A Circumstantial Casebyjake60©
"Here are several good recent photos, detective. Take your pick." She had returned to her seat on the sofa, and the detective sat beside her as she opened the album. The last page in the book contained several very good photos for his purposes, with perhaps the best one including Mark's wife standing to his right, while a tall, well-built, sandy haired man stood close by to his left.
"This one would be good," said the detective as he indicated the group photograph. "We can crop out you and this other fellow." A couple of seconds later the detective selected another photo, a very good head and shoulders shot of Mark Evans. "These two photos will be more than sufficient for our needs."
When Lisa had removed the two photos from the book and handed them to the detective, he took another look at them and asked, "Would the fellow in this photo with you and your husband be a relative of his? If he has a sibling or parent available for providing a DNA sample, it might be helpful if they can't get anything usable from the razor or toothbrush."
Lisa quickly replied, "No, that's Blake Moore. He's my husband's best friend, since grade school. My husband doesn't have any relatives who live near here."
After thanking her for the photos, Detective Nesbitt went out to join the others in the garage. He left Lisa sitting at her kitchen table looking forlorn and on the verge of tears. He was beginning to think that he felt sorry for the woman, and the position she was now in. Her husband was missing, and may or may not have been involved in a serious shooting. The fact that she didn't know he was even in town, though, made the detective wonder what exactly was going on.
The detectives, along with their two forensics experts, soon concluded the search of the garage and car. It was while the technicians were carefully going over Lisa's car that they noticed something potentially important, and certainly suspicious. Both the accelerator and brake pedal showed staining by what turned out to be blood, when it was tested chemically. It was immediately decided that the car would be towed back to the garage for extensive examination and testing.
While the two technicians packed up their equipment, and prepared to leave, the two detectives stepped aside to discuss their feelings about the case.
Detective Nesbitt, standing so that he could look back at the side door of the Evans house, said to his partner, "What's your opinion of Mrs. Evans? I've been back and forth in my thoughts about her, and this positive test for blood on the pedals in her car really has me wondering."
"Well, you have the advantage on me, as regards Mrs. Evans. I've just been here for the search. She seemed like a typical worried wife, but you know how that kind of thing can go. Right now I wouldn't want to put money on whether she's involved in something here, or is simply what she seems to be."
Nesbitt suddenly started walking towards the side door, saying as he went, "Come with me, Dave. Let's both see how she reacts when we tell her about the blood we found, and that her car is being towed."
The two detectives walked up to the side door, knocked, and entered. Lisa Evans was on her cell phone, and looked very startled when the two men stepped into the kitchen. She quickly turned off the phone, without even saying a word to whoever was on the other end of the conversation. "You're back! I thought that you were all finished here."
Peter Nesbitt stepped aside, so that his partner would have an equal opportunity to observe Lisa Evans. "We thought we were done here, too. However, the forensics technicians have found what appear to be smears of blood on both the brake pedal and accelerator of your car. Where taking your car to the impound lot so that we can give it a thorough inspection. I hope you don't mind."
Lisa appeared genuinely shocked when she said, "Blood in my car! How would that get there? I didn't see any blood anywhere."
The two detectives were watching her closely, as he replied, "That's a question we're likely going to want an answer to. We have no way to know at this time whether it's related to the incident in the park, but if it turns out to be a match for the blood found there, you can be sure we're going to insist on some answers. Oh, and we're going to need the shoes that you were wearing today."
"I wasn't anywhere near the park. I haven't been there in weeks. I don't see how there could be blood in my car; certainly not any of the blood that you described was in my husband's car." As she was speaking she reached down and removed the shoes she was wearing, handing them to Detective Nesbitt. When that was done she slumped in her seat, covered her face with her hands, and began sobbing. The two detectives, realizing that there wasn't very much more they could say or do without more information, said goodbye to her, leaving her in the same position, slumped in her kitchen chair.
"What do you think, Dave? Is she what she seems; a wife worried sick about her husband? Or do you think that maybe she's just a very good actress? Did you notice that she was on the phone when we walked in, and hung up on whoever it was?"
David Klein shook his head and said, "I just don't know Pete, I just don't know. She seems genuine enough, but you know how these things go. If the blood in his car turns out to be the husband's, there's a good chance his spouse is involved. We see that over and over. Maybe we should make some background checks on this couple; talk to their friends and neighbors. Somebody may know something that is relevant to this whole business. As for the phone call, she was probably talking to her best girlfriend. Women always seem to turn to their best girlfriend when things go wrong."
"Yeah, I guess you're right. Some good old-fashioned digging just might lead somewhere. What I'd really like to find out is why he came into town two days earlier than expected. That might be the key to this whole thing." When he got to his car, Detective Nesbitt pulled out a plastic evidence bag, slipped in the pair of shoes, and firmly sealed the bag.
Since the two partners had arrived separately, each had his own car. As they drove back to the station, each in his own solitude, they individually tried to figure out the clues they had so far been presented with. Unfortunately, neither of them had enough to go on to come up with anything better than what they had already discussed. Both of them were busy completing reports and other paperwork until the end of their shift. No new information had come up from the lab before they departed for their homes, so the two of them were left to consider only what they had already learned during that day.
The next morning both Peter and Dave arrived a half an hour early. It was obvious that the Mark Evans case was high on both of their agendas. Fortunately their dedication to their jobs was rewarded; a stack of reports from the forensics department and the medical examiner were there to greet them. It took them an hour to read the reports, passing them back and forth between each other as they digested the information that was being presented. After they finished what had been waiting there for them, they both realized that there were still going to be a number of further reports to come.
As he looked over one particular report, Peter Nesbitt said to his partner, "These certainly seem to be pointing in one direction, don't they? Is seems there are a few more reports we can expect this morning, though, so I don't think we should jump on this too quickly. I'd rather not go off half cocked."
David Klein was nodding his head as his partner spoke, and replied, "I think you're right. Let's see if they can get some more out of the computer. We could go out in the meantime and talk to his lawyer, and some of the people that he worked with. I'm not certain that we have enough for an arrest yet. We're going to need to take some official statements as well, before we talk to the DA."
The two men were in complete agreement, and left just after 9 a.m. for the office of Mark Evans' lawyer. Like all members of the legal community, Robert Graham didn't want to seem to be biased against the police, especially during an investigation. He quickly gave them a few minutes of his time.
"You realize that I can't discuss anything pertaining to my client's legal situation? That said, let's hear what you want from me, so that I can decide whether or not to answer your questions." The lawyer leaned back in his chair and waited expectantly.
Detective Nesbitt quickly spoke, not wanting to waste too much of the lawyer's valuable time. "We have several email messages here, messages that we obtained under a search warrant from Mark Evans' computer. Could you please confirm receipt of them for us? We simply need to know that the messages were actually sent to you over the past couple of weeks. We want to be sure they weren't just draft copies."
He proceeded to hand over four sheets of paper to the lawyer, who quickly glanced at each of them, before he replied, "These do appear to be genuine. I can confirm receipt of each of them."
He handed them back to the detective who immediately stood and said, "Thank you, Mr. Graham. That's all we need. We couldn't very well make investigative decisions based on what these emails tell us, without some confirmation that they were genuine." The two detectives left the office, exchanging a smile as they headed back to their car.
As they drove to ABC Industrial Peter Nesbitt said to his partner, "Like you said yesterday, in situations like this it's usually the spouse that's involved. We've still got a few more bridges to cross, though."
When they arrived at Mark Evans' place of employment, the two detectives were quickly shown into the office of his immediate superior. This time it was Detective Klein who did the speaking.
"We're investigating the discovery of a car in George Washington Park yesterday. You probably read about it in this morning's paper. The car involved belonged to one of your employees, Mark Evans. We have a few questions that you may be able to help us with."
Mark's boss quickly assured them that he would do anything he could to help them out. He said that Mark was considered a very valuable employee, and anything that could be done to help solve the mystery of his abandoned car was most certainly acceptable.
"First, I'd like to know whether Mark was expected to stay in Pittsburgh past Friday evening. There are some reports that he was scheduled for seminars throughout Saturday and Sunday. We need to know if that's correct."
His boss quickly replied, "Mark was most definitely not scheduled for anything on the weekend. I fully expected that he would have returned on Friday night."
Detective Klein nodded, made a note in his notebook, and continued, "Have you noticed anything about Mark that seemed a little off lately? We're wondering if he seemed to have something on his mind, something that stood out."
The man sitting at the desk thought for a moment, and then replied, "Mark did seem to be carrying more weight on his shoulders lately. A couple of weeks ago, I asked him if there was a problem. At the time he said that everything was fine. I also noticed that he seemed to be lost in thought a lot of the time. I just assumed that he was hard at work, solving our problems, but I guess he could have had other things on his mind."
The detectives thanked him, and then they quickly headed back to their car. A picture was taking shape, and both of them knew that by the end of the day there was a good chance that they would have made a major dent in this case.
By late morning they were back in the office, and discovered that some preliminary DNA results had returned. As well, there was a strange looking little box with wires dangling from it, sitting on the top of a report from forensics. The two detectives found it particularly interesting, especially when combined with some of the printed maps the computer technician had given them. Another blank had been filled in, and a picture was becoming clearer.
The two men took their accumulated information, printouts and notebooks with them when they went to spend a couple of hours in one of the empty interrogation rooms. By the time they emerged they felt they had a pretty good handle on what had happened in the park, although there were some very large gaps still remaining. They did agree it was time to make another visit to Lisa Evans. This time they felt they had enough information to ask her some hard questions. Depending on the answers they received, there might be cause to bring her in for an official statement.
The detectives pulled up outside the Evans residence at just after three in the afternoon. They hadn't phoned ahead, for fear of letting her prepare for their arrival. They really wanted to catch her off guard.
They went to the front door and rang the doorbell like any normal visitor would. Lisa Evans did appear to be startled when she saw the two of them standing at the door.
"Detectives! Have you found my husband? I've been phoning the desk sergeant every couple of hours, and he keeps telling me that there's nothing to report."
Detective Nesbitt responded, "No, we haven't found your husband yet. We have made some progress, though. We'd like to come in and ask you a few questions, if you don't mind."
Lisa Evans seemed a bit confused, but then stepped back and said, "Certainly, come on in; I'll do anything I can do to help you find Mark." She walked into the living room with the two men following close behind her. As she sat on the sofa, each of the detectives took a seat in one of the chairs facing it.
Detective Klein began the conversation, after opening his notebook, by asking, "Is there anything you care to tell us about your relationship with Blake Moore?" The two detectives had decided that asking this very much 'in your face' type of question might be the way to rattle Lisa Evans enough to make her reveal something she might otherwise prefer to keep hidden.
The decision was immediately rewarded, when Lisa Evans quickly turned white before saying, "Wha... What do you mean, my relationship with Blake? He's my husband's best friend. He's always hanging out with Mark, but he's just my friend." Her eyes darted back and forth between the two detectives.
Detectives Nesbitt now joined in, "Are you, or are you not, having an affair with Blake Moore?" The detective had asked the question in a calm, level fashion, and now sat waiting for a response.
It hardly seemed possible, but both detectives later agreed that it seemed she became even paler with the second question. Her mouth opened and closed wordlessly several times before she said, "Absolutely not! How can you come in here, asking me that kind of question?"
The two detectives immediately stood, and Detective Klein said, "I think you're going to have to come down to the station. We're going to take an official statement from you."
Lisa was clearly beginning to panic now, as she said, "What? Am I under arrest? Why do I have to go down to the station with you?"
"You aren't under arrest... yet. We have reason to believe you haven't been truthful with us, and we want to get an official statement from you. You'll be able to request a lawyer if you wish."
Lisa was frantically looking back and forth from one detective to the other and quickly said, "I don't need a lawyer! I haven't done anything. If you want me to come to the station for your questions, then fine, I'll do it. I'll do whatever it takes to help you find my Mark."
Lisa Evans quickly got up to accompany the two detectives out to their car for the trip downtown. She was walking in front of them so she didn't notice when Pete gave Dave the thumbs up signal. After helping her into the back seat, the two men took their places in the front and then drove silently back to the police station.
After arriving back at the station, the detectives slowly walked Lisa Evans upstairs to their squad room, and then into one of the empty interrogation rooms. They chose the starkest one they could find, a room that needed a paint job and could have used some new furniture as well. They wanted the most negative environment they could create.
"We're going to have you wait here for a few minutes, while we get our files together. You're sure that you don't want to speak with a lawyer?" Detective Nesbitt was giving her every opportunity to make that decision, but this time she declined with a quick shake of her head. In the drab surroundings she still looked very pretty, even though her blue eyes were brimming with tears. She sat down heavily in one of the chairs, while the detective left the room, closing the door behind him.
"Be sure both cameras are on for the full time we're with her. I want a good record of everything that is said in there. I have a feeling we're going to break this case wide open, and I don't want to lose a word of what she has to say." Detective Klein was speaking to his commanding officer, the man who would record and bear personal witness to what was said in the interrogation room.
Just then Peter Nesbitt walked up with the files they had accumulated. He had been thinking about their pending interview with Lisa Evans, and said, "Let's go grab a coffee first; let her stew a while." There was quick agreement, and the three men left to spend the next 20 minutes in the staff coffee room discussing the case and how they would handle her interrogation.
Life does not take place in a single linear progression; innumerable events occur in overlapping time frames. While the two detectives were out that morning, speaking with Mark Evans' manager, on the other side of town a volunteer answered the phone at Crimestoppers.
"Good morning, this is your local Crimestoppers office. We pay up to $1000 cash for good tips on outstanding crimes. How can you help us fight crime? Please be aware this call is being recorded."
There was no reply for several seconds, making the volunteer manning the phone think there was no one there, but just before she hung up, her older male caller said, "Ah... is this the place where I can get money if I help the police?"
"Well sir, that depends on what you tell us, the type of crime involved, and how much the police feel you contributed to solving it. Do you have some information on a crime?"
There was silence again for a few moments before the caller spoke, "So, I don't get no money now? I gotta wait? What if the cops want to cheat me out of my money? Then what, huh?"
"Well sir, we need to know for sure that you helped. The money doesn't come from the police, so there's no reason for them to try to cheat you, sir. Why don't you tell me what you know, and I'll give you a code number for later. You can call me back in a few days, and I will tell you whether the information has been a help, and what it would be worth."
The man was a little indignant as he said, "I want some juice now! I need the money now."
"Well sir, that's just the way it works. What do you mean you need some juice? If you're homeless, and need food, I can give you the addresses of a few shelters that provide meals."
"I don't need no damn food; I need juice! You know, grape juice, the kind they sell for five bucks a bottle."
The woman chuckled to herself, but said to the man, "I'm afraid I can't help you with that, right now. If your information is good, though, you could probably afford a lot of those bottles of grape juice."
"OK, then. I'll wait. What I seen was someone throwing away a gun. In the river. I was under the Third Street Bridge, just mindin my own business on Sunday morning, at least I think it was Sunday morning, when a fella pulled up into the public access lot. When he got out he was carrying a gun, and two shovels. He threw them all in the river, right there practically in front of me. I was scared, let me tell ya. I figured for sure he was going to see me and use that gun on me."