“A little extra to save me the second trip.” He said, as he handed it to me, a slight tremble in his hand.
“You nervous, Kid, or just a few too many of these?” I quipped.
“I’ve just been saddled with my first murder case, Shamus, and I think I’m in over my head. I could use your help. The victims’ family isn’t happy with the progress of the police investigation, so they’ve approached us. I take it you’re no stranger to these?”
“No more than I am to this.” I said as I gave the whiskey a gentle swirl across the canines. “What have we got?”
Chad tossed an enormous manilla envelope on my lap. “Victims are Susanne Adams, aged 36, and her daughter Janice age 8, both bodies still missing, but the Coroner’s Office confirmed enough blood at the scene to presume death, and therefore it went straight to homicide. That was eight months ago.”
“Eight months! No suspects yet?”
“They brought the husband in a few times, but although they have their suspicions, they’re still essentially empty. He called home from work five times that day and left increasingly agitated messages each time. He came home just after 5,and found the empty house, all the blood where he’d left his wife that morning, and he called 911 before even checking his daughter’s room.”
“That’s weird.” I thought. “Can you play the 911 tape, and the messages he left?”
Chad clicked a nearby remote and the 911 operator’s voice was clearly in the foreground, and doing an admirable job of calming the distraught caller, who had introduced himself as Gerry Adams, and who was now being asked to visit his daughter’s room. After a few seconds we heard, “No, she’s not here. But there’s no blood here either. Even her school clothes are still laid out where they were last night.” Eventually the operator asked Gerry Adams to touch nothing, go outside to the front yard, and await the police.
Chad clicked a few more buttons on the remote, and we could again hear Gerry Adams’ voice on the tape, and again on the other end, confirming these were retrieved from his home machine. I listened to every word, every nuance and every syllable in all five messages, each one offering a higher concern level in his voice, until toward the end of the last message he said, “Please call me back, Babe, I’ve left 4 messages already. It’s …..2:25, and I’m really gettin’ worried about you guys.”
“Where are the police on this right now?” I asked.
“As we speak, the coppers are digging in a landfill, looking for…”
“A coffee ground? A cigarette butt for a DNA sample?”
“Adams doesn’t smoke.”
“Maybe not, but he lies.” Chad looked at me quizzically. “C’mon Chad,” I stood and went to refill my glass. “Buddy pulls off an Academy Award performance in 6 phone calls, because he knows they’ll be examined by the police, but here’s my question. If he didn’t know his daughter hadn’t gone to school until he’s in her room at well past 5pm, he would have no reason at 225pm, to believe she wasn’t in school as normal. So why wouldn’t the message to his wife be, “I’m worried about you”, rather than “I’m worried about you guys”? There are your grounds. Now we need a motive. “
“I had a professor in Osgoode who insisted that it takes genius to point out the obvious.” Chad said. “Where would this investigation be if someone had noticed this eight months ago?
… the life of a flatfoot.