Federal Bureau of Investigation
Date of transcription 12/1/78
Hyacinth Thrash, survivor of People’s Temple Commune, Jonestown, Guyana, was interviewed upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport aboard Pan-American Flight 228, after clearing United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (US INS) and United States Customs, by Special Agent (SA) [name deleted], at which time she was immediately advised of the identity of interviewing Agent and of the official nature of the inquiry. Also present during this interview were SAs [name deleted], United States Secret Service (USSS) and [name deleted], United States Customs Service (USCS).
Thrash advised she has been a member of the People’s Temple for the past 21 years. She stated that during that time she is not aware of any written oaths signed by herself or by any other church members. Thrash advised she entered Guyana on July 24, 1977. She added that her true sister Zipporah Edwards also lived in Jonestown. However, Thrash advised her sister died in the Jonestown tragedy.
Thrash advised interviewing Agent that she was not aware of the mass suicides and of the killing of Congressman Ryan and other members of his party on the Saturday the incidents occurred. She advised that for two months she has been in her cottage not going anywhere since she was ill. Thrash felt the church members may have forgotten about her which is why she survived. Thrash said that the following morning, Sunday, was like a ghost town. It was then she decided to leave for college to find someone. Thrash advised as she came around one of the compound buildings, she saw dead bodies lying on the ground. Thrash advised that she then returned to the cottage and remained there until Guyanese soldiers came on Monday morning.
When Thrash was asked by interviewing Agent if she had any knowledge of a conspiracy plan or any kind of plan of Reverend Jones to have a congressman, public official, or the president kidnapped or killed, she advised she was not aware of any. She said she always thought Jones was a good man and found it hard to believe these crazy things happened. Thrash denied having any knowledge of the planning commission, Angels, hit team,
or any knowledge of weapons or firearms training by members of the People’s Temple. She further added that she was not aware of any drugs being used or grown in Jonestown.
Thrash advised that because of her age she associated only with other senior citizens and had little knowledge of the activities of others in Jonestown. However, Thrash knew of the Basketball Team and that Johnny Jones was a member. When asked if she knew Don Sly, she advised that she knew him as a member and that he seemed all right. She described him as a white male, tall, medium build, and from Willits, California. Thrashsaid she last saw him two months ago and that he worked on a boat named Cardial (Phonetic).
When Thrash was asked if she knew of any other People’s Temple leaders she said she knew of only one. Thrash said it was Archie Imes (Phonetic) [Ijames], Assistant Pastor to Reverend Jones.
Thrash advised she knew very little about Dr. Lawrence [Laurence] Eugene Schacht and was unable to furnish any information regarding his relation in the event of Jones’ death, the mass suicide, or Congressman Ryan.
Thrash advised interviewing Agent she will be temporarily residing with her nephew Harold McCrimmon, Carson, California. She advised when the weather becomes warmer she will go to live with her niece, Eileen Towers, 444 Harvard Street, Indianapolis, Indiana.
The following background information regarding Hyacinth Thrash was obtained through observation and interview:
|Date of Birth||March 25, 1902|
|Place of Birth||Alabama|
|Height||Five feet, zero inches|
|Passport Number||H 271765, issued San Francisco,|
|February 8, 1977|
|Relatives||[deleted], Indianapolis, Indiana|
|Residence||Temporary – with nephew, Carson, California|