Bryan Woody, Echols/Baldwin trial
Bryan Keith Woody, then 20 years old, stated he saw four boys enter the Robin Hood Woods while he was driving to his parents home after getting off of work at 6:30 pm on May fifth. His trial testimony was presented as the last time the victims were seen alive.
For some details he was clear. He said there were four children entering the woods, two had bicycles and one had a skateboard. One child had blonde spikey hair and Woody said this is what caught his attention. At the time, the children entering the woods was unremarkable. He said he made the connection the next day.
Woody: I seen them 'cause one of them had spikey hair and my little boy [two year old Ryan Woody] had spiked blonde hair just like it, you know, it just caught my eye.
Fogleman: Alright. Uh - were you aware - did you know whether or not any of the little boys who were missing had that kind of hair cut?
Woody: Well, not until the next day [May 6] at noon when I went to my parents' house for lunch. My mom asked me, you know, she said, "There's some kids missing," and I seen it, you know, and I said "Well, I think I seen them yesterday." I said that little spike headed boy, you know, he looked familiar. [Bryan Woody testimony, Echols/Baldwin trial]
His statements and testimony are problematic.
With his tenuous sighting it is unclear why the prosecution brought Woody in to testify at the Echols/Baldwin trial. (He did not testify at the Misskelley trial.) Possibly it was to establish Aaron Hutchison as the fourth child.
Woody testified he was travelling east (towards the bottom right) on Goodwin when he saw the children enter the Robin Hood Woods.
Woody in the Search
Woody was also involved in the search for the children.
They watched the noon news and it was the first story on. After the story he [Woody] told his mom about seeing the 4 boys going into the woods - he left and went to 14th + Barton and told John Mark Byers what he had seen. They asked if he would help them look - he went and got a 3 wheeler + helped search. Bryan + Bo Hamrick searched the Bayou by 20th St. + checked the 7th St. Bayou. [Lt. Hester notes of Bryan Woody interview, May 27, 1993]
And from the trial:
Fogleman: Alright, what did you do to help search?
Woody: We just, I just went like, got my father-in-law's three wheeler and rode around with some other guys just looking everywhere. [Woody testimony, Echols/Baldwin trial]
Woody says he became involved in the search after seeing the noon news - and then going to talk with Mark Byers at his home. This suggests he knew Byers and where he lived. Mark Byers recalls the meeting:
Mark Byers: Now where I did hear something that sounded odd. That Thursday evening was probably like 6. . . no it wasn't even that late. They were still searching. They hadn't found the boys yet. It was a little after lunch time. And I, this fellow talked to Gitchell. But it was a white guy, kind of chunky, heavy-set, had kind of shoulder length wavy hair and said when he had come home the night before 6:30, quarter 'til 7, something like that, that when he drove by there, he had seen 4 people and 2 bicycles. And I thought, you know, are you sure it was 4. He said yeah, it was 4. And that's when we were right there at my house and I think Gitchell pulled up and I went over and said, Gary there's a guy that saw 'em. And I think he went and talked to the guy right there. But during the day, the guy was on a like a 180 or a 250 red 3-wheeler helping us look through the day. Kind of heavy-set. [John Mark Byers statement, May 19, 1993]
Woody was not asked where he searched during the trial, however the person he identified as searching with him made statements to the press.
Neighbor Bo Hamrick said he and friends had helped search the area on three-wheelers since about 7 a.m. Thursday. "It's nothing but woods, woods and trails - a few trails just wide enough to get a three-wheeler through," he said. "I thought, if we get our three-wheelers out, they'll hear us, if they're back there hiding. They always are." [Memphis Commercial Appeal, May 7, 1993, article titled, "Mutilated Bodies of 3 Boys Found in Bayou"]
Bo Hamrick, 21, said scores of people helped look for the missing children Thursday. He and his friend Tony Smith, 22, rode all-terrain vehicles throughout the area for about eight hours - even stopping in the early morning near the pool where the boys were found. [ibid, article titled "'Playground' Irresistible to Kids Now Holds Grief"]
Hamrick's account doesn't include Woody, but doesn't contradict him. Hamrick had searched since early morning and his search included an area near where the bodies were found. Woody, in contrast, described two points (20th and 7th street) that were brackets on each side of where the victims were found. Woody described starting his search after seeing the story at noon, then visiting Byers, then getting his three-wheeler from his father-in-law. This would leave little time for searching as the first victim was discovered at 1:45 p.m. "Thurs. May 6th, 1993- 1:45 P.M. - Steve Jones - Mike Allen Locate 1st Body" [Crime scene notes]
Fourteen-year-old Chris Husband, gave a statement as a friend of the family of the victims. He also went on to describe Woody.
Chris states that there is a w/m named Woody lives on 14th - west side of the street - drives a yellow car (looks like a mustang) has a big black stripes on the hood & may be on the bottom also - used to ride a 3 wheeler in the woods a lot - would ride some of the kids on it. Has not seen him in a while. He appears to be in his early 20's stocky build - he helped look for the boys on Thursday - he has short sandy blonde hair short - approx 5'9" lives about 9 houses or so away from the Byers. [Lt. Hester notes, Chris Husband interview 5/27/1993]
The name, the description, and the presence of the three wheeler are consistent with Bryan Woody. The address is different with Woody having lived in Marion and previously with his family on Goodwin. An adult interacting with kids in the area where the murders took place should have been enough to make Woody a suspect. In notes of his interview with police, Bryan Woody "stated he grew up in the area + as a kid played in the Robin Hood area." He didn't mention giving children rides there more recently.
Selected Riffs in my Search for Bryan Woody's Father-in-Law.
Woody stated he borrowed his three-wheeler from his father-in-law. Who was his father-in-law?
His wife in 1993 was named Tanya. Using address search engines, Tanya, Bryan, and Bryan's father, Clarence Woody, are listed as having a residence at 1323 Avalon St. #14, West Memphis, a trailer. Also listed at that address for 1993 are Kenneth Eugene Cagle and his wife, Linda Foley Cagle.
Kenneth Cagle was an early suspect in the murders. He took a polygraph and provided a rape kit. He is currently registered as a sex offender in Memphis, Tennessee with the date of his offense is listed as 7/12/1993. His subject description sheet from the West Memphis Police Department is dated 3/10/1993, case 93-03-306. There is nothing in his file to describe why he was questioned. There are brief notes on his whereabouts. In the polygraph interview, it says he was staying in Memphis at the time but came to West Memphis on 5/5/93 by bus. He stated in the afternoon he went to the Wal-Mart and Radio Shack and had a Radio Shack receipt stamped 4:28 pm. He stated he returned to Memphis by bus at 7 pm.
Is Kenneth Cagle the father of Tanya Woody (now Allen) or are these addresses merely an odd coincidences? There is another intriguing set of associations, perhaps no more than riffs on addresses which coincide. Tanya Woody's other listed address is 1504 Rich Rd, West Memphis. Also listed at that address are: Patricia G., Ronald E., and Heather Dawn Cliett. Heather Cliett was at the time of murders the girlfriend of (Charles) Jason Baldwin. Heather Dawn Cliett is also listed as living at 1153 Bridgewater Rd, Cordova TN. Interestingly, at the same address, Shaun Ryan Clark.
Ryan Clark, the brother of victim Chris Byers, is described as a friend of Heather Cliett in the door to door notes. Although two degrees of separation, this is perhaps the closest link between victim and those convicted.
Heather Cliett's brother, Donald Warwick, was also a suspect. When Warwick was arrested, one of his knives was collected as potential evidence for this case. Heather Cliett gave a statement that contradicted the alibi of Damien Echols, saying she was unable to reach him by telephone during the evening of May 5th.
Door to door interview notes for Holiday Drive. Detective Anderson.