The meeting broke up and everyone started working. Zac handed Jason a couple of printouts. “Jason, I might have found one of the full names of those two women who were raped but didn't report it.”
Jason stood up. “Great! Show me.”
Zac pointed to the first page. “This one is Cate S., full name is Cate Smith. I checked newspaper files and on that date she was admitted to the hospital in Douglas with multiple face injuries. She said she was assaulted but not raped. No one was arrested because she couldn't identify her attacker.
“What about Molli R.?”
“Well I found a lot of Molly's with a y and one Molli with an i but her last name doesn't start with an r.”
“In Douglas. She was admitted to the county hospital with multiple face injuries on that date. She said it was an ATV roll over accident. Real name is Margaret. She might be the right one. Maybe the rapist got her name wrong.
“I don't think so. He didn't make any other mistakes. Maybe she changed her name.”
“Or got married,” said Mary who was listening.
“That's I!t That's her,” said Jason.
After forty five minutes, Jason headed to Paulo’s house. Right on time, Paulo’s call came through. Jason turned on his pocket recorder and put the telephone on speaker.
“How are you doing?” asked Jason.
“I’m okay. You asked me if I ever had a run in with any of the police. At the time I couldn’t remember anything, but later I did remember an incident. It happened a few years ago. It wasn’t a big deal but maybe it’s important. We did have a run-in with officer Rudd.”
“It was right after Angie and I became intimate. We were parked up by the Hill Top Inn. The place is vacant, but a lot of kids go up there to make out. We were in the back seat making love when he came up to the window and shined his flashlight on us. He scared the shit out of us.”
“What’d he do?”
“He made us get dressed and get out of the car. He started telling us that he would tell our parents. He also said that since Angie was under age, I could be convicted of statutory rape and become a registered sex predator. He called me a pervert.”
“Then what happened? Did he arrest you?”
“No. He said that he would let us go with a warning if Angie would show him her tits. Before I could protest, Angie pulled up her tube top and showed him.”
“What did Rudd do then?”
“He just laughed. He called her a slut and drove off. Later, I checked with other kids, and they said he did that to them too. After that, we made sure we were indoors when we made love.”
“When did that happen?”
“It was the middle of our junior year, so that’s like almost four years ago. He’s the one who's a pervert.”
“Did anything else happen?’
“No. True to his word, he never reported us.”
Paulo asked to talk to his mother, so Jason handed her the phone and left. Sean was on the phone when Jason returned, but he signaled for him to come into his office. He hung up and looked at Jason.
“Did you talk with Paulo? How’d it go?”
“He said disturbing things about Rudd. I’m just not sure it’s relevant. Here.” Jason handed the recorder to Sean and Sean turned it on. Sean listened to what Paulo said about Rudd.
“Jason, who committed this crime?”
Sean thought for a moment. “We’re dealing with a serial rapist; probably a psychopath. If I’m right, he’s raped several women in Wyoming and adjacent states.”
“Maybe,” said Sean. “And if he’s a psychopath, then there has to be previous tell-tail behavior. Psychopathic killers, for instance, may torture and kill small animal, sometimes the family pet. A psychopathic rapist probably has committed crimes like indecent exposure or maybe has been convicted of sexual assault.”
“Are you thinking of a registered sexual predator?”
“Exactly. I don’t know why the police never looked into that angle.”
“It would’ve been someone close by. They had to know both Paulo and Angelina. He also knew that Mrs. Littlefield wouldn’t be home until eleven at the earliest. I’ll start checking on the registered sex offenders.”
“No. I’ll have Zac do it. You need to keep writing the stories.” Sean rubbed his chin and thought for a moment. “Perhaps you need to look into Rudd’s character.”
“How do I do that?”
“The best way to learn about someone’s character is to talk to a close friend.”
“Who is Art’s best friend?”
“I don’t know. You’re the journalist. Find out. What else is missing?”
Jason thought for a moment. “I’m troubled by this whole deal of lacking witnesses. Then there’s the time of the murder. It’s not like it was two in the morning. The time of death was between ten and ten thirty. Paulo says he left at nine thirty. Someone must have seen Paulo leaving or returning. They might have seen his car. If Paulo isn’t the rapist, then someone might have seen a person lurking about the neighborhood around ten.”
“You’re right,” replied Sean. “If Paulo stayed home after nine thirty, someone might have seen his car parked there; someone waking their dog maybe.”
Jason continued, “Then there’s the stab wound; one wound between the ribs directly into the heart. That's not a crime of passion. If Paulo was angry there would've been dozens of wounds. The wound was precise.”
“Are you thinking the killer was someone with military training or martial arts?” asked Sean.
“Could be national guard or ex-military.”
“Yeah, or even medical training.”
“Like an EMS person?”
Sean called Zac into the office. “Zac, find out how many registered sexual offenders live in a two hundred mile radius of town. We don't need the pedophiles. See how many are in the National Guard or are ex-military or have medical training. Look for someone who committed sexual assault or stalking.”
“Got it, boss.” Zac left the room.
Jason waited for Zac to leave. “Zac has been working hard. How many more hours does he have to do to complete his community service?”
Sean laughed. “He completed that about a week ago. I just haven’t told him. I can’t afford to pay him.”
Everyone was working late. Sean sent Zac to pick up pizza. Zac left and returned immediately. “You guys need to check your cars.
Everyone piled out of the building into the side street where Sean and Jason normally parked. Both cars had four flat tires.
“Holy crap!” said Jason. “Someone slashed our tires.”
“Yeah,” said Sean. “We may have pissed off the TPD.” Sean unlocked his car and opened his truck. He shook his head and closed it again. “Hell. Did they have to slash all four tires?”
“I’ll call my friend, Sylvester, tomorrow. He’ll take care of it,” said Jason.
“I’ll drive you guys home,” said Mary. “No sweat.”