The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Twenty Four
At seven Monday morning the entire Dismember Killer task force, all three of them now that Tom was on leave, were scheduled to meet to discuss where they were at, what likely options they could pursue next, and how to deal with the pressure from the media to make an arrest when they didn’t even have any possible suspects. Spence decided to pop by Krispy Kreme on the way into the office. Yeah, the whole cops and donuts thing was way overblown and cliche. Exceptions could be made for Krispy Kreme though.
The front of headquarters was wall to wall reporters shouting questions at the media liaison from the mayor’s office. Spence recognized Stephanie Lewis in the bunch. Staying off to the side, he paused to listen. It was a good way to guess at the next big headline.
“What’s the task force doing about Dismember?”
“It’s been ten months and eleven dead, why can’t you stop him?”
“Why haven’t you called in the FBI?”
Spence chuffed, why couldn’t they dig up new questions. They kept recycling the old ones. If catching a serial killer who had no prints or DNA in the system was easy, why didn’t one of the reporters do it?
“Is it true Detective Tom Harding has been placed on administrative leave?”
Stephanie Lewis. Spence’s free hand tensed into a fist. He’d heard enough. He badged the card reader next to the single door used by employees only and headed inside.
He dropped the dozen box in the center of the table and started a fresh pot of coffee.
Barnes entered and flipped open the box without preamble.
“Morning.” Spence greeted him.
Barnes provided only a head nod in response. Barnes rarely said anything even after multiple cups of coffee; Spence didn’t take it personally.
At twelve minutes after seven, Melanie rushed through the door. “Sorry, I’m sorry. Lars is out of town and I got stuck in traffic while dropping Junior off at my mother’s.”
Melanie helped herself to a raspberry-filled donut. She took a bite, and groaning, said, “Was this you Spence? You’re a god among men.”
Spence smiled and nodded.
“He’s sweetening the pot after his partner screwed us,” Barnes said with annoyance.
Ahhh, here it was. This was indeed the reason Spence picked up donuts. Not that he was trying to make up for anything, he had hoped with their mouths full of the best donuts known to man, they might be a little sweeter in their words. “Did the Seahawks lose last night?”
Barnes stuffed the last three bites of donut into his mouth and walked to the coffee maker to pour a cup before it finished brewing.
“Hey!” Melanie exclaimed. “Don’t. It affects the whole balance of the pot.”
Barnes took his hand off the carafe and turned to his computer instead. “Looked at the expenditures of the Paulson household. The Missus is shopping every day. Clothes, shoes, art galleries. They both eat out frequently. And I see charges for different restaurants at similar times on the same night.”
“Nice.” Melanie shook her head. “I always wonder when I hear about that.”
“Expensive vacations,” Barnes continued on, “Very little actual cash in the accounts. It comes in, credit card bills get paid, and then it moves off again.”
“I’m still working on resolving where that money is going. Offshore is what I can tell you now. If that pot is done, I’ll take a cup.”
Barnes poured Melanie a cup of coffee, then one for himself. “I don’t know how specific we want to get on this until the accountants get done.”
“That’s probably good enough.” Spence shrugged. “We got a tip last night that the board was meeting at the Academy. I reached out and this morning Mike, the guard, emailed us a video. Anyone up for a little entertainment with your coffee and donuts?”
“Is this video from inside the Academy? We don’t have a warrant for that,” Melanie reminded them all.
“If a private source provides the police with video they had lawful access to…” Spence let the sentence hang while he poured himself a cup.
“Does Mike the guard have lawful access to the video?” Melanie pushed.
“As far as I know. His job is to work the video security office.” Spence looked to Barnes.
“Might as well see what we have before we get all worked up about it.”
Melanie threw a hand up in the air, “Fine.”