MMM follow the bouncing ball

CHAPTER 21

Ben drove out to the Sports Complex with Forensics people to check out the vehicle Mullenix and Sean had called in. A thorough forensic examination netted a baseball cap, no blood or weapon. The registration in the jockey box confirmed it belonged to the Tribal Casino.

Back at Police HQ, Ben convened the Monday morning staff quiz session. The photos on the bulletin board painted a disjointed narrative. It might as well have been a travel log of a trip to hell and back.

“Here’s another loose strand of information with no clear connection to the victim.”

“If our vic drove the Casino’s Humvee to the lot, how did he get to the orchard?”

“Walked, run, flew?”

“Maybe he was chased by the perp.”

“Or escorted.”

“Guessing don’t get us anywhere. We need connections.”

“Anda helluva lot more information.”

“OK, Fancher and Mullenix, head on over to the Casino in Airway Heights and find out what you can about the vehicle and who might have been driving it last weekend.”

“The rest of you canvass the neighborhoods on all sides of the orchard. Take notes and bring back what you find out. Remember, we need names, dates, times and details people remember before the body was discovered that might lead us out of this maze.”

Try as he might, Ben Perrini hadn’t been able to get Edna Running Eagle out of his head. The ER room nurse and her two kid’s answers and activities echoed back and forth between truth and consequences, fun and games, believable and suspect. He was attracted to her in an uncomfortable way.

From the beginning of this investigation, Edna’s calm collected mannerisms and gracious way of dealing with the stress he had placed her under was rather remarkable.  As far as he could determine, she hadn’t hit or threatened the kids like many parents in her position might have. Her quiet questioning of the boys and her noncommittal responses to his questioning didn’t match what he would have expected. Guilt, conspiracy, collusion or outright lying would have evoked more suspicion and looked a lot different on the paper reports filed.

Another round of questioning might open the door for closer communication. Just getting to know her on a personal basis might bring him more critical information.

“Mabel, please get a hold of the nurse.  Tell her I want to drive out to Wellpinit at her convenience for a social call.  Let me know when you get an affirmative on that.”

So many unanswered questions. For now, it was a homicide, an isolated case, but Ben would be looking for connections to Edna, the boys and anyone Edna had had contact with in the recent past.

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