Jane glanced at the text on her cell phone, then hustled down the hall to the field office. She settled into position with her laptop in front of her. Agent Burke and Agent Martin were already in the room. Less than five minutes later the door opened. Simon and Ethan Stancil entered the room.
Simon introduced Ethan to Agent Burke, then crossed the room and poured a mug of coffee and handed it to Ethan.
Hesitantly, he took the mug. “Thanks.”
Burke studied Ethan before speaking. “Can you handle a few questions, or do you need to wait until later?”
“I hope you realize that when I walk out of here I'm a dead man."
"Not if you agree to cooperate."
He said in resignation, "Let’s get this over with.”
Burke waited until Ethan took a second sip of coffee, then asked, “Do you work for Wayne Springer?”
“Did you work for him in the past?”
“Did he fire you?”
“No. I quit.”
“How long did you work for him?”
“That’s a long time. Why did you quit?”
“Springer treats him employees like shit.”
“If that’s the case, why did you continue to work for him?”
“I didn’t have to deal with him. When Kat Owens was manager, Springer rarely came in. She was a good manager. He ran his side businesses”
“Was there an employee in particular that he was hard on?”
“I don’t know about the other escorts, but he verbally abused Teresa every time she came in the club, even when she was with a date.”
“When you started working for Springer, did you know that he had side businesses that were involved in illegal activities?”
“No. Teresa told me about the escort business two years ago. She commented that he was an evil man. I didn’t ask questions because I didn’t want to know. I needed the job.”
“Isn’t it true that the escorts are not supposed to come into the club unless they are with a date?”
“Did she break the rule on more than one occasion?”
“Did she break all of his rules?”
“Probably. She was young, had a rebellious nature. She called Springer a hard-hearted warden. She hated not having her freedom, but she had no place to go if she walked away. She was also by nature gregarious. She liked chatting with the club’s clientele, and the regulars enjoyed her banter.
"The last time she came in, she came in to spy on the new manager. Springer showed up. He grabbed her arm and practically dragged her into the back room. When she left the club, she was holding her arm. Her eyes red and swollen. It was obvious she had been crying.
“The next day I stayed late to clean up a mess someone made in the kitchen and pantry. When I heard Springer and his enforcer, Pete Garcia, in the bar deep in conversation. I turned out the lights and listened. I remained there until I heard them leave. Obviously, they didn’t know I was still in the building.”
Burke asked, “Was that when you heard Springer tell Garcia to get rid of Teresa?”
“Yes. When one of the girls stopped by to tell me that Teresa had vanished, I walked out of the club and didn’t go back. I spent the next few days questioning all of the shop owners in the vicinity. No one had seen her.”
“Ethan, didn’t it occur to you to call the police?”
“No. The police have investigated his businesses on two different occasions. Nothing sticks to him. It didn't make sense for me to put myself in his line of fire?”
Jane had had enough. She stood and walked slowly over to Agent Burke’s desk. Puzzled, Ethan watched every step she took.
He didn’t bat an eye. "Hello, Kat. I saw you when I entered the room. I thought there was something familiar about your face, but I wasn't sure about your identity until I heard your voice. You look good. I’m relieved to see that you are still alive.”
“I'm happy to be alive. Thanks for having the courage to come forward. Do you know if Springer’s escort business is still up and running?”
“I have no idea. Teresa is the only one of Springer’s girls who confided in me. And, I haven’t talked to any of the staff members since I walked out.”
“You do realize that there will be more Teresa’s if Springer isn’t behind bars, don’t you?”
“Sure, I do, but I have an invalid mother to support. If something happens to me, she will end up in a potter’s field. I can’t let that happen.”
“I’m sorry about you mom. The best way to stay alive, Ethan, is to put Springer away. If you are guaranteed protection, will you testify?”
Ethan directed a question to Agent Burke. “How long will it be before you pick Springer and Garcia up?”
“As soon as we can get a search warrant. Maybe by the end of the day. If not, tomorrow.”
“Will they be held without bond.”
“I can’t guarantee it. If he does get bail, he will be under surveillance.”
Simon spoke for the first time. “If anything happens to you, Ethan, I will personally guarantee that your mom is taken care of. I’ll put it in writing.”
Kathryn put her hand on Simon’s arm. “Thank you, Simon. And Ethan, I will testify if you will.”