Read Progeny Online

Authors: E. H. Reinhard

Tags: #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Police Procedurals, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Murder, #Serial Killers, #Thrillers

Progeny (18 page)

BOOK: Progeny
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“Just people on call. Should I get someone in?”

I let out a breath and shook my head. “I need to make a call, guys. Give me a minute. I walked back around the front of the gas station and took a seat in my car. Then I dialed Bostok.

He answered after a few rings. “Hello?” His voice was groggy from being woken.

“Cap, it’s Kane. We have a situation here that I need you to make a call on.”

“Situation here? Hold on, let me get out of bed.”

I could hear Bostok’s wife talking in the background.

The captain came back on. “Where are you, and what’s the situation?” he asked.

“Out in Riverview.”

“Riverview?”

“The McDouglas Fuel Stop on 301 and Big Bend. Maria Flores, the juror being monitored by the HSCD, was just taken from her workplace. It looks like it was Angel White who did it.”

“How do you know?”

“I tracked her phone to the gas station that Flores was taken from. We have blood here. Also a cell phone. We don’t know who it belongs to, though. It could be Angel White’s. I lost signal on it while it was here.”

“Shit,” Bostok said. “What do you need?”

“Warrants for Angel White and her home. And a patrol car at her house in Clearwater in case she gets there before we do with the warrant.”

“What exactly do we have on Angel White?”

I thought about it. We had no smoking gun to tie her to anything—nothing concrete. “A bunch of circumstantials. It might be enough to convince a judge. I want a Clearwater cop posted at her house in case she returns, either way.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll call the Clearwater PD. Just run through what we have on her for me so I can write it down.”

“Seen with Carmen Simms on video at her workplace. A possible fingernail that we need to try to match her to. Her cell phone being tracked to this location. Those are the main things, other than the fact that she’s Redding’s daughter.”

“Hmm.” Bostok said. “You put a BOLO out on her already?”

“I did. Wanted for questioning regarding homicides.”

“What about the gas station’s security video? Anything there?”

“We’re waiting on a manager to come in so we can look at it.”

“I’ll get a Clearwater cruiser or two out to her place, but I’m going to wait on waking people up for those warrants until you look at the video footage they have. I’m not sure we have enough right now. A crime on video sure as hell is, though. Do you need someone from forensics out there?”

“I’m not sure what good it will do.”

“I’ll make a call to Rick either way. Call me back after you view their video.”

“Sorry to wake you up, Cap. Thanks.”

“Don’t worry about it. Call me back,” he said.

I hung up and stepped out of the car. I rounded the building and found Selzer, Weaver, and Hirst.

“What are we doing here? Do you have any idea where the woman could have been taken? Anything we can get on?” Hirst asked.

“No clue as to where she may have been taken,” I said. “But we need to get on the gas station’s video here and see what it caught.”

Hirst nodded to Weaver. “Go see what the status is on the manager.”

Weaver headed for the entrance.

“Son of a bitch,” Selzer said. “She was out of my view for a couple minutes, max.”

“There’s nothing that can be done about it now,” I said. “Focus on what we can do. Let’s get the area back here taped off.”

Chapter 29

“Shut up back there!” Angel yelled.

Maria Flores banged her feet against the inside of the car’s quarter panels. She screamed for help from inside of Angel’s trunk.

Angel spoke over her shoulder. “I said shut up, or I’m pulling over and beating you to death.”

Maria went silent.

Angel pulled up to the front of the house she’d rented for Carmen and shut off the motor. She turned and looked into the empty backseat. “I’m going to take you out and into the house. If you make one peep, I’ll kill you in the street.”

Angel didn’t get a response.

“I asked if you understood,” Angel snapped.

“I understand,” Maria said from inside the trunk.

“If you try to run or get away, the same thing. Got it?”

“Yeah.”

“You better.”

Angel pulled the handle for the driver’s door and stepped out. A few people were walking in the street in the distance. She rounded the back of the car and lifted the trunk lid.

Maria stared at her from inside. The trunk light lit her blood-covered face. Maria squinted, dropping tears onto her red McDouglas Fuel Stop polo shirt and deepening the crow’s feet around her eyes.

Angel reached into her pocket, pulled out the scalpel, and held it in her left hand. With her right, Angel grabbed Maria by her blood-soaked black hair.

“Out,” Angel said.

Maria crawled from inside of the trunk with the assistance of Angel pulling her. “What do you want?” Maria asked.

Angel poked the scalpel toward Maria’s midsection. “You must have missed the part where I said I’d kill you in the street if you made a peep.”

Maria said nothing.

Angel turned her and pointed her toward the house. “Walk.”

Maria obeyed and walked toward the front door, nearing the porch steps. Angel walked two feet behind her, holding the scalpel, blade down.

Maria looked back over her shoulder. Then she slowly veered right and made a run for it. At the corner of the house, she came to the fence separating the lots. Maria hopped the small flower garden surrounded by rocks and put a foot up and over the small chain-link fence. She straddled it and tried to swing her other leg over.

Angel caught her in a few strides. The sixty-some-year-old woman never had a chance to outrun someone half her age. Angel took a grapefruit-sized rock from the edge of the flower garden and delivered a blow to the back of Maria’s head before she made it over the fence. Maria’s body went limp and fell to the ground, slumped over in the flower garden.

“Stupid bitch,” Angel said.

Angel looked around—no neighbors in sight. She knelt next to Maria’s body. She put a hand under each of Maria’s armpits and began to lift. The woman’s arms hung against the ground.

Angel felt Maria move quickly, and she saw the rock come at the side of her head. Her vision went black and came back for only a moment a few seconds later. Angel saw blades of grass and, behind them, a blurred outline of Maria running up the street. Angel tried getting to her feet, only to fall back into the grass and into unconsciousness.

Chapter 30

The two sheriffs and I walked into the gas station. A pair of employees stared at us from behind the counter, worry covering their faces.

“The deputy that came in a minute ago?” I asked.

One of the girls spoke up. “He’s with Jim, the swing manager, in the office. They just went back.” She pointed.

She led me down the short hall, past the restroom, to an open door leading into the stockroom. We funneled in. An office took up the back corner. Through a window, I could see Weaver inside with a man. We entered through the door.

“He’s getting it pulled up now,” Weaver said.

“Do you guys have video in the back area as well?” I asked.

The man seated at the desk nodded. “Camera on the back door—that’s what we need, right?”

“That, and anything that covers farther off the back of the building,” I said.

“Well, we have another camera that gets us a view from the far corner of our lot. Here, look.” He tilted the monitor so we could all see. “Will that work?”

“Looks like it,” I said.

The screen was split in two. The right side showed a close-up of the back door from above, the left, a wide angle covering the entire back of the building and a good portion of the strip mall’s parking lot behind it.

“Can we get these back to the time in question?” I asked.

“Yeah, I’ll just rewind the back-door cam until we see Maria.”

“Do you know if she had her gun?” I asked.

The deputies looked at me, confused.

“She has a concealed-carry permit. She told me when I spoke with her earlier in the day,” I said.

The manager shook his head. “We don’t allow it at work, here. I knew she carried outside of work but never brought it in.”

I nodded.

We watched the footage roll in reverse at eight-times speed. Five or six minutes passed before we got to what looked like a scuffle on the screen.

“Play it,” I said.

He did.

The three deputies, the manager, and I watched.

Something caught my eye immediately. I tapped the screen on the left. A silver sedan sat parked at the edge of the frame. “What’s that plate say?” I asked.

“It looks like nine one eight
Z U K
,” Hirst said.

“That’s our BOLO car,” I said. I couldn’t tell if anyone was inside.

My eyes went back to the other half of the monitor when I caught movement. The back door of the gas station opened and a woman stepped out. The door closed at her back.

“That’s Maria,” the manager said.

I glanced to the other side of the screen, and at the car, the driver’s door opened. A woman exited the car, walked toward Maria, and appeared to say something.

My eyes went to the other screen. Maria lit a cigarette and looked up. She appeared to reply to the woman approaching.

I looked at the other screen, showing the woman, presumably Angel, walking toward the back door of the gas station. She was carrying a cell phone in her hand.

“That could be the phone we found,” Hirst said.

I watched the woman continue to advance on Maria at the back door. She stopped beside her. The two appeared to talk before Maria took the phone from the woman. I looked at the woman’s straight, dark hair. The height and weight appeared the same as what I’d read on Angel’s sheet. I went back to watching the two talk on the screen.

“Awww!” Hirst shouted as the woman delivered a forceful elbow to the right side of Maria’s face.

“Damn,” Weaver said.

Maria Flores stumbled backward, only to be kicked in the chest a split second later. She fell backward over the curb into the gas station’s back wall. She seemed to reach over toward the back door’s handle, but the other woman rushed her. Maria was grabbed by the hair, her face slammed into the cinder-block wall. She didn’t move afterward. We watched as the attacker pulled Maria’s body across the back lot to the car. The woman heaved Maria in the trunk of her car, got in the driver’s seat, and started to pull away. Then the car stopped. The woman driving got out and came back toward the back door. She stopped and looked left to right. We saw her face clearly on screen. Her eyes were dark with eyeshadow, the same as Angel White’s driver’s license photo. She walked a few steps, knelt, and picked something up. She turned and headed back for her car.

“I think that was the phone,” I said.

Hirst grunted in confirmation.

The woman appeared to toss it right before she got in her car and pulled away.

“Rewind it to the point where that woman’s face is on the screen again,” I said.

The manager did as I instructed, clicking the button.

“There. That’s it. Pause it,” I said.

The woman who was assumed to be Angel White was perfectly centered on the screen.

“Can you print that?”

“Yeah, one second.” He clicked a few keys on his computer. “Should have it in a second,” he said.

The printer came to life and dragged in a sheet of paper. Seconds later, it kicked out a copy of the woman in the video. The manager pulled it from the tray and handed it to me.

“One of you guys want to pull up Angel White’s DL in your car?” I asked. “I’m about ninety-nine point nine percent that is her, but I want to look at this photo and her DL side by side. I need to confirm this is her.”

“Sure,” Hirst said.

He walked from the office, and I followed him outside to his car. He took a seat inside. I waited outside the car at his driver’s door.

Hirst looked out the window at me. “Just like it sounds? Angel White?”

“Correct. Clearwater address.”

He plugged it into his system and tilted the screen a little more toward the driver’s side so I could see. I looked at the printed image from the video and then at his screen. “Looks like a match to me,” I said.

He took the sheet to confirm. “Yeah, that’s her.”

“Thanks, Hirst. Go see if he can make a copy of that video somehow. I need to make a call.”

“Will do.”

I walked around the front of his cruiser and took a seat in my car as Hirst walked back inside. I dialed Bostok.

“Yeah?” he answered.

“I have Angel White, on video, attacking Maria Flores, our juror.”

“Positive it’s her?”

“As much as I can be. We also have her vehicle here on video as well. Maria Flores was beaten unconscious, dragged back to the car, and placed in the trunk.”

“On video?” Bostok asked.

“Correct.”

“Let me make a couple calls for your warrants. I’ll get a hold of Clearwater PD and let them know we’ll be serving it on the house.”

“Did they send a car there?”

“They sent two. Rick should be out there any minute. Timmons is sending two of our patrol guys as well. Are you staying out there, or what are you doing?”

“She’s not here and has no reason to be back here. My main priority is finding her. The best place I can think of to look for leads is at her house. Looks like I’ll be heading back to Clearwater shortly. Honestly, I’m not sure there is a reason for Rick or our patrol guys to come out here.”

“Well, we need a presence there either way. Maybe Rick can come up with something.”

“Okay. Well, I need to know where I have to go or what I have to do to get those warrants.”

“I’ll take care of it. I’ll meet you at the station in, like, forty-five minutes.”

“I can take care of it. You don’t need to come back in,” I said.

“Yeah, I do. So does everyone. You can’t work alone all night. Just meet me at the station.”

“Okay, Cap.”

He hung up.

A maroon sedan pulled up beside me as I got out of my car. I glanced over and saw Rick in the driver’s seat.

He stepped out of his car and stretched. Then he stared at me. “Have you been working this entire time?” he asked.

BOOK: Progeny
12.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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