SYNOPSIS: Jason Franco is an aspiring novelist stuck in a dead-end job working for a newspaper in a small town where nothing exciting happens until someone rapes and murders a young woman only eighteen years old. All evidence points to the woman's boyfriend who confesses to the crime. Jason is assigned to write a follow-up story for the paper and soon suspects that the local police are covering up for one of their own. Jason enlists the help from a high school classmate who works at the state crime and the two soon fall in love. Jason and his girlfriend, Tina, follow the leads, and Jason finds himself a target for the rapist turned murderer. An attempt on Jason's life puts him in the hospital as the alleged rapist commits suicide. An unexpected turn of events put Jason back in the cross hairs of a different killer.
Natalie Hathaway, Administrative Assistant
Tuesday. July 14, 2015
At lunch time Mary was sitting at a bench when Natalie arrived. Immediately, Sean and Jason strode over.
“Natalie, I asked Mary to arrange this meeting so that Jason and I could talk to you,” said Sean. “Is that okay?”
“Yeah, sure. Sup?” answered Natalie.
Sean turned to Mary. “Why don’t you go back to the office? The less you know, the better.”
“Bull crap,” replied Mary. “I’m in this all the way.”
Sean shook his head. “Okay.” “One of the police officers might be a serial rapist. We have DNA from other rapes. We’d like you to get DNA samples from the officers for us to compare. Can you do that?”
“Wait, wait, wait,” protested Natalie. “One of OUR police officers might be a rapist? You’ve got to be kidding.”
“I wish I were. This is serious. Jason has been researching Angelina’s murder and we’re sure whoever murdered her has raped other women. Now with this lost evidence, we think it might be a police officer.”
“So you want me to work undercover?”
“Not undercover,” said Jason. “You would be a confidential source.”
“And if I get caught?” asked Natalie.
“You’d probably be fired,” answered Jason.
“It might also be illegal,” interjected Sean. “What do you say?”
“So you want me to help catch a rapist? Okay. Count me in. What’ll you need?”
“Just about anything with saliva on it; cigarette butts, soda bottles, napkins. You will have to be careful not to contaminate…”
Natalie made a face. “Come on guys. I’ve been around policemen long enough to know how to do this. Plus I watch CSI. Trust me. I should have something for you tomorrow.”
The next morning Mary came to work with a paper bag. “You’re not going to believe this.” She marched over to Jason’s desk and dumped the contents of the bag on his desk. Several plastic zip-lock bags dropped out. “The first delivery from Natalie.”
Sean heard Mary’s voice and came out of his office. He took one look and whistled.
Mary picked up one bag. “Will you look at this? She put each sample in a separate plastic bag. Then she wrote the officer’s name, the date, and the time on the bag. She must watch CSI on TV.”
Jason spread out the samples and counted eight.
“I’ll read the names and you write them down,” said Sean. He picked up one at a time and started to read the names. “Dunley, Rudd, McCarthy, Brown, Kostner…What the hell is this?” Sean held up a bag with a paper cup with a dark brown liquid spilled in the bag.
Mary and Jason looked at the bag. “One of the officers chews tobacco,” said Jason. “That must be the cup he spits into.” He looked at the name. “Officer Firth. Or it Filth?
Everyone laughed at Jason's joke. Sean read the rest of the names. “Smith, and Grube. Okay, so we have four cigarette butts, one cigar butt, one chewing gum, one paper cup with tobacco juice and one soda can. That’s more than half the department. Let’s get these to the crime lab.”
Jason started putting everything back into the paper bag. “I’ll take care of it. What about the rest?”
“Nat said she’d try to get the rest today,” answered Mary. “She’ll drop them off at the house after work.”
Nat dropped off three more DNA samples a Mary's house after work. They were from officers Stephens, Hyde and Love. That made eleven samples. Nat told Mary that getting a DNA sample from chief Cruse and the two officers in the Investigation Division might take a while. Chief Cruse always locks his office when his not in it, and the same goes for the two investigators.
Jason drove the DNA samples down to Cheyenne. It was a good excuse to spend the night with Tina. He asked her to do Art Rudd’s DNA first. He drove back early the next morning.
Two days later, Tina called Jason. “I ran the DNA test on Rudd as you asked. I checked his DNA against the ones on file for the other rapes. It doesn’t match.”
“Holy shit. I thought for sure that Rudd was the rapist.”
“That doesn’t mean that he didn’t rape and kill Angie. It means he didn’t rape those other women. Maybe we were wrong about a serial rapist. Maybe we forced the MO to fit our own scenario.”
“Maybe, but I don’t think so.
“Wait, there’s more. I ran his DNA through the data base just to see if there was a match. His DNA was on file, and I came up with a match.”
“Oh? Go ahead.”
“Like I said, his DNA was on file but not as a perp. He was a victim years ago. He was only twelve at the time. Turns out that he was abused by his parents. They were pedophiles. Only his name isn’t Art Rudd; it’s John Godfrey”
“Holy shit. That complicates things.”
“Listen. I’ve an idea. I need to run these other tests, but there’s more about John Godfrey I need to tell you. We shouldn't be talking on the phone. Drive down here and meet me at my apartment. Bring all your files.”
Jason got to Tina’s apartment late, but Tina was still at work and so was Dyanna. Jason waited in his car for about thirty minutes until Tina arrived. After they made love, Tina opened a file on the bed and started to explain this newest twist in the case.
“Rudd’s DNA, or I should say, Godfrey’s was on file. He was a victim at twelve up in Montana. It was an FBI case. They often take the vic’s DNA if it contaminates a crime scene.
“A murder case?” asked Jason.
“No. Not at all. It was a raid on a child pornography ring. His parents were big-time producers and distributors of child pornography. They also sexually abuse their own child John. They abused him every way that you can abuse a child, and they used him in their videos; very sick people.”
“So what happened?”
“Wait cowboy. I’m getting to it. It’s very complicated. His DNA was a partial matched to one of the arresting officers, meaning that they’re related. The officer was in the house the day prior to the raid, so her DNA was also on file. They’re half-brother and sister. They had the same mother.”
“You said ‘had?’”
“Yeah. John’s parents were killed during the raid.”
“I read something about Naomi being in Montana on a raid.” Jason thumbed through his files. “Here it’s. Listen to this. “Officer Naomi Marini received an award at the Torrington Town Hall today. She was cited for bravery and for assisting the Rosebud, Montana Sheriff’s Department in cracking a case of child abuse and child pornography. During the raid on a local residence, Officer Marini was shot at and wounded by one of the perpetrators. She suffered a minor wound but was able to return fire and kill both of the assailants. The Sheriff’s Department said that it was her initial response to a child abuse incident that culminated in the raid. The residence was used for the production and distribution of child pornography. The FBI reported that ultimately, as a result of this action, over one hundred people were arrested across the country and in Europe.”
“So let me guess. John’s half-sister is Officer Marini--Naomi Marini.”
“Lucky guess. She was the one who killed the parents. Apparently, they were armed and shot at her.”
“She killed her own mother?”
“Yeah. Then she took John back with her and changed his name to Art Rudd. She became his legal guardian and kept their relationship a secret. The whole story is in this file.” Tina closed the file and handed it to Jason. “It’s shocking. You won’t believe it.”
“So I guess she drove to Montana looking for her mother,” said Tina. “Then she discovered what was going on and ended up in the middle of it. Maybe she didn’t know she had a brother.”
“So it’s possible that Marini has a motive to cover up for Rudd. Rudd raped Angie and killed her and Marini helped.”
“Maybe, but we have no evidence.”