The cousin of a Richland man who drowned in a boating accident on the Columbia River in early August said she isn’t talking to investigators because of their treatment of her family in a time of grief.
Teresa Reid vehemently denied reports that her husband was not allowing her to talk to investigators about the death of Brandon M. Martin. Gordy A. Reid Jr. has been charged for ignoring interview requests and telling his wife not to talk.
“They put my family through hell,” Reid told the Herald on Saturday morning, adding, “That’s why we’re not talking (to investigators). Not because we have anything to hide.”
Martin, 34, was knocked unconscious after he fell overboard on the evening of Aug. 6. He had been on one of two boats returning to the shore together after a day on the water.
One person reported that the boats came too close together, causing one to swerve and Martin to be thrown off. Gordy Reid and the couple’s 13-year-old son also fell into the water. None of them were wearing a life jacket.
While the father and son were pulled to safety, Martin could not be found. The Richland man’s body was recovered four days later after it surfaced in the middle of the river near the blue bridge.
They put my family through hell. ... That’s why we’re not talking (to investigators). Not because we have anything to hide.
Investigators believe Cory D. Wilcox, 41, was driving the boat that Martin and the Reid family was on, and they suspect Wilcox was intoxicated at the time of the incident.
Court records show that Franklin County sheriff’s Detective Steve Warren and Deputy Mark Boyer went to the couple’s Kennewick home one week later to request a formal interview with both of them.
Teresa Reid told the Herald she claimed to investigators that she had family in town, grieving and planning Martin’s memorial, and she asked for a delay until after the memorial.
Boyer reportedly told Teresa Reid she was a witness to the incident and could be charged if she refused to cooperate. Reid said she felt threatened, and that’s when her husband pulled up. The couple went inside their house, and Reid said she told her husband she didn’t want to talk to investigators anymore.
It was her choice, she said, not her husband’s.
“They’re making people believe my husband wouldn’t allow me to talk to them, and that’s not true,” Reid said.
Court documents said that Gordy Reid was “defiant and argumentative” when he stepped outside to talk to investigators. When told he could be charged for willfully failing to cooperate, he said he didn’t care and “was going to do exactly as the family of the deceased wants, and that was not to make any statements at all,” the documents said.
Reid said he and Teresa would stop by the sheriff’s office in two days and give a statement, court documents said, but repeated that they were refusing to come in immediately.
The detective said he told Reid he was sorry about his decision, but wished him a good day as he and Boyer left.
That was Aug. 14. The couple had not stopped by the office or had any further contact as of Aug. 17, Warren said.
Reid, 37, was arrested later Aug. 17 and initially ordered held on $35,000 bail. He is out of custody after posting bond.
He pleaded innocent in Franklin County Superior Court to first-degree rendering criminal assistance and tampering with a witness, both felonies, and obstructing a law enforcement officer, a gross misdemeanor. His trial is Nov. 15.
“They’re trying to charge us with felonies,” Teresa Reid said. “It’s absurd.”
Reid said a “no contact” order was placed on her husband, splitting the family up for a month.
“We live in the same house,” she said. “We have two teen sons, he has a business.”
Warren has sent all reports from his department to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office. Investigators are awaiting results of blood tests to see if alcohol played a role.
Meanwhile, Teresa Reid said her family is left fighting the charges against her husband as well as mourning their cousin.
Herald reporter Kristin M. Kraemer contributed to this story.
Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403