Interview with Rick Pemberton

Date:March 7, 1997

886, Rick Pemberton interview 1 SUPPLEMENTICONTINUATI?N FL0520300/ Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Death Investigation Date of Report 3/6/97 Location 644 Pierce Street Ong Incident Date 12/6/95 Victim Lisa McPherson VI Prosecute Yes No Investigator Det. Jorge Carrasquillo Previous Status Active Subject None Impound Inventory None Today is March 6, 1997. The time is 1925 hours. This is an interview with Rick Pemberton concerning the Lisa McPherson investigation. The interview is being located.., the interview is being conducted at the Columbia New Port Richey Hospital located at 5637 Marine Parkway, New Port Richey.

Det. Carrasquillo: Rick, what I would like for you to do... for identification purposes, would you please spell out your entire name and provide me your date of birth, social security number, home address, home phone number, and work number.
Pemberton: Okay. My name is Richard Pemberton...R I C H A R D. Middle initial W...Pemberton....P EM B E R T 0 N. I'm a registered nurse at Columbia New Port Richey Hospital. My Social Security number is X. I live at X, X, Florida 34614. And my home telephone number is X.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay Rick. Why don't you give me a little bit of background of your medical status. Have you been a nurse a long time or working in the ER for quite a while?
Pemberton: I've been a nurse since 1986...originally as an L.P.N. I completed my registered nurse training in 1988...worked in Telemetry and ICU floors up until 1993. And that's when I

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began working in the Emergency Room. And I've been here since late the Emergency Room here.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So you were working in November of 95?
Pemberton: Correct.
Det. Carrasquillo: Specifically November...I'm sorry...December 5th, 1995. Were you working that night?
Pemberton: Yes I was.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Do you remember the Lisa McPherson incident?
Pemberton: Yes I do.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Would you tell me in your own words what you recall of that night? And start from the very first contact you had with Lisa until it was terminated.
Pemberton: Okay. Do you want me to talk about the conversation that I heard...the... the one side that I heard as well?.
Det. Carrasquillo: Take it chronological order...
Pemberton: Okay.
Det. Carrasquillo: Was that before she came in?
Pemberton: That's before she came in.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Well, tell me about that.
Pemberton: Alright. I heard Dr. Minkoff take a call. But of course all I could hear was his end of the conversation. Umm....said something to the effect of "Yeah, go ahead and bring her in" know.. "We'll take a look at her." I don' know...there was no tone of alarm or anything like that that I could subtract out of that. And he just kinda briefly mentioned "Hey, they're gonna bring some...this person in" know. "Let me know when she's brought...when

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she's here and...and I'll come out and get her and we'll bring her back."
Det. Carrasquillo: Did he give you a name or did....?
Pemberton: I don't recall whether he gave me a name or not.
Det. Carrasquillo: Or did he give you a physical description or tell you what the symptoms were?
Pemberton: I don't re.. I don't recall He could've given me a name but I don't recall him doing so.
Det. Carrasquillo: But he wanted you to advise him when that patient got here?
Pemberton: Right... right.., right.
Det. Carrasquillo: Do you remember around what time that phone call was?
Pemberton: I'm thinking.. I don't remember specifically. My impression is that it occurred sometime between the hour of 8 and 9.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So then get the phone call. And about how much time lapsed before the patient actually arrived?
Pemberton: Oh, I really...! really don't recall. I would say an hour.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So then the next thing you know... an hour later or roughly an hour later...
Pemberton: Yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: The patient is here?
Pemberton: Right. In the circle drive out here in front of the Emergency Room where the ambulance.., ambulances drop patients off.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.
Pemberton: A.. I want to say it was a blue mini van but I know it was a mini van.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.

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Pemberton: Umm..pulls up. There's the victim and three females present. I took a wheelchair out. Willie Burdette, one of the technicians, went out with me.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.
Pemberton: Because we were gonna... they needed help getting this person out of the car. And immediately looking at her, I suspected that things weren't so good because she was very pale. Her eyes had this really hazy look to them and she wasn't breathing. So we immediately rushed her back to Room 2, which is our CPR room. And we then initiated CPR at that time.
Det. Carrasquillo: What was your conclusion...when you first looked at her in the van, what did you conclude?
Pemberton: She looked like she was dead to me.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And you felt no pulse?
Pemberton: No, there was no pulse and no respiration.
Det. Carrasquillo: What the touch, was she cold?
Pemberton: She was cool.
Det. Carrasquillo: She was cool to the touch?
Pemberton: And very pale.
Det. Carrasquillo: So from your experience, you kinda figured she was dead?
Pemberton: Yes, especially in know.., after you've had time to process that image of looking at her. There's no question in my mind now that she was definitely before she ever got here.
Det. Carrasquillo: So you take her out of the van?
Pemberton: Uh Huh.

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Det. Carrasquillo: Did you do it physically yourself or did....?
Pemberton: Willie and I both did.
Det. Carrasquillo: Where was she in the van?
Pemberton: She was in... either in the very back seat or the next to the back seat. I'm...I'm thinking she was in the very back seat.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And you and Willie got her out?
Pemberton: Right. Put her in a wheelchair.
Det. Carrasquillo: Were there any other passengers or,..or people in the van with her when you got there?
Pemberton: Yes. There were three female subjects.
Det. Carrasquillo: And where were they?
Pemberton: One was in the driver's seat. Two were in the back seat with the victim.
Det. Carrasquillo: Was the victim between them or by a window?
Pemberton: I don't recall.
Det. Carrasquillo: So get her out. You bring her in. How long was the van there before you got out to the van? Do you have any idea?
Pemberton: Well, it would've been a matter of probably a minute or less.
Det. Carrasquillo: So within a minute,'ve got her on a wheelchair and bringing her into the hospital?
Pemberton: Right..
Det. Carrasquillo: When you got her into the hospital where...where it's better lit...where you've got more lights...what...did you still have the conclusion that this woman was dead?
Pemberton: Oh yeah...yeah, she was.., she was dead.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.

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Pemberton: Of course we would do with anybody, we immediately hooked her up to the cardiac know... assessed her for everything...and checked her out. They began to code her. And I got a triage, so I had to leave. But there was know.., they...! don't think they ever had a pulse or anything.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So you didn't stay in the Emergency Room...or in Room #2...
Pemberton: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: The whole duration time?
Pemberton: No.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. You were out on triage taking care of other patients coming in?
Pemberton: Right...right.
Det. Carrasquillo: Did you happen on occasion to talk to any of the people that brought her in?
Pemberton: was just like know. "She's not breathing"...that sort of thing. There was no extensive conversation between myself and her. I think that was done pretty much with Dr. Minkoff and Barbara.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Can you describe the...the woman you talked to at all? Do you recall her?
Pemberton: I don't recall either of the three. Uh...this is just hearsay, but apparently one of them was a physician...a trained...a foreign trained physician. It was something that I heard that one of them was a foreign trained physician and was trained in Guadelajara.

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Det. Carrasquillo: Where did you hear that?
Pemberton: I believe I heard that from Barbara.
Det. Carrasquillo: Barbara Schmitt?
Pemberton: The charge nurse, Barbara Schmitt...yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: Well, it was a year and a half ago...almost two years ago.
Pemberton: Right. A long time.
Det. Carrasquillo: Right. And think the remember three people?
Pemberton: Right...correct.
Det. Carrasquillo: Was she...
Pemberton: Three females.
Det. Carrasquillo: There were two females and a male. Would that ring a bell?
Pemberton: It really doesn't. Maybe I'm... maybe I saw three subjects and two of them were females and I didn't see the male.
Det. Carrasquillo: Or...or there could've been three females in the van and a male. Were there four people?
Pemberton: That's possible...that's possible. I don't recall there being four people. I only recall three people.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And there were three females.
Pemberton:'re focusing on the patient and there's a lot of flurry of people going back and forth and stuff. So yeah, it would be easy for me to mistakenly think that they were all females.
Det. Carrasquillo: That's...that's no problem. Tell me about her physical appearance. Did you notice any bruises or...?
Pemberton: She had a number of petechia on her body. And petechia are like little hem... hemorrhages... maroon...elevated sort of

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thing. I know she had some of those and that she was very pale and very emaciated.
Det. Carrasquillo: Do you remember the locations of the petechia?
Pemberton: Uh...when one of the moments when I was in the room and she was being examined, I think I recall some being on her back and on her arms. I'm not positive about the specific locations.
Det. Carrasquillo: Any bruises on her face?
Pemberton: I didn't notice any bruises on her face but her face was just very very pale. It really like struck...strikes and still stands out.... sunken cheeks...yeah, the whole...
Det. Carrasquillo: Drawn in...thin...?
Pemberton: Yeah. Very emaciated looking. Det. Carrasquillo; Umm...did you actually do any work on her in the back?
Pemberton: No.
Det. Carrasquillo: None at all?
Pemberton: No.
Det. Carrasquillo: So you just basically got her...
Pemberton: Got her there...
Det. Carrasquillo: Got her from the van...
Pemberton: Got her there and then they had called triage and I went back out. And I had occasion to come back and forth a few times but really didn't participate in the room.
Det. Carrasquillo: Did you overhear any other conversations between Minkoff and the woman that he was talking to? Do you have any recollection of any conversations?

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Pemberton: No, I don't. I don't re...I don't remember any... any conversations at this time.
Det. Carrasquillo: Umm...
Pemberton: I don't think he got a clear impression from the telephone call. It's my impression and this is...again it's know...this is very subjective. I don't think he got a clear picture on the telephone of what was coming. He...he definitely seemed shocked once that girl arrived.
Det. Carrasquillo: So your...your impression of Dr. Minkoff was...when he saw he was kinda like...
Pemberton: Yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: "This is not what I was expecting."
Pemberton: Right...exactly. I think he thought he had somebody that was probably a little bit sick and he was gonna attend to that and everything was gonna be fine. I don't think he had any idea that somebody in such serious shape was gonna be coming... especially that's dead.
Det. Carrasquillo: Especially when you bypass four hospitals.
Pemberton: Right...right.
Det. Carrasquillo: So he...that kinda caught him by surprise.
Pemberton: Yeah, I think it did. -
Det. Carrasquillo: Did he make any statements afterwards? This is after the incident happened...the next day or the following day or after that?
Pemberton: No, I've never heard him discuss the situation again.
Det. Carrasquillo: Anybody else in the hospital discuss it?

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Pemberton: Umm...not really to any extent other know...people...just like in every day life, people hear things on the news and that sort of thing.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. What about her attire? Was she...was she disheveled...was she dirty physically? Did she look like she - was a vagrant or...?
Pemberton: recollection is that she was dressed just normal...sort of normal. S
Det. Carrasquillo: And clean?
Pemberton: Casual. Yeah, seemed clean. Of course I was so shocked by. her appearance that something could have passed by me on that because she... she really looked awful.
Det. Carrasquillo: Looked dead?
Pemberton: Yeah. Like she possibly had been for a while. I don't know. I'm no forensics expert by any means, but I think she'd been dead a while.
Det. Carrasquillo: Well, when you took...when you got to the van, it was pretty dark out there... -
Pemberton: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: And at that point in time, you felt she was already dead?
Pemberton: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: In your opinion, would you say half an hour?
Pemberton: I would assume...! know....just guessing it would have had to been at least a half hour. Det. Carrasquillo:. Okay.
Pemberton: As pale as she was and no respiration and so cold.
Det. Carrasquillo: At least a half hour you felt?

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Pemberton: Yeah. Which'd have to ask forensics people about that. I...I don't know anything about forensics, so.... Det. Carrasquillo; Okay. Umm...did you...! know you weren't back there and you said that you were going in and out...
Pemberton: Back and forth...yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: Back and forth. Did you see anybody draw blood from her or do you recall seeing anybody draw blood from her?
Pemberton: I don't recall. I'm sure somebody tried.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. Why would you say that?
Pemberton: They tried to get I.V. access. If there was a code blue going on, we always start to get I.V. access. Now, we don't always get blood. Sometimes we get an I.V. and it won't draw or we feel like it's more important to push drugs or whatever. But I didn't observe any blood being drawn.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. What about any conversation that night while you were here...while she was here...of any kind of contagious disease?
Pemberton: It seems like I heard Dr. Minkoff say something to the effect of when he saw the petechia and stuff, he wondered about sepsis or meningitis or something.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.
Pemberton: It was, know...just a thought that came out of his know.
Det. Carrasquillo: But did anybody....

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Pemberton: I'm not...I don't remember whether he drew blood cultures or not because a lot of times they will draw blood cultures even after a coding.
Det. Carrasquillo: They did draw blood. I...I'll tell you that... somebody did draw blood. It's in the medical records.
Pemberton: Yeah. Because I've seen.. I've seen physicians know...draw it after a person's pronounced.
Det. Carrasquillo: Was there anybody else working that night? Think back. Who did you remember that was working with you that night?
Pemberton: I know there was Barbara Schmitt. I'm not sure if Roxanne Koelpin would have been working that night but she's on this team. Angela Williams is on this team. I'm not sure if she would have been.
Det. Carrasquillo: Do you remember Angela Williams working at all?
Pemberton: I.. I don't remember whether either of those two were working that night. But they're both on this team.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. And what about Theresa?
Pemberton: Theresa works...she works that odd shift.., she works 11 in the morning till 11 at night. So if Dr. Minkoff was here, it was very likely that she was still here. Det. Carrasquillo:. Theresa said she was here.
Pemberton: Yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: And she also said that Roxanne was also here and helped. Do you remember Roxanne? Does that help you visualize anything?

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Pemberton: It really doesn't other than...than she's on this team and! know she works. I don't remember specifically who the...the...which nurse was on which side of the ER that night.
Det. Carrasquillo: So Angela Williams though is part of the team.
Pemberton: Uh Huh. S
Det. Carrasquillo: Roxanne is part of the team.
Pemberton: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: Yourself.
Pemberton: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: Willie Burdette.
Pemberton: Right.
Det. Carrasquillo: Dr. Minkoff.
Pemberton: Right. He...of course, they don't necessarily work in...
Det. Carrasquillo: With the team.
Pemberton: With the team because their schedule varies.
Det. Carrasquillo: Do you remember seeing Dr. Niles?
Pemberton: I don't remember who the other doctor was, but if Dr. Minkoff wasn't the night doctor there would've been.., still been another doctor here. And now that I think about it, he did...Dr. Minkoff did leave at 11 that night or 10 that night. And so there would've been another physician on. And that would Only make sense that it would either be Dr....under most normal circumstances either Dr. Niles or Dr. Minkoff.
Det. Carrasquillo: But it was Dr. Niles.
Pemberton: Yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.

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Pemberton: Because those are the two that work with this team for the most part.
Det. Carrasquillo: Anybody else that works with the team that you haven't mentioned?
Pemberton: There's been some changes since then of course. I don't remember. There could've been travelers. I don't remember who the travelers were at that time, if any. At one time Joe Carter worked on this team. I'm not sure if he still was at that point or not. I...I'm not sure whether he still was or not.
Det. Carrasquillo: Are these individuals still working for the hospital...Joe Carter and...?
Pemberton: Everybody...everybody that I've mentioned does. I don't remember whether he did or not. I don't think he was here then...alright. I really can't think of anybody else that would've been here at that time. There...there were some travelers that I think were here possibly at that time but! don't remember what their names are.
Det. Carrasquillo: being part-timers?
Pemberton: Right. Well, people that contract with the hospital and stay for a specific amount of time.
Det. Carrasquillo: And then go.
Pemberton: And then go. You could check probably with Karen Simpson in the staffing office and she would be able to give you a list of who was working at that time.
Det. Carrasquillo: Out of the three women that were...the three persons that were in the van....
Pemberton: Right.

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Det. Carrasquillo: Do you recall any of them coming inside?
Pemberton: Yes. In fact...the ER's changed since then. The room we're in right now as a treatment room at that time. They did come in and they talked to Barb and they talked to Dr. Minkoff...and I think just briefly. But as I recall, they didn't stay for a very long time afterwards.
Det. Carrasquillo: They just basically had conversations with Barbara and Dr. Minkoff?
Pemberton: Yeah, I think so. I really didn't have any detailed discussions with them at all other than out there at the van know..."What's going on?" and they said "Well, she's been sick and! don't think she's breathing.
Det. Carrasquillo: Do you remember that exactly what they told you? Because you said you asked them questions and one question was "What's going on?"
Pemberton: Right... right.
Det. Carrasquillo: And you remember their response?
Pemberton: I.. I really don't recall to tell you the truth. It was just real brief and I was just focused on the patient to get her inside.., so...
Det. Carrasquillo: What about their attitudes or their personalities? Were they excited? Were they subdued...nonchalant? Pemberton:. Kinda flat...yes...kinda cavaliere or...or flat. Really...they weren't really real excited about the situation it didn't seem like.
Det. Carrasquillo: You would think if you were traveling with somebody...that...

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FL0520300/Clearwater Police Department Report No. 95-29158 Offense Death Investigation Date of Report 3/6/97
Pemberton: Right...right...especially with one of them supposedly being a physician. I would have thought that she would have...which that's hearsay I realize, but if in deed that's the case, I would've thought she would've been trying to administer CPR at least.
Det. Carrasquillo: Or do something.
Pemberton: Yeah
Det. Carrasquillo: But there was no evidence of that when you got to the van?
Pemberton: Of them doing
Det. Carrasquillo: Or working on her?
Pemberton: No.
Det. Carrasquillo: Or assisting her in any way?
Pemberton: Holding her up.
Det. Carrasquillo: Were you aware that she was a Scientologist?
Pemberton: No.
Det. Carrasquillo: Was that brought up that night at all?
Pemberton: Yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: Who brought it up?
Pemberton: I think Barb did because she said they came from Clearwater and that they were people from the Church of Scientology.
Det. Carrasquillo: So Dr. Minkoff is a Scientologist?
Pemberton: Yes.
Det. Carrasquillo: Are you?
Pemberton: No.
Det. Carrasquillo: Is there anything that I did not ask you that.., as you were thinking and talking to me...that might be of important that I neglected to ask?

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Pemberton: The only thing that I can think of thats real important and! don't know...there's really no measurable way to do this I don't think.., is other than,! want to emphasize again that's my impression that Dr. Minkoff didn't know what he was getting into. He took the call,..and I've seen other doctors do this too...where.. where they got a friend or an acquaintance or whatever.., somebody's gonna bring somebody in and they're gonna look at them as a favor. And I've seen him do that before know. Somebody's banged up a knee.., somebody's got a cold...somebody's got a kid with a fever.., or whatever. I don't think he had a decent shot when this girl came in. I don't think he had any idea how serious her condition was. I don't know what the proximity of where the address where she was at before is to other facilities, but it would've made.., only made sense that she should've gone to the closest facility quickly.
Det. Carrasquillo: What if I tell you that the proximity was about three minutes away.
Pemberton: Yeah, that's.. ,that's crazy.
Det. Carrasquillo: Morton Plant Hospital....three minutes.
Pemberton: That's crazy.
Det. Carrasquillo: Maybe less.
Pemberton: That's crazy. I honestly think if he had any idea that she was in that serious a condition, that's what he would've need to call 911.
Det. Carrasquillo: Or take her to Morton Plant.

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Pemberton: At least...I mean with her being in the condition that she... she was when she arrived, I don't think she could've been...of course she my opinion she was dead when she arrived...I don't think she could've been in too great a shape an hour before.
Det. Carrasquillo: When...when the phone call was made.
Pemberton: Right, because...for instance, the petechia and the paleness and that sort of thing... that's not something that just pops up.
Det. Carrasquillo: Comes over a period of time.
Pemberton: S Right...yeah.
Det. Carrasquillo: What you're telling me now, has that been influenced by anything you read in the paper or heard in the newspaper or S on TV?
Pemberton: Only by what I've observed in my a nurse.
Det. Carrasquillo: So you're''re speaking from your own personal experience?
Pemberton: Right...and dealings.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.
Pemberton: About having worked know.., as far as medical stuff, what my experiences have been. And then as far as Dr. Minkoff, what my observations have been.., my impression.
Det. Carrasquillo: He's a pretty good doctor?
Pemberton: Yes, he is. He's very conservative, but when something needs to be done he does gets done.

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Det. Carrasquillo: Well, yeah...I just wanted to make sure that....that what you're telling me was not tainted by the reports....
Pemberton: No... no.
Det. Carrasquillo: That...that you read in the paper or the articles...
Pemberton: They're not.
Det. Carrasquillo: Did you see Inside Edition or Hard Copy?
Pemberton: I haven't seen Inside Edition or Hard Copy. I asked my wife today because I knew that! was gonna be interviewed by you today. I said "Have you seen Hard Copy... somebody said something about this being on Hard Copy." And she said S "No, I haven't watched it." Det. Carrasquillo:. So none of that stuff has influenced you?
Pemberton: I never watch TV hardly at all.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So... so what you're telling me is just strictly based on...on your personal observations that night?
Pemberton: Right... right.
Det. Carrasquillo: And your medical opinion.., and your medical training?
Pemberton: Right. Of course, there know.., forensics is for those guys and anything medical is for doctors. But !m just speaking as a nurse and what...what my observations have been and what! know.
Det. Carrasquillo: That's...that's all we're after.
Pemberton: My impression is that she had been sick for a while. Det. Carrasquillo:. Well, like you said, your impression was...when...when the van...when you walked up to the van, she had been dead for awhile.

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Pemberton: S Yeah...yeah. She was..she was dead right then. I...I just can't see it any other way.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. If I. I...I think that's gonna be it.
Pemberton: Alright.
Det. Carrasquillo: If.. ,if do have anymore questions Rick, you know my voice and now that! know your, voice, I'll just call you up and we' can do it over the phone real quick.
Pemberton: Okay, that's fine.
Det. Carrasquillo: If...if! have any questions.
Pemberton: Anytime you want to call. And if...if I'm asleep, my wife can leave the message.
Det. Carrasquillo: What...what time...what time do you...are you normally up in the evening?
Pemberton: Uh...normally I'll be up sometime between 4 and 5.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay. So it's a safe bet if I call at 4:00 I won't disturb you?
Pemberton: You won't bother me.
Det. Carrasquillo: Okay.
Pemberton: My wife will get me up and I'll come to the phone.
Det. Carrasquillo: I'll make it about 4:00 if I need to talk to you. I'm gonna go ahead and conclude this interview. And the time now is 1950 hours.

Ofc. Reporting Det. J. Carrasguillo/elg' ID No., 630 Case Status. Active Date Cleared ______________ Clearance Type Exception Type S 1. Arrest. 1. Extradition declined 3. Death of Offender 2. Adult Juvenile 2. AR of primary offense, 4. V/W refused to cooperate 3. Unfounded secondary offense, 5. Prosecution declined w/o prosecution 6. Juv/No Custody Ofc. Reviewing Date. SAO Info S