Jannie Balliett

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Leave a Whisper Bookcover

Leave a Whisper

Chapter Twenty-One - Scratch Suspect # 1

Meadows sat at his desk, coffee mug in one hand, a file folder in the other. He glanced up and looked through the windows surrounding the door. Toni was heading toward his office weaving her way through the hustle in the squad room. He got up to open the door and greet her.

"Hi, Brad. How did the interrogation go?" she asked, entering his office.

"'Morning, Toni. Want a cup of coffee before I bring you up to date?"

"That depends. How long have you been here this morning?" she asked.

"What difference does that make?"

"A lot. I'll take a cup if you've only been here an hour, any longer and I'll pass. And that's pushing it-- considering the questionable taste of your coffee," she answered, sitting down in her usual chair.

Meadows poured her a cup and hoped she couldn't judge by it's rankness that he'd been in since 5:30am. "Here you go," he told her, handing her a mug. "Peters has the opportunity to be our guy, but I have a gut feeling he isn't."

"Why? How did you surmise that in one interview?" she asked.

"Well, in my years of doing this, you can get a pretty good feel for the bad guy, and Peters isn't. He's just a dumb, womanizer-jerk with a temper. But he's not a sadist killer," he answered.

"Isn't that enough? I know he hasn't been convicted of murder, but he has enough rapes to qualify-- and killers begin somewhere. Maybe he escalated into murder-- you know, the rape didn't do it for him any more and murder did," Toni said.

"That would normally make since, Toni, but Peters has been out six months and these murders started a couple months ago. I think if it was him, he'd headed straight for a woman fresh out of prison and the first victim would've been dated, reflecting that time frame."

"Brad, that's plausible, but it's also plausible that he got smarter in prison and maybe didn't kill his first encounter. Maybe he selected prostitutes for a start, and we know they won't report a rape. Maybe his next step was our first victim and he liked it and kept on."

"Okay, okay" Meadows answered, taking a sip of coffee, then hit the intercom button. "John-- will you come in for a moment, please?"

"What are you going to do?" Toni asked.

"I'm going to rule out this theory-- or prove it one way or the other."

John politely knocked on the door's glass pane and walked in. "Yes sir, what can I do for you?"

"John, I need you to set aside whatever you're working on and get me the unsolved death-related cases of known prostitutes. Just in the last six months, though," Meadows told him.

"That could take a few hours Detective, but I'll jump right on it," John replied, leaving the office.

Meadows looked at Toni. "Okay, are you happy now? We'll get that list, check the dates to Peters and see if there's a correlation. But I'm not stopping there. I'm still not convinced he is the guy. I haven't seen anyone change that drastically and Peters just doesn't fit. But, you're right about one thing, we should follow that avenue in case he's that one exception and did escalate to murder."

.....continued as written.....

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