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Interview: Bonnie Tull

Mrs. Tull was interviewed at the Sheriff's Department.



A= Armstrong
T = Tull
A: Thanks very much for stopping by. For the record, please state your full name, date of birth, and residence address, please.
T: Bonnie May Tull, born August 23, 1967. I live on the old Duvall farm off Hiway 7.
A: Thank you. Let's start with the case at hand. How much of your son's activities in connection with Knight were you aware of?
T: None. Absolutely none. I can't believe it. When the cops came knocking I thought Ray was trying to take him away from me again. That was the first I learned of it - of Dylan being involved. Everyone at work was talking about the murder.
A: Ray is Dylan's father?
T: Yes.
A: So you aren't around much?
T: I am, but at different times. I was really stupid when it came to getting a job -- I took the first thing that came along, which was working at the Waffle House on Jackson Ave. I started as a waitress and now I'm cooking, but I'm stupid because I should have thought more about Dylan. I could have done something else that wouldn't have been so hard on him.
A: What is your work schedule?
T: Well, it changes from week to week. I can never remember it. Usually I work a couple of nights, from like six to two. I don't take the late shifts, at least. I work a couple of morning and day shifts too. It's tough doing part-time - they just give you whatever shift is short a person. In the school year I pretty much work a morning and lunch shift - seven to three.
A: Is Dylan alone when you're at work?
T: It depends on what time it is. I know I should have someone with him all the time, but I just can't afford it. If it's at night sometimes my neighbor will just come over until I get back - there used to be a sitter, but she left because she couldn't stay as late as I needed her to. In the mornings he's pretty much on his own, which is why I wanted him to go to that camp. I try to find things for him to do, sign him up for activities. But I know it's not the same. I feel awful about it.
A: So it's possible he could have left the house in the morning without you knowing?
T: Yeah. Very possible. When I come in from a night shift I like to sleep late, and I . . . . sometimes tell him I just need to lie down and not be bothered. He's pretty independent. He has his own keys.
A: Who was the sitter?
T: A college student. Her name was Theresa. A history major, very nice girl. She and Dylan got along great. But I was working too late and so she had to go. Dylan was pretty upset. I know he's lonely.
A: How did you know they get along?
T: Oh, Dylan was just cheery when he knew she was coming. He's a weird kid - he's quiet and never complains about anything even when I ask if he's unhappy. I know he must be miserable but he just won't tell me. I guess I don't know how to talk to him. Anyway he changed when she was coming and would talk a lot and act silly like a kid should. When she was going to come he would clean up - that's one thing he's not so good about. He never picks up his toys and drawings.
A: Does Dylan draw a lot?
T: Yes. I'm glad too, because he's got a lot going on in his head and it makes me feel better to know he can express himself even though I'm not around. But he just leaves the papers everywhere, tears them out of the sketch pad and leaves them lying on the floor. I try to tell him that he should treat his artwork with the respect it deserves and that sometimes works. Once he left a drawing in the bathroom under the sink and it got ruined. He was pretty upset. I sure wish I could help him more, maybe enroll him in special art classes at school or something, or draw with him a lot more. I like to draw too.
A: What does Dylan like to draw?
T: Usually people in the park. He usually likes to draw kites and different kinds of trees, you know, with orange dots for orange trees and red spots for apple trees. He doesn't usually draw monsters or anything. Sometimes he draws big weird flowers but that's about it.
A: Does he have nightmares?
T: Sometimes. It's like all his energy goes into his imagination and his dreams. He comes up with some outlandish stuff, not like horror movies or anything, totally original. I don't really worry about it because I know it's just his mind's way of blowing off steam. But some of the stuff is pretty weird.
A: Can you give an example?
T: Well, I guess it was a couple of years ago. Dylan was sure there was a slime mold in the house that was going to digest him somehow. In his dream he could actually feel himself being turned into mold. He had the dream over and over again.
A: What about recently? Any nightmares?
T: A couple I guess. I didn't think much about it, but I guess I should have. I don't remember what they were about.
A: Did the sitter or anyone else ever talk about nightmares?
T: No. Mom sometimes says he doesn't sleep well. But I don't have any specifics.
A: How does Dylan do in school?
T: Well, he's pretty smart, but he doesn't really care about his grades. I'd say his grades are just average. All his teachers say he's real quiet. I think social-wise he doesn't do that well. He's lonely.
A: How long have you been raising Dylan on your own?
T: Since 1994. Ray ran off with some bimbo from Jacksonville. He doesn't call or anything, only sends a check every once in a while.
A: And when were you married?
T: Oh, right out of high school, that was 1986 or so. Dylan was in 1988. I thought maybe Dylan would help keep us together but it didn't work out that way. I've screwed up all over the place.
A: Your mother helps out?
T: Yes. It's great. Dylan really likes her too. I think she's much better for him than I am.
A: It sounds like you have a lot on your mind.
T: Yeah.
A: Are you in counseling?
T: Yeah, I see someone every once in a while. It's the county mental health services. But I'm not crazy. I just, I don't know, sometimes it all just gets to be too much, you know? Sometimes I can't stand to walk in the door, and that's when I call them up. We just talk. Most of the time, though, I just try to go to bed and go to sleep. When it gets bad I send him to Mom's.
A: I think that's all for now. Thanks for coming in.

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