Q039 Summary

Summary prepared by Fielding M. McGehee III. If you use this material, please credit The Jonestown Institute. Thank you.

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FBI Catalogue: Identified Individuals Speaking

FBI preliminary tape identification note:            None

Date cues on tape: November 17 or 18, 1978

People named:

Temple adversaries; members of Concerned Relatives:
Carol Houston Boyd
Robert (Sammy) Houston (by reference)


Family members, full name unknown:


Jonestown residents:
Judy Houston (speaks)
Patty Houston (speaks)


Bible verses cited: None


(Note: This tape was reviewed by Patrick Jones, who gave it additional contextual analysis. The editors gratefully acknowledge his invaluable assistance.)

Rep. Leo Ryan went to Guyana after having spoken to a number of the members of the Concerned Relatives organization and in the company of a few of its members – including Carol Houston Boyd, the aunt of Patty and Judy Houston – as well as several reporters. But his initial interest in the Temple had been sparked by a call from Sammy Houston, a friend and constituent, who was troubled that his granddaughters were being held in Jonestown against their will. Because of this, the Houston girls – along with their mother and Sammy’s former daughter-in-law Phyllis Houston, who had arrived in Jonestown a few days earlier as part of the Temple’s efforts to counter the congressman’s visit – had several press interviews, conversations with Ryan and his staff,  and photo sessions. In addition to the more official recordings, however, Mrs. Boyd made a tape of her own to take back to relatives and left Jonestown with it in her possession.

The tape could have been made on November 17, the day of the arrival of the congressional party in Jonestown, especially since no one knew for sure whether anyone would be allowed back into the community for a second day. But because Ryan’s group did not actually get into Jonestown much before dark that first night – leading to a request for a follow-up trip the next day to interview other residents and to allow the TV cameras to get their footage of Jonestown during the day – it is more likely that this tape was made on November 18. This would mean this tape is the last surviving tape made before the deaths began later that day.

According to RYMUR serial 89-4286-1003, the FBI learned of the tape’s existence from Mrs. Boyd and obtained it from her. Carol Boyd also discussed the tape in her interview with the FBI, extracted here from a collection of such interviews at Serial 1212. (The text versions of these serials are 1003 and 1212-7. Both documents are fairly heavily edited.)

FBI Summary:

Date of transcription: 2/9/79

Cassette tape identified as FBI Labatory [Laboratory]; Number 81205068-Q39 was reviewed and determined to be approximately three minutes personal conversation of two persons believed to be PATRICIA and JUDY HOUSTON.

Differences with FBI Summary:


Tape originally posted November 2001