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Authors: Brenda Chapman

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BOOK: Butterfly Kills
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Chapter Two

soon as he got into work Saturday morning, Jacques Rouleau dialled the long-distance number that Whelan, his former colleague on the Ottawa force, had forwarded to him the month before. It was the sixth time he’d tried in as many weeks. He’d resorted to calling at odd hours since nobody had returned his messages, even though he left his cellphone, home, and work numbers. He shifted the phone to his other hand. On the fourth ring, somebody picked up.

“Is this Shannon MacDonald? Yes? My name is Staff Sergeant Jacques Rouleau. I’ve left a few messages trying to track down Kala Stonechild.”

“Kala’s not here. Sorry I never called you back, but I had nothing to tell you.”

“She hasn’t been in touch?”

“No.” He heard a deep intake of her breath. “Kala came back to Red Rock and got her dog after she left Ottawa and disappeared into the bush. I haven’t heard from her since. It’s been four months, give or take.”

“I’m trying to hold the job in the Criminal Investigations Division in Kingston open for her, but I was handed a stack of resumes last week. I have to come up with a name by the end of the month.”

“I don’t know what to tell you. Probably go ahead and fill it with someone else.”

“That might be my only option.”

He sensed she wasn’t telling him everything. He waited. The silence lengthened to the edge of social politeness. When she finally resumed talking, her voice was less certain, worried. “Kala wasn’t in a very good frame of mind last time I saw her. I’ve sent her several messages on her phone, but she hasn’t responded to any of them. She’s never been out of touch this long before.”

“She left Ottawa without much notice. Did something happen to upset her on the job?”

“It was a family matter. She didn’t talk about it much.”

Rouleau remembered Kala’s dark, haunted eyes, her closed-off expression the last time he’d seen her. For some reason he couldn’t name, he knew she needed his help. After only a few months of working together in Ottawa, he felt this irrational responsibility for her. “I’ll put off filling the position as long as I can. Let’s hope she gets in touch this week.”

“There’s no saying she’ll even want to work in Kingston with you.”

“I know, but something tells me she might.”

“You don’t really know much about her, do you, Detective?”

She was right, he didn’t. It was his turn to hesitate. “I know she’s a good cop and maybe could use a break,” he said at last.

“Kala’s not one who likes to owe anybody or have any favours done. She never gets attached. I wouldn’t hold my breath about her taking that job. I’ll let her know though, next time I hear from her.”

“I’d appreciate it.” He heard the clunk of the receiver and then the dial tone humming in his ear.

He walked away from his desk and stood in front of his office window on the second floor of the Kingston police detachment, thinking about the enigma that was Kala Stonechild. He couldn’t shake the worried feeling he got every time he thought of her. She’d seemed desperate, more alone than anyone he’d ever known. He’d scoured her personnel file for clues and knew she’d been in foster care as a kid, from the age of three. She’d all but disappeared after leaving high school until she turned twenty-two. He wondered what she’d done in those five years before she started college.

The view from his office window was Division Street and a farmer’s field beyond. He studied the limestone farmhouse with the purple door and the John Deere tractor parked in front of the well-maintained barn. The farm, now subdivided into treed lots with houses set back from the road, had seen more prosperous days. The owners at some point had sold off most of the property, likely staving off foreclosure. Still, he had to admire the current landlord for stubbornly clinging on to a dying way of life.

There was a knock at the door and Rouleau turned. Paul Gundersund’s lanky six-foot-two-inch frame filled the doorway. He crossed to Rouleau’s desk and set two mugs on the only clear surface between two stacks of folders. As he stepped back, he pushed blond hair out of his eyes. A muscle jumped where a scar marked his left cheek.

“We’ve got a call. Your line was busy so they put it through to me. A woman named Della Munroe says her husband raped her last night.”

“Where is she now?”

“Hospital with a counsellor. The beat cop took her statement and we’re to follow up.”

“Is she pressing charges?”

“Not sure. They’ve sent someone to pick up the husband, Brian.”

“Spousal rape is a bugger to prosecute.”

“Yeah. He hurt her though, so we might get lucky.”

Rouleau picked up his coffee and started toward the door. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his set of car keys, tossing them to Gundersund.

“You can drive.”

Rouleau and Gundersund sat across from Della Munroe in one of the small waiting rooms. They’d been given the go-ahead from the doctor to question Della about the rape. She’d decided to press charges.

Della’s eyes were luminous blue, red-rimmed from crying, still glistening with tears. She was taller than Rouleau had first thought, nearly matching his five-foot-ten when she stood to shake hands with him, but slender, with long, black hair and a heart-shaped face. She wore a green hospital gown and incongruously pink flip-flops with diamond sequins. Rouleau took a seat across from her. Gundersund remained standing near the door.

“Where’s your husband now, Mrs. Munroe?” he asked.

“Brian’s at his bakery. It’s the Sunshine Bakery on Brock Street, a few blocks from the university campus. I want to apply for a restraining order this morning.”

“We can get that started.”

Della pressed a tissue to her right eye and inhaled a shuddering breath. “I knew it wasn’t good between Brian and me for a long time, but this…. I never thought he’d do something like this. We should never have gotten married.”

“Your husband was abusive before?”

Her head barely inclined in response, her eyes avoiding his. “He was … obsessive about me. He insisted we move here and now I think it was so that I was away from my family and friends … that he wanted me isolated. I was just so stupid. But I made one friend, at least for a while. Celia Paules. She lives next door.” Della raised her eyes. “He made me stop visiting her last month. I’ve been
an idiot to let him do this to me.”

Rouleau nodded in Gundersund’s direction for him to jot down the information.

Della bit her lip. “I just want my marriage to be over with and I want to go back to Toronto. I should never have left. Never.” She’d begun rocking gently back and forth on the couch, her hands folded across her chest and wrapped around her elbows.

“You have a four-year-old son,” Rouleau looked at his notes. “Tommy.”

Della’s eyes snapped onto his. “Tommy is coming with me. I won’t let Brian near him after this.” Her voice had risen to just shy of hysterical. “They’ve kept him in the playroom down the hall.” She started to get up from her chair. “I should go see him.”

Rouleau raised a hand. “He’s fine, Mrs. Munroe. We’ve got someone watching. You’ll both be protected.”

Her body eased back into the chair. Her shoulders hunched in like an old woman’s and she resumed rocking back and forth.

Rouleau gave her a moment, then asked, “Has he ever hurt Tommy that you know of?”

“Brian … he’s been working long hours. Sometimes his patience wears thin. Tommy’s active and, well, I suppose Brian has lifted a hand from time to time. I tried to prevent it by putting Tommy to bed before Brian came home or taking him to the park. Brian shouldn’t be around kids when he’s tired … or drinking.”

“Last night you said that he’d been drinking, that you’d both been drinking.”

“Yes. I made a nice dinner — lamb and potatoes, his favourites — and we shared a bottle of red wine. I had a glass and he had the rest. I thought he needed to unwind and I was prepared to have, you know, sex, until he got angry with me. He said I was dressing too provocatively when I went to class. We started arguing and he grabbed me. I told him that I wanted him to leave me the hell alone.”

“Take your time.”

“He … he pushed me into the bedroom and ripped off my shirt. I struggled but he held me down. I kept telling him to stop.” Her voice broke. “He was rougher than he’s ever been. He pulled off my pants and raped me.” Tears started rolling down her cheeks. She whispered, “He hurt me. I have bruises all down the inside of my thighs. It hurts to go to the bathroom.”

Rouleau paused for a moment to give her time. “In your original statement you said that you took a shower when he left, is this correct?”

“Yes. I felt so dirty. He made me feel like a slut. I curled up on the bed and must have fallen asleep. This morning, I just … I couldn’t let him get away with it. I was scared to leave Tommy alone so I drove us both here. I need this to stop.”

Rouleau looked at Gundersund. “I think we have enough for now. The doctor was able to get a specimen of Brian’s semen. Can you follow up on that lab report?”

“Certainly.” Gundersund packed up his notepad and went in search of the doctor.

Rouleau leaned forward. “Try to get some rest, Mrs. Munroe. Other officers are picking up your husband now. We’re heading back to the station when we leave here to question him.”

“Then, you’ll be keeping him in jail?”

“It all depends on the judge and bail. With the restraining order, he won’t be coming near you or he’ll be arrested.”

She nodded. Her eyes and mouth relaxed for the first time. “I’m going to start making arrangements to leave Kingston. Would that be alright?”

“Yes, as long as we can reach you and you’re still in Ontario. You cannot take Tommy out of the province until custody is settled. Do you know the address where you’ll be staying?”

“I’ll phone it in when I’ve confirmed. My family and I’ve been estranged since I married Brian. They never liked him. I lost my mother a few years ago but my dad … well, I’m hoping enough time has gone by.”

“We’ll be in touch soon, Mrs. Munroe.” He handed her a card with his name and phone number. “If you need us at any time, call my cell number. Call 911 if you’re in danger, although we’ll do our best to make sure that your husband doesn’t contact you.”

“I wish this had never happened. I wish I’d never defied my parents to marry him.” She lowered her face into her hands and began to sob.

Rouleau and Gundersund entered the interview room where Brian Munroe had spent the better part of two hours. His hands covered his face and he didn’t stir from this position even when Rouleau greeted his lawyer, Suzie Chen. Rouleau had met Suzie once before on a youth justice case. Her reputation was that of a legal pit bull who tenaciously defended the down and out. She sat next to Munroe, expensively decked out in a navy power suit over a grey silk shirt buttoned to her neck. Munroe hadn’t dressed to impress anyone, wearing ripped jeans, a stained sweatshirt, and unlaced black runners.

“Detectives.” Suzie nodded and put one hand on Munroe’s forearm. She could have been a child, so petite next to the massive bulk of Brian Munroe.

Munroe finally lifted his shaved head and stared at Rouleau with baleful black eyes. He was a black man, the skin taut over high cheekbones and broad forehead. The corded veins in his neck bulged as he pressed his hands on the table and started to push himself to his feet. Rouleau thought that even with Della Munroe’s height and size, she would have been no match for her husband’s brute strength.

“It’s okay,” Suzie said, and Munroe lowered himself back into the chair. She looked at Rouleau. “Brian’s instinct is to stand and shake hands, even with cops. He’ll get over it.”

Rouleau spoke into the tape recorder, giving the time and the names of everyone present in the room. He confirmed that Munroe knew and understood his rights. When he finished, Suzie raised her hand.

“We have a statement, if I may.”

“Go ahead,” Rouleau said.

“Brian Munroe denies all of the allegations put forth by his wife Della Munroe. He did not lay a hand on her, nor did he rape her.”

Rouleau observed Munroe while she spoke. He was shaking his head and mumbling under his breath.

“Is that right, Brian?” Rouleau asked.

Monroe lifted his eyes to Rouleau. “Damn straight. The bitch is lying.”

“Do you deny having sex with Della last night?”

“We had sex yesterday morning. Consensual sex. I should have known she was plotting something.”

“Why would she do that?”

“Because I told her the day before that we should separate. She said this would be the last time, you know, for old times’ sake.” He hit himself on the forehead. “What was I thinking? Our entire marriage has been her playing me and me falling for it.”

Suzie touched the back of his hand lying on the table. “I think we’ve said all we’re going to say at this juncture.”

“Did you spend last night at home with your wife, Brian?” Rouleau asked.

“I slept in the basement and left at close to four a.m. to start work at the bakery. I have no idea what she was up to all day yesterday.”

“Have you ever hit your wife?”

Munroe shifted and his eyes dropped to the table. His neck drooped so that his chin almost touched his chest. “Once. Once I grabbed her and pushed her off me. My fingers left marks on her arm, but that was it. I never lifted a hand to her otherwise.”

“What about Tommy? Have you ever hit your son?”

Munroe started to stand. “Damn that bitch all to hell.” He pressed his hands on the table and the muscles in his neck and arms rippled dangerously. “Is that what she’s saying? I never touched my son.”

“We’re done here.” Suzie reached over and put her hand on his wrist. She swung her briefcase from the floor to the table, then stood and looked down at Rouleau. “Unless you plan to charge him.”

“The Crown is laying sexual assault and battery charges. He’ll be detained until his bail hearing this afternoon or tomorrow morning.”

“I serve notice that I’ll be fighting Della Munroe’s absurd allegations every step of the way. This won’t be the open-and-shut case you think it is.”

BOOK: Butterfly Kills
6.91Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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