Whisper softly or you're dead

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Chapter 31

The final part is closer than one expects.

Suddenly the world changed around them. New evidence gave them surprising new leads. The DNA results came back for the hair roots. One set of DNAs matched the records of a Stewart Gaywon who had records for rape and aggravated assault on women. He fitted the classic type of malicious sexual offender wanting to humiliate women. He had been accused of torturing his neighbours’ dogs and spent time in a youth offenders’ institution. Recently, he had done time in a penitentiary but was now in the area.

He was being called in. When his house was searched all his belongings had disappeared. Someone had tipped him off. There was a leak in the precinct. Defoe now would only work closely with Chase Cradley, Kate and Angie. They would type up all their own notes and confer together outside of the precinct. A tight cell until they caught this U.N.S.U.B.

Chase’s DNA results had proved negative. He might be the killer’s accomplice but Defoe didn’t believe there was any connection. Defoe felt in his bones Chase was not the killer. He was mixed up, conflicted but he did not have the cold detached psyche of their U.N.S.U.B. He was too emotional, caring deeply for the murder victims like Mary Jane and their relatives. The real killer had no emotional link with his victims. They were just parts of a jigsaw, waiting to be completed. Their deaths were an inevitable necessity to conclude his careful work.

He had also admitted he was homosexual and had only tried to protect Mary Jane. He had not ‘come out’ until his parents died and the macho attitudes in the police precinct made it difficult for him to open up to his colleagues about his sexual tendencies. Therapy sessions would enable him to come to terms with his emotions, to start to allow him to come to terms with his sexuality.

Chase told them he had also been trying to find the body of another girl, his sister’s friend who had disappeared. He believed she had also been murdered by the man who murdered his sister. He had introduced the guy to the girl and was eaten up with guilt. He was unlucky; each time he saw a victim he feared it was Sue but the body had still not been discovered.

Angie had found he had met a guy in the bar the night Charlie had been murdered. It was a senator’s son and Chase was trying to protect his reputation knowing the bad publicity could ruin the young man’s entry into politics. The young man in Chase’s absence had admitted he frequented gay bars and had taken Chase home that night to his condo where they had stayed until morning. Chase now had an alibi for the time of Charlie’s murder. His lying when being questioned was however something Cradley would be pursuing in the future.

Defoe was not happy. Chase had not appeared at the precinct yet and Kate was again working late. He wanted a meeting with both and then to make sure Kate got home safe. He trusted no-one but himself to take her home. His cave-man instincts were on red alert. She concentrated on her job but he could see the worry lines on her forehead. She was more scared than she would admit, especially to him. Unless she asked him, he could only wait and come to her aid if she needed help again.

Eight o’clock arrived and Chase had not reported in, either in person or by cell. Defoe decided, either he had some strong leads and was following them or he was in trouble. Two officers should have gone to the clinic. He had rung them and found out that Chase had left hours ago to interview Michael Hilenko. He took down the address and asked Cradley for one of his officers to follow it up. Cradley looked grim. Chase always followed procedure to the letter. He was that sort of straight guy.

Cradley’s men rang back from the address. The apartment was dark and unoccupied.

‘‘Get a search warrant,’’ ordered Cradley. He had an officer missing who wasn’t answering his phone and a potential suspect had vanished. Kate came into the office. ‘‘What is wrong?’’ she asked observing the grim expressions on the two men’s faces.

‘‘Chase is not answering his phone and has not come back yet. He intended to visit the premises of one Michael Hilenko.’’

‘‘Do we have a picture yet?’’ asked Kate.

‘‘Sure, now we have a name. The receptionist was absent and the new temp didn’t know and tell Chase Hilenko was a woman. We had to pull one of the psychologists out of a conference seminar to get the information we required.’’

Kate looked puzzled. ‘‘I left a message on his administrator’s desk asking her to warn him urgently the perp might be a woman.’’ She called his administrator immediately.

‘‘She said the message must have been taken off her desk. She didn’t see it and he never received it. Our leak must have taken it.’’

He went to the monitor and keyed in some questions. A few moments later a face was being printed. He gave the photo to Kate and watched her reactions. Her face went white.

‘‘It is the woman at the conference.’’

‘‘This lady has a record. She beat a fellow pupil to a pulp when the girl called her a dog. She was sentenced to six months in a youth offender’s institution and had psychological treatment but later she got grief at work because of her way of dress and intimidated a work colleague forcing her to leave. She was a victim but the retribution she served back was totally out of proportion to the hurt she suffered.’’

‘‘To a normal person,’’ said Kate, ‘‘but this woman isn’t normal. Even a minor slight might have damaged her permanently.’’

‘‘Quite so,’’ said Defoe. ’’Sent away to boarding school when she was five, she had little love and didn’t develop bonds with people. She was always an outsider looking in and couldn’t ‘come out’ and develop a loving relationship with other women. I believe she hid her feelings and finally decided she wanted to become a man. Since then it has dominated her mind and her actions. Dissatisfied with the women she met at school and work she wants the perfect woman, a woman she has constructed when she is Michael; a woman who will not let her down. She is making herself

the perfect lover in her distorted mind.’’

‘‘She just needs one more part to complete the picture.’’ Defoe looked keenly at Kate wondering what Ms Hilenko wanted from her. He suddenly saw her unique feature, her eyes. Her eyes were a soft forest green but had distinctive gold flecks in them. Cat like, she looked mysterious and her eyes reflected her moods. Only one in ten thousand had eyes like that and his Kate had what Madeline wanted to complete her picture. She was in danger but how to explain it to her?

He took Kate by the shoulders to a mirror in the wash room. ‘‘Look in that mirror. What do you see?’’ She shook her shoulders and pulled away from him.

‘‘Don‘t maul me,’’ she snapped.

‘‘I’m trying to batter some common sense into your thick skull,’’ he said losing patience, his anxiety taking over. He must control himself. He never ‘lost it,’ on a case but he was losing control near Kate, the idea of losing her terrifying him.

‘’I don’‘t know what I am supposed to be looking at.’’

‘‘Your eyes damn you!’’ he snarled back. Gone was the controlled psychotherapist. In his place was a protective lover, his macho instincts to the fore.

‘‘Your eyes are the most distinctive part of you. That woman was fascinated by your eyes. She wants you for her masterpiece. You are in danger Kate!’’

Kate gulped. He was right. She walked back to Cradley. ‘‘Our suspect wants my eyes. What do I do to protect myself and can I be the bait?’’ Defoe nearly had heart failure. She was offering herself as bait to that twisted U.N.S.U.B. but he couldn’t argue with her. She was thinking more rationally than he. It was the obvious next step before another girl was murdered.

Cradley said, ‘‘We will work on that. Let us try to trace Chase.’’ Two hours later the men sent to search Madeline Hilenko’s house had gained their warrant and entered it. A car had been driven away like the devil was after the driver when they parked the first time outside the condo. They had clearly disturbed the occupant. They found a third of a dismembered body wrapped up in a plastic sheet, that of Chase. His cell was wedged under the desk.

Hilenko had been in such a rush to leave the apartment she had for once left some evidence, Chase’s cell. She was slipping. The conversation he had taped was so faint they could hardly hear it. The voice on the tape could be amplified though. It was the last act of a professional cop before he had died and might nail their killer

The next surprise came when Gaywon was dragged from the sea with his girlfriend. Both had received a bullet in their head. The girlfriend was the greatest surprise. It was Karen Taylor who had worked in administration at the precinct and was the one they suspected of administering the poison. She was clearly the leak. Her hair was matched to the mousey, highlighted hair found in the warehouse. She must have helped her boyfriend and the main U.N.S.U.B.

Defoe believed Hilenko was still out there, her work uncompleted. These other two perps had proved to be dispensable. She had dispatched them with total detachment in the most convenient way, over the seafront, down by the quay. Gaywon would have made the vicious slashes and assaulted the girl. His girlfriend probably watched. Their main U.N.S.U.B. Madeline Hilenko did the skilled work, the cutting off of the body parts and the cutting of the throat. When Defoe had believed Hilenko was a man he had believed he was impotent and couldn’t have raped the girl. Now he knew she was in fact a woman everything began to make sense.

‘‘We now know our potential killer,’’ said Cradley. ‘‘We all go home and get some sleep. Let the officers who found him look for leads in our place. Tomorrow when we are fresh we prepare the bait if Kate is happy.’’

‘‘I am.’’ She had felt sick when Chase’s body parts had been brought into her lab. Cradley suggested as the killing was clean her junior could do the autopsy and she agreed. He was competent and thorough. She would merely read the test results. She and Defoe would speak at the memorial service the following week, commemorating Chase’s service as a great cop and member of the community. He was not loved but was highly respected in the police service.

Defoe came over. ‘‘Home now. No arguments for once. My house. It has gates and a very sophisticated alarm. Tomorrow we may use your apartment as a trap for Ms Hilenko.’’ She knew he was right. She turned to Cradley and said, ‘‘Here are my keys if you want to bug my apartment and try to trap Hilenko there.’’

‘‘Excellent. We just need to make her go there.’’

‘‘Bed,’’ said Cradley. ‘‘Take her home Defoe. Give her a cuddle. It is as plain as the nose on your face you want to take care of her. Everyone in the office knows you two are an item now.’’

Defoe shrugged and put an arm around Kate and led her out of the office. You couldn’t keep anything from these guys; they were too sharp and he had hung around her office too much recently. He had given them away.

His arm around her, Kate rested her head on his shoulder as they drove home in his jeep. This was not the night for arguments but for affection and caring. Defoe had not been a buddy of Chase and had argued with him at many case conferences but there was mutual respect between the two men and like the officers he would miss a sound professional.

Defoe stopped outside the house and let her in. ‘’I’m checking security. Hilenko may have been watching us and know this place.’’ He let the dog out. He had acquired him that week feeling his security was not sufficient now Kate might stay there. Large isolated houses were a target for bands of thieves. The big hound came up to Kate and she stood still and let him sniff her.

‘‘This is a friend, Kane,’’ his owner said and the hound licked her. She stroked him, gave him a biscuit and he was her friend for life.

‘‘Turncoat,’’ said Defoe as the dog followed her about after he had run around the grounds.

‘‘He just has good taste.’’

‘‘So do I,’’ retorted Defoe and grabbed her around the waist. ‘‘Let me show you my house.’’ He took her around the new-build. This place smacked of money. She knew he was not poor. He had written books and lectured at several universities. He had a professorship in one but this did not explain how a boy from a poor family had earned enough to buy this mansion.

‘‘My Cousin in Miami started a building company and several of the family including me helped him. I was a partner in that and bought shares in the other companies he owned. He is a financial wizard and my investments turned into gold. I am now only the Human Resources Director in the building firm and can concentrate on my profiling work but my investments are still there.’’

‘‘I was worrying you were money laundering or something.’’

‘‘Not yet.’’

‘‘You kept this place under your hat.’’

‘‘Even if one is moderately successful women target you for what you have rather than what you are,’’ he explained ruefully.

I bet they do. No wonder he had a reputation as a player outside of the precinct. Tall and handsome, intelligent and sensitive and now wealthy. He had it all.

‘‘My Cousin has been in the gossip columns for years. He has recently found a woman who wants him just for himself and he is the happiest man on earth.’’ His manner suggested he himself was still looking for such a woman.

‘‘A wine before bed,’’ he suggested. It was one o’clock and they had to be back at the precinct by nine. She nodded and they sat under the heater watching the moon and the stars. ‘‘You need cuddling. Doctor’s and the policeman’s orders.’’

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