So Heather Connell went to speak with one of them, and I spoke to another one. They told us they'd received a call, or some sort of tip, about a bomb threat. Someone told them that that pickup truck was wired. But they made no move to take us from the park, or even ask us to get out of there. It was straight out of the Twilight Zone, and we were both badly shaken by it.
But it was her reaction that really threw me, more than those police cars showing up. She started shaking, even her lips were shaking--I'd never seen anything like that before.
She then asked me if I was FBI, and asked me to empty out my purse (I was dressed very casually in a skirt and sweatshirt, and had a large leather purse with me) to make sure I was not recording her. She also asked me to turn off my cell phone.
I was in such shock that to this day I can remember every detail of those few minutes from when the cops arrived to when she asked me to turn off my cell.
MCM: Did she make some move to leave? Or ask you to leave?
LA: No. Not at all. Not once during our roughly one-hour meeting was I asked to leave, nor did she try to leave. Not until we'd finished talking did we both get up to leave. And neither, strangely, did those cops ask us to leave, although they stuck around examining the truck.
MCM: Did you two talk about anything else?
LA: I can't get into all of it, for various reasons. But she told me about the engine troubles on her husband's plane the week before--on September 18th. But she did not appear concerned at all, or mention anything about suspicions. And I didn't think to ask because, at the time, I didn't think anything of it either.
I also asked her what she thought about Mike's having been subpoenaed--and again I was surprised, as she had no idea he'd been subpoenaed, and did not believe me. So I told her that there was a case in Columbus, raising allegations about Mike, and that she should ask him about it. She told me that her husband "is a good man"--a "God-fearing man" --and that "we are both pro-life." I replied that someone could be a good person and still end up in a bad situation. She seemed very reluctant to accept this, and I didn't push it.
There were a few other items, which I don't wish to get into yet.
MCM: You said you'd been reluctant to call her in advance, or even show up at her home, because of the alleged threats. Did you ask her any more about the threats?
LA: Yes. I asked her if she felt threatened. She said no. I asked her if she'd actually been threatened. She said no to this as well. I asked her if her husband had been threatened, and she said no. What I believe is that she really wasn't in the loop: that Mike kept her completely unaware of what was going on--including the alleged threats, the Columbus case, the work he did, and his struggle over whether to come forward. I think she's a good person, who's simply overwhelmed by all of this, and I felt badly for her.
MCM: Well, Renner's piece makes clear that Mike Connell also saw himself as a good person, and so did members of his church. This whole story raises very troubling questions as to how the sense of total righteousness can lead us into doing wrong.
So how did your conversation end?
LA: I gave her my contact information and I asked her to please pass it along to her husband. I told her that I would not contact either one of them again, unless they asked me to. I made it clear that this was a one-time deal for him to talk to me--assuming there was anything for him to talk about. What I said was something like, "This offer expires in 24 hours, and then I'm not going to contact you folks again." I did encourage her and/or her husband to get back to me if they should want to share something, and that they could do so for any reason and at any time. But I made clear that I would not be reaching out to them again in anyway, shape or form.
I told her that I enjoyed meeting her and she seemed very calm. We hugged each other. My colleague had come back with the car, and so I left.