

[background yelling]

Dispatcher: Okay, stay on the phone with me. We’re getting help on the way, okay? This isn’t delaying them. Can you tell me, is she still awake?

Witness: Yeah. They’re going to the hospital now. [inaudible] they…

Dispatcher: Okay, and let them know that that’s not the safest thing to do they need to. They need to, I want them to know that help is not far away, okay?

Witness: Okay.

Dispatcher: Can you let them know that we’re sending help and to, to, to stay with you? To stay there? Can you tell me, is the child awake?

Witness: They’re, they’re in the car already.

Dispatcher: In the car. Tell me what kind of car it is.

Witness: Uh, it’s a, a, it’s uh, fuckin’, silver car. They’re, they’re already gone. I don’t, I don’t remember the car.

Dispatcher: Okay, a silver vehicle, which way did they go? They left with the child in the car. The back roads.

Witness: They’re going to the Lakefront.

Dispatcher: I’m sorry, towards the Lakefront?

Witness: They’re going to the hospital.

Dispatcher: Do you know which hospital they’re going to?

Witness: Saint Cloud Hospital.

Dispatcher: They’re going to Saint Cloud, okay. Okay, so the, the, the child is not, is no longer there. And it occurred at this 36 Georgia Avenue? That’s where the child was at?

Witness: Yeah.

Dispatcher: Okay. Do you have any [inaudible] or uh, contact information for the parents or whoever is with the child?

Witness: Uh, I don’t rem…, I don’t know, I don’t have her number right now.

Dispatcher: Okay.

[censored]

Dispatcher: Alright, what is, [inaudible] can you tell me anything about what they told you happened or… what [cross-talk]

Witness: Just she was left alone. The little girl was left alone for like five minutes and I think she got ahold of something, I’m not sure.

Dispatcher: Okay.

Witness: But they took her to the hospital already. There’s an officer here now.

Dispatcher: Okay. Go ahead and talk to him.

Witness: Thank you. Okay.

Dispatcher: Alright, thank you so much.

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9-1-1 Transcripts

Jah’Sean Hodge Case 911 Transcript – Passerby

On May 5th, 2020 Veronica Snyder found her 9-year-old daughter, Jadalee Pagan, with multiple life-threatening injuries after being left alone with a family friend, Jah’Sean Hodge. Jah’Sean was bloody and wounded when seen running away from the apartment and did not stop to tell anyone that Jadalee was injured or how he was hurt. Jadalee had sustained stab wounds to her face and neck including a 12-centimeter gash across her throat penetrating through the muscle and trachea, along with temporal, orbital, and sinus cavity fractures. While Veronica tended to her daughter and brought her to the hospital with Jadalee’s uncle, Jah’Sean exhibited strange behavior before being contacted by police where he yelled at them to shoot him while running towards them failing to obey commands. He was shot and died as a result of those injuries. The following is a transcript of the 911 call placed by a passerby riding a golf cart while Jah’Sean was walking down Georgia Avenue after the incident.

Dispatcher: [inaudible] how may I help you?

Witness: Hello, we were, um, driving down Georgia and we seen this guy covered in blood on his hands, his chest and head and… and he was like flopping his arms around. Like, he was really injured but he like, tried to stop us, but he didn’t.

Dispatcher: Okay, how long ago was that?

Witness: Not even ten minutes ago.

Dispatcher: Okay, where at on Georgia?

Witness: Georgia and 3rd.

Dispatcher: Okay. We actually have officers that are in that area right now and he was on Georgia Avenue by 3rd street?

Witness: Yes.

Dispatcher: Okay, when did he…[cross-talk]

Witness: He was running up towards 10th.

Dispatcher: He was going towards 10th. What did he, uh, what was he wearing?

Witness: Wear a black shirt and black, uh, basketball shorts, and a, I think, black shoes.

Dispatcher: Okay, we’ll update the officers just to make sure that that’s the description of the person they’re out with, but they are there in the area with a similar person.

Witness: Okay, thank you.

Dispatcher: Thank you.

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9-1-1 Transcripts

Jah’Sean Hodge Case 911 Transcript – Victim’s Mother’s Boyfriend

On May 5th, 2020 Veronica Snyder found her 9-year-old daughter, Jadalee Pagan, with multiple life-threatening injuries after being left alone with a family friend, Jah’Sean Hodge. Jah’Sean was bloody and wounded when seen running away from the apartment and did not stop to tell anyone that Jadalee was injured or how he was hurt. Jadalee had sustained stab wounds to her face and neck including a 12-centimeter gash across her throat penetrating through the muscle and trachea, along with temporal, orbital, and sinus cavity fractures. While Veronica tended to her daughter and brought her to the hospital with Jadalee’s uncle, Jah’Sean exhibited strange behavior before being contacted by police where he yelled at them to shoot him while running towards them failing to obey commands. He was shot and died as a result of those injuries. The following is a transcript of the 911 call placed by Veronica’s boyfriend at the time of the crime.  

Dispatcher: 911, what’s the address of the emergency?

Witness: I need a, I need a, emergency [inaudible] as soon as possible.

Dispatcher: What is the address?

Witness: [inaudible] on [censored]

Dispatcher: Repeat that once for me.

Witness: Thirty [censored]

Dispatcher: Ok, what is the phone number your calling from?

Witness: [censored] 66.

Dispatcher: ok, tell me exactly what happened.

Witness: We don’t know. All I know is, um, my girlfriend’s, um, daughter needs an ambulance soon [inaudible]. She’s bleeding from her head and she was upstairs by herself.

Dispatcher: Ok. Just stay on the line with me, we’re going get some [inaudible]. I just need gather some information for the responders, okay?

Witness: [inaudible]

[Yelling in background]

Dispatcher: I just, I just want to confirm, you said she’s bleeding from her head but do we know… why, what happened?

Witness: Yeah, [inaudible] her head. I need a ambulance as soon as possible. Just send somebody, please!

Dispatcher:  Okay, my partners are already dispatching help. Just give me one moment.

[inaudible female crying]

Dispatcher: Is there someone else up on the line with… us?

Witness: Yes, somebody is, um, yea, [inaudible stammering]. I just need someone here as soon as possible, can you just send somebody, please?

Dispatcher: Okay, I understand we already have called [cross-talk]

Witness: Just send an ambulance…

Dispatcher: Sir, I already have the call in but I’m just confirming someone else is already on the line with 911.

[background noises]

Dispatcher: Hello?

[background noise, female voice]

Witness: [inaudible] that’s it.

Dispatcher:  Ok

[background noises and yelling]

Dispatcher: Okay, we are already getting someone sent out.  We do have police on the way as well, okay?

[background yelling]

Witness: Uh, uh, um,

Female voice: That’s far away…

Witness: [inaudible] taking to the hospital.

[female yelling]

Witness: Alright.

[female yelling]

Dispatcher: Okay. We already, we already have people on the way, and we, my partners already got information from someone who’s on the phone. Okay?

[female screaming]

Dispatcher: Hello?

Witness: Yeah, I hear you.

Dispatcher: Okay.

Female voice: … a place to go.

Dispatcher: Okay, is the, is the patient still there?

Witness: She’s going to the hospital.

Dispatcher: They’re going to the hospital?

Witness: They’re going to hospital right now.

Dispatcher: Okay.

Witness: Yeah. Her uncle just came back from [inaudible], he left for a minute and…

Dispatcher: [cross-talk] Okay.

Witness: …he’s back but I’m at the house.

Dispatcher: Okay, okay. We can go ahead and disconnect we already have, um, help on the way but my partner is already gathering their information. Okay? Okay.

Witness: Alright, I’ll be here.

Dispatcher: Okay, thank you.

Witness: Alright.

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Case Summary Uncategorized

Dalia Dippolito Case Summary

dippolitoFour months after meeting Mike Dippolito as a client, former escort Dalia Dippolito (Mohammed) married Mike Dippolito in 2009. Within 6 months of their marriage, she hired a man to kill her husband. Fortunately, that man was a police officer. Another man Dalia Dippolito was seeing reported to police that he was afraid something was going to happen to either Mike or Dalia Dippolito and the investigation began. Many phone calls were recorded along with a video of Dalia in the undercover police officer’s car stating that she was “5000 percent sure” that she wanted Mike Dippolito dead and agreed to pay a $1200 deposit.

Dippolito3After the police staged a crime scene at her house and told her that her husband was shot and murdered, she was taken to the police station for what she believed to be an informal interview. When asked if she knew anyone who would want to harm her husband, she told a story about “guys” involved in organized crime being mad that Mike Dippolito was using money he owed them to pay off his probation. After she was finished with this story, the interrogators told her about how they found out through their investigation that Mike Dippolito opened the front door and was taken upstairs where he was shot twice and killed. She argued this, saying he would not have opened the door because they had cameras. The investigators exited the room and pretended to have someone call to see if the house had been burglarized before coming back and telling her that they knew she hired the hitman. The investigators brought in the man she hired in handcuffs before telling her that he is actually a police officer. She denied “doing anything” despite video and audio evidence. The video and transcript of this interrogation can be found here.

dippolito2There have been 3 trials for Dalia Dippolito’s case. In 2011 she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years, but this was overturned on appeal. The second trial in 2016 ended in a hung jury, and in 2017, a third trial ended in a guilty verdict. She tried to get a fourth trial, but her conviction was upheld. Dalia Dippolito claims the police department set her up to impress the reality TV show, “COPS”.

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Police Interrogations Uncategorized

Dalia Dippolito Interrogation Transcript

Dalia Dippolito married Mike Dippolito in 2009. Within 6 months of their marriage, she hired a man to kill her husband. Fortunately, that man was a police officer. Another man Dalia Dippolito was seeing reported to police that he was afraid something was going to happen to either Mike or Dalia Dippolito and the investigation began. Many phone calls were recorded along with a video of Dalia in the undercover police officer’s car stating that she was “5000 percent sure” that she wanted Mike Dippolito dead and agreed to pay a $1200 deposit. After the police staged a crime scene at her house and told her that her husband was shot and murdered, she was taken to the police station for what she believed to be an informal interview. Below is the interrogation where she is confronted by police and they disclose that they were involved the whole time and she is being arrested for solicitation of first degree murder.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRy7xaRtvRA]

Dalia Dippolito Interrogation Transcript

Investigator: Protocol that we have to do is [inaudible] We’ve got to advise you your rights, so you know. Okay? If you don’t understand any of them, just tell me and I’ll stop and repeat the, first of all let me just tell you I’m sorry for your loss.

Dalia Dippolito: I just want to see my husband [inaudible crying]

Investigator: Alright, hun.

Dalia Dippolito: [inaudible crying] see him.

Investigator: No, no. You don’t want to see him.

Dalia Dippolito: I just want to see him.

Investigator: Believe me, you don’t. Could you listen, please? I am required [inaudible] before you make any statement that you have the following constitutional rights. And as I said, it’s protocol.  If you don’t understand them, tell me you don’t understand them and I’ll explain them to you, okay?

Dalia Dippolito: Okay.

Investigator:  You have the right to remain silent and not answer any questions. Do you understand that? You have, you have to answer me.

Dalia Dippolito: [inaudible cry]

Investigator: Just say yes.

Dalia Dippolito: Yes.

Investigator: Any statement you make must be freely and voluntarily given. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: Yes.

Investigator: If you have a, you have the right to the presence and representation of a lawyer before you make any statements and during any questioning. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: Yes.

Investigator:  If you can not afford a lawyer you’re entitled to the presence and representation of a court appointed lawyer before you make any statements and during any questions. Do you understand that.

Dalia Dippolito: Yes. Yes.

Investigator: If at anytime during interview you do not wish to answer any questions you [inaudible] to remain silent. Do you understand that? I can make no threats or promises [inaudible] to issue a statement. This must be on your own free will. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: Yes.

Investigator: Any statement can and will be used against you in the court of law. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: Yes.

Investigator: I’m going to ask you to sign it, and date it and I will have Detective Anderson as a witness. Okay?

Dalia Dippolito: Okay.

Investigator: Sign on the exes please.

Detective Anderson: I’ll go ahead and date it, Dalia.

Investigator:  Okay, it’s um, got the time? Got the time on you? Okay, this is uh, this is something, because we’re going to video tape, that I need you to sign also. It gives us the right to video tape it. You want to read that?

Dalia Dippolito: I don’t want to be video taped.

Investigator: Well, you are being video taped. That’s all part of it.

Dalia Dippolito: Who’s number is that?

Investigator: That’s your home number.

Dalia Dippolito: Oh.

Investigator: We got that from our reports that have been filed here. Uh, I mean, I’ll tell you what’s going on here. Okay. Listen, is there anybody that you know that you think would want to kill your husband.

Dalia Dippolito: My husband’s on probation.

Investigator: For what?

Dalia Dippolito: He, for stock fraud.

Investigator:  Stock fraud? How long have you been on probation?

Detective Anderson: Probation or parole? Has he spent any time in prison? How much? Do you know?

Dalia Dippolito: Um. Two years in prison and five years on probation. So came out to six years.

Investigator: Oh, oh my god. And what was that for?

Dalia Dippolito: It was for taking money, like, he explained it like, boiler room kind of, where they would take money from people …

Investigator: Oh, I understand.

Dalia Dippolito: …and put it towards things.

Investigator:  Yeah. How long have you guys been married?

Dalia Dippolito: [sigh] Not even a year.

Investigator: This is tragic. Is there anybody that you can think of that would want to do this to him?

Dalia Dippolito: I was telling the officers, we’ve problems already and…

Investigator: What sorts of…

Dalia Dippolito: …he’s been trying to get off probation and it’s been nothing but problems the whole time that he’s been trying to get off. Um, people weren’t happy that he was getting off probation because it’s a lot of money you got to pay back.

Investigator: Well, when you say people, who are you talking about? People was involved in before or…

Dalia Dippolito: A little bit of everything. This was supposed to be something, when he got off probation it was supposed to be between us and he went and he told, you know, friends of his, he told, you know, certain people. And everyone kind of talks and he’s constantly running into a lot of the guys that he was on probation with. Like, a couple days ago we ran into someone and that was, uh, a target. I mean, you know, the guy comes up to us and he’s like with organized crime. It seems like the guys from Boca are moving up here. And we’re constantly running into, you know what I mean, a lot of the guys he knows and things like that.

Investigator: Mm-hm.

Dalia Dippolito: So it’s a lot of money. It was 191,000 dollars…

Detective Anderson: [noise of suprise]

Dalia Dippolito: …he had to pay back. So we were going to go ahead and he had the money to pay off the probation and everything like that and then, I guess somehow, when he went away, some guys didn’t go away, they…

Investigator: When you say go away you mean went to prison?

Dalia Dippolito: Right. They left the country. And then somehow he was dealing with those guys because they thought that he owed them and I don’t know. Something with that that he was taking care of. So, the money he used to get off probation, he never…

Investigator: Ohhh.

Dalia Dippolito: He never, said that he did something else with that, with that money.

Investigator: Yeah, now do you know any of these people, their names, or anything like that, or where they live so we may be able to follow it up? We’re not going to, we’re not going to implicate you.

Dalia Dippolito: The guys that left, I don’t know.

Investigator: You don’t know them?

Dalia Dippolito: I don’t know them.

Investigator: You never met them?

Dalia Dippolito: No. I mean I know the guy we ran into a couple days ago. I know, I know like, certain names. You know what I mean? And I know certain names families. They were all on the news. Like the guys that all just went away…

Investigator: Mm-hm.

Dalia Dippolito: I forget what family.

Investigator: See Ronny and I and the squad, they only work major crimes. We only work murders, or homicides, and, and very serious assaults and kidnappings, and police shootings, things like. We only specialize in that. We don’t, we don’t work in anything else. So I wouldn’t know about the theft money that he may have been involved in. That’s why I’m asking if you know any names, then we can run these guys down and see what they know.

Dalia Dippolito: Well, another, those group of guys, they all went away. But he’s saying one of them, I guess somehow, he has a problem. I don’t know what problem he had, it was before we met. He ran into these guys and the guy thought he owed him something or something happened but they went away. I don’t know if the one guy I’m telling you about, pasquell, if he also went away or if he didn’t. But since this all happened like a month and a half ago they’ve all been arrested again for the same stock fraud stuff again.

Detective Anderson: That first name pasquell or last?

Dalia Dippolito: I don’t know.

Investigator: Is it pasqualli or pasquall?

Dalia Dippolito: Pasquall.

Investigator: Okay. What nationality are you? Spanish?

Dalia Dippolito: My mom is from Peru and my dad is from Egypt.

Investigator: Wow.

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah.

Investigator: There’s uh, I understand, a couple animals at your house too, right?

Dalia Dippolito: So, I guess, I want to tell you everything. The whole [cross talk]

Investigator: Please do. [Cross] Yeah, I do. I want to know.

Dalia Dippolito:  Okay, so that’s what happened with that. So, he didn’t know how to tell everybody what was going on with everything…

Investigator: Mm-hm.

Dalia Dippolito: …and so he pretty much, he told them that like, you know, I have the money and I took it and I got involved, in like a Berny Madoff kind of scheme because he didn’t know how to tell, you know, his mom and everybody what was going on.

Investigator: You’re lucky.

Dalia Dippolito: With what?

Investigator: You’re lucky you went to the gym.

Dalia Dippolito: We were supposed to go to the gym.

Investigator: Oh, both you were supposed to go?

Dalia Dippolito: He didn’t know if he was going. He just had liposuction. He had, like, two love handles removed from here. He had something little.

Investigator: Yeah.

Dalia Dippolito: And um, two weeks ago he had surgery and he had…

Investigator: What kind of surgery?

Dalia Dippolito: [inaudible]. Like, the lipo that he had.

Investigator: Oh, did he used to be real heavy or something?

Dalia Dippolito: No, he used to be then he got lipo done then the last surgeon I guess he left two bulges here. So yesterday he went because he had like, blood build up in his back.

Investigator: Oh.

Dalia Dippolito: So they drained it.

Investigator: Oh okay.

Dalia Dippolito: But he was like “well, depending on how I feel today”, but we go every morning. We haven’t gone since surgery but every morning at 5 am work out [inaudible].

Investigator: [noise of surprise]

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah.

Investigator: That’s a lot of, better than me. I wish I could go, obviously.

Dalia Dippolito: Well, you know, he’s very, um, he used to be a drug addict and…

Investigator: What was his drug of choice?

Dalia Dippolito: Crack.

Investigator: Crack? That’ll do it to you.

Dalia Dippolito: And um, he’s  recovering alcoholic so with him it’s really important to be on schedule, you know what I mean, like have a system and very organized with everything and…

Investigator: Lets, lets get back to, um, his, his death. Um, I don’t know if you know he was shot. He was shot twice. And I want you to know all this.

Detective Anderson: Do you know this?

Investigator: Did they tell you out there?

Dalia Dippolito: Not exactly. I mean, they told me he was shot. When I was at the gym I got a phone call I didn’t hear my phone ring and I called back and they told me just to please come, that something happened at me house.

Investigator: Yeah. Evidently your husband answered the door and they took him back upstairs and in the bedroom…

Dalia Dippolito: He has cameras though, why would he answer the door?

Investigator: I don’t…

Dalia Dippolito: Because doesn’t answer the door for anybody he doesn’t know.

Investigator: I have no…

Dalia Dippolito: And I mean the only person, like his probation officer is like the only, you know what I mean?

Investigator: I have no idea.

Dalia Dippolito: He would not have answered the door. We have cameras, like, at our house.

Investigator: Maybe he knows this person. I didn’t know you had cameras [cross talk] because when we got there, some of your neighbors heard the commotion.

Dalia Dippolito: We have cameras. The front door has cameras…

Investigator: Well, that’s great.

Dalia Dippolito: …the back door has cameras…

Investigator: Then…

Dalia Dippolito: …but they don’t record.

Investigator: They don’t record?

Dalia Dippolito: Nobody knows, but they don’t. We told everybody they record but they don’t record.

Investigator: Oh God.

Dalia Dippolito: Because he didn’t want them to make a hole in the garage for the recorder to be there because of his car.

Investigator: Well, when we got there the doors were wide open. When the officers got there the doors were wide open. They went in and looked, you have a, they said there was two dogs in the house like in a crate or a cage or something like that and um, uh, he was found in the bedroom. Shot twice in the head.

Dalia Dippolito: He wouldn’t open the door unless it’s somebody that he knows because [crosstalk] we don’t open for anybody.

Investigator: You have to understand, I wasn’t there, and neither was he, we have other people there so maybe it was, maybe somebody broke into the house or something, I don’t know. I haven’t been to the scene yet.

Dalia Dippolito: All of our rooms have TVs and we look specifically like to make sure nothing is happening because we’ve had drug incidences and things like that.

Detective Anderson: Was he asleep when you left?

Dalia Dippolito: No. We said, sort of but not really because of his back he was kind of like…

Investigator: Laying there?

Dalia Dippolito: … he was just laying there and he set the alarm and you know? But, I mean….

Investigator: There was no alarm…

Dalia Dippolito: … I said goodbye and you know, I’ll bring you coffee on my way home and you know, normal. Everything normal.

Investigator: There was no alarm, there was no alarm sound going off.

Dalia Dippolito: I put the, our little dogs downstairs and he stayed upstairs with the big dog.

Detective Anderson: How big is the dog?

Dalia Dippolito: It’s an English Bulldog but he doesn’t do anything…

Investigator: Would he bite somebody?

Dalia Dippolito: No. He loves everybody. I mean, he will run off with anybody he sees. The one that’s very aggressive and mean is the white one.

Investigator: It’s probably the smallest one in the house.

Dalia Dippolito: [inaudible] like, four-pound dog.

Investigator: Thinks he weighs 200 lbs right? Um…

Dalia Dippolito: I’m just trying to …

Investigator: Yeah, I’m going, I’m going, what I’m going to do right now…

Dalia Dippolito: There’s a lot that, like, I want to tell you..

Investigator: I’m going to be back but what I’m going to do is call, right now I’m going to go out and get in touch with the officers on the scene and want to see if the house has been burglarized.

Dalia Dippolito: Okay.

Investigator: Alright. Give me one second.

Dalia Dippolito: Okay.

Investigator: You want to wait here?

[Investigator and Detective Anderson exit room]

Investigator: Can you close the door please?

[door shuts]

Investigator: [heard through wall] Can somebody, can somebody call out there and see if there was, if the place was burglarized or anything? Alright.

Dalia Dippolito: [crying] Oh my God.

Investigator: [more conversation through wall, inaudible] Hey, somebody, somebody call out there and see if the place was burglarized or anything? (I’ll take care of it) [inaudible] Will you let me know? You know [inaudible] alarm system [inaudible]bedroom. Let’s just find out if that house was broken into from the front, back, how it went because she says her husband would not let anybody in that house. [inaudible] Okay. Thank you, I appreciate it.

[investigator returns]

Investigator: Go ahead and have it, drink some water. You know that I have advised you of your rights, right?

Dalia Dippolito: Yes, you have.

Investigator: Okay, the game’s over with. Okay? There’s no more games, with you and I. Now, we’re going to get down to serious business. Want to know if you know this guy.

[Investigator opens door]

Investigator: Come here. Bring this guy in here. Get over here. Get over here.

[man walks into room hand-cuffed]

Investigator: Do you know who this guy is?

Dalia Dippolito: No.

Investigator: You’ve never seen him before?

Dalia Dippolito: I’ve never seen him before. Never.

Investigator: Do you know her?

Man: [inaudible]

Detective Anderson: Put your head up and look at her.

Investigator: Put your head up.

Dalia Dippolito: I’ve never seen him.

Investigator: What were you doing coming out of her house? Get him out of here. You’re going to jail today for solicitation of murder. You’re under arrest. That’s an undercover police officer. We’ve known everything that you did, recorded everything that you did. You’re going to jail for solicitation of first degree murder of your husband.

Dalia Dippolito: I didn’t do anything.

Investigator: Did you hear what I just told you?

Dalia Dippolito: I heard what you said but I …

Investigator: Everything, listen to me, everything has been recorded. You were photographed in the convertible when you sat in his car in front of CVS. What do you want to do?

Dalia Dippolito: Oh my God.

Investigator: What do you want to do here, Dalia?

Dalia Dippolito: I didn’t do anything.

Investigator: [Inaudble] Listen to me…

Dalia Dippolito: I didn’t do anything.

Investigator: …you’re going to jail.

Dalia Dippolito: I didn’t do anything, please, I didn’t do anything.

Investigator: Tell me you didn’t do anything.

Dalia Dippolito: I didn’t do anything.

Investigator:  You’re going to jail today. As soon as I’m done…

Dalia Dippolito: Oh my God.

Investigator: …they’re going to come in here and hand cuff you and take you to the Palm Beach County Jail, book you for solicitation of first-degree murder on your husband. Your husband is well and alive.

Dalia Dippolito: Thank God.

Investigator:  Oh yeah. Thank that.

Dalia Dippolito: Can I, can I see him, please?

Investigator: You don’t want to see him.

Dalia Dippolito: I just want to see him, please.

Investigator:  He doesn’t want to see you.

Dalia Dippolito: Please.

Investigator: You better quit your playing. Listen to me…

Dalia Dippolito: Oh my God.

Investigator: I want you to quit your acting and get this over with.

Dalia Dippolito: I’m not.

Investigator: Yes you are.

Dalia Dippolito: I’m not.

Investigator:  Okay, you know what? You need a real good attorney, you need a real good attorney because we’re going to show them this film where you say you are five thousand percent sure you want him dead. You think I made that up? You think I made that up? Exactly is what’s gonna happen. I’m done talking with you. When I leave this room, no other officer will ever talk to you again. The next time we see you is when you’re in trial. And you can make it right here, or you’re going to trial and you’re going to do life in prison. You want to cooperate with us, whatever you want to do. It’s over and done once I walk out. I’m not coming back in talk to you and no one else is either. What do you want to do before I leave here? Because the next officer that comes here is going to hand cuff you and take you to the jail.

Dalia Dippolito: I want to see my husband, please.

Investigator: Nope, he doesn’t want to see you. He doesn’t want to see you. I’m leaving now. Can you have an officer come here and cuff this, the person?

Dalia Dippolito: I don’t know what’s going on, please.

Investigator: Go ahead and arrest her for solicitation of first degree murder.

Dalia Dippolito: [inaudible crying]

Officer 1: [inaudble] stand up.

Officer 2: Stand up, please.

Dalia Dippolito: Oh my God.

Officer 1: Sit back down.

Investigator: Here, stand right here. You can stay right there.

Dalia Dippolito: Oh my God!

Investigator: He’s alive!

Dalia Dippolito: Come here, please. Come here, Mike, come here. Come here. Please. Come here.

Husband: Can’t. Can’t.

Dalia Dippolito: Why can’t you? I didn’t do anything!

Investigator: I heard you!

Dalia Dippolito: Mike, come here please! Come here.

Investigator: Okay. Thanks. Take her back to booking please.

Dalia Dippolito: Oh my God.

Officer 1: Common’.

[second interview]

Investigator 2: Your first name is Dalia?

Dalia Dippolito: [nods]

Investigator 2: Okay.

Investigator 3: That how you pronounce it, Dalia?

Dalia Dippolito: [nods]

Investigator 2: Have you been advised of your rights before? That a yes? Your Miranda Rights…

Dalia Dippolito: Yes, but I wanted to make a phone call.

Investigator 3: Okay, earlier this morning. I’m Sargent [inaudible] read you your rights from that card, right, and you understood your Miranda Rights? Your 5th Amendment rights?

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah, but I wanted to make a phone call.

Investigator 3: Okay, so well, phone call. We’ll be willing to do that later, not right now though.

Dalia Dippolito: But while I’m still here?

Investigator 3: Um, yeah, later on we will. Okay? [cross talk]

Investigator 2: Now, did you understand your rights?

Dalia Dippolito: [shakes head ‘no’]

Investigator 2: You didn’t understand them?

Dalia Dippolito: I wasn’t really paying attention. [inaudible]

Investigator 2: Okay. Okay. What I’ll do is read them again. If you have any questions, just go ahead and ask me and I’ll explain them to you. Okay. You have the right to reman silent and not answer any questions, do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: [nods]

Investigator 2: I need a yes or a no.

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah.

Investigator 2: Any, any statement you make must be freely and voluntarily given. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: Yes.

Investigator 2: You have the right to the presence and representation of a lawyer of your choice before you make any statements and during any questioning. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: So, when you start asking, in the middle if it starts getting uncomfortable then I can have my attorney, is that what you’re saying?

Investigator 3: It’s your right to remain silent and request a lawyer. Yes. Okay. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: [nods]

Investigator 3: Yes, right?

Dalia Dippolito: Yes. Sorry.

Investigator 2: Yes. Okay. If you can not afford a lawyer you are entitled to the presence and representation of a court appointed lawyer before you make any statements or during any questioning. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah.

Investigator 2: If at any time during our interview you do not wish to answer any questions, you’re privileged to remain silent. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: Yes.

Investigator 2: I can’t make any threats or promises to induce you to make any statements, this must be of your own free will.

Dalia Dippolito: Yes.

Investigator:  Okay. Any statement can and will be used against you in court of law. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah.

Investigator 2: Have her sign here again?

Investigator 3: No.

Investigator 2: Okay. Is this your signature?

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah.

Investigator 2: Okay.

Investigator 3:  Okay. So you understand your 5th Amendment Rights, now, all of them?

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah.

Investigator 3: Okay. Um…

Dalia Dippolito: Can I go to the regular restroom, please, before we start? Is it okay?

Investigator 3: Can you… is it an emergency?

Dalia Dippolito: I didn’t feel comfortable in the other one.

Investigator 3:  Okay.

Dalia Dippolito: I’m sorry, I…

Investigator 3: No problem, no problem. She has to go to the bathroom.

Investigator 2: Okay, then we’ll come back and I’ll talk to the lawyer and….

Dalia Dippolito: Thank you.

[all exits room]

[conversation between investigators about if someone needs to be in the bathroom with her, to leave the door open, and that one investigator needs to ask the questions]

[all enters room]

Dalia Dippolito: Thank you.

Investigator 2: You’re welcome.  Alright, mind if I call you Dalia?

Dalia Dippolito: Yeah, please do.

Investigator 2:  Alright, um, you understand what happened today? What’s going on here?

Dalia Dippolito: A little.

Investigator 2: Okay.

Dalia Dippolito: Now, slowly, I’m understanding a little bit better.

Investigator 2: What’s your understanding?

Dalia Dippolito: I was told one thing and now it’s totally like all these things are, like, I don’t, I mean, I don’t really know what happened.

Investigator 3:  Do you know that you are arrested today? You’re being arrested.

Dalia Dippolito: That part I understood.

Investigator 3:  Okay. Do you know what for?

Dalia Dippolito: Not really, no.

Investigator 3: [cross talk] the charge?

Dalia Dippolito: No, nobody…

Investigator 3: Go ahead, tell her the charge, Alex.

Dalia Dippolito: [sighs]

Investigator 2: Okay. You’re being arrested for soliciting to commit murder. Okay, and which that means is, is you attempted to hire someone to kill someone else. Meaning your husband. Okay? And that’s why you’re here and that’s what you’re being charged with.

Dalia Dippolito: [inaudible] No.

Investigator 2: No, you don’t understand or…

Dalia Dippolito: No, I never done that.

Investigator 3: Well, that’s what you’re being charged with.

Dalia Dippolito: Okay.

Investigator 3: And uh, we have plenty of evidence to back it up. Okay? So, with your rights in mind, we want to give you an opportunity to do some soul searching maybe and maybe get a lot off your chest and tell us the truth. That’s what we want to hear. I mean, this has been worked for a couple days now. It’s not just the first day we’ve been doing this, in reference to this case, and we have a lot of information to support our charge.  This is not what we’d call a quick little thing. So, we know when you’re lying to us and all of that, we just want to hear the truth. I mean, it’s done, it’s over with now. You know, and uh, this is your opportunity to tell us the truth. That’s all we want to hear, and we know the truth, so. I know it’s hard to commit to that but now’s your time, you know? You have anything to say about this?

Dalia Dippolito: I want to talk to my husband.

Investigator 3: Okay, well, you can’t talk to your husband. He’s not here right now. Let him go home. He’s taking care of the house and the dogs. Um, well, obviously your husband is alive. You saw him, right?

Dalia Dippolito: I saw him. I would like to talk to him.

Investigator 3: Okay, did and you seen that black officer that was here…

Dalia Dippolito: I…

Investigator 3: … in handcuffs. Well, he’s an officer. Okay? So, it doesn’t get any clearer than that. I mean, you know? I know it’s hard but…

Investigator 2: You know, people make mistakes sometimes, you know? The good thing about this whole thing is, that nobody got killed. Alright? The gentleman that walked into the room, he said it’s an officer. Alright? It’s not the first day we’ve been working this, alright? It’s an ongoing investigation.  Where we have you talking to this guy. We’ve listened to every conversation you had. Alright? So now if you’re, you know, tell the truth and do the right thing, that’s, you know? That’s when you reach inside you and you know, “fuck we made mistakes”. You know, everybody makes mistakes. Um, but tragedy was prevented today. You could look at it that way. You know? That simple.

Investigator 3: A big tragedy. I mean, someone’s life. So. Everything is on tape, Dalia. There’s no denying it. You know? Everything’s on tape and that’s not a bluff so. Phone conversations and there’s some video, too, so.

Investigator 2: What are you thinking?

Dalia Dippolito: That I’d like to make a phone call. I just feel lost, I mean…

Investigator 3: Who do you want to call?

Dalia Dippolito: I’d like to call me mom.

Investigator 2: We’ll let you call your mom after this is done, I mean…

Dalia Dippolito: I mean I’m not, you know, I mean, everyone keeps coming and I’m signing all these things and going over all these things and I don’t really know what they’re for. I’m just signing it because everyone’s saying “well, you know, if you sign this we’ll help you” or “we’ll this” or “we’ll that” and…

Investigator 3: I don’t know about that but the only thing we, we’re concerned with is the rights card and we went over that twice.

Dalia Dippolito: [crosstalk] came and I guess that may have been for release of the tape earlier, I don’t know because he never came back and I signed something and I don’t really know what it was.

Investigator 2: Okay, well…

Dalia Dippolito: I mean, I was hysterical like when he came and…

Investigator 3: [crosstalk] I’m sorry, go ahead, Alex.

Investigator 2: And that’s understandable, okay? Our main concern right now is the fact that a crime, with, you know, you actually, you got to understand this, okay. Dalia, listen to me for a second, okay?

Dalia Dippolito: I didn’t do anything.

Investigator 2: Listen to me for a second, okay? This is not our first day, okay? It’s definitely not our second day, alright? It’s an ongoing investigation, alright? Not only do we have you on video tape, we have every conversation that you’ve had leading to this point, alright? So for you to sit here and deny. that you haven’t done anything is not going to help, alright? Cause we know the, we know the whole story from the beginning to the end to this point that we’re at right here right now, alright? Everything that you’ve done since this started, we’ve been involved in it. Do you understand that?

Dalia Dippolito: I understand what you guys are saying and I’m not trying to lie to you or anything.

Investigator 2: Okay, well, I’m just [crosstalk] I’m not making, I mean, I’m just telling you the truth. That’s the truth. Alright?

Dalia Dippolito: I just want to go home.

Investigator 2: Well, unfortunately you’re not going home. Okay? You’re looking at some serious charges here. Do you understand that you made the attempt to hire somebody to kill your husband? That’s how serious this is. Okay, you can sit here and shake your head and deny it but, I’m going to tell you right now, alright, when they, when the judge and the jury see that video tape of this conversation making a deal, alright? That’s how far you went. Alright? It not about denying it, “it wasn’t me I didn’t do anything” because the video, the audio, it’s not going to lie. And all of the evidence we collected in this evidence.

Investigator 3: You sound like a fool denying all of this because like my partner just said, everything’s on tape. Video and audio.

Dalia Dippolito: I just want to go home.

Investigator 3:  I know but you’re not going home. You see? You’re being arrested so you’re not going home.

Dalia Dippolito: What do I have to do to go home? I’d just like to go home.

Investigator 3: I know but you can’t, it’s impossible. You’re going to the Palm Beach County Jail after this. You can’t go home. You’re being arrested. This is not a game. In your mind it might be a little game but this is very serious. Murder? You kidding me? Try to have someone kill…

[tape ends]

Categories
Case Summary Uncategorized

Lee Rodarte Case Summary

On August 2, 2017, Savannah Gold was last seen on security cameras leaving her car and entering the car of her manager, Lee Rodarte, at the restaurant she worked at, Bone Fish. They had an on-again off-again relationship; though Rodarte primarily dated someone else.

Savvanah Gold

Within minutes of entering Rodarte’s car, Savannah’s mother and brother received text messages from her phone, written in a way that Savannah would not write, with various spelling errors. The text message to her mother read:

“Hey I just eanted to tell you and mom I met a really great guy and we are running away together I love him and we are leaving to ight ill call you later when we get tk where we are glong”

The text message to her brother read:

“Heyi quit im leavingwith my boyfriend I cant do this shit anything im fine justwant to get away”

This immediately alarmed her family who later filed a missing person’s report. Soon, the police reviewed security footage showing Lee Rodarte’s vehicle doors being kicked open three times after he gets into the back of his vehicle with her. She is never seen leaving his vehicle.

Lee Rodarte2

In a police interrogation, he says he went to Bone Fish knowing her shift was about to start to tell her to stop spreading rumors about their intimate relationship because it was upsetting his girlfriend. The situation escalated and he slashed her tire and murdered her. Examiners were not able to determine her cause of death but did say her hyaline cartilage was fractured and that her death was certainly a homicide. Lee Rodarte claims as the struggle ensued in the back of his vehicle, he felt something “pop” in her neck.

Lee Rodarte has filed a “Stand Your Ground” claim with the First District Court of Appeal, resulting in his trial being delayed.

Categories
Police Interrogations Uncategorized

Lee Rodarte Interrogation Transcript

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZu6AgbCBYg]

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…

[edited]

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…

[edited]

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?

[edited]

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.

[Edited]

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.

[Edited]

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]