I walked back into my office. Well, mine and Garrett's for now. A water pipe had burst in his, so we have to share until it's fixed. He followed me in
"What are you doing with the notebook?" he asked.
"Taking notes." I said pulling out my chair and bending down to press the power button on my computer.
"You know there's and app for that. I downloaded DropBox onto your phone last week so you can share all your files wirelessly."
"I can write quicker." I sat down. "So what's the story with Aaron? He doesn't fit typical client profile."
"His dad went to school with Drake." Garrett told me as he walked back to his desk. "Evidently they were pretty close."
"Kid needs and attitude adjustment." I muttered as I opened my web browser.
"You thought so too?"
"I was about to go crazy! I mean, we're trying to help him here, the least he could do is show some civility!"
"A dose of personality wouldn't be misplaced either," Garret said by way of agreement.
"I didn't know Kennedy Markovich, but I wouldn't have blamed her one bit for breaking up with him." I had typed 'Arnold Owens' into Google. Nothing glaring came on the first page, but on the website of SLJU- Wilmington's channel 6 news station, I played a video of a 'breaking story' that had aired this morning which showed GiGi Parnell standing beside a two lane road.
"Tragedy struck Wilmington this morning," she said, "Kennedy Markovich, the granddaughter of Mayor Jarvis Markovich, was found dead in Rockford Park this morning, with her boyfriend, Arnold Owens. Kennedy, a recent graduate of-" I fast forwarded beyond the lengthy list of Kennedy's achievements, and clicked play again when GiGi looked back at her notes. "As I said earlier, Kennedy's boyfriend, Arnold Owens was found with her. He was here attending University of Delaware, but was from Dubuque, Iowa, where his parents still live. I spoke with Sgt. Percy Sanders, who was unable to grant us a live interview, but he told me there is a 'person of interest' they are looking into, and he hoped to make an arrest shortly." The video ended there, and I closed the window.
"That doesn't bode well for us." Garrett commented. "The sergeant is looking to make and arrest?"
"Indeed." I mumbled. "But I don't get why they latched onto Aaron. Couldn't it be political? Someone who doesn't like Jarvis?"
"Quinby he's been elected for five consecutive terms. Clearly, everyone's in love with the man."
"It only one person to stab Kennedy," I reminded him.
"And I bet you fifty bucks it was a random stranger."
"I appreciate your generosity, but I don't bet."
"Honestly, Quinby, I think you need to forget about finding evidence that proves him innocent and go for reasonable doubt on this one."
"I want to use that only as a last resort, and I'm sure Mr. Ashton does too." I said, "This kid's got his whole life ahead of him, he doesn't need the suspicion of murdering the mayor's granddaughter handing over him."
"I still say it was some sicko wandering by," Garrett muttered, "You'll never find him."
I ignored my morose companion, took out my cell phone, dialed Howard Left, a lieutenant and my longtime contact in the police department. "Hi, Howard," I said when he answered, "It's Quinby Xander."
"Hello, Miss Quinby. How may I help you on this fine morning?"
"I need to know what you've got on the murder of Kennedy Markovich."
"Oh, Quinby, why that? Anything else I would try and get for you, but with her being Jarvis' granddaughter, and all, the Chief has us on a strict gag order."
"I don't want all the details of the investigation, Howard," I just need to know what you've got against Aaron Stafford."
"Kennedy's ex-boyfriend?" Howard said, "Why?"
"I'm working with his attorney."
"I hope it's a good one, because he's going to need it. It doesn't look good. I'm sure you already know he has no alibi. Obviously there's motive,"
"What about the weapon?" I cut in, "Has it been found?"
"Not yet, but that's another thing about Stafford. The killer was left-handed."
"And I take it he is too?"
"Yep. You know how probable that is."
Inwardly I groaned. "Do you have any physical evidence pointing to him?"
"We found his fingerprints on her car."
"They were an item. Of course he'd been in her car!"
"Yes, but she had it waxed yesterday afternoon."
Waxed? When I was Kennedy's age I couldn't afford to wash my car. Putting gas in the tank was iffy, and having the oil changed? Yeah right. I made a noted to call Aaron and ask him about it. "Anything else?" As if that wasn't quite enough.
"He'd given her a ring on her eighteenth birthday, a little gold one with an amethyst on it," Howard told me. "Since they had broken up, she'd quit wearing it, but we found it on her this morning."
"Did you test it for partials?" I hated to ask the question, because the evidence would likely be damaging.
"Yeah, but it was so smudged up, the only clear one we got was hers."
"Okay," I got ready to hang up.
"Quinby? I want you to know, we're following procedure to the letter on this one. The Chief doesn't want us getting accused of shoddy work just because we can get an easy conviction- and we can without a change of venue- he wants to make sure it's fair and square."
"I understand, Howard, and we appreciate that. Thank you."
"Who was that?" Garrett asked when I set my phone down.
"Lt. Howard Left," I replied, "He's been my contact in the department since he was a beat cop."
"How bad is the damage?"
"Well, your perfect stranger is left-handed." I said.
"And the ring Aaron gave her was on her hand last night- but she hadn't worn it since they'd broken up."
"Where does Aaron live?" I asked.
"Over on the west side of the city, why?"
"Kennedy had her car waxed yesterday, but Aaron's fingerprints were on it. I want to ask him about it, but I'd like to wait until Mr. Ashton has left."
"That sure doesn't look good." Garrett said, "I'd wait a little while to make sure Drake's gone."
I spent about an hour looking into Jarvis Markovich's life for the past fifty years, hoping to find someone who'd had enough of an issue that they might have killed Kennedy. Unfortunately for me, it appeared just as Garrett had said. Everybody loved Mayor Markovich. Mr. Ashton came back and I went outside to call Aaron. He didn't answer, so I left him a voicemail and went to lunch. Nothing else came out on the case that day. Aaron finally called me back at six p.m. while I was eating supper.
"When did you last see Kennedy?" I asked."
"A week ago Saturday."
"Uh- no, the one before that."
"Before you broke up with her on Monday?"
"I keep telling you guys I didn't break up with Kennedy. We agreed it wasn't working out, so we split. But I didn't see the then- we texted. Check with Sprint if you haven't already, I'm sure they have a record of it."
Ouch. Breakup by text. Talk about cold and insensitive. My husband, Ted, had broken up with me once when we were dating, but he'd done it in person after one of the most romantic dinners we'd shared, and that had been hard enough. Primarily because when he'd said, 'Quinby, I need to talk to you….It's important.' I thought he was going to propose. Someone once said 'if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.' We both thought that was the end of our relationship. Six months later we were on our honeymoon. "Are you sure about that?" I asked Aaron.
"You calling me a liar? You think I forgot seeing my former girlfriend?"
"Look, don't get smart with me, Aaron. I'm trying to help you here." I'd had all I could take. "Now, the police found your fingerprints on Kennedy's car. She'd had it waxed yesterday. I need to know how they got there."
"I don't know." He whined, "Maybe the guy waxing it missed a spot."
"That's the best you can do?"
"You want me to make up something?"
"Well, no, I-"
"Oh, I get it. you're with the cops. You think I killed Kennedy, and now you're trying to wrangle a confession out of me. Well, I've got news for you." If we had been on the radio, the rest of what he said would have been covered by a series of bleeps. I hung up before I could say something I might regret. And then changed clothes and went to church.