Serial 1723

[Editor’s note: Several of the subjects of this serial whose names are deleted are Jonestown survivors Robin Tschetter (the withholding of whose name was inconsistent), Clifford Gieg and Marilyn Pursley. The deleted information from the memorandum – designated by brackets – which is known to the editor has been indicated by red type.]

FBI Airtel

Date 1/19/79

TO: DIRECTOR, FBI (89-4286)
FROM: SAC, BROOKLYN/QUEENS MRA (89-495) (P)
SUBJECT: RYMUR

Enclosed for San Francisco are original and two copies and for the Bureau two copies of FD-302’s pertaining to [name deleted] [Robin Tschetter], Joan Pursley and typewriter samples of Ruby N. Johnson.

Armed and dangerous; suicidal tendencies.

[Page 2]

[Photocopy of manila envelope]

[Page 3]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 12/14/78

On December 3, 1978, Special Agent [name deleted], Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), New York, (NY), took two samples from a Hermes Rocket typewriter serial number 5592962. Typewriter which was in the possession of Ruby N. Johnson who arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA), NY, on December 3, 1978 from Georgetown, Guyana.

[Page 4]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 1/18/78

Joan Pursley was contacted immediately after her arrival aboard Pan American Airlines Flight 228, from Georgetown, Guyana at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA) by SA [name deleted]. Pursley was advised of the identity of SA [name deleted] as an Agent of the Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI) and the identity of [name deleted] as a Special Agent of the United States (US) Secret Service.

SA [name deleted] advised Pursley that the FBI and the Secret Service were conducting an investigation concerning the murder of Congressman Leo Ryan in Guyana on November 18, 1978. Pursley was advised by SA [name deleted] that the purpose of the interview was to ascertain any information that she may possess that would assist the FBI and Secret Service in the investigation concerning Ryan’s murder. Pursley advised that she was willing to be interviewed and furnished the following information:

Pursley advised that she joined the Peoples Temple (PT) in 1977, when she dropped out of the 12th Grade, while attending Drew College Preparatory School in San Francisco, California. She advised that she departed the US in 1977, with a group of PT members in late 1977 for Georgetown, Guyana. After arriving in Georgetown, Guyana, she departed for Jonestown several days later aboard the PT vessel, Cudjole [Cudjoe].

At Jonestown, she stated that she worked in the fields, farming, and assisted in the Jonestown School, which was run by Thomas Gurbbs [Grubbs]. Pursley stated that during this time, she was instructed by the PT hierarchy to marry [name deleted] [Clifford Gieg], a PT member in Jonestown, which she did over her personal objections.

Pursley stated that shortly before the arrival of Congressman Ryan and his party in November, 1978, she was ordered to leave Jonestown to escort a group of elderly PT members going to Georgetown for medical and dental treatment. Pursley said that at the time of Ryan’s death on November 18,

[Page 5 of serial, page 2 of FD-302]

BQ 89-495

1978, she was on a vessel operated by the Guyanese Government en route to Georgetown with the older PT members.

Pursley stated that sometime after she initially arrived in Georgetown, she and [Gieg] traveled to Georgetown for the purpose of being married. Pursley advised that she and [Gieg] traveled to Georgetown aboard the vessel Cudjole and that after she arrived in Georgetown, she remained for a period of several months. Pursley claimed that she could not even estimate the date that she left for Georgetown when she was married and believed she stayed in Georgetown for a period of three or four months.

She advised that while she was in Georgetown, her job was to beg for money in the streets of Georgetown as ordered by the PT hierarchy. She stated that she did this with another PT member, whose name she declined to furnish.

Pursley advised that she knew Paula Adams, but could not furnish any specific information as to her duties with the PT in Georgetown.

Pursley advised that she was friendly with Sharon Amos. She stated that Amos was the top aide to Jim Jones and ran the PT operation out of Georgetown for Jones.

At this point in the interview, when asked specifically for more details concerning Sharon Amos and her relationship with Amos, Pursley became emotional and began to cry. She advised that she had lost two sisters in the Jonestown suicides and that recalling the events in Guyana were very painful to her. It was noted at this point, that she also began to fall asleep, when asked about her activities for the PT in Georgetown. Pursley advised that to recall any further details of her activities in Guyana were an emotional strain to her.

[Page 6 of serial, page 3 of FD-302]

BQ 89-495

SA [name deleted] advised Pursley that the interview would be discontinued at this time and requested that she be cooperative with the FBI or the Secret Service should she be contacted by either agency at a later date. Pursley advised that she would be willing to be interviewed at a future date and would offer her full cooperation at that time. The following descriptive and background data concerning Pursley was obtained by observation and interview:

Name Joan Pursley
Also Known As Joan Pursley Geig [Gieg]
Race Black
Sex Female
Date of Birth August 28, 1957
Place of Birth Oakland, California
Height 5’4″
Weight 130 Pounds
Hair Brown
Eyes Brown
Scars or Marks None
Residence Berkeley, California
Contact Point Residence of [Name and address deleted], Berkeley, California
Telephone Number [Deleted]
Employment Previously employed doing secretarial work with a shipping agency (name unrecalled), San Francisco, California

[Page 7 of serial, page 4 of FD-302]

BQ 89-495

Education Drew College Preparatory School, San Francisco, California, 11th Grade completed
Marital Status Married
Husband [Clifford Gieg] (separated); married in Georgetown, Guyana
Mother [Marilyn Pursley]
Residence Berkeley, California [words deleted]
Address Unknown
Mother’s Employment Real Estate, (agency unknown) Berkeley, California
Father [name deleted]
Address Unknown
Brother [name deleted], attorney, San Francisco, California, address unknown
Sisters Cynthia Pursley, deceased, Jonestown, November, 1978
Diane Lundquist, deceased, Jonestown, 1978
Passport Number F 020911

[Page 8]

FD-302

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Date of transcription 1/18/78

[name deleted] [Robin Tschetter] was interviewed in the presence of Special Agent (SA) [name deleted] United States Secret Service, at the Pan-American Terminal, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIA), Queens, New York (NY), upon her arrival on Flight 228 from Guyana. [Tschetter] furnished the following information:

[Tschetter] advised that she has been a member of the People’s Temple (PT) Church since birth. Her family moved from Indiana to Redwood Valley, California with Reverend Jim Jones. From Redwood Valley, they followed Reverend (Rev.) Jones to San Francisco.

[Tschetter] stated that while in San Francisco, she attended Planning Commission meetings. [Tschetter] originally stated she was not a member of the Planning Commission, but later admitted that she could be considered a member of the Planning Commission. She stated that the Planning Commission meetings could be described as a series of confrontations or tearing down people’s egos. [Tschetter] stated that public spankings were used as a form of punishment in San Francisco, and denied knowledge of any beatings.

[Tschetter] advised that she went to Guyana in May of 1978. Her family had already relocated there. At Jonestown, Guyana, she originally worked in the fields growing crops for their consumption. [Tschetter] had no knowledge of any narcotics being grown at Jonestown, and stated she did not know what Ganja was or its use. [Tschetter] stated that she was later transferred to work in the laundry.

[Tschetter] advised that the Planning Commission concept was not continued at Jonestown. She stated that Rev. Jones was removed from the regular workers at Jonestown, and that he had a staff that was close to him. The staff administered Jonestown and activities of the PT Church in Guyana and San Francisco. The members of the staff would include Terry Bufford [Buford], Paula Adams, Sharon Amos, Jean Brown, and Sandy Bradshaw.

[Page 9 of serial, page 2 of FD-302]

BQ 89-495

[Tschetter] advised that at Jonestown, following the long work day, they usually had nightly meetings. At these meetings, members would accuse other members of misconduct. The accused was called up before the entire congregation to explain their actions. Misconduct could include talking about other members, sexual misconduct, or talking about wanting to leave Jonestown. The punishment for these activities was assignment to the Public Service Unit, which was a work detail. [Tschetter] denied knowledge of any beatings at these meetings. [Tschetter] admitted hearing that Gerald Parks had been beaten, but stated that this happened before she got to Jonestown.

[Tschetter] advised that she did not recall hearing Rev. Jones talking about “revolutionary suicide”. She stated that she missed a lot of meetings because she was working in [words deleted] or because she didn’t want to attend. [Tschetter] stated that she would have been punished if she had been caught missing the meetings.

[Tschetter] advised that she heard about the “White Night”, but stated it happened before she got to Jonestown. She heard that the people drank Kool-Aid, which they were told was poisoned. [Tschetter] stated that Rev. Jones was testing their commitment to him.

[Tschetter] stated that she heard about people being placed in a dark box as punishment, but stated that she never saw this. She stated that one night, she heard a man describe being put in this box as punishment, and telling how this man felt this experience helped him.

[Tschetter] advised that the security force at Jonestown was made up of young men, and that most of these men were dead. [Tschetter] stated that Tim Tupper Jones, Jimmy Jones, Bruce Oliver, Emmett Griffith, John Cobb, Joe Wilson, and Calvin Douglas were members of the security force. She stated that she believed that Emmett Griffith was in charge of security. [Tschetter] stated that the security force was

[Page 10 of serial, page 3 of FD-302]

armed with knives. She stated that she never saw the security force members carry shotguns or rifles while she was at Jonestown. [Tschetter] stated that she heard but there were armed patrols before she arrived at Jonestown. She stated that the security force was not armed at the nightly meetings, and that they merely walked around to make sure no one was sleeping. [Tschetter] later admitted but she did see some guns at Jonestown, but was not specific about what she saw.

[Tschetter] advised that she had spoken with her sister about leaving Jonestown. She stated that she considered leaving because of the long work hours and the lack of an adequate food supply. She stated that she also wanted to further her education and become [several words deleted]. [Tschetter] stated that you had to be careful who you talk to about leaving or you might be confronted at a night meeting.

[Tschetter] advised that there really was no way to get out of Jonestown, because they were surrounded by jungle. [Tschetter] stated that Rev. Jones had this thing about defectors. He often told them that they had better not leave or something might happen to them. [Tschetter] stated that anyone caught trying to run away were taken to the Special Care Unit (SCU) where they were drugged until subdued. [Tschetter] stated that one time, she tried to go to the SCU to visit her mother, who was being treated for a heart ailment. [Tschetter] stated that she was turned away, and shortly after this, Rev. Jones broadcast over the loudspeakers that everyone was to stay away from the SCU.

[Tschetter] advised that she knew very little about Doctor Lawrence [Laurence] Schacht, but stated that he seemed weird. She stated that she did not know if Doctor Schacht was using drugs.

[Page 11 of serial, page 4 of FD-302]

[Tschetter] stated the Russian language classes were being given at Jonestown. She stated that Rev. Jones talk of wanting to go to Russia. She stated that she wouldn’t have gone to Russia, but she thinks her stepfather would have gone with Rev. Jones.

[Tschetter] advised that two Russians from the Embassy visited Jonestown. One was a doctor and he examined Rev. Jones. She stated that one of the Russians addressed the PT members, but that she was in the laundry and missed the meeting.

[Tschetter] advised that there was no “hit team” to the best of her knowledge. [Tschetter] stated that she never heard the term “Angels”. She stated that the security were called “Apostolic Guardians” by Rev. Jones.

[Tschetter] advised that the “Albatross” was the PT vessel used to bring supplies to Guyana. [Tschetter] stated that she knew nothing about its operation or purpose.

[Tschetter] advised that approximately three weeks before November 18, 1978, she was sent to Georgetown, Guyana to work on a cultural show that the PT was going to present. [Tschetter] stated that her sister told her that this would be a good opportunity to leave, however, she felt she couldn’t leave because her whole family was back at Jonestown. [Tschetter] stated that they never let anyone go enter Georgetown unless their family remained at Jonestown.

[Tschetter] advised that Paula Adams arrived in Georgetown, Guyana a week before November 18, 1978. [Tschetter] stated that Adams had returned from San Francisco, California, but stated that she did not know the reason for her trip. [Tschetter] stated that Paula Adams spent a lot of time in Georgetown, and stated that she did not know what Adams’ duties were for the PT. [Tschetter] denied any knowledge of Adams’ sexual activities with Guyanese government officials.

[Page 12 of serial, page 5 of FD-302]

[Tschetter] advised that the basketball team was in Georgetown practicing for some competition. She stated that they were upset because the week before November 18, 1978, they were ordered back to Jonestown at least three times by Rev. Jones. [Tschetter] stated that she did not know why the basketball team did not return to Jonestown.

[Tschetter] advised that five days before Congressman Ryan arrived, she heard Sharon Amos talking about his arrival on the PT radio. [Tschetter] did not hear the context of the conversation, and she was told by Amos to leave the area of the radio. [Tschetter] stated that she knows codes were used on the radio, but she was not familiar with the codes. [Tschetter] stated that when she heard a radio conversation, she could not understand what they were talking about.

[Tschetter] advised that on the evening of November 18, 1978, she was sitting downstairs at the PT house in Georgetown with some other PT members. She stated that some plainclothes Guyanese police arrived and told them that the police had received a call that there was a shooting at the house. [Tschetter] stated that the police entered the house and went upstairs to check out the situation. The police then departed, apparently convinced that the call was unfounded. [Tschetter] stated that shortly after this, the bodies of Sharon Amos and her children were found. [Tschetter] stated that Amos was a fanatical follower of Jones and would have committed suicide for him. [Tschetter] admitted that the wounds on Sharon Amos and her children did not look like they could have been self-inflicted. [Tschetter] stated that they called the police and an ambulance.

[Tschetter] advised that she could not understand what happened at Jonestown, and she thinks that Rev. Jones must have been insane at the end.

[Page 13 of serial, page 6 of FD-302]

[Tschetter] furnished the information below on the following individuals:

Steve [Stephan] Jones, had a bad temper, but he was worse in the States. Not considered dangerous.

Bonnie Beck, lived on ranch in Redwood Valley, California.

Tim Carter, operated radio.

Lee Ingram, head of agricultural department, coach of basketball team.

Richard Janero [Janaro], not sure what his job was, rarely saw him.

Charlie Touchette, worked on the ship “Albatross”.

Larry Layton, worked at sawmill.

Mike Carter, operated radio.

Sandy Bradshaw, operated radio in San Francisco, scheduled flights for PT members going to Guyana.

Chuck Beikman, work in shoe repair shop at Jonestown.

Marie [Maria] Katsaris, operated radio, handled finances, Rev. Jones’ mistress.

[Tschetter] advised that the following individuals remain in Georgetown:

Carol Burnette [Barnett]
Debbie Touchette
Michael Touchette
Calvin Douglas
Paula Adams

[Page 14 of serial, page 7 of FD-302]

Lee Ingram
Stephanie Jones
Larry Layton
Stephen Jones
Chuck Beikman

[Tschetter] advised that she was aware of Michael Touchette’s attempt to go to Trinidad. She stated that he had wanted to spend Christmas with his father, and he was trying to get to see his father.

The following description of Tschetter was obtained through observation and interview:

Name Robin Faye Tschetter
Also Known As (likely) Robin Faye Stahl
Race Caucasian
Sex Female
Date of Birth [withheld]
Place of Birth [withheld]
Height [withheld]
Weight [withheld]
Hair Brown
Eyes Brown
Previous Occupation [withheld]
Previous employer [withheld], San Francisco, California
Education Completed 11th year high school
Marital status Single
United States Passport [withheld]
Destination Joan Pursley’s [mother], Berkeley, California
[Marilyn Pursley]
Father Alfred Stahl (deceased)
Stepfather Alfred Tschetter (deceased)
Brother [name withheld], Vallejo, California

[Page 9 of serial, page 2 of FD-302]

Sisters Judy Ijames, 27, deceased
Kathy Barrett, 24, deceased
Betty Tschetter, 35, deceased
Bonnie Stahl, 9, deceased
Nieces Maya Ijames, 9, deceased
Becky Barrett, deceased

[Tschetter] advised that she did not know a family named Dennis, or any white male name (First Name Unknown) Dennis.

Originally posted on May 1st, 2018.

Last modified on July 22nd, 2022.
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