“They offered scholarships to girls on the golf team. In return for—favors. Special party favors,” he said quietly, the disgust evident in his voice.
Deirdre looked at the picture and saw the pain and grief in the girls’ eyes. They tried to smile, but it was obvious that none of them wanted to be there.
“Bullock—persuaded the girls to participate at the parties. This young lady,” he tapped Fonda’s face. “Was pregnant with Bullock’s child. He made her abort.”
“Where are her parents? I know her! That’s Fonda Hart. And that’s Inez Westerman. We went to school with their parents. They play golf with Fred! Does he know?”
“I’m sure he doesn’t. Fred isn’t an insider and he’s made it clear he has no interest in it. He put another picture on top. This one featured Troy Intriago, Jim Butcher and Fred’s boss, Mona Colfer.
“Not them, too! This is sex trafficking! How does this go on? How are they not caught?”
“There are, obviously, some very influential people involved. We believe that Wendy was going to use her knowledge of this to get money to finance her lawsuit against the adoptive parents. She wanted Rowan back, wanted to make a life for her. Blackmail is a very dangerous game, especially when the players are all high ranking members of society.”
“That poor, desperate child. Didn’t she know she couldn’t get Rowan back?”
“She was going to say she was underage and coerced into it. She very likely would have gotten her child.”
“How did you find that out?”
“Her diary. Between her entries and the testimony of Fonda and Inez, we can break this wide open. But it’s going to get really ugly. You poke that many snakes….”
“You’re gonna get bit.”
“Yeah. And someone must have leaked something, because you’re being followed.”
“My boys, my parents!”
“We’ve called in some help. You’re all being watched, as are the girls. I’m glad Eoin is here. He’s a witness, too.”
“Yes. Now you know.”
“How am I supposed to feel? Angry, sickened, vulnerable?”
“All of the above.”
“We still haven’t figured out who killed Wendy.”
“You don’t think it was Troy?”
“Aiden says no, and I believe him. But Troy did assault her.”
His phone buzzed. “It’s the Boss checking up on us.” He swiped the screen, putting the phone on speaker. “Hey, Boss. You’re up early.”
“I got the lab results on the DNA.”
“Deirdre’s up with me. You’re on speaker.”
“Hi Deirdre. How are you feeling?”
“Like I twisted my ankle. What’s the news?”
“Aiden’s jacket gave us Troy’s DNA. Jasper’s clever thinking with Jim’s Red Bull can, gave us his. We’ve accounted for Bullock as well…. All that to tell you—”
“All three raped her,” Deirdre said solemnly. “Others?”
“One other trace deposit. You’re not going to like it.”
“Eoin,” Deirdre said. “But he wouldn’t have forced her. He loved her.”
“Agreed. And I don’t consider him a suspect. His sample was older.”
Deirdre closed her eyes, inhaling slowly. “Then who killed her?”
“My money is on Jim Butcher. He’s got a history of violence, and was thrown out of the Marines for beating up a female Naval officer. She disciplined him, so he waited in a secluded area on the ship, and jumped her. No doubt his intent was to rape her, but she took him down. Hardly left a mark on her. He got his arm broken. And let’s just say, I’m surprised he could get it up to attack Wendy. Testicular torsion.”
Aaron hissed loudly.
“Do we have proof that he’s the one who strangled her?”
“The size and pattern of the marks on her neck are consistent with his size hands. Troy’s are smaller, Bullock’s are bigger. We’re hoping that the State lab will be able to pull fingerprints off her throat. They were stupid enough not to wear condoms when they raped her, they probably didn’t wear gloves, either.”
“And the rest? How do we bring it down? Are the girls on that team still suffering? Are they still playing their dirty games?” Deirdre’s voice rose again.
“I’m still thinking about that. Trust me, I want this as much as you do. As to whether it’s going on, or not. I imagine it is.”
“You don’t think Aiden…?”
“Aiden has a stable home, a loving family. Some of these other kids are vulnerable, for one reason or another. I hope not.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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