The only reason May Wiggins and Kevin Larkin were assigned to talk to Denise Kolinski was because May was late for the regular daily assignments due to a flat tire on her private car. It had happened shortly after she left the apartment she shared with her long term boyfriend. It was no big deal but it made her more than an hour late for work so the captain had already gone through the regular daily assignments.
This left May sitting at her desk going through her usual pre-assignment ritual. She was watching Kevin chomp away on a big, sugar coated cinnamon bun. Since it was either the sugar laden bun or a heavily glazed donut he had for his normal breakfast May was always left wondering how he managed to eat such junk food and still maintain his health. While she sipped on her coffee she tried to ignore the bag on her desk. Kevin, being a generous kind of guy, had made it a habit to always pick up something for his partner during his morning run to his favorite bakery. Since he usually bought her whatever he chose for himself, May knew it was one of those sinful buns inside the bag but this time she was determined not to give in to temptation.
Kevin ignored her as he continued to work on the cinnamon bun and drink his coffee while perusing a stack of paper work. He knew what the results would be because they were always the same. Despite all May’s preaching about proper nutrition and warnings that those kind of breakfasts were totally unhealthy, she always gave in. Sometimes it was within a few minutes and some mornings she lasted a little longer but in the end she always ended up munching away on whatever evil treat he bought her.
He was wondering how long it would this morning before she gave in when Captain Len Andraychuck approached the desk.
“Since you two looked like you’re not doing much I got something that’ll keep you busy at least for a few minutes.”
“What’s that?” May asked, still trying not to look at the ever enticing bakery bag.
“I need somebody to talk to this young girl or woman the police picked up last night. The report says they found her wandering the street with a roll of cash and a switchblade knife. They suspect her of being a hooker but she denies it. Swears she was trying to run away from a bunch of men who forced her and a bunch of other women into prostitution. Why don’t you and Kevin go down to the holding cells and question her. See what you make of it. I’d hate to discover that we have some kind of forced sex ring operating in this city right underneath our noses,” the captain explained.
Although it seemed like a minor case too small for detectives to worry about, Kevin stood and announced. “Yeah, okay we’ll go check it out. You coming May?”
May also rose from her desk and motioned for her partner to get moving. “Doesn’t sound like much but we’ll get to the bottom of it Captain,” she said as she prepared to follow her partner.
Fully aware of the drama played out by May every morning over the decadent breakfast, Captain Andraychuck decided to join the fun. He made a grab for the bakery bag as May turned from her desk.
“I guess you don’t want this so I’ll eat it.”
May stopped long enough to grab the bag from the captain and glare at him.
“Don’t you dare,” she warned as she followed her partner out of the office.
She could hear the laughter of Kevin and the captain ringing in her ears as she stabbed at the down elevator button. Once inside she swiped her card at the security mechanism.
“The nerve of that guy trying to steal my breakfast,” May muttered as she and Kevin stepped into the holding cell section of the police station. Kevin could hardly contain his laughter.
In no mood for games, May flashed her badge at the female police officer who sat behind the security desk and asked. “You got a Denise Kolinski in here?”
Sandra Coombs nodded and said. “Oh that one? Picked up last night with no ID. Claims it was all a mistake. That she’s a victim. Not a criminal so she should be set free.”
She left her desk and motioned for May and Kevin to follow her.
“That’s what they all say of course, but maybe she might have a point because she looked so young and vulnerable that I didn’t have the heart to put her in with the rest of the riff raff we pick up. I gave her a cell to herself,” she explained as she stopped and pointed at the figure inside.
“She’s all yours.” Sandra unlocked the cell then turned and walked back to her desk.
When May and Kevin got their first look at Denise they had no idea they were starting what would lead to a major investigation The diminutive figure was sitting on her cot and draped in an oversized jacket with her knees pushed up to her chin. They quickly realized why the police woman felt sorry for her. She looked so young and vulnerable she appeared to be almost waiflike and immediately May’s motherly instincts began to break through her normal cynicism.
Denise stirred at the sound of keys in her cell door and looked up at the two detectives.
“You come to get me out of here and tell me I can go now?” She asked.
Her eyes fixed on May who immediately noted that her stare was steady and unwavering. It was unnerving as most people, especially girls her age, who spend a night in a jail cell are automatically nervous when confronted by the police. However, this one showed no such signs.
As usual Keven deferred to his partner’s extensive detective experience and waited for her to act. She had 25 years in the police force, 20 of them in the detective division compared to his two years as detective.
“No, you can’t go. At least not quite yet so why don’t we go somewhere more comfortable and you can explain to us what’s going on. Maybe that’ll help us straighten this matter out, okay?” May smiled to soften the blow.
As Denise got off the cot and followed them out of the cell, May got a better look at the girl. Her booking record indicated that she was 19 but May found that hard to believe. She stood barely five feet tall and weighed 100 pounds at best. Long, black hair that was parted in the middle and framed a very youthful face with big, dark eyes gave her an air of vulnerability. One look at her and a person felt that she had to be protected.
But was it all an act? May wasn’t sure. Did Denise also seem to portray a sense of purpose and confidence or just naively trusting the police, truly believing that she had done nothing wrong?
Well, hopefully a question and answer session would clarify things. In the meantime she’d let her tell her story and take it from there.
The detectives escorted the girl into an interrogation room that consisted of a round table and several chairs. After eyeing Denise for a few minutes May decided she would go easy on the girl because she looked so young and vulnerable it was difficult to see her as anything but a victim. The other reason was that she felt a girl like her would be more open and forth coming if she kept everything as a conversation instead of a tough interrogation style.
After some small talk to make sure Denise still felt comfortable May carefully switched the conversation around to where she wanted it to go.