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Dear Ellie - Part 8
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Stella's celll phone rang. Officer Alexander was checking in. "Hey, Stel. How're things going?"
"Nothin' yet. Hopefully, we'll get somethin' soon."
"Mrs. Branson been eliminated as a suspect yet?"
I really don't think it's her. Her alibi checks out and she jus' seems so sincere. Besides, you know, my gut tells me so. Let's jus' call her a person of interest for now. See, I sent the search party out and called her over to gather more information. She didn't protest. Most mothers would insist on trying to find their child. But that might jus' be a quirk. She really seems okay. How 'bout you How did Mr. Branson check out."
"Same here. Everything checks out, but something doesn't feel right. His eyes never focused, and he was quite fidgety.Let's just call him a bigger person of interest. Gotta go, Stel."
"Oh, wait a minute! Mrs. Branson did mention one of Mr. Branson's team members was reprimanded las' year for not following the rules. Branson had him run extra laps. It seems his dad wasn't too happy. May be worth looking at him. The kid's name is Tim Martin. I'll get you the location."
"Sounds good, Stel.Keep me posted."
The weekend passed with no new leads although Carrie's teddy bear was found. No DNA could be collected from it, however. Monday morning was a different story.
An exhausted Ellie was awakened by the constant ring of her phone. Stella was calling.
"Honey, we have a break in the case. Someone reported an anonymous tip. We have a suspect in custody. You need to get over to Wes' Mifflin High immediately, but be prepared for the wors'."
Did this mean Carrie had been murdered? Ellie's mind began to unravel, but she was able to pull herself together long enough to make the drive to the high school. Could it be Tim Martin's father? Maybe Tim himself? She found herself speeding down Commonwealth Avenue. Time was non-existent. She pulled into the school's parking lot and headed for the front entrance when Stella intercepted her.
Ellie was screaming. "Where is he? Where is the monster that took my child? I'm going to kill . . ."
"Honey, get a hold of yourself. They have him over here. Come with me." Ellie kept step with Stella as she led the way. "Honey, we got an anonymous tip about this guy, but my gut says different. He'll be taken in for questioning, and unless he confesses or gives other evidence of his involvement, he'll probably be let go."
Ellie and Stella turned the corner just in time for Elli to see Officer Alexander ushering a cuffed Scott into the back of his police cruiser. Ellie's jaw dropped.
Ellie was hysterical. What's going on, Stella? What's going on? I thought you were supposed to be fighting for me. Now, you're against me!"
"Child, listen to me. You got to calm yourself down. I told you my gut tells me different. Scott will be released after he clears himself, but Honey, we have to check out every lead we get.
"We were told, someone saw Scott carrying a little girl through the woods behind your house late Friday night. We need to see what he knows about that. I'm sure he'll be cleared in time."
"What are you crazy cops thinking/" Ellie was reaching the edge quickly. Scott was with me when Carrie was taken."
"He was also running through the woods. Where did he go? What did he see? What did he do? Maybe his accomplice handed Carrie off to him to dispose of."
Stella pushed another hot and angry button.
Ellie unloaded on Stella. "How could you? How could you, Stella? My baby's gone. Now, you're taking my husband. Really, I trusted you. I trusted you to find my Carrie. You said you would."
As Officer Alexander passed Stella and Ellie, he stopped the cruiser and walked over to talk to Ellie. He began, "Ellie, this is just . . ." He was cut off with a spit in the face by Ellie as she turned and walked away.
His first reaction was to retaliate, but Stella grabbed his arm. "Alex, it's all part of the process. She has a lot to deal with. Jus' let her go. She needs time. You know as well as I do Mr. Branson didn't do it, nor did he have any connection with it. Jus' get him through the interview and back to his classroom as soon as possible."
"And what are you going to do?"
"I'm going to pay a visit to David Martin, Tim Martin's father. I want to see what he has to say about his run-in with Branson las' year."
David Martin is in a Jam
Stella found herself driving down Edgewood Avenue. Two more blocks to the Martin residence. Maybe David Martin would have some answers - but then again, maybe not. She stopped the cruiser and walked up to the door.
"Maybe. Who wants to know?"
"Officer Stella Washington - Wes' Mifflin police.
"Mr. Martin, I'm here to investigate the kidnapping of Carrie Branson. You may have heard about it. She was taken from her home early Saturday morning."
"And so you think I did it, right?"
"Well, did you?"
"No. And I ain't gonna answer any of your questions without my lawyer."
"Mr. Martin, if you're innocent this is the perfect time to clear your name. I jus' have a few questions and I'll be on my way."
"Yeah. Let's make this quick. I'm already late for work, but at least I'll have a real excuse this time. I'm only cooperatin' 'cause you know I'm on probation."
"Thank you, Mr. Martin. No, I didn't know you are on probation. Let's start there. Why are you on probation, sir?"
Martin was very confused. "You mean you really didn't know about my probation? So, I'm in the clear, right?"
"Maybe. In the clear about what?"
"I was over at Secret's Friday night soakin' up a few beers with some of my buddies. You ain't gonna tell, are you?"
"We'll see. If you cooperate with the investigation I may let it slide this time. Now, Mr. Martin. where were you.Saturday morning, say between the hours of 12 midnight and 3:00 a.m.?"
"I just told you. I was havin' a few beers with my buddies."
"Can your buddies verify this?"
"Well, sure. They all knew I was there."
"I'm going to need their names."
"No way! I ain't givin' you no names. They're on probation, too."
"Thank you for that bit of information, Mr. Martin. You've made it very easy to find them now. Of course, I will be reporting them to probation - and you, well, we'll see."
"Okay, okay. I'll give you the names - only you're gonna keep me clear, right?"
Stella stared at him for a moment. "I'll keep you clean if you level with me. Deal?" She didn't wait for him to answer. "Now, what about those names?" she handed him a piece of paper and a pen. He began to write.
"Thank you, Mr.Martin. these names better check out. I'm good friends with the Probation Department."
Scott was finishing up his second interview when Stella stopped by. She motioned to Officer Alexander to meet her in the hall.
"So, has he confessed to anything, Alex?"
"Nope. He denies ever seeing Carrie since before Mrs. Branson tucked her in bed."
"You don't really think he did it, do you. Alex? "He's not the one we're after, but David Martin - boy, that man is messed up, and he has no alibi. He gave me a list of several of his so-called drinking buddies that he spent early Saturday morning with. None of them are real people, just names he pulled out of the air. He doesn't want me to report him to probation for drinking."
"Stell, that name sounds familiar - David Martin? I'll get back to you. I'm going to finish my interview with Branson, then see what I can find out about Mr. David Martin. I know he's been trouble before Just can't place him right now."
- Dear Ellie - Part 9
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
© 2017 William Kovacic