Thank God for Irish Women Ch. 10bymemorable_event©
As I have said for the other chapters, please do not read this one until you have read the others in order. Enjoy!
Friday, May 28, 2010
The drive from Reno, Nevada, to San Francisco was quiet. Emily didn't have much to say. I tried to start conversations only to have her try to stop them. I could tell she was really concerned about returning to the apartment. A couple of times, when I glanced at her, I saw tears running down her cheeks.
She finally said, "Matt, I'm not sure I'm ready to go back. There are just too many memories."
"Emily, can we at least try it? We don't have to stay there if you don't want to."
She didn't answer.
She remembered to call Jodi to check on her mom. Everything was going great. Her mom was home, recovering well and was trying to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
We arrived at the apartment a little after noon. Emily showed me her silver 2004 Honda Civic parked outside. Her stepdad gave it to her in 2006 when she turned 16. It was nice and clean with very few door dings. She started it up and the engine sounded fine. She had obviously taken care of it and the inside was spotless.
When we opened the apartment door, we were pleasantly surprised that, on first glance, everything seemed to be in order. Emily did a quick walk around and found a few things out of place and some drawers left slightly open but, otherwise, the police had left it OK.
As I expected, seeing Patrick's belongings hit Emily hard. But she looked scared, which is not what I expected. She sat and cried for many long minutes. All I could do was hold her.
"I'm sorry Matt. I promised myself that I'd be strong and not do this. I can't help it. I'm sorry. He's here. I can feel him."
"This is perfectly natural and I completely understand. You have a lot of great memories in this apartment and he's still here in those memories. As long as we're here, it'll be tough on you, I'm afraid."
"I know you talked about getting a place as soon as you can. Could we please go ahead and do that so we can leave here? I don't even want to sleep here now. I just sense that he's here, Matt. Please."
"Tell you what. My company will pay for 60 days of temporary living. Why don't we take what you need from here and move into a hotel for a few weeks? We can immediately search for a place and move there as soon as possible. I have all my furniture in storage somewhere around here and we could move into another apartment for a few months if we need to."
"Can we leave now?" She was shaking.
"Of course. Is there anything you need?
"Let me take the rest of mom's jewelry and some of my clothes."
While she gathered her belongings, I used my iPhone to find a nice hotel in the area. I decided to book us into the Staybridge Suites in Sunnyvale. It had the highest rating from travelers of anything in the area. I reserved us for seven nights, which would be enough time to figure out a plan of attack.
Emily and I put the clothes and other belongings in her Civic. When we opened the trunk, there was a box that didn't belong to her.
"What's this doing here?" she asked.
It was a brown cardboard box about 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide. The flaps were taped.
"You've not seen it before."
"Does anyone else have a key to the car?
"Patrick did. But that's it."
"Where's that key?"
She reached in her pocket and pulled it out. "It was in the apartment, on the kitchen counter, which surprised me. He normally kept it on his dresser."
"Who else has a key to your apartment?"
"Only the landlord, as far as I know."
"Do you think Patrick put the box here before you left?"
"I remember that he borrowed the car the day before we left and went to meet a friend. Patrick's car was being serviced at the dealership. He told me that his buddy was having some guys over to watch a ballgame."
I asked, "Should we open it?"
I used my pocketknife to cut the tape. Emily opened the flaps. The contents totally shocked up. It was money-currency to be exact-thousands and thousands of dollars. It was in bundles, each held together by rubber bands. Emily and I just stared at it and then at each other.
"This is drug money, Emily."
"How do you know?"
"Just a guess. What else could it be from?"
"Patrick must have picked it up the afternoon before we left."
"Why would he leave it in your car?"
"I've no idea."
"Have you seen a box like this before?"
"Do you think the car was a drop point for someone?"
"That would mean others have a key to my car. Oh shit!" Now she was angry.
"What should we do?" she asked.
"Well, let's think. If we call the police and tell them where we found it, they could seize your car. If we put it in the apartment, they will know we put it there."
"We're fucked!" Emily exclaimed.
"Not necessarily. If it's a drop point, then maybe someone just put it here recently and someone else is coming to get it."
"You mean that Patrick didn't do it?"
"If he didn't put it here, he probably knew who did."
"And we just happened to have found it before someone picked it up."
"That could be right. If so, we need to move the car right now. We don't want them to find it until we can figure out what to do. Can you follow me over to the hotel?"
We arrived at the Staybridge in about 20 minutes. Traffic was terrible. After we checked in and went to our room, which was beautiful by the way, we returned to the car and talked while unloading our luggage.
"On the way over, I had an idea," said Emily.
"Why don't we drop the money off in a Salvation Army drop box. We just passed one on the way over here."
"That's a great idea! Where was it?"
"It's in a shopping center parking lot."
"I'll bet there are security cameras watching the parking lot which means that we'll need to protect our identity."
"Do you want me to take it tonight?"
"No. Let me do it. If the police catch me somehow, I won't lose my trust fund. If you're caught and they can convince a jury to convict you of something, then you'll lose yours."
"I didn't think of that. Holy crap, Matt, why did Patrick get involved in this?"
"We'll never know the answer to that question, I suppose."
She asked, "Do you think he left it for Bobby Taylor to pick up?"
"When was he arrested?"
"Patrick heard about the arrest four days after we left. I'm not sure when it actually happened."
"If he was arrested a day or so after you left, then maybe Patrick left it for him."
"Matt, I'm sorry you got pulled into this. I had no idea what was going on right under my nose. I am so ashamed of him now."
"You had nothing to do with it, sweetheart."
"Let's just get rid of it. Should we also sell my car or trade it in. If it's a drop car and other keys are out there, I can't keep it."
"Let's trade it in. Do you have the title in your name?"
"Oh shit! No, it's in my stepdad's name. He has it."
"We'll have to get it from him."
"NO! I don't ever want to see him again."
"Then we can take it over to his house and drop it off tonight. Just leave him a note and say you're returning it. I'll buy you another one tomorrow."
"Matt, I have an idea. Why don't we take most of the money out and give it to one of the charities, anonymously. We can send it to them in a priority-mailing box with no return address. Then we call the police and report we found what's left of the money in my car. If they confiscate the car, fine. My asshole stepfather will be the loser, not me."
"Not really, I'm the one who has to buy you a new car. Your stepdad is already out that money."
"Yeah, you're right. But he could sell it."
"A 2004 Civic isn't worth much."
"So am I worth a new car?" She grinned.
"Give me a break, Emily. I'll buy you whatever car you want." She really smiled at that. I could almost see the gears turning in her head.
"So we can call the police and tell them what we found?"
"Of course. That way they'll know you're clean. You're just doing your civic duty to report it. But we really don't know if it's drug money or not, do we?"
"No, we don't. Why don't we take the box to our room for safekeeping? This is a lot of money to just leave in the car."
We moved all of the luggage and the box to our room. After we unpacked, Emily again called Sergeant Williams at the Stanford Campus Police Department.
"Sergeant Williams speaking."
"Hi sir. This is Emily Jameson. I talked to you a few days ago about a drug case you were investigating."
"Oh, yes, of course. Can you hold a second?"
I started my voice recording app on iPhone to capture the same conversation he was going to record, just in case.
"OK, I'm back. What can I do for you Emily?"
"Sir, I returned to my apartment a few minutes ago and have found something very unexpected in the trunk of my car. I left it parked here while I was gone. There is a box that doesn't belong to me. I have no idea where it came from but I thought I should let you know."
"OH! Thanks for doing that. We've turned this case over to the DEA and they have the FBI involved as well. I'll let them know to contact you. Just leave it where you found it."
Emily replied, "Please have them call soon."
"I will, thanks again."
We relaxed in our room and watched TV until the phone rang late in the afternoon. Emily answered and turned on the speaker so I could record the call.
"Good afternoon. This is Agent Daniel Norris with the FBI. May I speak with Miss Emily Jameson please?"
"Good afternoon, sir. This is Emily."
"Hello Miss Jameson. I understand that you have found something that you think might be connected to an investigation we have underway. Is that correct?"
"Yes sir. We found a box in the back of my car when I returned home today. I don't know where it came from."
"Do you know what's in the box?"
"Yes, a bunch of money."
"May I and my associate come to see you?"
"Of course. I am at the Staybridge Suites in Sunnyvale."
"Where's the car?
"My car is here, of course."
"Would it be possible for us to come first thing tomorrow morning? We have another investigation tying us up this afternoon and evening."
"Sure. About 8:00am or so?"
"Between 8:00 and 9:00am. We'll call you when we arrive or if anything changes."
"That'll be fine."
"Good, we'll see you then."
We ate an early dinner at a nearby Applebee's Restaurant and found a post office that had priority mail boxes in their after-hours lobby. I took two large ones and drove back to the hotel. We found the address of a local Salvation Army office and prepared the boxes for mailing. Emily placed them in the closet. They were totally stuffed but nine bundles of cash remained.
It had been a tough day for Emily. We cuddled in bed that night and fell asleep thinking about the next day and the FBI. We could not understand why they would be involved. It was just a simple marijuana case, or so we thought.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Emily woke me at 6:15am as she came back to bed. She was cold and I jumped when her body touched mine.
"Jeez, girl, where have you been?
"I was outside."
"Outside the hotel?"
"Yeah. I changed my mind this morning. I took the money out of the priority mailing boxes and put it back in the cardboard box. I put the box back in the car."
I lay there and thought for a moment. "What changed your mind?" I asked.
"I dreamed last night that there was something evil about that money. The dream was not specific, only that the money was bad and I needed to put it back.
"The dream woke me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized we couldn't give away what's not ours and be happy doing it. I had to put that money back and turn it over to the police. One day, I'll donate my own money, not someone else's."
"I think that's wise, Emily. That money may not even make it to the evidence locker before the officers pocket it. But that's not our worry. What they do with it will be on their heads, not ours. As I think about it, we would be doing the same thing we're thinking they'll do, only we would be sending it to a worthwhile cause."
"That's right." She cuddled into me and we snuggled until the alarm went off.
At 7:30, we were dressed for the day and went down to the lobby restaurant for breakfast. As we lingered over our third cup of coffee, Emily's phone rang.
"That's fine. We're in the lobby restaurant.
"Sure, come on in."
She hung up and said the FBI agents were in the lobby and were coming to our table. They arrived in just a moment. It was obvious whom they were when they walked in. Agent Norris was a very normal looking white man in a business suit. His associate was a very attractive black female named Agent Sheila Jackson who was wearing a dark grey pants suit. I raised my hand to indicate where we were sitting.
They introduced themselves and showed us their identification. We asked them to sit and have coffee with us. They did sit but declined our coffee offer. We visited, just getting to know each other for a few minutes. They were well practiced at making people feel comfortable while talking to them. I think they were studying our faces and establishing a baseline for comparison to our expressions if we were lying.
Agent Jackson finally asked, "Mr. Anderson, we were only aware of Miss Jameson planning to meet with us. What's your role?"
"We're engaged to be married," I replied. They looked at each other.
"Oh! That's a surprise. Miss Jameson, we understood that Patrick Jones was your live-in boyfriend," said Agent Norris.
"One of your friends indicated that you and he were planning to be married," Agent Norris said.
"We were not engaged. We'd talked about it but marriage was a long way off."
The two agents looked confused but did not continue that line of questioning.
Agent Jackson asked, "So you and Mr. Anderson returned to the apartment yesterday?"
I replied, "It was my first time at the apartment but we came together yesterday."
"Where were you?" Agent Jackson asked.
Emily replied, "We were finishing a drive from Atlanta to here. We stopped to visit Matt's parents in Iowa for a few days."
"Patrick was a homicide victim in Atlanta on May 4th. Is that correct?" asked Agent Jackson.
Emily replied, "Yes. I'm not sure if he was killed on the 4th. But he was kidnapped and the car stolen while we were at a gas station the evening of May 4th. He was found dead the next morning. He was murdered by one of the men who stole the car and then robbed a bank."
"Did you know that he was involved in a marijuana growing and distribution network on the Stanford campus?" asked Agent Norris.
"I learned that on May 3rd, while we were driving to Atlanta."
"How did you learn about it?" asked Agent Norris.
"He told me."
Agent Jackson replied, "So he just told you about it for the first time while you were driving along?"
"He received a text message that Bobby Taylor had been arrested. He then told me he had a confession to make. He told me about his partnership with Bobby and that he was providing funds to him."
"What was your reaction?" Agent Norris asked.
"I wanted to kill him. We had a big fight and he hit me in the mouth with his fist." The agents glanced at each other.
"Then what happened?" asked Agent Jackson.
"We didn't talk the rest of the day. We had another major argument that evening at the hotel. I couldn't believe how stupid he was to be involved in something like that. I asked him to turn himself in and maybe it would go easier on him. He refused and said that he could get out of it with his dad's help."
"What did he mean by that?" asked Agent Jackson.
"I've no idea."
"Did he get the money he was using from his father?" asked Agent Jackson.
"I've no idea where the money came from."
"Was Patrick working somewhere as well as going to school?" asked Agent Norris.
"No. I was the only one working."
Agent Norris asked, "Did you maintain separate bank accounts." I sensed that Emily was getting upset.
"You know the answer to that is 'yes,' don't you?" Emily sharply replied.
"Tell us anyway," Agent Jackson said.
"Yes, we did keep separate bank accounts." Emily glared at her.
"Miss Jameson. There's no reason to be angry. We're just trying to understand who's involved," said Agent Norris.
Emily replied, "You and the campus police keep asking the same questions. Do you think your going to catch me in a lie somehow? If so, that's not going to happen. I'm telling the truth."
"We're just trying to get to the facts," said Agent Jackson. "Tell us about the box you found yesterday."
"When we returned to the apartment, I was very upset and Matt suggested we not stay there. We decided to get a room here. I was moving clothes and a few things I needed and when I opened the trunk, I saw the box."
Agent Jackson asked, "And you have no idea who put it there?"
Emily replied, "NO!" I looked at her. She was frustrated.
"Who has a key to the car?" asked Agent Jackson.
"Patrick and I are the only ones I know of."
"You think Patrick put the money there?" asked Agent Jackson.
"I've no idea. The only thing I know for a fact is that I didn't do it."
"Can you show it to us?" asked Agent Norris.
"Sure." I paid our bill and we walked to the lobby door with the two agents.
Agent Jackson turned to me and said, "It's not necessary for you to come with us."
I replied, "I want to hear exactly what the two of you say to Emily. She is in a very fragile state of mind since yesterday and I don't trust you two alone with her."
Agent Jackson said, "Mr. Anderson, you cannot interfere with our investigation." Emily looked scared.
"You're right. But we can stop right now and you can then talk to Emily's attorney that I will retain for her." Emily finally looked relieved.
Agent Jackson glared at me and then silently held the door open. We walked to Emily's car and she opened the trunk. The agents looked at the box. I noticed a look of surprised on Agent Jackson's face. Maybe she was surprised by its size.
"Was the box open when you found it?" asked Agent Norris.
I replied, "No. I cut it open."
"Did you remove any of the money?" asked Agent Jackson.
I replied, "I did. We took it inside and locked it in the room overnight."
"So your fingerprints will be on the box," stated Agent Norris.
"Yes. And so will Emily's."
Agent Jackson asked, "Didn't the campus police tell you not to move it?"
I replied, "Yes, after we moved it."
Agent Norris stated, "We'll have to take this into custody, of course."
I responded, "Fine. Please give Emily a receipt for the amount in the box."
"We don't know how much is in there," replied Agent Norris.
I responded, "I think you do but we'll take it up to the room and count it to be sure."
Agent Norris looked offended. "What do you mean? We don't know how much is in that box."
I bluffed, "I realized you did after the first few questions you asked Emily."
"What?" asked Agent Jackson.
"Any detective or policeman would have asked to see the car and money before anything else was asked. You didn't. I think you already knew how much was there and where she found it and you were trying to trap Emily into revealing she was a party to Patrick's crime." I was just guessing, of course. Emily had a surprised look with her mouth slightly open.
"That's ridiculous!" exclaimed Agent Norris.
"I don't think so. But let's go count it and then you can give Emily a receipt and take your money into custody. If it's not claimed in 12 months, I believe it belongs to Emily."