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Undercover secrets untol.., p.7

Undercover Secrets, Untold Lies, page 7


Undercover Secrets, Untold Lies

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  “Day of the murder,” Lionel said without hesitation.

  “And did you hear them arguing that day?” Gwen probed.

  “No, didn’t hear nothing. Only that a car like the cap’n drives was parked in dis alley and hightailed it out fast. Next thing I know police cars everywhere.”

  “You’re not sure it was the captain?” Gwen asked.

  “No ma’am.”

  “Anything else?”

  “You don’ tell Cap’n I talk to you, hear? He make a lot of trouble for everybody. I don’ need that. He destroy people, that man. He don’ like you, you no find work, you no have food. They won’t even serve you at grocery store.”

  “I promise I won’t make trouble for you, Lionel. You call me if you hear anything else, okay?” she said, handing him her card.

  “You nice lady. I trust. I check aroun’ the neighborhood,” he said slowly, looking intently at her card.

  She guessed he couldn’t read, but perhaps someone else would help him get in touch with her. Another glance around confirmed he didn’t have a phone.

  “Who called the hotline for you?” Gwen inquired.

  “Hotline? What’s hotline?”

  “How did you get in touch with the police?”

  “Oh,” he said, nodding that he understood. “My son call. He big superintendent at building projects. First he don’ want me involved, but I insist. He’s a good boy. Has two fine sons of his own,” Lionel said proudly, getting up from the table.

  Lionel walked into the living room and brought back a photograph of a handsome middle-aged man, a beautiful woman with caramel colored skin, and two teenage children.

  “They look like a very fine family, Mr. Davies.”

  “Lionel…call me Lionel. Yes, they want to do more for me, but I tell my son, you give to those children. They are our future. It’s too late for me.”

  “Thank you for your time, Mr…uh, Lionel. I appreciate you coming forward. Please call if you have any further information,” Gwen said kindly.

  It was after six p.m. when Gwen arrived at the precinct, but she was the first in the squad room. She walked slowly around the room, studying the whiteboard, the timeline Brad had written up and taped to the wall, photographs of the crime scene and the mugshots of the men they’d considered suspects. The conference table was still covered with newspapers and computer printouts. Several stained Styrofoam cups had been left with portions of this morning’s coffee.

  CC came in a few minutes later followed by Scott, Brad and Tony.

  Gwen quickly briefed them on her interviews. “It looks like Captain Wright’s name comes up wherever we turn in this investigation. It appears he controls much of the action in the projects.”

  “Let’s face it; he’s a dirty cop,” Scott said disgustedly. “I’d be backpedaling pretty fast by now too if I were him.”

  “We can’t nail him for hanging around in the same neighborhood his daughter frequented,” Brad offered.

  “No, but we can get him for lying and impeding the investigation,” CC grumbled.

  “Wright hasn’t done anything recently that he hasn’t been doing for years,” Tony chimed in. “He’s always been climbing up the butts of drugs users and prostitutes. He gets his rocks off doing it, demeaning those who can’t defend themselves. He backs down when anyone with muscle in the neighborhood stands up to him. The bigger the fish, the quicker Wright rabbits out of there. You should see him squirm when someone mentions the word ‘lawyer.’ I don’t think Wright’s done any harm.”

  “So you think it’s okay for Wright to badger these poor people?” Gwen asked angrily.

  “Nope. I never said it was right. It’s just the way it is,” Tony confessed. “You know as well as I do, Vice practically lives with these people…they dress like them, eat with them, befriend them or hate them. Easy to get hardened to that element when you live and breathe it. From what I understand, the captain grew up in Vice. He knows the neighborhood and the people…and he hates it even more knowing his daughter became a part of it.”

  “You’re right, Tony. Thanks for reminding us what a nice guy the captain is,” Gwen said sarcastically. Then she added, “Really, I appreciate your honesty and keeping things in perspective, but what the captain is doing down there gives me the creeps. I’m sorry for getting upset. I’ll report what I know about the captain after we’ve caught our perp. I want to put him on the back burner for now and concentrate on this investigation.”

  “I’m with you,” CC and Scott said in unison.

  “Now, what else have we got?”

  “I tracked Kathy’s Twitter and Facebook accounts,” Brad said next. “Nothing substantial, but I’ve been able to fill in some of the blanks as far as the ‘where and who.’ The tracking of Kathy’s movements the past few weeks are nearly as complete as we’ll be able to get them.”

  “I’m still pressing some of my contacts,” Tony said briefly. “Nothing yet.”

  “I’ve got several leads to check up on,” Scott said wearily. “The hotline’s still ringing off the hook.”

  “Give me anything you need to follow up on,” CC offered.

  “So far, the cops the chief assigned have been hustling. Thanks though, I may have a few for you,” he replied.

  “Okay. See you all tomorrow,” Gwen said, ending the meeting.

  “Hey,” CC said, when everyone else was gone. “I owe you dinner.”

  “I’d be just as happy to stop at the deli. I know you’ve put in a long day and I’m bushed too,” Gwen said, noticing the dark smudges under CC’s eyes.

  “If you don’t mind, I’ll make it up to you another time,” CC said gratefully.

  “I’ll take your IOU,” Gwen laughed.

  “Let’s go to Richard’s Pub. I could use a beer or two.” CC smiled.

  “Great!” Gwen agreed.

  They had a pleasant dinner of salad, spaghetti and toasted garlic bread. They ate heartily, laughed, joked with each other. The two hours spent eating dinner and drinking two steins of beer apiece passed much too quickly. They were both exhausted when they said their goodbyes, although Gwen was still reluctant to call it a night.

  Hell, Gwen thought, walking to her car, I didn’t even get a kiss for dessert to end this fabulous evening!

  Though she was tired to the bone, her mind was still consumed with all that was happening with the investigation. She took the copies of Kathy’s e-mails that Brad had printed out to bed, and read until she felt able to sleep. But instead she recalled more of her time with Kathy. Just before Gwen had started packing up at the end of their weekend together, Kathy had urged her to stay another hour or two. Gwen still lay naked in the bed and Kathy had run out for doughnuts and coffee, so she was fully dressed. Kathy then did the most erotic striptease Gwen had ever seen. The porno flicks she’d seen didn’t hold a candle to the sight of Kathy slowly gyrating in front of her and taking her clothes off slowly and sensually. It took all the willpower Gwen had to keep from leaping off the bed and tearing the rest of Kathy’s clothing away from her gorgeous body. She was on fire by the time Kathy slid under the covers next to her. They’d made love passionately and furiously. Gwen’s tongue had tasted every inch of Kathy’s body and had brought Kathy to orgasm after violent orgasm before she was finally sated.

  When her alarm awoke Gwen the following morning, the lights were still blazing and papers she had been reading were scattered, some on her bed and in a heap on the floor. She groaned, but yet was anxious to get on with her day and keep the progress moving on the investigation. Gwen felt somehow confident they would find their killer soon.

  It was Friday, so maybe she could schedule their task force meeting for earlier in the day. That would give them a longer evening and maybe Gwen would finally have more time to spend with CC. They would be working this weekend, but certainly wouldn’t have to get up early on Saturday morning!

  Chapter Thirteen

  When Gwen arrived at the precinct, she was surprised by the mess
age that she’d been summoned to Captain Wright’s office, pronto. The prior visits were her idea; she was curious to find out why he had now asked to see her.

  She hurried to her car and drove across town to the North Precinct. This time, she did not have to ask for him; Captain Wright was waiting for her.

  After she’d shut the door behind her, Wright tore into her. “What are you wasting your time on crap like fibers and e-mails for when we both know Jerry Kingley killed my daughter? I told you to arrest that man!”

  “How do you know what we’re focusing on, Captain Wright?” Gwen asked in an even tone, trying to keep her anger in check.

  “I have my ways,” he said haughtily.

  “There’s no way Jerry could have killed your daughter. He wasn’t even in Wisconsin.”

  “You know how all those military men stick together. Do you really believe his fellow guardsmen aren’t covering for him? I have information that may surprise you,” Wright said smugly. He handed her three gasoline receipts.

  She looked at them. They were dated the days before and after Kathy’s murder.

  Wright said, “You think he drove in excess of six hundred miles around the military base? He could have circled the base three hundred times in two days to put that kind of mileage on his car. Now, do you still believe Kingley was at the base while my little girl was being murdered?”

  “I’ll certainly look into it,” Gwen said, puzzled. “Where did you get these receipts?”

  “I contacted the service stations. They have the records to prove it was Jerry,” Wright declared.

  “I will look into this and take it into consideration,” Gwen told Wright.

  “Don’t be pigheaded over this. I’ve handed you Kathy’s murderer on a silver platter. Now arrest him and be done with it!”

  “I’ll let you know what I come up with,” Gwen said, turning and walking out the door.

  Snow flurries and a strong northerly wind assaulted Gwen as she left the North Precinct, but they did nothing to cool her anger. It seemed that Wright was keeping one step ahead of them in the investigation, and that meant someone on the task force was feeding him information. Could it be Brad? She hadn’t known this cop for very long, but he seemed to be on the up and up. She’d worked with Scott for years, and knew he would never fold to pressure from upper echelons of the police administration. She had begun to trust CC with her deepest secrets and desires. Could CC be faking her interest in Gwen and be the mole Wright had placed on her team? They hadn’t checked out Tony very well, but the chief had handpicked him for the task force. Could he be Wright’s eyes and ears in the investigation? She would have to be very careful until she figured out who the guilty party was.

  On the long ride back to her precinct, she decided that the fastest way to figure out who was scheming with the captain would be to confront Chief Ziegler. Maybe it was time to expose Wright and his shenanigans.

  The Chief was in a meeting when she arrived at his office, but his secretary told her she could pencil Gwen in for twenty minutes at one p.m. That gave Gwen a couple hours to do a little research on the gasoline receipts Wright had given her.

  Closing the door to her office, she called Jerry Kingley. He wasn’t immediately available, but called back a half hour later.

  “What exactly do you do for the guard?” Gwen asked.

  “We’re in charge of transport mostly,” he told her. “We gas up and do the maintenance and repairs on the jeeps and trucks that come back to the base from the field.”

  “So it wouldn’t be unusual for you to go through exorbitant amounts of gasoline in say, a day or two?”

  “Hell, no. I’ve pumped two hundred or more gallons on a busy day.”

  “Do you fill the trucks on base?” she asked.

  “Usually. But lately, with the fuel shortage, we’ve been using some of the local gas stations if they’ll give us a discount based on volume. Depends on how full our tanks are at the time. We’re instructed to keep a reserve for emergencies.”

  “I would think you’d keep a log as to which vehicles are serviced and how much gasoline you’ve put in them.”

  “Absolutely. We log everything we do and the gas tank readings have to balance at the end of the day with what we’ve disbursed. You think the government is going to believe we’re not filling our own tanks at their expense? We spend more time filling out paperwork than actually doing the work that needs to be done,” Jerry quipped.

  “Can you fax over your records for the end of February? Say two or three weeks’ worth?”

  “Hey, what’s this about?” Jerry asked worriedly.

  “Someone came up with some gas receipts with your name on them,” Gwen told him. “I just want to prove that they’re related to your job. Nothing to worry about.”

  “Okay. Give me that number…I’ll get them right over to you,” Jerry said anxiously.

  True to his word, Jerry’s logs were on her desk within fifteen minutes. Comparing them to the three receipt copies Wright had given her, it looked as though someone had carefully forged a different license number on the copies. Jerry’s receipts were not as smudged and appeared to be the original entries. Another diversion set up by Captain Wright? But why?

  Gwen jotted down some notes with the facts she wanted to present to Chief Ziegler and spent the rest of the morning working through a stack of messages from the hotline. There were a lot of interesting tidbits of information floating around, but nothing significant that would require her to conduct a field audit or set up an interview.

  A few minutes before one p.m., she headed to see the chief and was waiting outside his office when he arrived at twelve fifty-five. Great, an extra five minutes to bolster her case against Captain Wright.

  “Good afternoon, Detective Meyers,” Ziegler said, ushering her into his office. “This is a nice surprise,” he said pleasantly.

  Ziegler stood ramrod straight and shook her hand. He was tough with his officers, but he was fair, and probably the most honest man Gwen had ever met. He was just over six feet tall, but she’d seen him at the gym and his looks belied the strength of his body. He kept the old-fashioned brush cut from his years of military service closely trimmed, he had penetrating brown eyes, and a handlebar mustache. His deep baritone voice was perfect for the police barbershop quartet that performed at all the police family gatherings.

  “I’m sorry to bother you, Chief, but I’m having a problem on the Wright/Jeffries investigation that I’d like to brief you on.”

  Gwen started with the newest revelation of the altered gas receipts she’d received from Wright and worked her way backward, advising him of the complaints of harassment from the downtown area. She let him know that Wright had already tried and convicted Jerry Kingley, whom she was positive was innocent.

  “Every lead I get ties back to the captain in some way. I think he’s trying to conduct his own investigation and trying to steer me astray so he can find the killer himself,” Gwen explained. “I believe someone is feeding him information on what the task force is working on. He’s always one step ahead of us and using his influence to stymie the investigation.”

  “This is serious, Gwen. You should have come to me sooner,” Ziegler told her.

  “I know and I apologize. It’s just that every time I speak with Captain Wright he threatens to take me off the case. I feel I can solve these two murders given adequate time, and if we can keep Captain Wright at bay.” Gwen added, “I’d have come to you sooner, but until this morning when I got the falsified receipts, I had no proof.”

  “Who’s working on your team now?” Ziegler asked.

  “There’s CC, uh, Chloe Carpenter, my new partner. Sergeants Brad Wheeler and Scott Richards, and recently the man you sent from Vice, Sergeant Tony Maglia. We’ve got the hotline up and the uniforms you assigned—”

  “Whoa. I didn’t have anyone to send you from Vice yet. I was going to get Frank Matthews to you by the end of the week,” Ziegler remarked. “How did this M
aglia fellow get on board?”

  “I don’t know,” Gwen said, her face reddening. “He must be our leak.”

  “Start meeting with the rest of your team individually or in pairs until I can get this straightened out. And, Gwen, I know I don’t have to tell you not to breathe a word about this to anyone.”

  “Absolutely, Chief. Sorry for the mess we’ve got here. Now that I know who’s working for Wright, I promise you nothing else will get back to him. Thank you.”

  “I’ll be calling you in a day or two. Good work, Detective. Keep it up,” Ziegler said, dismissing her.

  Chapter Fourteen

  When Gwen returned to her office, she canceled the task force meeting for the day and asked everyone to email their progress reports. She knew they’d grumble about the request, since that meant making a formal report on everything they’d accomplished for the day.

  She spent the afternoon following up on the more promising leads from the hotline, tempted every few minutes to call CC. She so wished she could call and vent about everything that had happened, but she had promised Chief Ziegler she wouldn’t tell a soul about their conversation. Besides, although it was likely that Tony Maglia was the mole Wright had planted within her task force, she didn’t have any solid evidence. That meant it could still be anyone.

  The afternoon flew by and at four p.m. Gwen realized she had skipped lunch. She was just grabbing her jacket when CC popped her head in the door.

  “Geez, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you were ignoring us.” She smiled.

  “Oh, hi CC. I just needed some time to clean up some loose ends. We’ve been flying around the city so much all week, I hadn’t had time to catch up here.”

  “Are you on your way out?” CC asked, noticing Gwen’s jacket over her arm.

  “Just for a bite to eat,” Gwen said, smiling.

  “I know the perfect place to relax,” CC said mischievously.

  “Oh?” Gwen laughed.

  “Follow me,” CC ordered.

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