Two weeks later Cara was waiting at the police station for Terry Howard to come out and talk to her. She studied her notes for her English and Calculus finals until Detective Howard finally came out to talk to her. “Do you have any news?” she asked anxiously.
He shook his head. “No, Cara. I’m sorry. We still don’t have anything new. The crime scene investigators are still going over evidence gathered at the scene, but without Jenna here to corroborate your story, there’s not much we can do.”
“That’s bullshit, and you know it,” Cara spat.
Terry Howard put a hand on Cara’s shoulder. “Cara, I believe you. I’ve known Michael Matthews for a lot of years. I know what he’s capable of, but without more proof, I can’t charge him with anything. According to him, he’s just as upset as any other father would be if his teenage daughter went missing.”
“She has to have gotten away from him and is still alive, or you would have found her body by now. There was no way he had enough time to bury her somewhere you haven’t searched.” Cara looked down at her pink Converse sneakers. “Unless he had an accomplice.”
“That is a possibility,” Detective Howard admitted. “We haven’t ruled out anything, and I promise I will call you if we have anything new. We’ve done all we can do at this point. There have been some reports of sightings in different places because of the Amber Alert, and we are tracking down every one of those leads. But Cara, you can’t come here every afternoon and expect us to have something new to tell you.”
Cara looked up at him, tears spilling out of her pretty blue eyes. She nodded and then picked up her homework. “I know. Thank you, Detective Howard.”
He watched her walk out of the police station with her shoulders slumped. Rubbing a big hand over his face, he headed back to his office. There were just too many what ifs with this case. Cara was right about Michael Matthews not having time to bury his daughter’s body if he did kill her. They couldn’t find any evidence that a car raced away from the edge of the woods where it connects to the street. There were no tire tracks, no skid marks, or any other indication that a car had been on that road, but Jenna Marshall’s scent stops in the woods. The problem with that is that Jenna has been known to walk around in those woods on a regular basis. Her scent could have been there from before. They had nothing.
Michael Matthews was carrying on like a father of a missing child. He was posting pictures of her everywhere. He’d been on the searches with his wife and everyone else. Marshall claims that Cara Matthews hit him over the head with a desk chair from Jenna’s room and has hidden Jenna somewhere. Terry didn’t think Cara was strong enough to do that. She was seventeen, five-three, and probably a hundred pounds soaking wet. Then again, she was in fear of her girlfriend’s life, but they didn’t find her prints on the chair, and Terry didn’t believe Cara would be carrying on the way she was if she had Jenna hidden somewhere. He doubted she was that good of an actress.
Shaking his head with a sigh, Terry went into his office and started going over the evidence again. This was going to be a messed-up case. Not just because there was little evidence, but because he knew the family. Michael Matthews could be a jerk, and Terry knew that he slapped Jenna and Darlene around. He also knew how homophobic Michael was. There was a very real possibility that Michael beat Jenna just as Cara described if he walked in and saw them kissing. But where the hell was Jenna? She couldn’t have simply disappeared off the face of the earth.