“Is that enough to establish a motive?” I asked.

“It’s possible Moretti, but we need to find that car…otherwise we have nothing.”

“So what do we have? We’ve got embezzlement, conspiracy, and a potential conspiracy to commit murder, but no first-degree murder…I dunno.”  I paused.

“You don’t seem convinced,”  Walker questioned.

“I am…it’s just that Jacob doesn’t seem to fit the profile, really. These documents were fairly obvious to our technical staff…you’d think they’d want to hide it a bit better. And why call the police a day before you’re planning on killing your friend to report a robbery?”

“Maybe he’s trying to hide it out in the open?  You know, perhaps to cause a distraction, or establish an alibi?  He was at the station around that time wasn’t he?” Walker responded.

“Yeah…maybe.”  I replied.

“Hmm. Perhaps the blood work will reveal more. Do you have anything else?  What about the witness?”  Walker asked.

“All she remembers was that the rain was terrible, and that she saw two cars nearly spin out, she heard a loud smashing sound, and one went into the ditch. The other car was a dark colour…black, probably. Which matches our forensics tests on the paint left by the collision marks. She remembers seeing one car go off into a ditch, and then she ran off and called 911.”

“We’re still unable to find Edward Aidan at this point. We’ve sent several Constables to his house, but they’ve all come back with nothing. He’s not home, apparently.”

“What was the exact cause of death for the victim?”  Walker looked at Nancy.

“Ok…let me take a look at it. Here it is. Hmm…the autopsy report says that a fourteen  cm laceration to the head, and severe trauma to the parietal bone of the skull caused almost immediate death. The force of the impact caused by his car crashing into the ditch caused the victim to suffer an acute trauma to the left side of the his head. The victim hit his head on the driver’s-side window extremely hard, almost putting his skull right through it, causing a cerebral aneurysm.  The bleeding caused a subarachnoid haemorrhage, or SAH, and subsequently a fatal vasospasm.  The victim would have been conscious for a few seconds before the blood seeped into his eyes, followed by intense pain as he fell unconscious and bled to death.

CT scan results show a localized but extremely large blood clot, three millimeters thick, just around the site of the laceration. The hemorrhagic stroke resulted in the interruption of blood flow, causing the brain to suffocate. It was subsequently crushed, due to the added pressure. The victim died within minutes of impact. Paramedics wouldn’t have been able to do much even if they’d reached him in time,”  I explained as I flipped through the autopsy reports.

“So, he had a stroke?”  Walker asks.

“Yes, that’s right, resulting from a serious head trauma. Ten percent of severe stroke victims resulting from head trauma die before reaching the hospital. More than half die en route,” I responded.

“Have you brought Cross in for questioning?”

“No, not yet. If we bring him in now, we have him on embezzlement, but we have nothing to tie him directly to Tarif’s death. I was hoping you or forensics would have more for me.”

“Well, I do have something you might like…”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Tarif’s cell phone had another unsent message waiting in queue. There must have been some network congestion which wouldn’t allow his message to go through. That could explain why his first message wasn’t very clear…what was it again?”

“They’re experiment with catalyst. Aidan knows, remember the key,” I replied.

“Key to what?  What is catalyst, and what does Aidan know?”

“A catalyst usually increases the rate of a reaction of some kind…typically chemical. Like a lighter fluid-type thing. But a catalyst to what?  I think it might be wise to put out an all points bulletin for this Edward Aidan guy…he might know a bit more about this. As a matter of fact, I think I’m gonna go over to his place myself,”  I responded.

“Bring a constable with you, Nancy. ”

“I’ll be fine, Richard.”  I could hear the concern in his voice.

“There’s already been one homicide here. I just want you to be careful.”

“I will…”
“How’s Julia?”

“She’s doing fine…she’s looking forward to seeing you next weekend. You’re still taking her, right?”

“I don’t know…Celeste’s parents are coming to town. I…I don’t think Julia would feel comfortable…”

“Don’t give me that bullshit, Richard. You just don’t want to take her!  That girl loves you more than anything, and you’re constantly letting us down…her…down. She misses her father.”

“Look, Nancy. I pay my support. I’ve always taken care of you, and I’m there as much as I can be. Sometimes I just can’t be there…you know that.”

“But you can be there for Celeste…is that it?  She’s more important than your daughter?  Has Celeste even finished high school yet?”  I screamed. He hadn’t even moved out all of his stuff, and he was already meeting her parents.

“Very funny. She’s not more important…look, I’m not fighting with you about this. I’ll probably be able to come by for a few minutes on Saturday, ok?  Come on…we promised we wouldn’t do this, Nancy.”

“No…you promised we wouldn’t fight. I’m still pissed at you. You ripped apart our family, for what?  A twenty-year old slut you met at some bar?”

An uneasy silence descended over our conversation…too far. Constable Millman darted a questioning glance toward me. I scowled back briefly and turned to my desk.

You could tell, by the perfect size-six figure, that she was very active and energetic. I was sure he loved that. Celeste usually wore her hair free and loose around her shoulders. I’d only seen her once wearing a ponytail. And she always dressed elegantly…something I could never do. She could make the simplest things look so beautiful…perhaps it was just her perfectly-arched eyebrows, or her coppery silk hair…or her full pouty lips. He didn’t fall in love with her brains, that was for sure. There was no mystery to solve there…what you see is what you get.

“What family, Nancy?  There never was a family!  You know I love Julia and you…but me and you never got along. Not ever.”

“Fine, Rich. Look, are you going to tell me what you found or not?”


To Be Continued…

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