Friday, July 31, 2015

Investigators searched for the Monte Carlo and its driver

On August 22, MC Passenger was interviewed by law-enforcement investigators for the first time. The local NAACP office had identified MC Passenger, convinced him to provide information, and arranged for the investigators to interview him in the NAACP office.

In this interview, MC Passenger claimed that he knew MC Owner only by her first name and knew that she lived somewhere in Northwinds Apartment Complex.

MC Passenger I was leaving from a young lady's apartment. I guess it was about 11:55 [a.m.]. 
FBI SA  Whose apartment was it? Was it someone in Canfield Green? 
MC Passenger  I think it was the other one -- Northwinds. In the back area. I came from that way. ..... From where I came, from her house, an officer came that way, hopped in front of us, real quick. We was behind him.  He got a fair lead, so we were behind kind of far. 
As we approached him, he was talking to Mike and his friend. 
FBI SA  What kind of car were you driving? 
MC Passenger  I wasn't driving. I was in the passenger [seat]. It was a white Monte Carlo .... 
Detective  Who were you with? 
MC Passenger  A girl named [MC Owner's First Name].
Detective  You know [MC Owner]'s last name? 
MC Passenger  Huh uh [no]. 
Detective  Okay. Was anyone else in the car beside you and [MC Owner]? 
MC Passenger  Huh uh [no]. 
Detective  Whose car was it? 
MC Passenger  Hers. 
[Pages 3 - 6]
MC Passenger's description of the car as a white Monte Carlo matched descriptions given to investigators previously by Dorian Johnson, Piaget Crenshaw, Michael Brady and other witnesses. 

On August 27, five days after the Passenger interview, investigators began to search for a particular automobile. The search was recorded in the investigation report, which later was released to the public with many words whited out. Therefore many details about the search and about the automobile remain secret or at least obscure. In the excerpts below, I have marked the whited-out words with brackets, into which I have written my guesses. (In this post I will write as if it were a certainty that the sought car was the Monte Carlo.) 

The investigators were looking for an automobile that was "captured on video surveillance on Canfield Drive at the approximate time of the incident". Because the Canfield Green Apartment Complex's property owner told investigators that the Complex did not have any video surveillance (investigation report, page 96), the automobile must have been photographed by a video camera that was placed along Canfield Drive but outside the Complex.

At the east edge of Canfield Green Apartment Complex, Canfield Drive changes its name to Windward Court as it enters the neighboring Northwinds Apartment Complex. Therefore, the video camera must have been placed on Canfield Drive somewhere west of Canfield Green Apartment Complex. At the went end of Canfield Drive, at its intersection with West Florissant Avenue, there are businesses on the north and south sides of the street. The video camera must have been placed at one of those businesses.

The vertical street on this photograph's left side is West Florissant Avenue. Perpendicular to it is Canfield Drive. At the intersection, there are two businesses (one is Quick Trip Mart) along the north and south sides of Canfield Drive. A video camera at one of those businesses photographed a particular automobile "at the approximate time of the incident".
Canfield Green Apartment Complex is the upper-right part of the photograph.
This complex did not have any surveillance cameras.
A short distance past the photograph's right margin, Canfield Drive changes its name to Windward Court,
as the street enters the neighboring Northwinds Apartment Complex.
The Monte Carlo's driver lived in Northwinds Apartment Complex.
Although a detective had interviewed MC Owner on August 9, that interview's transcript does not include a description or identification of the automobile. Only in later interviews of other witnesses was the automobile identified as a white Monte Carlo. It seems that the investigators then studied film from a surveillance camera and found such a car driving west on Canfield Drive a short time after the incident.

The surveillance camera's location can be deduced from the investigation report. On August 12, investigators identified, at a business on West Florissant Avenue, a video camera that looked south. That camera is the only one specified in that passage of the report. 
At approximately 10:00 [on August 12] at Detective [Name's] direction, Detective [Name] and Detective [Name] drove to the [address] block of West Florissant Avenue. After arriving, they conducted a canvass of area businesses.  
Detective attempted to make contact with an employee at [address] West Florissant Avenue, a business identified [as Business Name]. She spoke with [Employee, who] said the business was equipped with several exterior video surveillance cameras, one of which was focused on the drive-thru located on the south side of the building.  
Detective requested video surveillance footage from 11:00 am. through 12:30 pm. on August 9, 2014.  [Employee] provided the footage on a CD. Detective later packaged the video footage on CD as evidence and released it to the Saint Louis County Property Control Unit. 
[Pages 76 - 77]
This business must be the one that is located on the north side of Canfield Drive near its intersection with West Florissant Avenue. The only camera that interested the investigators was the that looked south onto Canfield Drive. In the above photograph, this is the business that is north of Quick Trip Mart (labeled on the photograph). 

The Quick Trip Mart was destroyed by rioters after the incident, so the investigators could not obtain any surveillance film from its facilities. 
Detective [Name] attempted to make contact with an employee at  [address number] West Florissant Avenue, a business identified as [Quick Trip Mart].  She spoke with [QTM Employee, who] said the business was equipped with video surveillance cameras; however, they had been destroyed during the rioting on Sunday, August 10, 2014. 
[Pages 77-78]
Therefore, the video camera that filmed or photographed the Monte Carlo after the incident must have been placed on the business on the north side of Canfield Drive. Because Johnson said he had stood next to a white Monte Carlo and talked with its occupants, the investigators studying that camera's film looked for and found such a car. 

The interview of Passenger on August 22 stimulated the investigators to search for MC Owner in the following days. 

The transcript (page 1) of the August 9 interview of MC Owner specified her name, birthday and Social Number. However, the interview took place at her acquaintance's home, not MC Owner's own home, and so the transcript does not record MC Owner's home address or telephone number. Also, the transcript does not describe her car.

It seems from the following excerpts of the investigation report that the investigators found in traffic-ticket records a white Monte Carlo whose male owner and female co-owner lived in Northwinds Apartment Complex. As we will see, the co-owners were son and mother. Passenger had told investigators that the car was owned by a woman who lived in that complex.  
On Wednesday, August 27, 2014, at approximately 8:30 a.m., Detective [Name] conducted a law enforcement computer check on [all white Monte Carlo cars in the traffic-ticket database]. 
Detective [Name] observed that on [a particular date, a white Monte Carlo] was ticketed in a [location] bearing Missouri license plate [number] by the Police Department. Detective [Name] noted this matched the description of the [Monte Carlo] captured on video surveillance on Canfield Drive at the approximate time of the incident. 
[Page 151]
Based on that traffic-ticket record, a detective went to the car owners' address. The detective learned from a neighbor that the car owners had moved out a few days earlier. This departure still was unknown to the apartment complex's property manager.
At approximately 10:00 Detective [Name] and Detective [Name] drove to the Northwinds Apartment Complex just east of the Canfield Green Apartment Complex. There, detectives contacted Property Manager [Name, who] was provided the names of [the the Monte Carlo's owner] and [co-owner] and asked if these people were listed as tenants. [Property Manager] stated [the owner] was listed as living at [a particular address] within the Northwinds Apartment complex. 
Detective [Name] and Detective [Name] drove to and knocked at the [next] door. At the door, a neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, stated a male and female did live at this apartment, but moved a few days prior. Detectives [Name and Name] asked this anonymous neighbor what type of vehicle they drove, and she stated an older [Monte Carlo]. 
This concluded the investigation at the Northwinds Apartment Complex,  
A source of information who wished to remain anonymous indicated a more recent address for [MC Owner's son] was possibly [another particular address].  
[Page 153] 
This anonymous source might be MC Owner's neighbor or might be Passenger or his friend (who told his father, who told the NAACP) or might be MC Owner's acquaintance (at whose home a detective found MC Owner on August 9) or the young man who tipped the detective to come to the the acquaintances' home.

I speculate that MC Owner fled her home because she learned that Passenger had been interviewed on August 22 by law-enforcement investigators. When detectives came to MC Owner's home on August 27, a neighbor said that MC Owner had "moved a few days prior".

When detectives went to the address that they had received from the anonymous source, they learned that MC Owner indeed was living there. They learned also that MC Owner's car was "being worked on" (being painted a different color?).

At approximately 12:10 pm, Detective [Name] and Detective [Name] drove to [the address provided by the anonymous source] in an attempt to contact [MC Owner]. They arrived at the residence at approximately 12:30 pm. There, detectives knocked at the front door and were contacted by a female who identified herself as [Resident].
Detectives [Name and Name] asked [Resident] if they could speak with [Driver's son]. [Resident] stated [that Driver's son] was not home because he was at work. [Resident]  said she and [Driver's son] and [Driver] reside at [this address] with her [husband?]. [Resident] stated she and [Driver's son] recently moved from [the apartment in Northwinds Apartment Complex]. 
[Resident] also confirmed [that MC Owner and her son owned a Monte Carlo] but the [Monte Carlo] was being worked on. Detectives provided [Resident] with a telephone contact number for [MC Owner] to call when [MC Owner] got home. [Resident] stated she would give [MC Owner] the message to call detectives. 
Detectives departed at approximately 12:20 pm. 
[Pages 155-156]
Although the detectives wanted to talk only with MC Owner, the person who subsequently called was some other male. I will guess here that he was Resident's husband, although he might be a boyfriend, male relative or simply a male apartment mate. 
At approximately 1:00 pm, Detective [Name] was contacted via telephone by [Resident's husband, who] indicated [he] could meet with detectives at [Resident's home].
At approximately 1:55 pm, Detective [Name] and Detective [name] arrived at [Resident's home].  
[Resident's son] contacted [Resident] who invited detectives inside the residence. Detectives [Name and Name] explained to [Resident's husband] that AUSA [Assistant US Attorney Name] and [FBI] Special Agent [Name] were also driving to [Resident's home] to contact [Driver]. 
Detective [Name] asked [Resident's husband] if he owned a [white Monte Carlo]. [Resident's husband] stated [that Driver] and [her] son owned the [Monte Carlo] and drove the [Monte Carlo] for work. Detective [Name] asked if [Driver and her son] lived at [the Northwinds address] and [Resident's husband] stated [Driver and her son ] did, but they recently moved to the residence at [where Resident and her husband lived] from the [the Northwinds address]. 
AUSA [Name] and Special Agent [Name] arrived at at approximately 2:00 pm. Special Agent [Name] served [Resident's husband] with a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena, and all parties departed the residence. 
[Page 156]
I speculate that because investigators were sure that MC Owner was evading them, they applied pressure on her indirectly, through her host (Resident's husband), by issuing a subpoena to her host. This subpoena then compelled MC Owner to provide her phone number to investigators and to move back to her own apartment in the Northwinds Apartment Complex. However, she continued to evade through September by not answering any phone calls that investigators made to her number.

When Passenger testified to the grand jury on September 25, the prosecutor mentioned that MC Owner never answered investigators' phone calls. 
Prosecutor  Did you ever -- after [MC Owner] dropped you off [on August 9] -- have you ever had a conversation with her about what the two of you witnessed?
Passenger  Yeah, basically every day from when we see it on TV. I mean, you know, not trying to put things together, but seeing things on the TV that is just crazy stuff going on just back and forth, and back and forth. 
Prosecutor  I'm not trying to suggest you were trying to get your stories together, the reason I ask is [MC Owner] hasn't been returning calls. Do you talk to her about that we would like her [to respond]? You ever talk about coming in and talking about this? 
Passenger  Yeah, but you know, she works every day, deal with kids every day. 
Prosecutor  Do you think if we could have her come in at a time that it didn't interrupt her work? Do you think she would come in or is she just not wanting to be involved? She doesn't return calls
Passenger  I guess, I don't know how she really feels about it now. I haven't just straight up and down asked her. 
[Pages 199 - 200]
MC Owner did not appear to be re-questioned by law-enforcement officials until October 13 -- more than two months after her brief August 9 interview. 

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