September 12, 2020 4:07 AM.
OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTION OF POLICE INTERVIEW
INVESTIGATOR: The date is Saturday, September 12, 2020, and the time is 4:07 AM. FBI Special Agent Martha Carter currently speaking. Thank you for waiting, young lady. If you wouldn’t mind, could you state your name, age, and occupation for the record?
REITHAUBE: My name is Scarlet Reithaube, I’m sixteen years old, and... I’m not sure where occupation would apply, so I guess... unemployed?
INVESTIGATOR: We’ll put that for now. In the meantime, is everything okay? Are you feeling well? Can I get you anything? Food? Water? A phone call home?
REITHAUBE: No, thank you. I’m okay for now. Maybe a bottle of water, for later? That would be nice.
INVESTIGATOR: Okay, just give me a minute... alright, one of the officers will get you a bottle. Speaking of a phone call home, is there anyone we can call for you? Your parents or guardians?
REITHAUBE: That... that’s not possible, I’m sorry. I’m...
INVESTIGATOR: Please take some deep breaths, Ms. Reithaube. There you go. Now, are you telling me that your parents are not currently available to talk?
REITHAUBE: Yes. Just Scarlet is fine, Ma’am.
INVESTIGATOR: Very well, Scarlet, please take a couple of breaths if you need to. If you need a minute, we can hold off and wait until you feel up to it.
REITHAUBE: I’m fine.
INVESTIGATOR: Are you sure?
REITHAUBE: Agent Carter, the longer this takes, the worse I’ll feel. Please, just let me tell you how I ended up here, and then we can go from there.
INVESTIGATOR: Okay, Scarlet, if you insist. Now then, why don’t we go back to the beginning? The initial reports you and the others gave us are rather interesting, to say the least.
REITHAUBE: Definitely. So, I imagine you looked me up in your records? So, you know why I was arrested, right?
INVESTIGATOR: Yes, we are aware Scarlet, but that’s not relevant to the current -
REITHAUBE: Trust me, it is, Agent Carter. You see, that’s the reason I ended up at that damned Camp Packington to begin with. When I had to plead guilty to the charges that were put on me, they told me this goddamn camp was the best place to go if I wanted to get paroled before I turned thirty. So that was how I ended up in that awful place...
I hadn’t even realized I fell asleep until the guard who was on the bus with us shook me rather hard and yelled, “WAKE UP, WE’RE HERE!” which caused me to jolt so bad I choked on my own spit and nearly fell out of my seat, coughing up a lung as I straightened up.
Some of the other people that were getting off the bus were already walking past me. The girls laughed at me while most of the guys didn’t give me a second glance, and the ones that did just stared as they walked by. The guard looked like he wanted to strangle me or shoot me with the shotgun strapped to his back, and while I didn’t blame him in the slightest, I started moving a little faster so I wouldn’t give him an excuse to do it.
“What the fuck, you think I’m joking around?!” the guard said as he grabbed my upper arm and dragged me to my feet, just before I could get to my feet.
“No, I...” I tried to say, but the guard cut me off.
“Forget it, just get fuckin’ going.” the guard said, and I did so, following him off the bus and into the parking lot of the juvie camp. Some big black SUV’s were in the lot, but it was otherwise empty except for the people. The gates that would lead into the camp were big and iron, topped with spikes and barbed wire, and surrounded by big silver stone-looking walls that also had barbed wire on top of them. The whole place looked more like a prison than a camp, though I presumed that was the point, since this was a prison for teen convicts.
The guards, two of them up front and one in the back with me, with big guns, led us all through the parking lot and through the big iron gates. When the last person - me - went through the gate, it closed behind us with a final clang. I and the rest of the teens were forced into two lines of eight, sixteen people in all, as we were led into a large building in the middle of the entire camp that had two people in brown uniforms standing in front of the doors. I watched as one of the guards talked to one of the uniformed men, then he turned to us.
“Stay.” the guards up front said, “You will be assigned your cabin, given your new clothes, and your shit’s gonna be confiscated. Wait here, and don’t move.”
Someone up front must have said something under their breath that the guard managed to hear, because he suddenly got into the boy’s face and started yelling, “You wanna say that out loud, boy?! Let me let you in on something, a smartass mouth isn’t gonna get you any goddamn favors here!”
I recognized the boy up front; he was a dark skinned skinny boy with brown hair, one of the tallest boys there and someone who caught my eye when we were put on the bus several hours earlier. Apparently, he didn’t say anything more because the guard stood back up and moved back to his original position. One by one, the people ahead of me would go into the building, then come out in black jumpsuits with big yellow letters and numbers on them, holding a toothbrush and toothpaste, and would be led away by different people in brown uniforms, usually one way or another. Eventually, I was the last one to be sent in when a woman in a brown uniform and heavy makeup stepped out of the building and pointed at me, motioning for me to come with her.
I did as she motioned for me to do, stepping away from the guard and following the woman into the room, through a couple of hallways, and stopped in an office. The woman motioned for me to sit down across from her, which I did without question as well. The woman sat down across from me behind the desk, and looked me in the eye, and said, “Full name.”
I don’t know what it was about the woman, but I was immediately intimidated when she spoke to me. Trying not to stumble over my words, I said my name, “Scarlet Reithaube.”
For a moment, the woman just stared at me. Then, she snorted and started giggling. I had no idea what to do, so I just sat there awkwardly until she managed to calm herself down and choke back her laughter.
“I’m sorry,” said the woman, “It’s just your name reminds me of something really funny. Anyway, my name is Gwendolyn, Gwen to you, I’m one of the counselors for the B cabin, which is where you’ll be staying. I have your uniform here.”
Gwen paused, leaned down, and came back up with a black jumpsuit, underwear, and black slip-on shoes, which she handed to me.
“I’ll bring you to the bathrooms to change, then you’ll hand me your personal effects, if you have any.”
“Okay.” I said as I rubbed the arms of my red sweatshirt, “I didn’t really bring anything with me. Would it be okay if I kept my jacket though?”
“Rules are rules,” said Gwen, “All your personal items and clothing must be handed over to me. Don’t make this worse than it has to be.”
“Okay.” I said. Gwen and I stood up and she led me out to a bathroom. I changed into the clothes and checked how it looked in the mirror. The black jumpsuit was rather unshapely and unflattering, but that was probably the point. On the back of the jumpsuit and on the left pocket in the front was a ‘B4’ in yellow. After staring at my tired, pale white face framed by stringy black hair for a couple of seconds, I stepped out of the bathroom and handed all of my old clothes, including my jacket, to Gwen.
“Spread your legs and put your hands against the wall,” said Gwen, “I have to make sure you’re not trying to smuggle anything.”
“Yes ma’am.” I said, and I did exactly what she told me. I flinched a little when Gwen put her hands on me, but a quick breath from me managed to calm myself down.
“Unclench your cheeks.” said Gwen. I did so, and somehow managed to keep them unclenched when Gwen put her hands on them. The harder part was when she turned me around and had to check in my underwear. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if my caught breath was because Gwen had her hands on and around my chest, or because she seemed to make it a point to look in my eyes when she did so.
Either way, she finished her cavity search, handed me a toothbrush and toothpaste, and led me out the door towards a cabin that was against the metal wall that separated us from polite society.
“You’ve been assigned to Cabin B,” said Gwen, “You will wake up at seven in the morning for morning shower, breakfast is at eight, classes from nine to noon, lunch is at noon, classes from noon to three-thirty, dinner is at four, final shower time is seven PM, and lights out is nine. Understand, Little Red?”
“Uh, yes?” I said quietly, “Wait, what do you mean by - ”
“If you knew what your last name meant, you’d get it,” said Gwen as she gave me a small knowing smile. I didn’t get what she was talking about, so I just smiled and nodded, which she seemed to accept as we arrived at the cabin, which had two doors for entrances.
“The left door is the girl’s side,” said Gwen, “Right side is boy’s only. We don’t like seeing you mix, but theoretically you can go on either side until seven PM. Try not to get yourself pregnant before the camp ends, okay? I’d be very upset if you went and did that to me.”
“Gotcha.” I said. Of course, I had no intention of doing something like that, but I assumed Gwen had probably seen some things as a counselor at a camp for juvenile teens, and she wasn’t going to make any assumptions for me.
“Here.” said Gwen as she handed me a pen and some paper, “You can use this to send mail home. We have to read it before sending it out, but just hand it off to one of us, and we’ll get it out there.”
“Okay. Thank you.” I said. Gwen led me to the door and motioned for me to go in. When I walked past her, she said one last thing to me before she walked back to the main cabin.
“Good luck, Little Red.”
Then she walked away, still giving that knowing smile, while I went into the cabin.
The inside of the cabin looked more like a normal summer camp than a prison; each bed was a simple metal frame and mattress and curtains that could separate the beds and give some privacy when needed. Each bed also had a toilet next to it that could be hidden by a curtain as well.
There were four beds against the wall, the only one a girl wasn’t sitting on was the one at the end of the cabin against two walls, so I walked over to that one, keeping my eyes on the floor and not looking at any of the girls. When I got to the bed, I put the toothbrush, paper, and pen down on the small moveable desk next to the bed. When I turned to sit down on the bed and start writing a letter to my mom, I came face-to-face with a girl who looked me up and down, giving me a tough look.
“Uh, I’m sorry?” I said, “Did I bother you?”
“Nah, you just have a punchable face,” said the girl. I managed to get a glimpse of the number on her jumpsuit, B1. She was dark skinned, and her hair was brown. That was when I noticed the other two girls were behind this one, B2 and B3, arms crossed, probably ready to fight.
“I don’t want any trouble...” I said quietly.
“Too late,” said B1, a smug grin on her face, “We could hear you sucking up to that bitch of a counselor on your way in here. Trying to get some favors, huh?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I don’t care.” I said. I tried to make myself sound tough, but since I had already looked and sounded weak to these girls earlier, it was probably too late for that. The girls looked like they were trying not to laugh at me, all condescending. It was making me mad, but even I wasn’t stupid enough to think I could take three tough-looking girls on my own.
“You don’t, do you?” said B1 as she got even closer to me, getting so close I could feel her breath on me, “Well, we ought make you start caring, shouldn’t we, girls?”
“Let’s kick her ass,” said B3, the tallest girl in the cabin, with a ponytail and dull hazel eyes, “Make sure she doesn’t make that mistake again.”
“A black eyes and some bruised knees should do the trick.” said B2, the shortest girl in the cabin, but her hard brown eyes and black mohawk made it clear she meant business. I had nowhere to go since the only thing behind me was a wall.
“Look, we don’t have to do this,” I said, “We don’t have to fight, you know? Why don’t we - ”
I was interrupted when B1 slammed her fist into the side of my face, causing my knees to buckle and I nearly stumbled to the floor. Instinctively, I covered my head with my hands and held very still, preparing for the beatdown that was going to come.
“I think you got it for now.” said B1, “Stay out of our way or I’ll have to give you another lesson. The name’s Becky, don’t forget it. Got it?”
“Message received, loud and clear.” I said, still covering myself on the floor. B1, Becky, apparently satisfied, turned to the other two girls and said, “I’m starving, let’s see what this shithole has to offer.”
The other two girls chatted in agreement and the girls walked out of the cabin. I watched them go, waiting until the door closed again with them gone before I got back to my feet, brushed some dust off myself, and looked around for a mirror so I could check the black eye I almost definitely had. Unfortunately, the cabin I was in didn’t have anything I could even use as a substitute, and I brushed it off to write my letter, which I sat down to do.
I arrived at Camp Packington and started making friends, I guess you could call them that. Some of the people here and intimidating, but I think I’ll be okay until we can apply for parole. Who knows, maybe I’ll be out of here sooner than I thought?
I hope you’re doing well and managed to get your hands on some medicine. Please don’t worry too much about me, I’ll be just fine here, and as soon as I’m back home, you’ll see me right back on the straight and narrow.
I love you,
It was a lie, but for my mom, it was worth it. I folded the paper up and made a mental note to hand it off to a counselor first chance I got. Since I was never told by Gwen that I wasn’t allowed to leave the cabin, I decided it was finally time to take a look around my new temporary home.