“May I help you?” Carol asks sharply, her face scrunching up. “This is a private meeting, you know.”
“Sorry to intrude,” Inspector Robinson says, flashing her badge and not looking at all sorry. “I’m Inspector Robinson. I’m investigating the homicide of Rosalita Chavez. This is Detective Brady. She is investigating the homicide of Ashley Stevenson.” Detective Brady nods, but her eyes are scanning the crowd. Cop eyes—they don’t miss a thing.
“What do you want?” Carol’s tone is combative, which is not ideal for talking with the police.
“We would like to say a few words to the women here,” Inspector Robinson says, still rooted to a spot just inside the doorway. It is clear that she is taking the lead on the case with Detective Brady content to play second fiddle. Presumably, she’s used to it with Sergeant Grimes as her boss. “If that’s all right with you.” Her tone is courteous, but it’s an order and not a question.
“I don’t have a choice, do I?” Her good humor restored, Carol acquiesces with grace. The cops stand behind Carol so most of us can see them without moving in our seats. The women on either side of Carol move their chairs to get a better view. Unexpectedly, Detective Brady speaks first.
“The homicide of Ashley Stevenson is a puzzling thing,” she begins, fixing her eyes on the person across from her which happens to be Tudd. Tudd starts squirming under the scrutiny. “While she has been a troublemaker for most of her short life, she is far from a delinquent. She comes from money and as far as we can tell, has not ventured too far into the seamier side of life. Just your ordinary teenage girl with ordinary rebellions. So why was she killed? That’s what we’re trying to discover.
“Her father is another matter.” Detective Brady has slipped into a rhythmic telling of her saga which draws her listeners in. “He is a powerful man with many enemies but not the type to kill a daughter of an enemy to make a statement. So, if the killing isn’t personal and it isn’t because of her father, then what is the motive? That is the stopping point.” Inspector Robinson takes over.
“Rosalita Chavez was a single mother whose son was killed in the gang wars. Rosie, as she was called, raised a fuss about it to whomever she could get to listen. She’d go to the cops and harass them to arrest someone. She wrote her congressman every day. She was determined her son’s death wouldn’t be for nothing. As a result, there were some powerful gang members irate with her for stirring up trouble as they saw it. She was threatened several times to keep her mouth shut, which she didn’t do.
“So it would seem that this was a retaliation murder. An execution, if you will. However, we have ascertained beyond a reasonable doubt that her death wasn’t gang related. She is not dating anyone, nor does she have any shadowy figures in her life. What does that leave? Now, we know. Someone in her position probably has a shady character or two tucked away somewhere. If so, we can’t find that person. Reluctantly, we have let go of gang-related motives for the time being.”