I Saw Neil Entwistle
~Part III ~ Secret sources
A small town reporter's personal experience with a media frenzy
by Robert Falcione
That day, the day of the first press conference, January 23, 2006, the visits to HopNews.com more than doubled. The crime had grabbed the attention of the British media, and as we would soon learn, people from around the globe. Their Google searches would lead them to the Hopkinton News, the official name for HopNews.com.
The next day brought news of the autopsy that revealed Rachel had also been shot in the head, and that was determined to be her cause of death.
The District Attorney’s Office said, “In addition, police have been in contact with Mr. Entwistle, who is out of the country. “
The pulse of the town of Hopkinton, although quickened by the murders, kept close to normal: A drama continued at the Conservation Commission, Main Street Specialties announced its intention to sell its business, and American Mebrahtom Keflezaighi visited Hopkinton and talked about his chances of winning the Boston Marathon, which starts in Hopkinton each Patriot’s Day.
The following day, January 25, the BBC called for an interview with me. My Interview with BBC was not a shining moment. It would be the first of many, four with the BBC alone, each one improving as the questions repeated, giving me more time to represent myself and my town the best way I could.
The pace quickened as the British press found their way to Hopkinton and people I knew confided things in me that I had never expected.
A reporter and photographer from the The Sun of London were on Cubs Path one day , along with just a couple of other media people. I took the reporter’s photo (Left). The story about Neil Entwistle was also a local story about a coming media frenzy, as it unfolded.
The Sun, a British tabloid, would later claim that a friend of the Entwistle’s said that Neil called and asked his father-in-law if it was true his family was dead. It would be found to be an inaccurate statement at best, and I knew why. Talking heads would speculate that if he said that, then he must setting up for the insanity defense.
----->James Bone of the Times of London called and asked to stop by the office. Why not. He also ended up on camera and did an interview.
It was an education to see how media works at his level, calling and tracking down leads, a bit like detectives. We collaborated and found where the funeral home was and where and when the funeral was taking place. It was made possible after a phone call from a friend in the business who steered me in the right direction, in fact directly to the funeral home that was making the arrangements.
“We can’t give that out,” said the voice on the other line. “it will be in the Patriot Ledger tomorrow,” the voice said. The next day, conspicuous by its absence was any mention of Neil Entwistle in the obituaries of his wife and daughter. It was a damning omission, an indictment, many people felt, by the parents of the slain daughter and granddaughter of their son-in-law.
The details were on HopNews within minutes, a world-wide scoop. The excitement was growing a bit. CNN wanted me to go to Watertown to be interviewed. They would ask another four times, but I didn't have time to leave Hopkinton. They would eventually send a producer, Amanda Townsend, and cameraman to interview me for the Anderson Cooper show, 360 Degrees. Radio and television stations were calling non-stop. Fox called from New York.
“Fox News just announced that Neil Entwistle has agreed to meet with detectives in Britain at the American Embassy and return to the United States,” said the stranger at the other end. Who would doubt the national network, Fox News? HopNews readers learned about it immediately. I believe James Bones’ readers were to learn of it also. It was incorrect. I was about to learn some startling information from two unsolicited sources.
“He told police he saw that they were dead from bullet wounds and he didn’t know what to do so he went to Carver to see her parents,” Source One said. “And when they weren’t home, he went to England.” Another source spoke also.
“Matarazzo has a gun collection. Her father took the bastard shooting,” said Source Two. He said police were waiting for ballistics results to come back. “But I don’t know why,” said the source. “Entwistle left Hopkinton and went right to England and there aren’t any guns missing.” I knew that he was not entirely correct.
“And he did not meet with detectives. He never went to the American Embassy. He got all lawyered up,” Source 2 said.
Somehow, the entire, world-wide media mill had relied on the word of one person in Worksop, England as it turned out, and then spread the false information of his embassy visit without a corroborating source. It was a gigantic piece of gossip that media professionals spread throughout known civilization.
“Well,” said James Bone, “they’ll likely never find the gun,” he said, speculating on the progress of the case, not knowing what my sources had told me.
“Don’t be so sure,” I said, assuming that the trip to Carver had a purpose. But I could not share the information with my new acquaintance. It was apparent that the authorities were trying to lure Neil Entwistle to his family’s funeral with statements to make him feel comfortable, and I had no intention of getting in the way of that plan. It would all be public someday.
On January 31, we received a press release form the District Attorney's Office that included the following:
Investigators in Massachusetts have received and continue to receive cooperation from authorities in the United Kingdom. Police have been in contact with both Scotland Yard and local police, who have provided investigators with updates as to Neil Entwistle’s whereabouts in the United Kingdom. Investigators in Massachusetts do not believe that Mr. Entwistle will attend local services for his wife and daughter. Mr. Entwistle is still considered a person of interest. No arrest warrants have been issued in connection with this investigation.
I posed some hypothetical questions to an authority figure or two during the period before the eventual release of the court documents.
“If I had information about the investigation, when would that become harmful to the investigation,” I asked.
“If, for instance, we where investigating you for parking in a handicap spot, we wouldn’t want you to know that we had a photo of you doing so, if you didn’t already know,” said the authority figure.
Well, I thought, if Neil Entwistle actually said those things to police, then I wouldn’t be telling him something he didn’t already know.
The ballistics tests! If he is the killer, I thought, then he returned the guns because he must have thought that they would never suspect Materazzo’s guns if none were missing, and so the ballistics tests would be something he apparently might not be counting on. Best to stay mum on that. If I go forward with my “scoop” it could start a chain of events in motion that would be detrimental to the investigation, and someone could get away with murder. If he’s guilty and hears the progress of the investigation, he could bolt. France? Madagascar? Did they have easy extradition treaties like Britain and the United States have with each other?
Another news organization would start coming out with the same information I had, on the day of the funeral, and shortly thereafter, spoon-feeding their readers one nugget of information per day. It hurt, but I would continue to bite my tongue.
The producer from Fox who had called with the information (“Call me next time you need some bogus information,” he would later joke.) arrived in Hopkinton with correspondent Phil Keating to catch some clips for Geraldo at Large, a Fox nationally broadcast television program. Phil went on HopNews video, and I went on tape for the Geraldo program that would air on the same day as the funeral for Rachel and Lillian.
On the evening of January 27, HopNews reported that Neil Entwistle never went to the American Embassy, never met with detectives, and quoted our source as saying, “He got all lawyered up.” We emphasized that there were no photos of him coming or going.
However, Channel 7 reported again on the 11:00 pm newscast that Neil Entwistle went into the Embassy and met with detectives, who came out looking sad two hours later. The reporter even listed the questions that were asked.
The next day, HopNews emphasized again that Neil Entwistle did not go into the Embassy, that our sources were correct, and Channel 7 was wrong, and that they showed no pictures of him coming or going.
Rushing home to catch any new media reports in the case on the 6:00 pm news brought a shock I had not expected.
There is one report out there, Dan Hausle said to Channel 7 viewers, that claims he did not go into the Embassy, and that he did not meet with detectives. Granted, we did not see him go in, nor did we see him go out, he said.
I was floored. Apparently Channel 7 was checking out HopNews.com. And that assumption would be confirmed two days later.
On Saturday, January 28, HopNews reported that the Hopkinton detectives who went to London, John Porter and Scott VanRaalten, as well as the two State Police detectives, would return the next afternoon, on Sunday. It was repeated on Sunday that they would be returning around 3:00 pm that very day.
I checked Police Headquarters, even before the appointed times that Sunday, but came up empty-handed and returned to the office.
Then the Channel 7 satellite truck went by and I grabbed my camera and flew out the door like a firefighter down the pole, assuming that they knew what I knew, but that they knew more.
Part IV to come.
Note: People should not conclude anything extraordinary about the title of this story. A lot of people saw Neil Entwistle when he was in Hopkinton and/or Framingham. I was one of them.
At the end of this serial, the entire piece will be offered as one continuous story. ~ Robert
The Hopkinton News TM online only at HopNews.com
©2006 HopNews.com All Rights Reserved.