[Editor’s note: Several of the subjects whose names are deleted in this serial are known to the editor. Those notations have been indicated by red type.]
[This section of Serial 1681 covers page 206-218 of the FBI Report of January 12, 1979.]
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Date of transcription 12/5/78
Edith Amelia Parks was interviewed at Pan American Hangar 17, at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA), Queens, New York (NY), upon her arrival from Guyana. This interview was conducted in the presence of Special Agent (SA) [name deleted], United States (US) Secret Service, and Parks furnished the following information:
Parks advised that she first joined the Peoples Temple (PT) Church in Indiana in 1954. Parks stated that Reverend Jim Jones had taken care of her ailing father, and that this was partially the reason she joined the church. Parks stated that she had breast cancer and was afraid to have an operation, until Reverend Jones assured her that everything would be alright. Parks stated that she had the operation, it was successful, and this strengthened her belief in Reverend Jones. In 1965, Parks moved to California, with her son, however she returned to Indiana, and then in 1968, moved back to California with another son to live.
Parks advised that she paid 25% of her gross income to the church for years. Parks stated that this was required by the church, and that since at this time she was not living communal. Parks advised that the church would help support its members if they were layed [laid] off or lost their jobs. Parks stated that throughout her association with the PT Church in California, she was content in her relationship with the church.
Parks advised that she traveled to Jonestown, Guyana, on April 15, 1978, to join [names deleted, related to Parks family]. Upon her arrival, Parks learned from [name deleted] that the Jonestown Commune was not the paradise that they had expected. Parks stated that [Jerry] told her that he had tried to get word to her not to come to Jonestown. Parks stated that they immediately began making plans to leave, however they were never able to get away or get word outside the commune. Parks advised that commune members referred to Reverend Jones as “Father,”
and his wife Marcy was called “Mother.”
Parks advised that discipline that Jonestown was extremely strict. Punishments included beatings, and “Public Service.” Parks explained that “Public Service” consisted of being made to cut grass and weeds in the hot sun. Parks stated that this punishment was frequently given to children. Parks advised that Reverend Jones told the people that they used to have boxes that they would put unruly commune members in and bury underground as punishment. Parks advised that she never saw any of these boxes.
Parks advised that she believed there were six or seven security people at Jonestown, however she now feels that there had to be a lot more. Parks stated that the guards or security force were generally not armed except on a couple of occasions, and she believed they were hunting. Parks stated that she never heard the term “Angels” used at Jonestown. Parks stated that one of the security force members was Eddie Crenshaw, a black male. Parks advised that Doug Sanders was another security force member, and that she believed he is dead.
Parks advised that the Jonestown basketball team, was exactly that, a basketball team that went to Georgetown to play games. Parks stated that Chuck Bikeman [Beikman] and his son Stephen, were on the team. Parks advised that she did not believe Johnny Jones, Jr. was a member of the basketball team. Parks stated that Jim McAlvane (ph) [McElvane] was not a member of the basketball team, since he arrived the day before she left Jonestown. Parks stated that she believes McAlvane to be dead now. Parks stated that she did not know anyone named Herbert Newel [Newell]. Parks stated that Stanley Gieg was not a member of the basketball team. Parks stated that she believed Don Sly was not on the basketball team, and stated she believes he is dead. Parks advised that Lee Ingram was an individual very close to Reverend Jim Jones, and that he was the coach of the basketball team. Parks
stated that she believes he was also a member of the security force, and that he is the husband of Sandy Bradshaw. Parks believes that Lee Ingram is alive. Parks stated that Chris O’Neal is her granddaughter’s boyfriend, and that his job at Jonestown was to make bricks. Parks stated that [name deleted, likely O’Neal] left Jonestown with [names deleted]. She stated that O’Neal is alive because he layed down on the floor of the plane when the shooting started. Parks stated that Steve [Stephan] Jones, Reverend Jones’ blood son, was on the basketball team. Parks described Jones as a white male, 6’2″, with a dark complexion. Parks stated that Jones is in Georgetown at Lamaha (ph) house. Parks advised that she believed Tim Tupper to be Tim Jones, and stated that he might have been on the basketball team. Parks stated that Jones was a white male with blonde hair. Parks stated that she believes Jim Jones, Jr., may have been a member of the basketball team. She describes Jim Jones, Jr. as a black male, 6’, slender build, approximately 17 to 18, and stated that he stutters. Parks stated that Lou [Lew] Jones, she did not believe to be a member of the basketball team. Parks did not know an individual named Calvin Douglas. Parks stated that Johnny Cobb Jones might have been a member of the team. Parks described Johnny Cobb Jones as a black male, 17 to 18 years old, 5’10”, slender build. Parks stated that Jones is the brother of Jim Cobb.
Parks advised that Terry Bufford [Buford] was a very close associate to Reverend Jim Jones. Parks stated that she was high up the ladder in the PT Church, however, Parks did not know what Bufford was doing. Parks stated that she heard Bufford left, and that the PT Church had sent people looking for her. Parks stated that Pam Bradshaw was in Lamaha Gardens, Georgetown, Guyana, when Parks arrived.
Parks advised that from the time she arrived at Jonestown, they took her pension check each month. Parks stated that a couple of months after she arrived there, Reverend Jones stated that relatives of the commune members had hired mercenaries to come down and “get us dead or alive.” Parks stated that when the people attended meetings, they had to sign a piece of paper going in to prove that they had
attended. At these meetings Reverend Jones asked how many were willing to die when the people come in to get them. Parks stated that she had heard that they had practiced drinking Kool-Aid, which supposedly contained poison, to show that they were not afraid to die. Parks advised that this never happened while she was at Jonestown.
Parks advised that Reverend Jones had a close inner group of associates which included the following:
Mike Croates [Prokes] (phonetic), white male, 30, 5’8″, slender build, dark brown hair;
Mike Carter, white male.
Tim Carter, white male.
Parks stated that these individuals were apprehended by the Guyanese officials following the suicide with a large sum of money. Parks was told by people at Georgetown that Marie Tsarsias (phonetic) [Maria Katsaris] gave them the money and told them to leave.
Parks advised that the PT Church had a council, much like a parish council, and this consisted of Cleve Swinney [Swinney], Helen Swinny, and Archie Ijames.
Parks advised that the only former members of the PT Church that she could recall are Diane Myrtle [Mertle], believed to be in California; Liz Foreman [Forman], whereabouts unknown; Jim Cobb, whereabouts unknown; Tim Stoen, whereabouts unknown. Parks stated that Reverend Jones had once remarked that if anybody “got someone” that left the church, it would be blamed on the church. Parks advised that Chris Louis [Lewis] was killed approximately one year ago in San Francisco, and that he was a former member of the PT Church. Parks believes that this is what Reverend Jones was making reference to. Parks advised that the PT Church would however, harass
those members that left, in an attempt to get them to return to the Church.
Parks advised that she had no specific knowledge of the acquisition, licensing, or shipment of any weapons by the PT Church to Guyana. Parks stated that she knew they had two or three guns, but she believed they were used for hunting.
Parks stated that she had no knowledge of any firearms training received by PT members.
Parks advised that she had no knowledge of any threats to harm public officials. Parks stated that Jones had once remarked that whoever was President of the United States (US), he was not really running things. Parks was not sure what Reverend Jones meant by this remark.
Parks advised that she was not aware of any officials, Federal, International, or other who were designated targets for murder.
Parks advised that she was not aware of any bribery or influence peddling by members of the PT Church. Parks stated that Reverend Jones used to say he expected the Prime Minister of Guyana to stop by the commune, however, he never arrived. Parks stated that Reverend Jones told someone in the Guyanese government that if they did not stop bothering him, they would come out and find everybody dead.
Parks advised that she could not recall any discussion regarding the assassination of Congressman Ryan and his party.
Parks advised that she had no knowledge of the existence of an assassination squad.
Parks denied any knowledge of assassination plans by members of the PT Church.
Parks advised that she had no information regarding the involvement of members in the PT Church in any criminal offenses.
Parks advised that the individuals that had access to the radio at Jonestown, were as follows:
Karon [Karen] Layton
Marie Tsarsias (phonetic)
Parks stated that the general populace at Jonestown were not allowed to use the radio. Parks stated that they were not allowed to write home, and if they did, these letters were censored by an individual named Rita Tupper.
Parks advised that she had not made any written or oral oath to the PT Church. Parks stated that the members had been required to sign pieces of blank paper, and later she learned that various statements had been written on these papers which would lead one to believe that they were signed confessions. Parks stated that this is when she noticed the change in Reverend Jones. Parks explained that you could not even talk to Reverend Jones.
Parks advised that she had no knowledge regarding relocation plans in the event of mass suicide. Parks stated that most of the commune members were under the impression that Reverend Jones could not die. Parks recalled that Reverend Jones frequently stated “They’ll come our way, or come out here and find us dead.”
Parks advised that Jonestown was visited by an official from the Russian Embassy accompanied by a doctor. Parks stated that the doctor gave Reverend Jim Jones a physical, and the Russian official spoke briefly to the occupants of Jonestown. Parks advised that his English was not very good, however, he stated that he was very happy with the settlement.
Parks stated that Reverend Jones had said in the past if they could not make a go of it in Guyana, he would take the people to Russia.
Parks was not aware, or did not really know if Reverend Jim Jones had a group of bodyguards. Parks stated that on one occasion, she attended to see Reverend Jones, and his adopted son, Lou [Lew] Jones, stopped her, saying that Reverend Jones was asleep.
Parks advised that Paula Adams was in Georgetown most of the time that she was there. Parks stated that she did not know exactly what Paula Adams’ position was in Georgetown.
Parks advised that she had never heard any mention of a bomb or a nuclear device at Jonestown.
Parks advised that Dr. Lawrence [Laurence] Eugene Schacht was the camp physician, however, she heard that Dr. Schacht had not taken his internship. Parks stated that the Guyanese government was attempting to get him to come and take his internship. Parks stated that this was one of the occasions when Reverend Jones stated if they continued to press him, they would come out and find everybody dead.
Parks advised that the poison used in the mass suicide came into Jonestown approximately two or three weeks prior to the suicide. Parks stated that [name deleted] told her that no one knew who had ordered it or where it had come from. Parks stating that [name deleted] thought it might be insecticide.
Parks advised that she was not aware members of the PT Church using drugs, and stated that Reverend Jones was responsible for getting a great many individuals off drugs. Parks stated that during the last couple of months she believed Reverend Jones himself often sounded drugged.
Parks stated that she has no knowledge of any drugs being produced by the PT in Guyana. Parks advised that Thoresene [Thorazine], a drug, was used on individuals that attempted to escape when they were brought back to the commune. Parks stated that she has no knowledge of drugs being sent outside Guyana. Parks stated that she knows that the PT Church had a ship approximately 350 ton, named the “Albatross.” They also had a smaller ship, about 20 feet named, the “Cudule.” [Cudjoe]
Parks advised that members of the commune at Jonestown were making dolls to sell for Christmas in Georgetown.
Parks advised the two pharmacists at Jonestown were Don Fields, believed dead; and Liz Ruzzera [Ruggiero].
Parks advised that Patty Cartmel [Cartmell] was one of Reverend Jones’ top moneymakers. Parks explained that Cartmel would make money by selling things in Georgetown. Parks believed Cartmel to be dead.
Parks advised that Sandy Bradshaw, believed to be in San Francisco, was very close to Reverend Jim Jones.
Parks stated that an individual named Debbie Layton, was supposed to have escaped a couple of months prior to the suicide. Parks could furnish no additional information regarding Layton.
Parks advised that Reverend Jim Jones believed that the FBI and the CIA were behind the persecution of him and the PT Church.
Parks advised that she could not recall or was unaware of any meetings or contacts between officials of the State of California who may have visited with PT officials and the Guyanese government. Parks recalled that the Governor of
California and Mayor Moscone, when they were running for office, had visited the PT Church in California seeking votes.
Parks advised that Reverend Jones advised the occupants of Jonestown that Congressman Ryan and a party were coming to Guyana. Parks stated that Reverend Jones said that he would not allow this group into Jonestown. Parks advised that Reverend Jones later changed his mind after he spoke with Ryan on the radio. Parks stated that she never heard Reverend Jones mention killing Congressman Ryan. Parks believed that her defection probably triggered the whole incident.
Parks advised that when Congressman Ryan was at Jonestown, she got word to one of the newsmen named [Don] Harris that she and her family wanted to leave Jonestown. Parks stated that someone took her granddaughter in an attempt to keep Parks at Jonestown. Parks stated she went right up to confront Reverend Jones. Parks stated that she and her son [Gerald] confronted Jones and told her that they wanted the granddaughter, [Tracy], back. Parks stated that Jones told his security patrol to bring the girl forward.
Parks advised that when the party boarded the truck for the trip to the airfield, everyone was extremely nervous because Larry Layton was on the truck. Parks advised that she and the other PT members leaving Jonestown told Congressman Ryan that he could not trust Layton. Parks stated that Ryan told them if Layton wished to leave he, Ryan, would have to take him along. When they arrived at the airfield, Parks stated that [her grandson] Dale Parks, kept insisting that Congressman Ryan search Layton. Parks stated that Layton was searched and no weapons were found. Parks advised that following the search Joe Wilson approached wearing a poncho and shook hands with Layton. Parks stated that she later learned that Wilson had passed a gun to Layton.
Parks advised that they all began entering the planes and that she was the last one to enter. Parks stated that she observed a tractor pulling a wagon drive up to the airstrip. Men were laying down in the wagon, and suddenly got up and began shooting. Parks stated that her daughter-in-law, Pattie [Patty], had her head blown off. Parks advised that Stanley Geig [Gieg] was driving the tractor pulling the wagon, and that two or three blond boys were shooting. Parks stated that possibly one of the shooters was Albert Touchette. Parks stated that another of the shooters was FNU (First Name Unknown) [Ellihue] Dennis.
Parks advised that they layed down in the airplane attempting to appear dead. Parks stated that the wagon circled the aircraft still shooting. Parks observed her granddaughter
run towards a shed at the edge of the airfield, and Parks proceeded to run with the other survivors toward the bush. Parks stated that [several words deleted] told her they could not leave the wounded behind. Parks and [name deleted] returned to the plane and dragged the wounded to the shed. Parks advised that she observed Larry Layton walk by the shed. Parks stated Layton stopped, pointed the gun, at [her grandson’s] chest and pulled the trigger. Parks stated the gun misfired and [her grandson] Dale took the weapon away from Layton. Layton was arrested by Guyanese soldiers and Dale furnished the gun to the soldiers.
Parks advised a list was made by the survivors for the Embassy of PT members that they considered dangerous. Parks stated that the list included Reverend Jones’ son, Jerry, Harold Crudell (phonetic) [Cordell], and Edith Boeg (phonetic) [Bogue].
Parks examined a list of names of PT members on American Embassy stationary, and Parks stated that this was a list of the dead. Parks stated that the Boegs (phonetic) had been looking for that list. Parks did not know how the list was obtained.
Parks advised that she did not plan to continue as a member of the PT Church, and that she sincerely hoped the PT Church does not attempt to contact her. Parks stated that she believed some of the members of the PT Church would attempt to get her for leaving.
Parks advised that she was afraid for her life until she learned that Don Sly, Joe Wilson, and Tom Kice were dead.
The following information was obtained from an address book in the possession of Parks:
Bonnie 0701 Annex
1029 Geary Apt. 5B
Beam Jack 6196
Bogue [numbers deleted]
1-415 666-9107 blood gas lab
Card Edith 7181
Louie M. Edmiston
[2 lines deleted]
Farrell B. [Last name deleted]
Dr. Finkle 2300 Sutter
[2 lines deleted]
PO Box 839
Hess Pat SF
Dr. Del Hadel
707-525-1150 or 546-4062
Hamilton [last name deleted]
The following description of Parks was obtained through observation and interview:
|Name||Edith Amelia Parks|
|Alias||Edith Furay (previous marriage)|
|Swany (maiden name)|
|Date of birth||November 15, 1914|
|Place of Birth||Grape Grove, Ohio|
|Scars or Marks||Burn scar on left side of face|
|Other Characteristics||Wears glasses|
|Residence||319 Jones Street, Ukiah, California [deletion]|
|Occupation||Licensed Practical Nurse|
|Employment||Worked in Special Care Unit, Jonestown, Guyana|
|Marital Status||Husband, Delmar Parks|
|Family Members||[several lines deleted]|
|Social Security Number||[deleted]|