STUART, Fla. -- Former murder suspect Claude Davis, who said he witnessed the death of 10-year-old Andrea Parsons in Martin County nearly two decades ago, is finally speaking about the girl's final moments.
Murder suspect Chester Price is behind bars in the cold case of Parsons, but Claude Davis will not be charged.
Charges against him were dropped nearly 20 years ago for lack of evidence. Laws against double jeopardy protect him now.
Davis now mostly sits inside his mobile home in Stuart trailer. The 76-year-old sit alone most nights, watching TV, where he often replays in his mind the moment 10-year-old Andrea Parsons died.
"Well it's something I have to live with everyday, yes. It's going to be worse now because the older you get the more your mind bothers you. The more your brain agitates you. And you look back on your life and you see where you are today and you hate it," said Davis.
Chester price is now charged with Parson's murder and kidnapping. Davis claims he was with Price that July day in 1993 when their paths crossed with Parsons. She was walking home from a Port Salerno store and Davis said she asked them for a ride.
"I told her no, that I didn't think her mother would like her going home with somebody she didn't know," said Davis. "I don't know why they're coming up with this deal that we kidnapped her. In other words, that we kidnapped her and took her, shoved her in the van and then she tried to get out and all that stuff they're saying."
Davis recalls that Parsons was in the back of the vehicle. He said Price was too. Davis sheds no light on precisely what motive or impulse triggered the child's death.
"I heard a commotion back there and I heard the bump. That is when he hit her. And that's when her lights went out," said Davis.
The 76-year-old said he did not know what was going on, so he pulled over.
"I felt her pulse and everything and gave her CPR, but she never revived. And that's when I found out she was gone," said Davis.
Davis insists he did not kill Parsons, just that he watched her die.
"But I did not work with Wayne (Chester Price) on killing her. Wayne got mad at her and his temper went flaring and hit her with his fist and hard as he could," said Davis.
Davis claims he and Price left the child's body in the van until the next day.
"I didn't want to go to the authorities because I know probably both of us will be in jail. I didn't know what to do. So I found a place to put her," said Davis.
With a frantic search underway for Parsons, Davis claims he and Price drove out to a remote area near the SR 710.
"So that's where I took her, dug a hole and put her in it," said Davis. "I covered her up with a black bag and a piece of burlap sack so the dirt wouldn't go in her face. Then I said a little pray and I left."
Davis said he had told investigators about the burial spot, but to this day Parsons' remains have not been recovered.
"I don't think about a lot of it. I never thought about it. I went along with my daily routine and did what I had to do," said Davis.
19 years later, Davis said he tried to protect Price.
"Well if you have a good friend and everything, would you do that? You would right away?" questioned Davis.
His allegiance to a now accused child murderer left a family, investigators and an entire community to question and to grieve for nearly two decades. Not once Davis said did he think of the Parsons family.
"No because I didn't know of the family. All I ever seen was her and the two girls. I never seen the girls father or whatever," said Davis.
And only now Davis claim to feel regret and a willingness to help investigators.
"I keep getting a feeling everyday that I'm limited on this earth. There's no cure for what I have," said Davis.
Detectives remain tight-lipped about the investigation. The state attorney's office would not comment on what Davis had to say to WPTV NewsChannel 5, but did confirm Davis is cooperating.