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The chronological order of my stories is as follows:

Todd followed by a call from my nephew Todd, who wanted to know what I wanted from him and Jeanine on my upcoming birthday…

Part 10 – The Dorian Sherwood Solution

On October 22nd, I got the first results of the DNA tests on the exhumed remains that had been buried under Alicia Foster’s name, and I called the Sherwoods and asked them to come in. I also again called in Father Romano, our Catholic Police Chaplain, to be there. I hated this part of my job, but I did not shirk from it nor delegate it to others; it was mine to do.

“Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood,” I said to the couple as we sat yet again in Interrogation-A at 9:00am, “I can now tell you the full story about your daughter’s disappearance. Please bear with me and let me get it all out.”

I began: “Last February a woman was killed in a car accident in Coltrane County to the south of us. The body was badly burned and it was believed to have been the body of the owner of the car, one Alicia Foster. That county did not have adequate facilities nor finances to run DNA testing at that time.”

“However, “I continued, “I had that body exhumed, and a comparison to the DNA that you submitted the other day shows that the woman who died in that car crash… is actually your daughter Dorian. I am very sorry for your loss.”

As the finality of my news hit them, Mr. and Mrs. Sherwood both broke down in sobs. Finally, Mr. Sherwood asked “What happened? Do you know what happened?”

“Sir,” I said, “I believe your daughter was murdered by Alicia Foster, who wanted to fake her own death. Your daughter was about the same height, weight and body type as Mrs. Foster. I don’t have all the details yet, and we are working on bringing in the criminal who committed this crime. At any rate, I sorry that we could not provide a happier result, but perhaps this can give you and your family some closure.”

Tears stills streaming down her face, Mrs. Sherwood reached across the table and grasped my forearm. “Commander Troy,” she said, trying to hold back the sobs, “thank you for not giving up on us, and for finding our daughter.”

“Yes, thank you, sir.” said Mr. Sherwood. “At least… at least we’ll be able to take her home and give her a proper burial, under her own name.”

They stayed with the Chaplain for some time, while I left to find the perpetrator that had senselessly killed their daughter and abused her body. As I exited the room into the anteroom on the police side, Chief Griswold was waiting for me, having watched the sad proceedings.

“Good job, Crowbar.” he said solemnly. “Having to tell a family of a loss is tough, but they’ll appreciate it all the more over time.

I just nodded. “Yes sir. But what I’ll appreciate… is bringing that poor woman’s murderer to Justice…”

Part 11 – The Foster Solution

I did not have long to wait. The FBI arrested a woman at City Airport, and transported her back to Town. The facial recognition programming immediately recognized one Alicia Foster when she tried to board a plane for Paris under another name. The passport she was using was of the best quality; I would daresay it was originally a CIA-issued ID.

I entered Interrogation-1 at 1:00pm, October 22d, with ADA Paulina Patterson and Teresa Croyle, who basically sat back and watched. Mrs. Foster was already in the room, guarded by Sr. Patrolmen Rudistan and Morton.

“Okay, Mrs. Foster,” I said after I’d read the woman her rights, “would you care to explain all of this?”

“With what am I being charged?” Alicia asked confrontationally. I could see why she and Karla Warner had become friends: same temperaments.

“Several forms of fraud, from the charitable trust to using your own cancelled credit card to attempt to buy a gun.” I said. “And of course, capital murder in the killing of Dorian Sherwood. Aggravating circumstances, too. You didn’t kill yourself, but the State sure is going to… after your conviction illegal bahis by a jury of your peers, of course.”

“You’ll never prove that.” Alicia snarled. “It’s all circumstantial.”

“I think it’ll fly quite nicely.” I said. “Circumstantial cases are quite effective. We have you faking your own death, your car with her body in it, that same car booby-trapped to run off the road, and then packed with thermite to burn hot and completely. All of that with you being an engineer and able to rig such a device, not to mention getting thermite from Ward Harvester as a CIA agent. That was one of the few legitimate records old man Ward actually kept of his sales. You are toast, pun not intended, Mrs. Foster.”

Paulina Patterson picked it up. “As the Commander said, the District Attorney’s Office is going for a death penalty case, Mrs. Foster, due to the aggravating circumstances in murdering Miss Sherwood to fake your own death. But if you cooperate, the D.A. might agree to 25-to-life with possible parole.”

“I want to confer with a lawyer first.” said Alicia. “I’m invoking my rights and will not answer any questions at this time.”

———

“Spence Foster is here, with his lawyer.” said Lt. Teresa Croyle, while we waited. “He’s in Interrogation-Bravo.”

“Okay, get Patrolman Cosby to escort us.” I said. “I’m going to bring them to the back, then to Interrogation-2.”

———

“Oh my God!” gasped Spence Foster as he looked through the one-way mirror into Interrogation-1. “She’s alive?”

“Yes, Mr. Foster.” I said. “Your wife is alive.”

“How-? How- why-?” Foster gasped, unable to find words.

“Please come this way, Mr. Foster.” I said. I led him and his lawyer to Interrogation-2, with Officer Cosby as the uniformed presence. “Have a seat, Mr. Foster.” I said. “Now, you say that you had no idea of any of this?” I watched Foster’s eyes carefully.

“N..n..no.” said Foster. “I… I thought she was dead.”

“Mr. Foster,” I asked, “can you tell me any reason, any reason at all, why your wife would want to fake her own death?”

“Are you kidding?” Foster answered. “How would I know what is going on in that bitch’s mind?”

I relaxed and sat back, having heard the words I needed to hear… and seen the look in Spence Foster’s eyes.

“If you and your attorney will stay here,” I said, “I have some things to do. I might want to ask you more questions. Just ask Patrolman Cosby if you want something to drink or need to use the restroom.” I exited the room.

———

Two hours later, District Attorney Gil Krasney walked into my office, his tall frame filling the room, looking down at me over the beak of his nose, his hair being combed straight back suggesting he was flying through the breeze. “Commander, I must congratulate you on another outstanding success. This is truly amazing what you’ve discovered.”

“Thank you, Mr. Krasney.” I said. “So what brings you to our humble Headquarters?”

“Alicia Foster’s lawyer called me. He and she want to hear it straight from my mouth about the plea deal, but she’s willing to talk.”

I’m sure the upcoming election might have had something to do with D.A. Krasney wanting to be personally in on this case, but I wasn’t worried about that at the moment. We went down to Interrogation-1, but not before I gathered Lieutenant Teresa Croyle to sit in with us. Entering the room, Teresa sat in the chair in the corner by the door to the ‘perp’ side, while the District Attorney and I sat down at the table opposite Alicia Foster and her high-priced attorney.

I recognized him; he was a partner in the extremely powerful Law Firm of Gresham you wiped them out a few months ago, Commander.”

“Anyway,” Alicia said, “I basically waited and bided my time. I avoided any problems when Mr. Warner was murdered, and thought I was coasting along. I was going to get a divorce from my husband, but the Company told me to stay married to him-

“Why-” interrupted D.A. Krasney, “Er, I’m sorry to interrupt, but illegal bahis siteleri why would DynaCorp want you to stay with your husband, or even dare to ask such a thing?”

“Not DynaCorp, Mr. Krasney.” I said. “By ‘Company’, she’s referring to the CIA. That’s what they call themselves.”

“Oh.” said Krasney. “Sorry, I didn’t know that. Please, go ahead, Mrs. Foster.”

“Yes it was the CIA that wanted me to stay.” said Alicia. “I had no idea why, but they intimated that they wanted me to keep an eye on him, too. So I knew that my only chance at freedom from that miserable fucking life was to disappear. And the only way to disappear was to fake my own death.

“Why Dorian Sherwood?” I asked. Seeing the blank look on Alicia’s face, I said “Diana Shire? Why her?”

“Oh, her.” Alicia said. She paused, then continued. “I met her at some company party, where Warner was wooing some potential customers. She was obviously an escort, and I noticed she was about my height and build. I figured that if she disappeared, nobody would notice; after all, she was a whore, a nobody. So I talked to her and got her number; I think she thought I was going to hire her for a date or something.”

“A nobody, you say.” I said, trying hard to conceal my anger.

“That’s right, she was nothing.” Alicia said coldly, her face showing no emotion at all.

“Go on.” I said, equally glacially.

“Last February I knew I could make my move. I rigged the car up, got some thermite from a source, and lined the car with it. I called the Shire woman, telling her I wanted her to come to a party with me, and offering to pay her, and I told her I’d pick her up at her apartment. As soon as I had her in the car, I injected her with a sedative that knocked her out. I drove the car to the next County, where I knew they didn’t have adequate resources to do good testing, and I drove the car off the side of the road by remote control. They didn’t really look for the remote control device on the steering column, what was left of it, anyway, and I went into the junkyard the next day and got it.

“And it worked, too.” she continued. “They declared me dead, wrote off the death as an accident, and I was free to make a new life for myself.”

“Where were you while you were considered dead?” I asked. “And most importantly, why did you come back to this Town?”

“I was in San Francisco for most of the time.” Alicia said. “But I had to come back to the City to cash in the charitable trust, using the name Mary Hathaway. I had the money, but it was hard to move it around, what with all the anti-terrorism banking laws nowadays. I had an account in Mary Hathaway’s name at Second National Bank, and I had to risk using that for a while until I could get all the money out of State.”

“Why did you try to buy a gun at Cummings Outdoors?” I asked. “You could have more easily bought a piece without a serial number in the Tenderloin District for cash.”

“I thought the credit card was still good.” said Alicia. “I thought my husband didn’t know about it, but apparently he did and he cancelled it. I didn’t want to risk buying a gun off the street in case it was an undercover sting operation by your Vice Department or the City’s Vice squads.”

“So why did you need a gun in the first place?” I asked. “What were you planning to do with it?”

“Protection, plain and simple.” Alicia said. “Don’t you carry, even when you’re off-duty?”

Her answers were holding up, but I strongly suspected that she was not telling me the whole story. I also knew she was a well-trained CIA agent, and I’d have little chance to crack her story without using methods the Police simply aren’t allowed to use.

“Satisfied?” asked D.A. Krasney, expecting a routine response. But I inhaled then exhaled hard, and responded:

“No.” I said. “No, Mr. District Attorney, I am not satisfied with these answers. You are hiding things from me, Mrs. Foster.”

“Why you bastard!” said the lawyer. “You don’t give her that deal, Krasney, and canlı bahis siteleri I’ll make sure none of what she says can be used as evidence, and I’ll wipe out any other evidence you have, as well.”

“Hold on a second, Counselor.” said Krasney. “Commander, can I speak to you in the other room?”

We exited to the anteroom, and out into the hallway. Paulina joined us; she had been watching with Cindy, Teresa, and the Chief from the anteroom.

“Look, Commander,” Krasney said, “the evidence will hold up, but he’s right; what she said is inadmissible if we don’t give her the deal. You just made it harder. So what’s up?”

“Mr. Krasney, I understand where you’re coming from. And don’t worry, you’ll give her the 25-to-life deal and she’ll take it.” I said. “But her story was carefully manufactured to exonerate her husband, and I think he’s part of it. Just let me ask her a few questions, and let’s see what pops.”

Going back into the room, I said “Okay, Mrs. Foster, I’m going to ask you a few questions. Play it straight with me, and the D.A.’s deal will be back on the table. But if you fuck with me, then a trial in my County won’t be your problem… the FBI and CIA will. You’ve been burned by them, and you know they’ll try you… and execute you… for treason if we give you to them.”

Alicia stared at me for a moment, then said “My husband had nothing to do with this. I don’t know else what to tell you.”

“Oh, come on, Mrs. Foster.” I said. “Your entire story was half true. It was admittedly a clever mixture of truth and fiction, but it was obviously designed and manufactured to protect your husband. But is he worth protecting, Mrs. Foster… just answer this: why did your husband come to the police and file a report when you tried to use your credit card at Cummings Outdoors?”

Alicia looked startled, then some understanding crept in. “Yes, Mrs. Foster,” I said. “I know all about it; you might as well talk, give him up, and take the death penalty off the table… not to mention the death penalty for treason if we give you to the Feds.”

I sat back and began talking. “Yes, you and your husband agreed that you’d keep one credit card, just in case you might need it in an emergency. But apparently he cancelled the one you kept; and he did not cancel, but physically destroyed, the credit card he thought you were keeping. That little boo-boo came back to haunt you. But what does it say that he went and filed that police report?”

“Why don’t you tell me, since you seem to know so much?” Alicia challenged.

“Sure.” I said. “What it means is that your husband is covering his ass, and had no problem throwing you under the bus in doing so. When that credit card popped up as closed, either he realized he’d fucked up and closed the wrong one… or maybe he did it on purpose, wanting you to be found out by the ‘accident’ of using the closed credit card. He files a report, we find out about you, he’s still skating free with the proceeds from the life insurance policy on you… and maybe he can claim the money from Second National, as well. You trusted your husband, Mrs. Foster, and he double-crossed you.”

“I don’t believe you.” said Alicia.

I had one card left to play. “Mrs. Foster, will you allow me to speak to you alone, without anyone else in the room?”

“Now just a minute…” the lawyer began, but I held up my hand.

“Mr. Krasney, why don’t you and Mrs. Foster’s attorney step outside and formalize the 25-to-life deal.” I suggested. “Don’t worry, counselor, I’m not going to abuse Mrs. Foster’s rights. But I think it’s very much in her interests that she hears what I have to say, and I won’t say it in the presence of anyone else.” I looked at Alicia meaningfully.

“It’s okay,” she said to the lawyer. He was not at all happy, but he and Krasney stepped out the door into the ‘perp’ side to finalize the plea deal.

“Teresa,” I said, “when you get outside, shut off the videotaping and all audio devices.” Teresa left to go into the anteroom. I had every belief that my officers would do that, but to make sure, and to reassure Alicia, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small metallic device… the same device I’d used the night I’d confronted Katherine Woodburn in her KXTC offices.

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