There has been a lot of debate over the years about phone calls David Hendricks made in the hours before the bodies of his wife and three children were found inside their home. While in Wisconsin, Hendricks called his home and those of neighbors and relatives–and eventually police. Was it an effort to check on his family’s well-being and whereabouts? Or was it an effort to determine whether their bodies had been found or, if not, set wheels in motion which would lead to their discovery?
Here’s a transcript of Hendricks’s calls to two different police agencies. Incidentally, the Sergeant Aikin in the first call is Roger Aikin. He eventually became the City of Bloomington’s police chief in 2000 and served in that position for eight years.
Nov. 8, 1983, 6:35 p.m.
Dispatcher: Bloomington Police.
Hendricks: Yeah, this is Dave Hendricks calling from, I’m up in Madison, Wisconsin. I live in Bloomington and I’m on a business trip right now. I’m a little concerned about my wife and kids because I’ve been trying to call them all day and haven’t gotten…
Dispatcher: Where do you live?
Hendricks: …any answer. I live at 313 Carl Drive. Now here are the circumstances. I’ve tried to call them periodically through the day and haven’t gotten them. I’m sure it’s no big deal, no big emergency, but, uh, they’re supposed to be at a dinner date tonight at 5:30 so I called there to talk to her there and, uh, they never have showed up there.
Dispatcher: What’s your wife’s name?
Hendricks: Susan Hendricks and they’re not at home ’cause I called a neighbor who’s gone over to the house and knocked, so I think they might have been in an accident between Bloomington and Delavan, probably took Stringtown Road.
Dispatcher: Okay. What’s your, well, that couldn’t. We can go out to Carl Drive and check on that.
Hendricks: Well, the neighbor’s been out there. They’re not home.
Dispatcher: Well, then, you should be calling the county.
Hendricks: Oh, I see. Do you have their number?
Dispatcher: I sure do: 827-4655, and if they can’t help, you should contact the state.
Hendricks: And what’s their number?
Dispatcher: 782-3657. That’s also 309.
Hendricks: Okay. I’m making these calls long distance. There wouldn’t be any way you could check this out for me and…
Dispatcher: Just a moment.
Sgt. Aikin: Sergeant Aikin.
Hendricks: Hi, uh, this is a Bloomington sergeant?
Sgt. Aikin: Yes, it is.
Hendricks: All right. This is Dave Hendricks. I asked her if she could check it out, I guess she just transferred the call. This is Dave Hendricks calling. I live at 313 Carl Drive. I’m calling from Madison, Wisconsin, and I live in Bloomington and I’m a bit concerned about my wife. I think she may have been involved in an accident, and I’ve been wondering about that. I’ve been trying to call her all day, no response, called the neighbor, their kids don’t even remember our kids being on the school bus this morning and my wife is supposed to be at a dinner appointment at 5:30 in Delavan and she still hasn’t gotten there. I called there earlier.
Sgt. Aikin: Okay. What was your wife’s last name?
Sgt. Aikin: And you think she was involved in an automobile accident?
Hendricks: Well, I’m guessing she probably took off for the dinner date and didn’t get there ’cause she’s not at home, the neighbor’s gone and knocked at the house and she’s not there.
Sgt. Aikin: Okay, well I wouldn’t have any idea if, we haven’t had a call of an accident here recently. You might check the county or I can call over there for you and find out.
Hendricks: Well, uh…
Sgt. Aikin: But we haven’t had any report of an accident, you know, in this (in the background: ‘A lady came back to the back door and said that there was her and another car struck each other out at Washington Street, that same, all you got to do is just get a hold of that lady a little bit later and…’)
Sgt. Aikin: Did you get her name?
In background: No. She was drivig a black car like Bubba’s.
Sgt. Aikin: What kind of car do you have?
Hendricks: She’s got a yellow ’72 Cadillac.
Sgt. Aikin: Okay. I’m going to go check the file real quick, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have anything, okay?
Hendricks: All right.
Sgt. Aikin: Sir, I’ve check both here and the county and they have no report of any accident for her.
Hendricks: All right. If you could notify them that she would have taken Stringtown Road, you know, from, uh, I’m sure that’s the route she would have taken from Bloomington to Delavan.
Sgt. Aikin: Okay. Delavan is not in our state police district. (Aside: Where’s Delavan? Eight? District Eight? Peoria?) You might call directory assistance for this area code and you want the state police headquarters in Peoria, all right? ‘Cause I don’t have any way to contact them.
Hendricks: Okay. Okay. Tell you what. Can I leave you with my number?
Sgt. Aikin: Oh, does she know where you’re staying?
Hendricks: No, she doesn’t.
Sgt. Aikin: Okay.
Hendricks: Just in case something turns up. I haven’t been able to call her really. It’s area 608-241-1787. I’m in Room 110, motel on Madison Street.
Sgt. Aikin: 110? And your last name is Hendricks? And your first name?
Sgt. Aikin: And your address is on Carl, right?
Hendricks: 313 Carl.
Sgt. Aikin: And your phone number?
Sgt. Aikin: Okay. What kind of car would your wife be driving, a yellow Toyota?
Hendricks: A yellow Cadillac–’72 Cadillac with a green top.
Sgt. Aikin: Okay, I’ll do that.
Hendricks: Thank you for your assistance.
Sgt. Aikin: All right. Bye bye.
At 6:41 p.m. Hendricks called the Illinois State Police headquarters near Peoria:
Cpl. Siron: State Police, Corporal Siron.
Cpl. Siron: Hello.
Hendricks: Yea, is this the state police?
Cpl. Siron: Yes, it is.
Cpl. Siron: I can’t hear you, sir.
Hendricks: Is this the state police from Peoria?
Cpl. Siron: Yes, it is.
Hendricks: Okay. Um, I live in Bloomington, and ah, am calling right now from, ah, Wisconsin, was told to call you because ah I was concerned about my wife. She was driving to Delavan. I think she may have been in an accident. She hasn’t gotten to her destination, and she’s not at home.
Cpl. Siron: Alright…
Hendricks: He said that’s your jurisdiction.
Cpl. Siron: There has been nothing in our area at all–not even any accident.
Hendricks: There’s been nothin’?
Cpl. Siron: No, it’s been…
Cpl. Siron: In fact, we haven’t even had a car report of a car broke down tonight. Of course, I’m not sayin’ that anything, she’s not broke down somewhere.
Hendricks: Alrighty. Alright. It would be, ah, it would be Stringtown Road, so, ah, that she would have taken, I’m sure. That’s how she always goes.
Cpl. Siron: Okay.
Hendricks: So if you could kind of alert…
Cpl. Siron: What’s your last name?
Hendricks: Hendricks. H-E-N-D-R-I-C-K-S.
Cpl. Siron: Do you want to hold on just a second, I’ll check for the county.
Hendricks: Thank you.
Cpl. Siron: Sir?
Cpl. Siron: I checked with Tazewell County and they don’t have anything either. What’s your phone number there?
Hendricks: Ah, I’m at 608-241-1787, and I’m in room 110. It’s a motel in Madison, Wisconsin.
Cpl. Siron: Ah, okay. If I hear anything or later on anything, I’ll give you a call then.
Hendricks: Please. Thank you, sir.
Cpl. Siron: Okay. Bye.