Eyes in Headlights E4

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By Kevin RR Williams

The Behavior


Detective Megan Anthony and her partner leave the home of Dan Wilson while he peers at them through the window. When they get to the sidewalk, she asks, “What did you observe about his behavior?”

“He was really nervous about something and lawyered up real quickly.”

“I noticed the same thing. Tell me, what is the natural response when authorities tell you something happened to someone living near you?”

“Most people want to know what it was.”

“Exactly, Mr. Wilson never asked what happened and admitted to being on the road where the victim was found on the night in question. And who burns a fireplace in June? That’s what I call a suspect. Let’s keep him under surveillance while I get a search warrant.”

Back at the police station, the detective says, “I need all the forensics and the autopsy report.” She examines it as it comes online.

“Residue at the crime scene: antifreeze; victim shoe size: 9; other shoe prints: size 11 or 12 sandals and dress shoes. The victim apparently broke free from restraints and tried to flag down a vehicle for help before getting struck. We may have at least two crimes here—an abduction and a hit-and-run.”

The Search

At 3:00 the next morning, before Dan can wake up, let alone leave for work, Detective Anthony is back at his home with a search warrant and a dozen officers. With exits covered, she rings the bell repeatedly and bangs on the front door.

Dan comes downstairs in his robe and house slippers to open up. “I told you to talk to my lawyer.”

Pushing her way in, she says, “We’re not here to talk. This is a search warrant for your home, detached structures, digital devices, and vehicles. Call your attorney if you like.”

Dan phones his lawyer and tells him to get over right away. “There are a dozen polices officers in my house right now!”

The attorney says he will try to be there within the hour. Then a gloved officer takes the phone and places it within an evidence bag.

“What are you looking for? Why are you here? I told you I don’t know that man.”

“You seem very chatty for someone who wants us to speak only to your lawyer?”

“If you tell me what you’re looking for, perhaps I can help you find it without tearing my place apart.”

“I will let you know what I’m looking for after I find it,” Megan replies.

“What about probable cause?”

“Sit down, shut up, and read the search warrant or I’ll have an officer handcuff you in the back of a squad car. We have work to do.”

Shining a blacklight on the floor around the fireplace, Megan sees the faint glow of footprints. She follows them upstairs to the master bathroom. “Photograph these prints in the bathroom,” she says. Pulling out a knife, she cuts out a piece of the carpet where the glow is brightest.

Officers are confiscating toothbrushes and hair combs. They shine ultraviolet lights on all the clothing within the closets, drawers, and hampers. “I want shoes,” Anthony says. “What size are they?”

“Size 11, ma’am.”

“Bag ’em!” Back downstairs, Megan wonders why the fireplace has been swept clean. She tells officers, “I want to know where the fireplace debris is.” Then she heads to the kitchen and focuses on an unwashed highball glass in the sink. She sniffs it and says, “Smells like rum and Coke. Bag it.”

An officer summons her to the backyard. “Here are some ashes with burnt fabric and what is left of some rubber sandals.”

“Good. I want it all,” Megan says. “What’s in the car?”

“It’s pretty clean inside and out,” officers reply.

“Impound it for thorough forensic examination.”

Dan’s attorney rushes in and Dan hands him the search warrant. “Who’s in charge here?” the lawyer asks.

Fingers point to Megan as she walks toward him. “Detective Megan Anthony is my name. Thanks for joining us.”

“I am attorney Perry Zamir. What is the nature of all this?”

“Much of it is spelled out in the search warrant. But you’re here for the best part… Dan Wilson, you’re under arrest for the murder of Nicholas Ryan. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney…”

“Dan, don’t say anything. I will lock up your house, bring you some clothes, and post bail. You should be back home by end of day,” his lawyer advises.

“I admire your optimism, Mr. Zamir. You seem to be coming to the party without a clue what’s going on. Study well.”

The Station

At the police station, Megan asks officers, “Have you found the Rolls Royce yet? There has to be only about ten of them on the road. It should be like locating a yacht in a fish pond.“

“We put out a bolo in this city, and where he was supposedly heading. Then we checked with garages near the airport and the license popped. Video surveillance shows him being abducted in the parking lot. The perps open the trunk and remove luggage before driving away in a light SUV.”

“Good work. Bring the car in from the parking garage. I’m going to talk to Ryan’s employees about the nature of the business trip. Leave Wilson in the holding cell. Don’t let him go until I have a chance to speak to him in the presence of his lawyer.

“A couple of you men shouldn’t mind taking a ride down to that Dignified Ladies joint to get evidence that Wilson was there, perhaps he ordered a rum and Coke. If it was a business dinner, Dan should have paid with a company credit card.”

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