I arrived at Lloyd center and walked in. If you’ve never been to Portland, Lloyd center is huge. They even have an ice skating rink on the lower floor. You could spend hours just wandering around it. I finally found my way to the service help desk.
“Hi. My name is Katsia Winters and I am a private investigator here in Portland. I was wondering if I would be allowed to view your security tape from a few days ago. I have a girl that went missing and she was last seen at this mall” I said in my most commanding voice.
The lady just looked at me and asked to see my ID. I showed it to her and she nodded. Let me call up Dan and he can take you and show you what you want. I held back a look of surprise and just smiled. Things are never this easy. She is either new or just too busy to deal with me. But hey, I’m not going to question it. The more info I can gather the better.
I waited around for what seemed like forever when a gentlemen in a security uniform came up to me.
“Ms. Winters I presume?” He asked.
I looked at him and smiled “yes and you must be Dan. How nice to meet you” I said. He smiled back “follow me please” he said as he turned and started walking away.
I followed him and found myself in a decent size security room. A couple screens were lit up and on each screen there were so many boxes, each with a different portion of the mall.
He closed the door behind me and motioned for me to have a seat. I did. He sat down in the chair in front of the computer screens.
“I need to see the tapes from a couple days ago” I said as I watched him.
“May I ask what this is concerning?” he asked while he searched through a bookshelf full of tapes.
“I’m a private investigator and my client has a daughter that went missing. I would like to review the tapes and see if I can see anything. She was last known to be here.” I said matter of factly.
“Ah” he said “I don’t know what you will see that the cops couldn’t, but here you go.
Unfortunately I need to stay in here while you go over them.”
“That will be fine” I said as I put the tape in.
After a few hours of viewing nothing really showed. The camera’s either had a blind spot she went into or something obstructed the view. Either way,it was a dead end.
I arrived back at the apartment and collapsed on my couch with a sigh “Well that was a bust” I said to myself as I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep. It was one of those sleeps where you don’t realize you’ve fallen asleep. So I jumped awake when Shane walked through the door carrying a pizza.
“It’s just me Kat. I have something for you as well as a delicious pizza for us to share. You can tell me all about your day and what you found, and maybe you can fill me in on why you wanted the missing person’s report” he said with a smile.
I sat up with a yawn and stretched. Walking to the Kitchen I pulled out a couple plates and handed one to Shane. I opened the refrigerator and pulled out a beer for Shane and a cooler for myself. He slid the file over to me and placed a couple slices on his plate. I did the same and scooped up the file and we went into the living room. He sat down on the couch and looked at me expectantly. Taking a bite of my pizza I looked at him.
“Ok, so here is what I was thinking and don’t laugh. You need to promise me you will hear me out before you get all concerned for me.” I said as I watched him. Something crossed his face and he sighed “Ok”.
I smiled “ So what if Cassie’s disappearance wasn’t random.”
He looked at me with an exasperated look “you can’t be serious Kat, the odds that this case and her case are related are like slim to nothing. You’re just setting yourself up to be hurt” he said. I narrowed my eyes at him “you said you’d hear me out” and I gave him a look that could freeze hell. “That maybe, but that is why I wanted the missing person’s report. If I don’t find any more women fitting this description then I know I have hit a dead end and will treat this like any other case. But Shane, What if I am correct?”
I saw Shane’s face soften.“I understand Kat” he said and took a bite of his pizza.“I may not like it, I think it’s completely counter productive to what you said this morning...but if it helps you move on, then go for it.”
While we ate our pizza I told him about all about my day and vented to him about the mall surveillance and when I was done he told me about his day and like that we spent a good hour or so just chatting. I took our plates into the kitchen and put the pizza in the fridge. When I came back into the living room Shane had already spread out the papers. The papers had pictures and descriptions on them. We spent the majority of the night sorting through the papers pulling out all the dark haired women. After the pile was whittled down to half we started look for similar characteristics to my sister and the missing girl. At around 11pm Shane turned in because he had to work in the morning. I ended up pulling an all nighter, but I was satisfied with my results. Shane came out all dressed for work and I beamed at him. “It’s too early for you to be smiling like that Kat. I take it you found something?” he said. I smiled “yes I did!” I handed him the information on the 8 girls.
“All these girls fit the body type to our missing girl. They all disappeared within a year or two of each other on the same date! What if it’s all related? Maybe our perp is smart. In a city this size, people go missing all the time right? And if there is no body or lead how would you know? And the fact it’s years apart, unless you are looking for a connection you wouldn’t put two and two together” I said excitedly. “I’m going to go and talk to the missing girls families. Gather some more information on them. Luckily, they are all local” I said as I started heading towards my bedroom.
“Kat” Shane called behind me. I stopped and turned around looking at him.
“If you are correct about this, I’ll need to bring it up with my captain” he said.
I took a couple steps towards him, not bothering to hide the anger building up “this is my case Shane, my client. I will not be removed from it” I said.
“I understand, but if it becomes a serial case we need to handle it. Plus, if it does turn out to be a connection or lead to your sister, you’d be too close to the case” he said.
“I realize that” I said as my anger started to seep away. I paused and then I looked up at him “give me a little time to gather more information before you bring it to John. This way if I am wrong, the PPD won’t have to worry about looking bad” I said.
He sighed “Ok” he said “just keep me in the loop please, I don’t want you going anywhere without checking in. If this does turn out to be a serial case, it could become dangerous.”
I smiled at him “I didn’t know you cared” I said jokingly.
He smiled back but his eyes held an emotion I couldn’t quite read, somewhere between sadness and regret. Was I missing something? “I’ve always cared about you, more than I think
you ever realized” he brushed a loose bit of hair out of my face and placed a kiss on my forehead
“please keep me in the loop. Bye Kat” he said and then he turned and left the apartment.
I stood there, my brain trying to process what happened. I thought he was going to kiss me. Would I want him to? I had all sorts of questions going through my head. I shook my head as if I could shake away the thoughts.
“One problem at a time” I said to myself as I turned to go and get ready for the day.