The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Chapter Twenty Seven
Spence turned off the sound on his speakers. “Damn. I think we owe Mike a beer.”
“Can we hit Matt with the bottle when Mike’s done with the beer?” Barnes grumbled as he rolled his chair in the direction of his own computer. “Lawyers.”
“What I want to know is where he got that video? With the snow in and out it makes me think that wasn’t a standard security camera,” Melanie worried out loud.
“I can ask him if it will make you feel better. I’m not sure it matters though. We have the files from the accountancy firm. We will get a report on that sooner or later. I think we should follow up. Maybe get the station shrink to take a look at this footage and give us her take on that bunch. And we need an approach for the nurse.”
“I saw announcement for the funeral, tomorrow, I think.” Melanie rolled her chair over to her own desk and started in on the keyboard.
“We need a presence at that funeral,” said Spence.
“I was thinking it might be a good place to talk to the nurse. To talk to a lot of them again. At the reception after. I’m sure the board will be there.”
“I like that.” Spence nodded and picked up his phone.
“You’d think I’d done this before,” Melanie quipped.
Spence stopped mid-dial and looked at her, the phone still in one hand, his stomach in his throat.
“Even I knew that was too soon,” Barnes answered for Spence.
“Sorry,” Melanie ducked her head and resumed her work.
Spence continued dialing the accounting department. “It’s Thomas. I’m checking status on the forensic accounting for the Paulson case. Who’s working on that?”
There was a long pause, then Spence said, “What does that mean?”
Melanie and Barnes stopped working when the heard the tone in Spence’s voice and rolled closer to him.
“When will we know something?” Spence slammed the phone down. “They don’t know when they’ll have a report for us and it would be shorter to tell me who isn’t working on the case.”
“What does that mean?” Melanie asked.
“Funny, that’s what I said. Not that I got much of an answer. Someone will get back to me soon.”
“You want me to go down there?” Barnes asked.
Spence snorted. “We might have better luck if we send Melanie with baked goods.”
“I draw the line at tarting it up for a bunch of math geeks.”
“Did you find out the when and where for the funeral at least?” Spence smiled to let Melanie know she was forgiven for the earlier gaffe.
“I don’t like it. Tomorrow, seven-thirty service at Saint Paul’s Church of the Valley, Shadow Valley.”
“That is god awful early. Why would she do that?”
“Maybe that was all that was available. It’s fall. A lot of people dying,” Barnes remarked.
“Why the rush then? Wait a few days, get a decent time slot,” Spence mused.
“Maybe she couldn’t wait to be rid of the guy,” Barnes suggested.
“Again, this isn’t one of your ex-wives,” Melanie laughed.
“Maybe we should be looking at her like she is,” Barnes countered.
“We’re assuming Arlene loved Harold. Maybe she’s grateful to whoever bumped him off.”
Spence stared at his co-worker. “Damn. Check her credit cards again. See if she booked any trips?”
“On it.” Barnes turned back to his keyboard and screen, using their access to pull new information.
“How about I call the department shrink and you go down to accounting?” Melanie gave Spence a hopeful smile.
“Yeah, alright.” Spence pushed back from his desk and left the office. The bean counters were housed on the first floor close to the holding cells for suspected criminals. Spence never could figure out the logic of that.
When he got to the ground floor, he was assaulted by noise. Somewhere on this floor people were loud. He paused at the duty desk. “Are they rioting in holding?”
“Nope.” The sergeant jerked his thumb to the right.
Spence continued on down the hall, the noise getting louder with each passing step. He pushed open the door to the accountants’ den. Normally this area was a pinnacle of silence and repose. Each accountant at their own desk, typing at their computers, headphones blocking the noise of everyone else typing. Today there was no calm separation. Several were gathered around one desk, the others were calling back and forth to each other. They seemed happy.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you all found Hoffa,” Spence called trying to catch anyone’s attention.
The head guy came over. “Better.”
“What’s better than Hoffa?”
“I’m not really at liberty to say.”
Spence ground his teeth. “Well then, do you think you might be at liberty to say when I’ll get my report on the Paulson request?”
“You’re the lead on Paulson? Oh, man. Come on over.”
That was a quick change of pace. Spence followed him.
“It took a little digging, but, um, oh man. We found something. Like the full digits in Pi, found something.”
Having no idea what that meant, Spence nodded.
“Harold Paulson was embezzling money.”
“From Whispering Evergreen Academy? We kind of knew that already.”
The accountant shook his head. “No. From every one.”
Spence stared at the man. “Can you clarify that?”
“Everyone. We have found odd transfers out of accounts for ALL his clients.”
Spence coughed. “All?”
“ALL. Ninety percent of it went to offshore accounts directly. The rest went to a corporate account and then was redistributed to Paulson’s personal bank account.”
“How much are we talking about?”
“I’m not…I don’t think we really have a final count.”
“How about a ballpark number?” Spence prodded the man.
“Millions, lots of millions.”
Spence sat on the desk behind him. “Wow.”
The man nodded. His eyes were bright and his face was shiny. “It’s the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.”
“I can imagine. It’s ranking pretty up there for me.”
“I really want to get back to the investigation.”
“Sure. When can you get us the preliminary stuff? Maybe a list of the clients he embezzled from? And the offshore accounts?”
“I think we can have a tentatively complete list to you tomorrow? Will that work?”
“Yeah. I can work with that.” Spence exhaled and tried to wrap his mind around how exponentially his suspect list just multiplied. “I’ll go now.” He left their office, no longer noticing the noise around him. Dazed, he waited for and took the elevator back to the fourth floor.