Sgt. John Peel – MPD Homicide Detective (interviewed 10-2-79)
Let’s hit the main points:
Sgt. Peel learned of Elvis’s death when he arrived for work at 3:45pm. He then went to Baptist with Lt. McCachren and Jerry Stauffer.
At Baptist, Peel went with McCachren and Stauffer to Maurice Elliott’s office where he met Joe Esposito and Charlie Hodge.
Peel states that while they were in Elliott’s office at BMH, Lt. McCachren called Dr. Francisco.
Peel states that when they met with Maurice Elliott at Baptist, he does not recall that Dan Warlick was present.
While meeting with Elliott, Peel’s partner, Roy Millican, arrived, then Peel, Millican, Esposito and Hodge left for Graceland in an unmarked (“plain”) police cruiser. McCachren and Stauffer remained at Baptist.
When they arrived at Graceland, Esposito escorted Peel and Millican upstairs to Elvis’s suite.
Peel states that they did not, “search, like go through the cabinets and drawers,” but instead just, “looked at the area where the body was supposed to have been found.” They also “looked” at the commode, whatever that means. Peel does not volunteer, nor is he asked, why the extent of his “investigation” in the room where the victim died was limited to, “looked at the area where the body was supposed to have been found” and “looked at the commode.” It is unclear how this would constitute an “investigation.”
Peel states that they next spoke with Ginger Alden (“his girlfriend”), Dr. Nichopoulos, and a “full-time nurse,” which would have been Tish Henley.
Peel interviewed Ginger in Elvis’s office, adjacent to the bedroom. He asked her for “some type of background on his activities or what had taken place prior to him being discovered.” After Ginger described what had happened, no other questions were asked of her.
Peel then interviewed Dr. Nichopoulos, though this interview was conducted outside on the back porch. Peel asked Nichopoulos if the victim, “had any heart trouble or any illness that might have caused his death,” to which Nichopoulos replied that Elvis had high blood pressure. Peel then asked if Elvis drank alcohol, Nichopoulos replied that he didn’t, and then the interview ended. Peel does not mention the apparent time gap in the sequence of these interviews, notably between the time he interviewed Ginger (upstairs) and the time he spoke with Dr. Nichopoulos and Henley (downstairs, outside). It is worth noting that in questioning the personal physician of a man who has just died suddenly, the detective asked a mere two questions, one of which pertained to alcohol. Did Peel suspect that Elvis had died of alcoholism, or something alcohol-related? Based on what?
Peel then interviewed Tish Henley and she said that Elvis had taken, “two Valium, five milligrams, and one other pill.” Peel did not explore this information further. No other questions were asked of Henley. The on-premises nurse of a patient who had just died suddenly, and apparently no one could think of any substantive questions to ask her.
Peel mentions that Dan Warlick had arrived with Lt. McCachren and was present on the back porch when Peel spoke with Nichopoulos and Henley.
Peel states that Dan Warlick advised them (while they were all upstairs) that he had found the two syringes. Peel thought these syringes were suspicious. He did not explore these syringes further.
(Read that again. Sgt. Peel, a MPD Detective, thought the syringes were suspicious…and yet he did nothing about them.)
Peel says that they were given, “an explanation for those syringes,” but does not recall what that explanation was. Peel states that he did not pursue any line of questioning pertaining to any drugs, beyond what he had asked Nichopoulos.
Peel is asked to what extent they searched for drugs in the house, to which Peel replied: “We didn’t make any search as far as going into any place of concealment, like a drawer or cabinet or whatever.” This is where people often keep prescription drugs, isn’t it? In a drawer or a cabinet?
Peel and Millican then left Graceland and returned to the Homicide office. Nothing further was done, and the investigation was shut down at 8:50pm.
Was this really an “investigation”?