Covenant Killer’s Childhood Friends Changed Phone Numbers to Cut Contact, Her Mother Told Police

Audrey Hale

The parents of Audrey Elizabeth Hale told Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) investigators during a July 12, 2023, interview that two of their daughter’s childhood friends changed their phone numbers to cut contact with the killer in the years prior to her attack on the Covenant School, where she claimed the lives of three 9-year-old students and three staff members, according to a transcript of the interview obtained by The Tennessee Star.

Last month, The Star confirmed it obtained approximately 80 pages of writings left in a journal by Audrey Hale from a source familiar with the investigation and reported the killer wrote extensively about the death of her middle school basketball teammate Sydney Sims.

Sydney Sims, who died following a vehicle accident in 2022, was the subject of several journal entries by Audrey Hale despite there being no evidence the two maintained regular contact after middle school. Audrey Hale wrote entries about reuniting with Sims after her attack and divulged that her “thoughts about death” changed “significantly” in the months after Sims passed.

After Ronald Hale, the father of Audrey Hale, told the MNPD investigators that he had no knowledge of his daughter ever pursuing a romantic relationship with another person of either gender, her mother, Norma Hale, added that Audrey Hale “was obsessed with a girl that she wanted to be really good friends with.”

Norma Hale explained her daughter was friends with two girls who “were twins, Sydney and Taylor,” who Audrey Hale met on the basketball team at the Isaiah T. Creswell Middle School of the Arts.

According to Norma Hale, her daughter was closer to Sydney Sims than her twin sister, and the Sims family was “very kind” to the Hale family even after Sydney Sims and Taylor Sims graduated from high school.

Norma Hale revealed this changed abruptly when she noticed “they got new phone numbers.” She explained that this led her to conclude that Audrey Hale “would call them too much, text them too much, that kind of thing.”

She explained, “it seemed to be okay. It seemed like she had kind of let that go. I don’t think she ever did.”

While Ronald Hale and Norma Hale apparently knew little about what might have led Sydney Sims and Taylor Sims to change their phone numbers, another former basketball teammate of Audrey Hale claimed the killer’s interest in maintaining friendships and discussing their shared childhood “felt obsessive” and “felt like stalkerish behavior.”

Both Star News Digital Media, Inc., which owns and operates The Star, and Editor-in-Chief Michael Patrick Leahy were plaintiffs in the Tennessee lawsuit to compel MNPD release Audrey Hale’s full writings, including those sometimes called a manifesto.

Chancery Court Judge I’Ashea L. Myles ruled on July 4 that not one page of Audrey Hale’s writings will be released to the public, citing the purported copyright ownership of the documents by the Covenant Children’s Trust, and Leahy immediately vowed he and SNDM would “absolutely appeal” her decision.

Leahy and SNDM remain plaintiffs in the ongoing federal lawsuit which seeks to compel the FBI to release Audrey Hale’s writings, and last month published an FBI memo sent to MNPD Chief John Drake which “strongly” advised against releasing “legacy tokens” from killers like Hale.

An FBI definition suggests the agency considers both the writings obtained by The Star and those sought in the lawsuits unfit for public release. While the federal agency declined to confirm that it sent the memo, it confirmed to The Star that it sends such “products” to local law enforcement.

Since obtaining the journal police recovered from Audrey Hale’s vehicle and a portion of police documents, The Star has published more than 60 articles that include the killer’s own words or report new details about the Covenant investigation, including the revelation she was a 22-year mental health patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

– – –

Tom Pappert is the lead reporter for The Tennessee Star, and also reports for The Pennsylvania Daily Star and The Arizona Sun Times. Follow Tom on X/Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].






Related posts