The Coastal Killings

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Chapter 34

The drive from the office to Pacific Beach was relatively quick. Within fifteen minutes Matt conducted a drive-by of Jason’s house in Lawson Avenue. As expected, Jason’s car was not there; nor was Alicia’s.

He parked his car about 100 yards down the road from Jason’s house. He checked the time. It was 10.22am. Time would soon be his enemy.

With manila folder in hand Matt secured his car and made his way to Jason’s house. The front door was in full view of the street, so he had to work fast to minimize being noticed.

At the door he removed his pick lock set from his pocket and knelt down in front door handle. Fortunately the lock on Jason’s door was a common door lock.

After twelve years of hunting some of the worse criminal elements in the country, Matt was a firm believer that in law enforcement, you needed to keep pace with what the crooks knew. If you wanted to catch the criminals, you needed a criminal mindset - be able think and act like a criminal. Otherwise you became outdated and you got left behind. Consequently there were very few homes, or cars for that matter in the San Diego area that would keep him out, if he wanted to gain entry.

Matt unzipped the pick lock case and removed a tension wrench and a hook pick and inserted them both into the door handle’s lock. Within ten seconds Matt had manipulated the five pins in the lock and opened the door.

He stood and scanned the street before he stepped inside and quickly closed the door.

Once inside Matt found himself standing in the small lounge room taking a typical first time assessment as he snapped on his latex gloves. He considered the master bedroom would be the most suitable place to plant the newspaper clippings.

The three bedrooms were all located down the right side of the house. The master bedroom was accessed from the lounge. Matt swung open the master bedroom door. The first thing he noticed was the unmade King sized bed that occupied most of the floor space in the modest sized room.

He found himself staring at the ruffled sheets. The thought of that trainer having sex with his wife in that bed only further infuriated him.

He opened the closet door to search for a suitable location to plant the manila folder.

A hat shelf ran across the top of the wardrobe however it was empty. If he planted the folder on this shelf he risked the possibility of it being discovered by Jason.

Matt scanned the room for any other options, but he couldn’t locate anywhere secure enough to plant the evidence. He decided that maybe one of the other two bedrooms would be more appropriate. With Jason living on his own, it was also probable that Jason would rarely access these other bedrooms.

Matt checked his watch as he made his way out of the master bedroom: 10.30am. He moved through the kitchen and into the hall. Frown lines formed on Matt’s face when he noticed there was only one door leading off the hall. And that door was all the way down the end.

He stepped back and took an overall assessment of the hall. According to his research there were three bedrooms in this house. The Master was accessed from the lounge but there was only one bedroom door leading from the hall.

How the hell do you access bedroom two?

Matt moved to the end door, opened it and checked inside. It was smaller than the average bedroom and empty of furniture. He closed the door and moved back into the hall. He scratched the back of his head as he stared at the blank wall where the middle bedroom’s door should be. He was perplexed. A solid painted drywall ran the length of the hall.

He made his way out the back door into the rear yard and walked around to the side of the house. He noticed from the outside there was a window half way along. It didn’t belong to bedroom three because that window opened out onto the back yard. So it had to belong to the missing bedroom two.

Matt peered in through this side window into what should be the 2nd bedroom, positioned immediately behind the Master bedroom. He shielded his eyes as he tried to peep inside the window. It took a couple of attempts before he realized the glass had been painted black.

Who paints out their windows?

He returned back inside, puzzled by his findings. For some reason access to bedroom two had been removed. But why?

Following a quick check of his watch he realized time was running out. He had no choice but to try and hide the newspaper clippings in bedroom three.

After entering this bedroom he scanned the room searching for what he considered to be a likely place where a devious criminal mind would hide mementos such as incriminating newspaper clippings. It also needed to be a place that Jason would not inadvertently discover.

The room was empty. He opened the wardrobe door. The hanging space was completely empty, as was the top shelf. This would be even more conspicuous than the master bedroom.

Matt’s eyes dropped to the carpet on the floor inside the wardrobe. He lifted up the carpet. Fortunately it was just sitting on the floor like a rug and it lifted straight up.

As he did so he noticed a narrow gap between the floor of the wardrobe and the right side wall. It was previously hidden by the carpet.

He traced the edges of the wall moving up from the gap at the floor. Upon closer inspection it appeared the wall was not sealed in the corner. He knocked on the wall. It appeared hollow. Matt pushed against the wall searching for cross support noggins, or any form of strengthening inside the side wall. He heard a discernible ‘click’ and the side wall sprung open about one inch.

What the…? Matt hooked his finger behind the partially ajar door and swung it open. It appeared to be a concealed door with a spring latch. He stepped through the opening where he found himself inside the darkened wardrobe of Bedroom two. This wardrobe was also completely empty.

With a gentle push the wardrobe doors open outwards to reveal a darkened room. Matt stepped into the darkness and used the light from his mobile phone to locate a light switch. He flicked it on. A dull red light painted the room in an eerie blood-red hue. Photography developing trays and chemicals sat on a table near the light switch. A rope line with a number of small film clip pegs stretched between the walls. Bedroom two had been converted to a secret photographer’s dark room. But why so secretive?

Once he had acclimatized to the dull lighting Matt scanned the room. His mouth fell open when he noticed a wall of black and white ten by eight photographs. Every photo was of Alicia. There had to be over fifty photographs of his wife on this wall. Some were candid shots that appeared like she was unaware they were being taken, while others were obviously posed.

Matt moved along the photo wall examining each of the photographs. He was taken aback when he saw six photographs all depicting Alicia naked in various suggestive and salacious poses. Each full frontal photograph was similar to what you would expect to find in a sleazy men’s’ magazine.

He could not believe this was his wife. Why would she pose for him like this? He shook his head in disbelief as his eyes scanned the photos. I do not know you any more.

Matt ripped each of the six explicit photos from the wall in disgust. He rolled them up and shoved them into his rear jeans pocket. The more he found out about her sordid affair with this trainer, the more he felt justified by his plan.

He scanned the glowing red room and noticed a small desk sitting under the painted out window. He considered one of the drawers might be a suitable place to plant the newspaper clippings.

Matt placed the manila folder on the desk while he opened and inspected each of the three drawers. Each drawer was empty and therefore too obvious.

When Matt lifted the manila folder from the desk, the newspaper clippings slid out the bottom and fell to the floor. Matt rolled his eyes. He cursed to himself as he checked his watch. It was 10.49am. He was running out of time.

He dragged the chair out of the way and bent down to pick up the clippings. One had floated into the foot well under the desk. He carefully reached under and picked up the wayward clipping.

As he commenced to back out from under the desk, something under the desk caught his attention. Matt strained his neck to look up to the underneath of the desk. He noticed what appeared to be a dark maroon colored book – possibly an album, secured under the desk by black duct tape.

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