One Man's Worth
The next morning…
Castle arrived at the police station shortly after nine thirty, carrying a tray of coffees and a bag full of muffins, which his daughter had made the night before. As he did so, he saw that Beckett had fallen asleep at her desk and that she obviously hadn't gone home because she was wearing the same clothes as yesterday. He walked over to her, set down the coffees and muffins, and sat down in his usual chair next to her desk.
As Esposito and Captain Montgomery walked over, Castle picked up one of the coffees and waved it under Beckett's nose. She jumped and was startled to see everyone watching her and laughing.
"Very funny," she said. "There is something about this case that has been bothering me and I can't put my finger on it. After you all left last night, I continued to search through his reports and I figured out why Murray has been writing fewer notes. Castle was right about him stealing evidence from his cases that no one would miss unless they took a closer look. Murray wrote fewer notes to avoid getting caught."
"I knew it," Castle said with a grin.
Beckett glared at him and continued on, "Anyway, he wrote in one of his reports that on a murder case from last month, he and Johnson had found $175,000.00 on the killer, which the man had received in payment for a hit. I thought that that was an odd sum of money, so I decided to check Johnson's report on the same case to see if their numbers matched. According to his report, they had found an even $200,000.00. When I found that, I searched through the papers that were in his desk and found an eight digit number written down on the back of an old receipt."
"Let me guess," Esposito cut in. "It was a number for a bank account. I take it that that is where he deposited the missing twenty-five grand."
"You're exactly right," she said. "Along with a few other deposits that were slightly high for a cop's salary. I'm guessing that if we searched through every report from both Murray and Johnson thoroughly, we would find out exactly how much he stole and that he took other things from evidence that no one would miss. I'm sure that there have been plenty of items he could have taken and sold to make money."
Montgomery spoke up, "This still doesn't explain why someone would want to kill him."
Beckett responded, "I know it doesn't. That is why this case is bothering me. I know that there is something we are overlooking."
"What if his partner killed Murray," Castle asked.
"I doubt that Murray stealing evidence had anything to do with his death," Esposito said. "If Johnson discovered what he was up to, he would have turned him in, not kill him. Besides, whoever did kill him was out for blood when he shot him three times and used his blood to write a message on the wall for us to see. Stealing evidence is not a motive for that kind of brutality."
Montgomery said, "I agree with Esposito and…"
Castle cut in, "The bloody message on the wall, that's it! Has anyone looked into other cases with the same MO? Usually when you write a message like that, there are more. What if this is a serial killing?"
"Castle, you are a genius," Beckett said as she began to search the databanks on her computer. "I can't believe that we didn't see this before. This could take some time. Esposito, I want you to search with the FBI and the other government agencies. I will focus on other precincts."
Just as they were about to get back to work, a man in his late fifties walked in the room, along with four women who looked to be in their thirties. Each of them wore a very worried expression on their faces as they walked over to where Castle and the detectives were still standing.
Captain Montgomery was the first to speak up saying, "My name is Captain Roy Montgomery. These are Detectives Kate Beckett and Javier Esposito, and this is Richard Castle. Can we help you?"
The man responded, "My name is John Ryan and these are my daughters, Celeste, Tess, Jayne, and Rebecca. Kevin is my son and I was hoping that he had shown up for work this morning. I received an urgent call from him last night after one in the morning. He said that Tess had been in a serious car accident and was rushed to the hospital. I told him I would meet him there along with his sisters. When I got there, I learned that Tess was never admitted and I called her to make sure she was all right. She was fine. When Kevin never showed up at the hospital, I tried to call him several times, but he isn't answering his phone. We even stopped by his home and he didn't answer. We are very worried about him."
"Something is very wrong," Jayne said. "Kevin would never just disappear."
Castle spoke saying, "We should have noticed that Ryan wasn't here. We just got too caught up in the case."
"You're right," Esposito answered. "Ryan has to be in trouble. If he was scared that something happened to his sister, he would have been there right away. We need go over to his apartment."
Beckett spoke, "I agree. We'll head over to his apartment like Esposito said. Mr. Ryan, if you want, you and your daughters are welcome to wait here, but I suggest that you go home, or if you don't live here in the city, then find a hotel room close by. The department will take care of the costs and we will call you as soon as we learn anything. I promise you that we will do everything we can to find Kevin. He is a good friend to us."
"Thank you, Miss," answered Mr. Ryan.
Beckett, Esposito, and Castle picked up their gear, walked out of the station, and headed over to Ryan's apartment. Dread and fear for their partner replaced all thoughts of their current case.