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Jan. 15, 2020

The Letter

The Letter

Eric's dad was given a letter shortly after Eric and Gypsy were murdered.  The letter details what the author says happened to Eric and names people who were allegedly involved.  


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Welcome to Secrets True Crime, The Eric Cates & Gypsy Story.  I am your host, Amber Sitton.  What is done in darkness will eventually come to light.  That is the purpose of this podcast...to shine light on the story of Eric Cates, his beloved dog, Gypsy and the town of Empire, AL.  Listener discretion is advised.  The subject matter may involve violence, sexual content, murder and adult themes.  It’s not suitable for younger listeners.  This is episode 7 of a serial podcast and they are designed to be listened to in order. 


Not long after Eric & Gypsy were found murdered at the Empire School, someone gave the family a letter.  This letter supposedly describes what happened to Eric and Gypsy and it names those who were present for their murders on the night of March 20, 2015.  Eric’s father, Wayne Cates, had a brother named Mike Cates.  Mike Cates and Eric were very close.  Both men desperately wanted to see justice for Eric and Gypsy.  They both dedicated much time to finding out who murdered them but both Wayne and Mike died before seeing the justice they sought.   


Tobbie: (02:27:44)

About two or three weeks, again the timeframe, Wayne and his brother Mike were out riding motorcycles.


Tobbie: (02:27:56)

Wayne had called me earlier in the day, I was working and he said that they were gonna go riding at Empire. And I think that, you know, just a simple conversation of, you know, see if the grass needs mowed around where the site was because we did put up some flowers


Tobbie: (02:28:19)

Anyway, him and Mike were out riding around and of course, you know, they stopped at the blue store. They talked to several different people and then pulled up to the trailer you went to the other day and starts talking and I think it was the father that said she's got something she needs to tell you or was it the mother?


Chris Cates:

the mother



the mother


Chris: (02:28:51)

He said him and mike set on porch and talked the mother and she cut him off. She said, I know who you are. She said I've got somebody that needs to tell you something. or wants to tell you


Tobbie: (02:29:10)

Yes, wants to tell you something, but didn't want to tell Walker County Sheriff's Department because she would wind up dead. And after talking to her, that's what she wrote out. The letter details what happened to Eric, who was there. And when I got home from work that night and Wayne showed me the letter,  I said well, we've got to give it to the sheriff's office. I took it and made copies. Uh, I gave a copy copies for the sheriff, for the chief deputy, for the investigator work in the case.


Tobbie handed the letter to me and Michael as we sat at her kitchen table that very first day.  It was handwritten in pencil, front and back, on a sheet of college ruled loose leaf paper.  It names 7 people who supposedly took at least some part in what happened to Eric & Gypsy and at the top of the page on the back side, it lists 2 more names as knowing what happened.  


Tobbie: (02:30:23)

And we went and talked to the sheriff about the letter.  The names in it are names that had already come up with this case. Supposedly they had already interviewed these people, investigated these people. *^&^%^$ *^*&^*&^ is the one that I believe got into,  he tried to outrun Cullman county on a four wheeler.  He was told he was the one that had the hat that he did have the hat that was taken off of Eric and how he had burned it once he knew that we were looking for it. And how did he know we were looking for it if somebody didn't tell him about the letter? Cause we hadn't told anybody. So several of the things were in the letter got out. 


Tobbie: (02:33:07)

He would supposedly tell the sheriff's department different things and just had them on wild goose chases. I mean isn't giving false information to sheriff's department, I mean to a police officer, is that not a misdemeanor, was he ever charged? No.


Speaker 3: (02:31:21)

At one point ((*&%*%  the one that wrote the letter, um, went to (name of a state)  and she back and forth, back and forth. But to my knowledge, no one has ever talked to her about this from a, from interviewing her in a sit down interview. Uh, legally


I was surprised to see that Tobbie still has the original letter.  She told us that they tried to give it to Sheriff Underwood but he said he didn’t need or want the original.  He told her a copy of the letter was good enough.  In fact Tobbie wanted to take the author of the letter who we will refer to as Wendy to have the letter notarized or somehow legally establish that Wendy wrote it but Sheriff Underwood told her all of that was unnecessary.  Why?  We have no idea but we can tell you that we do not believe that this woman has ever been interviewed by law enforcement about this letter she wrote, even to this day.  


Many of the statements in this letter are some of the most widely rumored circumstances and events surrounding the murder of Eric and Gypsy.  Two of the claims are the most common storyline of how Eric was murdered.  We’ve heard this part of the letter countless times.  The letter claims that Eric went to Perry Selman’s house and that Eric and Randy Hicks got into a fight because Eric and Randy’s wife, Jessica, were having an affair.  It states that Randy pulled a knife, stabbed Eric and Eric fell to the ground.  It then describes Randy, Jessica, Perry and 3 others as standing around Eric and he laid on the ground.  It says a man we will call George laughed, said he liked Eric’s hat and he wanted it.  It describes George’s girlfriend reaching down, removing Eric’s hat and giving it to George.  This is the same man that Tobbie and Chris described earlier as leading the Cullman County Sheriff’s Department on a 4 wheeler chase and you are going to hear more about this hat later in this episode.  The letter then says that Perry ordered the rest of them to get Eric off his land.  Randy supposedly called a tow truck driver and asked him for help but the letter states this tow truck driver didn’t want any part of it.  Wendy then claims that Randy and George put Eric and Gypsy in the back of Eric’s truck so that Jessica and George’s girlfriend who we will call Zena, could drive the truck behind the Empire school.  The letter says that the girls got out of Eric’s truck and Randy and George moved Eric and Gypsy to the front of the truck. Wendy says the guys robbed Eric of anything of value.  She notes that by now Eric has lost a lot of blood and is too weak to defend himself and she notes that they rolled the window down just enough that Gypsy couldn’t get out.  She said the guys set Eric’s truck on fire while the women watched.  The letter says that once they knew the fire was set, they all ran and that George was wearing Eric’s hat.


While we do see some very likely truths in the letter, it has many faults and statements that we think are false or otherwise don’t make sense.  I want to point some of these things out to you.  Eric was a big guy.  He was much bigger than Randy and Eric was pretty good in a fight.  He was known to often use his skills to protect women who were being abused by their significant others.  While we can’t and won’t say it couldn’t have happened, Eric being taken down by Randy and Randy alone as the letter states seems quite unlikely.  The letter never addresses what happened to Gypsy.  Gypsy and Eric had an extra special bond and Gypsy was extremely protective of Eric.  Everyone knew not to reach in Eric’s truck and to not get too close to the window on Gypsy’s side of the truck.  She viewed all intrusions into that truck as a threat to Eric and she would eat up anyone who invaded that space.  The letter states that Gypsy and Eric were placed into the back of the truck but Wendy never indicates Gypsy is injured.  She later states that the 2 men move Eric and Gypsy to the front of the truck.  She indicates that Eric has lost a lot of blood and can’t defend himself.  Again, she doesn’t mention Gypsy’s condition at this time but she does note that the window was rolled down just enough that Gypsy couldn’t get out.  That statement would lead you to believe that Gypsy was alive and capable of escaping through the window.  Those that knew Gypsy will firmly tell you that if Gypsy was capable of escaping through the window, there’s no way anyone picked her up and put her in the back and then the front of the truck, especially with Eric beside her suffering from a mortal wound.  The next thing that doesn’t quite make sense is when Wendy says the women pulled the truck behind Empire school, got out, the guys got Eric and Gypsy and put them in the front of the truck, robbed him and then set the truck on fire.  Eric’s truck was found in the middle of a big mudhole.  His truck was surrounded by water and mud yet the investigators and Eric’s family have all told us there were no footprints in or around the mudhole.  If all the described activity happened as written, all 4 of them would have been covered in mud.  The water in the mudhole was deep enough to conceal and partially conceal many truck parts that fell off during the fire.  It was large enough that when Eric & Gypsy were found, law enforcement and the coroner waited for the tow truck to pull the truck out of the mudhole to remove Eric and Gypsy’s remains.  Eric’s family believes that Eric’s truck was set on fire and then intentionally pushed into the mudhole and we agree that this is the most likely scenario. 


While Wendy’s letter does have quite a few points that we don’t think make sense with what else we know, there are a couple things that lead us to believe that Wendy did have knowledge of what happened to Eric.  This letter was given to Eric’s family within a couple weeks of Eric and Gypsy’s murders, well before the autopsy results were in.  While Eric’s family has yet to be able to obtain a copy of the autopsy despite numerous efforts, a few of the details have been shared with them.  A small amount of soot was found in Eric’s lungs indicating Eric was still breathing when the fire was set.  You heard that right.  These monsters burned a man and his beloved dog alive yet those responsible for this have been allowed to walk free every single day in Walker County for almost 5 years and counting.  Wendy’s statement about Eric’s blood loss and his being too weak to defend himself fits the results of the autopsy that wasn’t known by anyone until well after she wrote this letter.  Another detail is her statement that they robbed Eric.  Eric had a white gold and diamond necklace that was hanging from his rearview mirror.  The necklace nor any remnants of it were found in his truck.  You’ll hear more about this necklace in the future.  Eric had another necklace in his ashtray.  It was a cross on a vintage dog tag chain that he purchased at a military surplus store.  That necklace nor any remnants of it were found in the truck.  Eric always had knives on him.  Eric had a strong belief that carrying a gun would get you into nothing but trouble.  He’d always had a preference for knives.  In fact, he’d spent time with a man that Friday morning before he was found practicing and learning how to use a knife.  He was practicing his knife throwing skills and more.  His Uncle Mike also said he was practicing with those knives later that afternoon before he left home for the BBQ.  None of those knives were found in his truck.  In the end, Wendy’s letter left Eric’s family with more questions that answers.

Tobbie: (02:33:40)

My questions for $^%$#% and she wouldn't answer them at the time. Me and Wayne went back up to talk to her, but she wouldn't talk to us anymore. The letter had already gotten out.


Tobbie: (02:33:55)

I wanted to know how she knew this. Where was she at? All she told me was that there were several there, but that some of them were already high and passed out.


Tobbie: (02:34:11)

and I asked her, I said, where did you get the drugs? And she said they got them from ^$###$ , that he had made a new batch.


Tobbie: (02:34:25)

but whenever I would question her about the other things there, uh, I asked her how was, how  did #$@! know what happened? And she wouldn't answer.


Amber: (02:35:16)

so this letter indicates that it started at Perry Selman's house? 


Tobbie: (02:35:27)

Well yes. Perry Selman lives across from the Empire school. 



You don't think so though? 



Well she also came back and said that it happened at the *^&#%#@@@. When I asked her about the house that burned, I didn't even have to tell her the name. She said, whenever I told her, I said something about where it started. She said, oh, that's burned.


While Wendy changed her story and later said the events she described didn’t happen at Perry’s house, much about the events she described were very similar to other tips that Eric’s family had already received.  One of the bigger questions is exactly where it all occurred because whatever happened to Eric & Gypsy that night didn’t begin at the Empire School.  Eric told enough people about his plans to attend a BBQ that night that we feel certain there was one.  He’d spoken of it all week to numerous people.  The east Walker County isn’t a big area.  It’s a very small community where everyone knows everyone.  We find it quite curious that no one seems to know anything about this BBQ.

Chris: (01:05:14)

The next day or so after it happened, one of our tips was that Eric and Randy Hicks had got into a fight somewhere and that Eric was on top of him or something and somebody else stabbed Eric in the side, and he was bleeding all over Randy. So Randy's clothes was blood soaked, you know, had Eric's blood all over him. And the tale was that Randy always wore Wrangler pants. He wore Wrangler pants and cowboy boots, you know. And I said, we didn't tell nobody that we found the the wrangler button in the truck. It be one of them things, you know, you'd think you'd just get over overlooked, you know. But they said that Randy actually stripped all the way down and threw all of his clothes into the truck while it was on fire cause it had all that blood on it. I've got the button at the house.


Chris: (01:06:55)

That was just thorough of a job they done, you know, trying to get evidence. 


Wendy was at the top of our list of people to speak with when we began this case. We were initially told that she’d moved away and no one knew where she was.  It only took Michael about 5 minutes to locate her though and we didn’t have to go very far.  She told us that she wrote the letter because she wanted to help but she claimed the information she provided was all secondhand. She denied being present that night.  Some of the information she shared helped substantiate other things we’d learned.  


Both Michael and I have also spoken to Jessica at great length.  I asked Jessica how she knew Eric. 


Jessica: (00:59)

No I did not know Eric.  I didn’t know Eric at all.  I met him one time several years before his murder, but it wasn't even like an actual meet. It was at Randy's uncle's house. 


I asked her to tell me what she knew about the night Eric was murdered.


Jessica: (03:06)

I was at home that night, me and a friend of mine. Randy was at home earlier that night. He left. He went to Perry's, down the road and he come back and we just did what we regularly did. He didn't mention anything to me. He didn't say anything to me. It was just normal, you know, normal night.


Jessica: (03:36)

And then the next morning is when I hear about everything and I hear everything that happened and then I guess it's probably maybe a week or two later I get questioned about it. I cooperated with them and I told, I don't know anything I want to say, don't know anything. I didn't know anything. I just got brought up. 


Jessica: (06:27)

So I mean the story was that I went off with Eric but that's not true.


Jessica: (04:32)

After that night he didn't act different. Not that I can remember. After that night now thinking back he did act up or out and we moved out for a little while and then I went to jail. They had caught me with some weed and um, Chuck caught me with the weed. I remember he told me he would not charge me with it if I came to talk to them the next morning. I go the next morning and I talked to them and then several weeks later I get charged with the weed. Chuck did at the bookstore. Tanya. Tanya is actually my cousin. And Chuck at the blue store.  She got me to go to the Blue Store and he was there when I got there. $25,000 cash bond for possession of marijuana. No way to get out though. You know, I cooperated with them but you know they didn't handle it like I thought they should handle it. 


After our interview, I started thinking about Jessica having a $25,000 cash bond for marijuana and I wondered just how much marijuana she was caught with so I messaged her to ask some more questions.  She told me she was caught with less than a 20 sack but had gotten caught years prior with a blunt. Since it was her second marijuana charge, they were able to make it a felony.  She told me she ended up doing over 2 years in the Walker County jail for pot and was in for 1 year straight on the last charges.  She told me she felt like it was planned to lock her up for an extended period of time.  She said a guy that saw the same judge right before her for drug charges received a $1,000 property bond. I asked her why Tonya would have been willing to lure her to the store so that she could be arrested.  


Jessica: (06:46)

They arrested me so they could question me.That's why they arrested me. Questioned me more. I went and talked to him willingly. 


Amber: (10:35)

I definitely think Randy knew what happened. 


Jessica: (10:39)

I think he did too. But he honestly never told me. Like I told Michael, my dad said that he tried to tell him something that night, but my dad told him he didn't want to hear anything. I mean, we were active addicts. You know what I mean? I don't remember everything. I know I didn't go anywhere that night. I did not go off with Eric Cates that night. He did not come to my house that night. 


Amber: (16:30)

Did you ever ask Randy about that night what happened? 


Jessica: (16:37)

Yeah, we talked about it plenty of times like who we thought it could have been but he said he did what he went to do and he came back and that's all we talked about it. We talked about somebody did this or somebody did that, that's how we talked about it. We talked about the rumors, you know, 


Amber: (17:02)

but you never asked him if he saw anything? 


Jessica: (17:05)

No, I'd never come out and asked him if he saw anything. I mean, I figured he would've told me. We were together nine years, you know, I figured if he saw something or, I figured he would've told me, but he never told me anything. 


Amber: (17:30)

But at some point he got paranoid and put mattresses. Tell me about that. 


Jessica: (17:38)

We were laying in bed one night, you know, or to go around our house is right on the road. You know its a curve and I don't know what he heard or what he saw or what he thought, but we had a King size mattress and he took the box Springs. We have two windows in our room.  He took the box springs and put one on each window and we slept on a mattress on the floor. And then  right after that is when we moved in with his brother for a little while. 


Amber: (18:09)

Why did yall move in with his brother. 


Jessica: (18:12)

He, he said, he said he wasn't, didn't feel safe here. That's exactly what he said. 


Amber: (18:20)

And you never asked him why? 


Jessica: (18:23)

Yeah but he didn't really say.  I mean we didn’t really have a good communication, you know, going on. So he didn't really talk about things. And then it was two weeks later is when I went to jail and then we didn't, so I'm saying from when it happened we were only together a few months from when it happened. So when I went to jail and we broke up. 


Jessica: (18:56)

And then after I had my last daughter, we got back together but I was in rehab, he was in work release. The day he got out of work release. I went to rehab. And then four days later is when he came up missing. And then they found his body, you know, about three weeks after that.



That’s right.  Randy Hicks isn’t here to speak for himself.  In 2016, within days of being released from jail, Randy went missing for 3 weeks and was found dead in the woods under very unusual circumstances.  We will discuss this in an upcoming episode.


Randy and Jessica weren’t the only ones who went to jail either.  Perry Selman was arrested pretty quickly after Eric’s death.  The Walker County Sheriff’s Office completed a search on Perry’s home related to Eric’s death.  During this search, a bottle of shake and bake meth was found underneath Perry’s bathroom sink and it was enough to send Perry to jail for approximately 4 years on a drug trafficking charge.


Nick Smith: (07:10)

One of our guys last night, they arrested one of the suspects or a prime suspect that Mrs. Stover feels like as a prime suspect on an unrelated charge last night that he's in Cullman County jail. We're going to send somebody over today to go speak with him again and kind of re-interview him as well.



May I ask who that is?


Nick Smith:

Perry Selman


Mike: (07:33)

I actually want to ask you about him. 



Why is he in the county jail so long afterwards? I mean, I know like, I think Cullman county picked him off right after Eric was murdered and then it seems like once he got released, he ended up being picked up by Walker County and hasn't been out all that long. Is that correct?


Nick: (07:55)

I don't know. I haven't kept up with how long he's been in jail. Uh, the investigator arrested him last night on unrelated charges that he had in Culllman. So Cullman picked him up last night. Um, he hadn't been out of jail very long, so I don't know what his initial charges or why he was in jail currently for.  According to Ms Stover, he was a player in the investigation. I know there's been a lot of polygraph tests and things done on, on various witnesses and things. I'm not sure the outcome of his polygraph test, but, uh, and again, like I said, it's just one of those things that like I told Ms Stover when you got a new administration coming in, it's kind of hard to backtrack.


Michael: (09:17)

He's definitely one of those legends though.


Nick Smith: (09:21)

Yeah, he's definitely, he's definitely one of the legends. You know, there's a certain area in there in East Walker County and I don't know why it's that way, but, um, it seems to be a hotbed the area over in Empire.

Perry Selman is well known in Empire.  Perry is considered one of the old school.  As I mentioned earlier, it has been heavily rumored that Perry was involved in Eric’s death and the rumors and tips about Perry started the day Eric and Gypsy were found. 


Chris (02:19:19)

They went and picked up Perry that week that Eric had got killed


Chris: (02:19:25)

By the end of the week when they seen that Walker County


Chris: (02:19:28)

was shutting them out. That's when they went to trying to, trying to figure out a way to help. And they know that they had a warrant on Perry, so I just went and arrested him and took him to Cullman.


Chris: (02:19:54)

but they could only hold him on them charges for 36 hours or something. But he said the whole time he was in there, they kept him up in the interrogation room and he said they asked him, they even called in someone from Huntsville that was supposed to been military background for interrogation you know. He said that he said that he said that man set there smoked cigarettes and blowed smoke in his face the whole time he set there. told him he wouldn't tell them nothing, he'd take his chances. So they kept him as long as they could and they said that he laughed at them when he walked out the door and come home and the very next day Walker County went and arrested him on some kind of bogus charge. I thought that...


Chris: (02:20:55)

it wasn't even any in the computer now I didn't go into computer and you can see what there charged with. Nothing.


Tobbie had been wanting to speak to Perry herself for years.  She’d asked the investigators to let her speak to him and they wouldn’t.  Perry had been locked up all these years until 2019.  Tobbie was determined to talk to him in person.  She told us that before Eric’s murder, Eric and Perry were friends.  Eric spoke to his mom about Perry quite a bit.  We met at the Blue Store one morning.  Michael and I both had located several phone numbers that might have belonged to Perry.  We tried all of them but none of them were working phone numbers.  Perry hadn’t moved back into his home near the Empire School but we’d heard where he was living.  Michael and I were a little apprehensive about just showing up in his yard unannounced.  We’d heard stories of Perry having large, aggressive dogs and more but there was no deterring Tobbie from this.  Tobbie drove us to Perry’s home on York Mountain in Empire.  We’d discussed how we’d handle the visit and it was decided that Tobbie would go to the door while Michael and I monitored from the car.  We pulled into the driveway on the left side of the home.  The right side of the driveway had a row of crepe myrtles planted up to the sidewalk leading to the home.  Why is this detail important?  Well, those trees made it very hard to see what was going on as Tobbie was greeted by a man on that sidewalk.  They spoke briefly and the man turned around and went inside.  Tobbie stood there for a couple minutes before another man appeared.  Michael and I both were watching very intently.  We could see they were having a brief exchange but we couldn’t hear what was being said.  We saw Perry motion with both hands to himself and then we saw the body language of both Perry and Tobbie change, it seemed more relaxed as they walked down the sidewalk, into the driveway and around the back of his house.  Tobbie later told us that she introduced herself to Perry as Eric’s mom and told him she’d really like to talk with him.  She said Perry looked so surprised and said you really want to talk to me?  He told her he’d always wanted to speak with her too.  He said he asked the investigators to speak with her but they told her she didn’t want to talk to him.  As Tobbie and Perry walked further into the backyard, we couldn’t see Tobbie anymore and it caused us both a great deal of anxiety.  We understood why they were walking to the back of the home.  Perry had a generator running and it was extremely loud but we wanted to keep our eyes on Tobbie.  We exited the vehicle and walked further up the driveway.  We could see them but they were still a good distance away.  Perry and Tobbie spoke for at least 30 minutes and then Tobbie motioned for us to join them.  Perry appeared to be a smaller, older man.  He had gray hair and a gray beard and he was wearing a blue napa auto parts hat. I could tell Perry had been working, probably on a vehicle or a piece of equipment.  He had the tell tale grease stains of a mechanic.  He began to tell us his part of the story.  He told us that he and Eric were good friends.  He said he did see Eric that day.  He said at some point in the morning hours Eric pulled in and parked in his backyard.  He said he walked up to the truck and Eric was sitting there jamming out to some music.  He said he saw Eric one more time that day.  He told us that he ran into him at the Blue Store.  He said that they waved to each other, spoke and each went their own way.  Perry told us that he wasn’t home that night but at first he didn’t reveal where he was.  He did later show Michael where he’d been.  He told us he got up the next morning and hooked a trailer up to his truck.  He had his nephew with him and they needed to haul a car but before they could leave, he heard a body had been found burned in a vehicle behind the school.  By the time the wrecker emerged from the school with Eric’s truck, Perry was at the trailer located adjacent to the entrance to the Empire School.  He told us as soon as he saw the truck, he knew it was Eric’s.  He also told us that before the end of the day, his name was being drug through the mud and people were saying that he was responsible. He adamantly denied having any involvement or knowledge about Eric’s murder.  Perry told us about the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office arresting him on a very old warrant immediately after Eric’s murder and then he says that the Walker County Sheriff’s Office and Investigator Tidwell searched his house without a warrant when he wasn’t there.  He said it was during this search that they found 682 grams of meth in a bottle underneath his bathroom sink. He told us the meth that was found was planted by someone and it was not his.  He told us who planted the drugs and he believes that person did play a very active role in Eric’s murder.  Perry was warm and friendly and appeared to be open with us.  He shared a lot of personal details about himself and he didn’t sugarcoat any of it.  He told us that he’d be moving back to his place by the Empire School on Selman Rd.  It had become very overgrown while he was away in prison.  Later that afternoon, we went back by Perry’s house and he rode with us to his home on Selman Rd.  You could barely see the mobile home for all the overgrowth.  Michael wanted to see Perry’s shed behind the home because that shed has surfaced in many of the rumors about Eric’s murder.  I waited at the street while Perry used his machete to blaze a trail through the thick vegetation. When they got back to me at the street, Perry showed me his machete which he has named Luke.  Luke was given to Perry by a good friend and it’s a possession that Perry treasures. He named it after the friend who gifted it to him.


Perry was also able to clear up a long rumored story about Eric’s hat.  As I mentioned earlier Wendy wrote in her letter that George liked Eric’s hat and George’s girlfriend took the hat off Eric’s head as he lay wounded on the ground.  The hat in question was a special hat.  It was a Caterpillar equipment hat and it was a hat that could not be bought in stores.  It was a hat that the Caterpillar salesmen were giving to customers.  The salesman gave Eric a hat and Wayne a hat.  There were countless tips of George wearing Eric’s hat around Empire in the days after Eric’s death and as I told you earlier, the police were chasing George to get it.  George burned the hat in a backyard in Empire so it was never recovered.  During our visit with Perry, he told Tobbie that he and Eric were good friends and Eric had given him a nice Caterpillar hat.  He said that he was so proud of the hat that he hung it on his wall and after he was arrested, George took his hat and burned it.  As he told the story, I could see a lightbulb go off in Tobbie’s eyes.  She told him that’s exactly right!  Eric had a hat and his dad had a hat just like it.  Eric took his dad’s hat and gave it away.  They never knew who he gave the hat to but Wayne was mad that Eric gave his hat away and it had created some friction to say the least.  No one knew about Eric giving away Wayne’s hat and no one knew who Eric gave it to.  We had no doubt that Perry was telling us the truth.  We also got 2 independent corroborations of Perry’s story.  Jessica and Wendy both told us that George told them he got that hat off Perry’s wall.  So where is the hat that Eric was wearing that night?  We don’t know but we are fairly certain that the hat George was wearing was not Eric’s hat.


While the storyline remains much the same, the people named in Wendy’s letter are not the only people who have repeatedly been named in tips about Eric & Gypsy’s murder.  A man we will refer to as Lee is someone whos name comes up regularly.  Lee is the person Perry believes planted the meth under his sink.  We also have received many tips about a woman we will refer to as Reba.  She too is heavily rumored to have been present that night and it is said she played an active role in the murders.  The 7th person named in Wendy’s letter is a man we will refer to as Sean.  There are countless tips about Sean.  Sean is often described as the one that keeps everyone scared enough to keep their mouths shut about what happened and he is also known for his ability to keep investigators chasing their tails running down all the false information he puts out.  Sean is also rumored to have played a role in other murders in Walker County.  There are so many names connected to Eric and Gypsy’s murders that it is overwhelming and confusing at times.  While we aren’t ready to name who we believe to be responsible yet, I will tell you this.  We fully believe that Eric’s murder was seen by a crowd of people.  It is confusing and complicated because you have so many people that played a role in this ranging from witnesses, perpetrators and those who have just become complicit accomplices.  This isn’t your typical murder where 2 or 3 people played a part.  There are many people who know what happened that night and to them I will say this.  The truth will set you free.

If you have any information that could help in solving the murders of Eric and Gypsy, please call the Walker County Sheriff’s Office at 205-522-6112.  You may also email me at secretstruecrime@gmail.com or call our confidential tip line at 205-282-0740.   If you are left still wanting even more content, please check us out on Patreon.  We have it filled with great information about Susan and Evan and Eric and Gypsy. Our next zoom call for Patreon is scheduled for December 10th.  This podcast is an independent podcast.  That means that everything that goes into making this podcast is done and funded by me.  All of the investigative tools and resources are provided by Echo 7 Foxtrot. The tragedies we highlight and investigate have had a tremendous impact on the victims' loved ones and friends. We don't burden them with additional expenses to cover their cases--we donate our time and talents because we want to help and hope to find the answers they need that are long overdue. For as little as $5 per month, you can receive exclusive access to members only photos, videos, early access to episodes and much, much more.  By becoming a patron, you too are helping us help these families. Your support as a patron of Secrets True Crime Podcast helps us cover the expenses associated with producing a high quality podcast, traveling to conduct fieldwork and interviews, and obtaining the tools and equipment needed to conduct a thorough investigation. In short, your support as a patron allows us to do MORE for these families. Become a patron of Secrets True Crime Podcast today and let’s solve these cases TOGETHER.  www.patreon.com/secretscrime.  I’ll also post the link on our Facebook page.  If you are enjoying this podcast, be sure to follow or subscribe in your podcast player of choice and by giving us a 5-star rating and review in Apple Podcasts.   I’m active on social media and often share photos of Eric and Gypsy.  Follow Secrets True Crime on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  @secretscrime.  This audio production for this podcast is by Kane Power at precisionpodcasting.com.