August 1967 – Diary entries
August 13 1967
Today was yet another wonderful day spent with my mother. We went to the local fair with my aunt and cousin whom I have not seen in a long time. We had a good time and enjoyed the time spent together. Sadly though today is my second last day to visit my mother. I am going to leave tomorrow on a train and head directly tot a small town called Wells where I will arrive late at night and switch trains. Then I will go strait back home to Pasadena. As always I am still trying to convince my mother move to Pasadena and with me where she can have a better life, but she is to attached to her home and will not move. But I am not going to give up I will keep asking her until she agrees because I know she could have a better life in Pasadena.
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August 14 1967
The events of today were of the usual kind, only special by those I am visiting.
I awoke in my mother’s guest bedroom to the smell of eggs and bacon. I accompanied my mother at the kitchen table and enjoyed a full meal that I knew was being stretched in my benefit due to my mother current financial difficulties.
Day after day I remind her of the life she could have if she moved to Pasadena. But still she refuses to move; she is too attached to her home here.
Today is my final to visit. I will leave shortly and take a train all the way to a town called Wells. Then from there take another train home to Pasadena. Although I am sad to leave I am happy to know that I will be in the comfort of my own home shortly.
It is about 2 hours after my last entry and I have now left my mother’s house and am on my way to Wells where I will head home. I will be arriving quite late so there shouldn’t be too much commotion at the train station and the switch should be quick and simple. The train ride is going to be long and quiet. Most of the other passengers are asleep and it gives the false sense that I am almost completely alone on the train. I would also sleep but I do not want there to be any chance of me missing my stop because if I do I will have to probably spend the night somewhere else and find another train home in the morning.
The train is pulling into the station now and I am going to put my diary away for a while to make the switch between trains. I want to be as quick as possible because I know that I want to be careful in a small southern town like this one.
August 15 1967
Last night turned out to be more of a handful than I had expected. When I arrived in Well I simply expected to switch trains. I got off of the train I had arrived on and patiently waited for my next train. But I was quite rudely interrupted by a local police officer. He handcuffed me and brought me down to the station on the account that I am black. Although the police officer is racist or extremely ignorant, I do believe that he means well and takes great pride in his job. I noticed that his police cruiser looked as though it had been recently washed, and he was on the graveyard shift. So that meant, very few people would see his car and most police officers probably would not have bothered to have their car washed if they knew that it was unlikely that anyone was going to see it in clear daylight or even see it at all. I myself would probably not have had my car washed if I were on the graveyard shift.
I struggled to keep my temper in reserve. The ignorance of the people I have met is quite unbelievable. When I mentioned to chief Gillespie that I was a police officer he looked as though he had been hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat.
Throughout the day I saw examples of their ignorance and lack of education. Chief Gillespie took no more than ninety seconds to examine the body, determine that the victim was hit over the head and was quite certain that that was all he needed to know. I examined the body and gathered as much information as possible. I am hoping to make my stay here in Wells a short one.
I find it hard to believe that chief Gillespie was chosen to be the chief of police because of qualification. He does not seem qualified at all. I am not even sure if he has had proper training.
I met a man by the name of Mr. Endicott. I could tell right away that he was more educated than many of the people I have met so far and I suspect that he is from the north.
Also I have had the opportunity to question some of the citizens including Miss Mantoli, the daughter of the victim, Enrico Mantoli.
Chief Gillespie got me a car to use during my stay in Wells. The car is from a garage that is run by a poor black man named Jess.
I have managed to gather a lot of information about the murder today and already have a someone that I suspect.
I also had the opportunity to question Harvey Oberst and gain some information about a young girl named Delores Purdy.
August 16 1967
This morning I phoned the hotel that Eric Kaufmann is staying at and gathered some information from the desk clerk.
Later at the station a man named Gottschalk was brought in for questioning. He was driving his pink Pontiac on the highway where the body was found. He was late at night when the murder took place. He was going to Cape Kennedy where he works and he was driving at night because it was so hot out and he wanted to go at night when it was cooler. When I asked him why he did not fly or take a train because of the long distance he had to drive he told me that he was driving because he was expecting his wife to come down and visit him. This way he would have his car here so that she could go out while he was at work.
I have also made the important discovery that Mantoli was not murdered where the body was found.
I had the opportunity of talking to Reverend Amos and he offered to help me with the investigation. He is going to have the children of the church search for pieces of wood that the church can use as firewood and he is going to check the pieces of wood for traces of blood. If he finds any traces of blood he will give me the piece of wood and I will determine weather or not it is the murder weapon.
Perhaps my most interesting adventure of the day was the ride I took with Mr. Wood. I asked Mr. Wood to retrace his exact route that he had taken the night of the murder and he had no problem with it. Although there was one portion of the route that I did notice he purposely made a detour I his route and I am still not sure why but I do believe that it is important and I intend to find out why he made the change in route.
August 17 1967
Today was full of events. Sam spent last night in jail because Gillespie arrested him under the suspicion that he got his money for his mortgage from Mantoli. Also Delores Purdy accused Sam of seducing her. I knew though that he was innocent of both of these charges so I had a chat with him to confirm a few things so that I could be certain he was innocent. I also talked with Mr. Purdy and Delores at their home and got them to come into the station again. When they came to the station there was already a lot of people there. Sam, Chief Gillespie, Mr. Endicott, Miss Mantoli, and myself were all in Gillespie’s office when the Purdy’s arrived. I cleared Sam of all charges and he returned to duty at his regular time. I informed him that he would personally arrest the murderer himself. To make a long story short, I went for a ride with Sam on his nightly rounds and Gillespie tagged along as well. Sam made his routinely stop at the diner where Ralph worked and I brought it to his attention that Ralph was the murderer. Sam arrested him and we brought him back to the station. I followed procedure and questioned him before I called it a night and went home.
August 18 1967
Today was my last day in the town of Wells. I packed my bags and prepared myself to head home at last. I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited to a celebratory dinner at the Endicott’s home. When I arrived and the food was served, we barley began to eat before everybody wanted to know exactly what happened. So Mr. Endicott asked Gillespie what happened and he said that Mr. Endicott should ask Sam because he was the one to make the arrest. Sam told him that he should ask me because I solved the investigation. So I told the story of the past couple days and everyone listened intently. After we finished eating, Gillespie drove me to the train station and thanked me for my help in the investigation. I know that I haven’t changed the opinion of the men I met but I do believe that I have opened their eyes and made it so that they are more willing to accept others at least a little more than they were when I first met them.
August 19 1967
I am back home now and came home to a pleasant surprise. When I went to work this morning my boss called me in to his office and showed me a letter that he had received from Chief Gillespie and it described in great detail all of the things that I had contributed to the investigation in Wells and thanked me for my cooperation, time, and friendship… signed Chief of Police Bill Gillespie.
After I read the leader I had an even greater sense of accomplishment than I have ever felt after solving any crime and my boss also promoted me to lead homicide detective for the Pasadena Police Department.