Sheriff Porter 61
Since I had worn gloves while I checked his apartment/dorm unit, I wasn’t too worried about the cops searching the place. I was pretty sure that his disappearance had a low priority, but the report would allow me to ask questions. That’s why I made it. I also agreed to meet the officers at the site to check it out.
Of course it was Patrol Officers who contacted the campus security office to open the dorm unit. I had to explain that I had been hired by the family since they had not been able to get in touch with Antonio. I also explained that the neighbors hadn’t seen him in over a week.
The City Police, the Security Officers from the private university, and I were standing by when the door was opened. I stood in the doorway with my hands in my pockets. “Officer is his toothbrush here?”
“Yes ma’am it is,” the Patrol Officer said.
“How about his closet and clothes cabinets, are they empty?” I asked.
“No ma’am, they are all here. It doesn’t look like he went on a trip.”
I didn’t point him toward the drugs they just found them. “If he was on medication and hasn’t been here in a week, maybe we should look at this as a crime scene,” I suggested.
I watched the officer carefully to be sure he didn’t find the kid’s cell phone. They didn’t find it. “It doesn’t look good,” I suggested.
“No ma’am it doesn’t,” the patrolman said.
“The missing cell phone and the missing pictures are contradictory,” I told Wilson, when I called him. “If they were laying a false trail the cell phone should be here as well as the photos. If he was running, he took his phone but didn’t call his dad for help. He took the photos, because for some reason he didn’t plan to come back. It really makes no sense. The Marshals would never let him carry the cell phone. What did you get on the trace?”
“The phone has been disabled. Either temporarily or permanently,” he said.
“Somebody tossed it in the river, but why were the picture taken? Why would he take the cell phone just to disable it?” I asked.
“Maybe he was trying to confuse us?” Wilson suggested
“Why, he doesn’t even know us?” I asked not expecting an answer.
“Maybe he is just relocating and dropped his phone,” Wilson suggested.
“You don’t do a voluntary relocation and leave your meds and toothbrush. If he is on the run, why did he take the family photos?” As usually happens a thought came from nowhere. “The photos got tossed in the trash before he left. He is on the run and didn’t want them to be used to identify him. But if he watches TV, he knows the cops can get a DMV photo. It wasn’t cops he was running from. He takes the phone, then someone reminds him it can be traced, so it goes in the trash after the card is removed.”
“Maybe he leaves willingly and then it goes south and the cell phone is junked,” Wilson said.
“I’m going to check into a motel, while you run down his girl friend and his Sampson friend. When you get me a location I will go talk to them.”
It was a mom and pop, turned Paki motel that I checked into. I dropped my bag and laptop off in the room, then went to look for his girlfriend.
“So Wilson what is the deal with Ruth Paulson?” I asked.
“She is a waitress in a local restaurant. A high school drop out as a matter of fact. Hardly the kind of girl this kid would run with,” Wilson said.
“Well, I’m not going to know till I talk to her,” I said.
Twenty minutes later I was in the restaurant where she worked. At first I thought she wasn’t in. The only woman waiting tables in the small dining room had to be fifty years old. Then I heard someone call her Ruth. Wilson obviously knew her age, I was gonna kick him in the ass, when I got home to New Wales.
Ms. Paulson my name is Sylvia Porter is there somewhere could we talk please? It about Antonio Garcia, and it is important,” I said.
“It will have to be here unless you want to wait till 10 PM.” I didn’t want to give her time to alert Antonio just in case she knew where he was. “If you don’t mind these people overhearing your business with Antonio and Mr. Sampson fine,” I said.
“I got a break coming so come on out to the back where I smoke,” she said.
I followed her out. Once we got outside I went right into it. “So Ms Paulson, how do you know Antonio?” I asked.
“Tony eats here some,” she said.
“Is that why his mom thinks you are his girlfriend?” I asked.
“You know about that huh?” she asked.
“Yes, they are worried sick about Tony. He just disappeared from school two weeks ago. So the next people to call will be the cops or worse,” I said.
“You mean some of his dad’s men? I can handle them,” she said. She probably believed it.
“Ms Paulson, I don’t mean to frighten you, but you can’t handle them. I’m asking and you can chose not to cooperate, but then I have to report to Tony’s mother. I will tell her what I have learned and what I did not learn. She will no doubt tell her husband, and then things will go downhill very fast from there.”
“Yeah that’s what Tony said. He said someone would come asking questions. He didn’t say it would be a skinny broad,” she said.
“That’s because he doesn’t know me,” I said.
“He was convinced he could fool his father and put off the discovery of his being gone a couple of more weeks. Then he planned to convince his father he had gone into the witness protection program. He said his dad would be so worried about what he knew, that he would be too busy covering his tracks to try hard to locate him,” she said.
“He actually did a pretty good job of faking it. I almost bought into it. He made a few mistakes, but they were nothing a couple of thugs would have noticed. So tell me are you Albert’s mother?”
“Albert is just as rich as Tony. His money comes from a very old Boston family,” she said.
“So, I guess they are a couple?” I suggested.
“Yes, I let them use me for cover. When their mom insisted on talking to either of their girlfriends, it was me,” she said.
“I got away with it mostly because I can do girls their age on the phone. As you can tell I couldn’t pull it off in person. Mom insisted I come down to Boca for the summer at the compound,” she informed me. That would have been hard to pull off. The boys wanted to disappear for a while,” she said.
“Headed for one of those states that allow same sex marriages?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she said.
“Well since you are the contact for both, have you heard from them?” I asked.
“Yes I have,” she said.
“Can you put me in touch with them? You can dial the phone, I just need to talk to Tony,” I said.
“Give me your number and I’ll have them call you tonight,” she said. “It might be late. They are in a different time zone,” she said.
“Tell Tony, if I found you his daddy’s men can as well. They will be a lot rougher with their questions. I might can help him work this out, but I need to be sure he is okay,” I said.
“I’ll tell him to call,” she promised.
I sat in my car and called his mother. “Ms Garcia I have a lead on your son. According to the information I have now, he is safe. To be sure I need to talk to him. I think I can get him on the phone, but I need to ask him a question that only he could answer. Can you give me a question?”
“Ask him his pony’s name. The one he got for his tenth birthday. It’s name was Paint,” she said.
“Is he alright Ms Porter?” she asked.
“If my information is good, he is not in any danger. I will know more tomorrow and I promise I will call you,” I said.
“Thank you, I will be expecting to hear from you tomorrow,” she said.
I called Wilson. “Really Wilson, a fifty year old lover and you didn’t think I needed to know that?” I asked.
“Come on I have to have some fun. I’m cooped up here on this computer while you are out having fun,” he said.
“Figure out how to do what you do from the road, and you can come along. In the meantime check for Albert Sampson of Boston. Get his auto information, the check for either crossing the Mexican or Canadian border anytime after the last day anyone saw him,” I demanded. That was about a week and a half ago. Probably going to be around a week ago.
“You think he is on the lamb?” Wilson asked.
“No one has used that expression since Bogart,” I said.
“Okay, you think he is in the wind?” he asked.
“Yes and you have a pretty good idea why,” I said.
“Yeah, I think so,” he said.
“Me too,” I replied. Get on it will you? I need that information quickly.”
Wilson called about 10 PM our time to tell me what he had found. Tony called me about 2 AM.
“How is Mexico?” I asked when he identified himself.
“You are good, how long you been looking for me?” he asked.
“All day today, so who else is looking for you?” I asked.
“Not me but Albert. His daddy is some kind of big ass politician,” he said.
“Oh my a gay son with a mafia boss’s son for a lover. That might make him send hit men as well as your dad,” I suggested.
“So who you working for?” He asked.
“Your mom, but before I tell her to stop worrying you tell me what you got for your tenth birthday,” I asked
“I got a pony,” he said. “Now you tell me a name, so I know you are working for mom not Albert’s family.”
“The pony was named Paint,” I said.
“That’s right, so what do you want,” he asked.
“You need to call your mom and fess up to how things are.” I paused a second and then added, “All of it. Do you have it under control?”
“Yes we are both in remission,” I forgot my meds that’s how you knew?” he asked.
“Yes, so either you tell Mom before noon tomorrow my time, or I will do it. It will sound better coming from you. I expect she can keep it from your dad. I can also say I found you, so he won’t send people to talk to me. To be honest they mostly want to know you are okay.”
I had been at a Waffle House making sure I stayed awake till the call from Tony. After he promised to call his mom in the morning and hung up, I had a message from Wilson. Since I had more or less closed the case I almost didn’t bother.
The message said, don’t go to the motel and call me. Naturally I called. “So do I have cops,” I asked.
“They look more like New York Mobsters,” Wilson said.
My guess is they are Boston mobsters,” I said. “Thanks Wilson I owe you.”
“Yes you do,” he said.
“I know the wireless web cam was your idea and I’m grateful. Now I think I’ll call the police.”
“911 what is your emergency?” the operator asked.
“There is some kind of fight going on in room 17 of the Apple Tree Motor Inn,” I said.
“I drove to the motel room just in time to see the cops pull up. That’s my room what is going on. Someone called to say there was some kind of fight in this room.”
“I’ll open the door and you can look.” When I opened the door there were two men I never saw before. “Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my room?” That’s how I came to spend my night in the Capitol City Police station.
Edited by Walt