Sarah McFadden sat at her desk while Max Drake spent the next hour in the captain’s office. They talked non-stop. Sarah watched the whole conversation take place through the office window without hearing a word. It was evident to her that Max would be cleared of any suspicion. Making him step away from the crime scene had made sense, knowing he would be cleared and back on the case when they got to the station. Now the real work would begin.
Finally, Max came out of the office and straight for his desk.
“Do I have a partner on this case or are you going to jail?” Sarah chuckled.
“I’m clear, Captain knows me well enough. I’m back on the case. This one is personal so let’s get started.” Max looked at his watch. The time was 2:45 in the afternoon.
“First, we have to visit Miss Knowles husband and tell him the bad news,” Max said.
“I got the address while you were in there getting felt up by the captain, so let’s go,” Sarah said while standing up. She tossed the car keys to Max.
Max drove to the home address where Hallie Knowles lived. They knocked on the door and rang the doorbell four times. Each time they knocked a little harder, no one answered. Sarah opened up her phone, “well let’s call Mr. Parker Knowles and find out where he is.”
Sarah dialed his cell number from a piece of paper. “Mr. Parker, hello, my name is Detective Sarah McFadden. By chance do you know where your wife, Hallie Knowles is sir?” Sarah shot a glance at Max.
“No, I do not know where she is. Why are you asking?” Parker said.
“Where are you now?”
“What is this about detective?” Parker asked.
“It is better we talk in person. Where are you, sir?” Sarah asked.
“I’m at work.”
“We need to speak with you. Can you meet us at your home?”
“Yes, but you are making me nervous, what is going on?” Parker asked.
Sarah could feel the tension in his voice. She did not notice any defiance or anger, just nervousness. “Did something happen to Hallie?”
“Let’s put it this way Mr. Knowles, it’s better we talk face to face.”
“I will be there in ten minutes, tops,” Parker said.
“We are there now, and we will wait until you get here. Thank you, sir, see you in a couple of minutes.” Sarah pushed the button and disconnected the call.
Max said, “Good, I want to get into the house and see if we can poke around a little without spooking him and having to go the warrant route.”
“We still will want a warrant. My gut says the likelihood she was killed in that house is very high.”
“While we wait I’ll call the job and have the captain get someone to start on the warrant.” Max pulled out his phone and stepped off the porch.
A few minutes later Parker Knowles drove up and parked in the driveway. He got out of the car quickly and hurried to the front porch.
“Mr. Knowles my name is Detective Max Drake and this is my partner Detective Sarah McFadden.”
Parker reached out and shook both of their hands, “I’m freaking out here detectives. What is this about?”
“Sir, can we go inside?” Max asked.
Parker quickly unlocked the door and stepped into the house with McFadden and Drake literally right behind him. He stopped in the living room and spun around to face them.
“Sir, do you know where your wife, Hallie Cook-Knowles is right now?” Sarah asked.
“No I do not, why.”
“We are sorry to inform you that your wife was murdered,” Max said.
They watched intently at his reaction. Both Max and Sarah knew that it was a 95% chance Hallie died by a family member or someone close to her. Parker stared at them with a blank look– it took a few seconds to process. He shook his head.
“This can’t be possible, Hallie murdered. No way, why.” He actually shouted. Then the tears welled up in his eyes.
“Sorry Mr. Knowles, but it has been confirmed, it is your wife,” Sarah said.
“How, where?” Parker shook his head.
“She died sometime Wednesday late afternoon or evening. The autopsy will be performed tomorrow morning.” Max added.
Parked fell into a chair and leaning forward with his hands covering his face.
“Murdered, how?” Parker asked.
“She was found in a ditch out in the dairy country. We believe she was dumped there.” Max added.
“This isn’t possible. Hallie didn’t have an enemy in the world.” Tears filled Parker’s eyes.
“Mr. Knowles this doesn’t necessarily mean someone that she knew did this to her. It could be a random act or a kidnapping. There are a lot of crazy people out there.”
“How did she die?”
“We can’t say officially, but the ME preliminary examination says blunt force trauma,” Max said. He always explained the horrible parts of these interviews, leaving Sarah to be the nurturing detective.
“When was the last time you saw your wife, Mr. Knowles,” Sarah asked.
Max loved working with Sarah McFadden. When interviewing men, Sarah took the lead. A good-looking female officer put most of them in a more relaxed mood. Max, on the other hand, took the lead on the women. It was something they did automatically working closely together.
“Parker stared at the floor, thinking.” I suppose a couple days ago at Victoria’s house. She came by to talk to Victoria.”
“Who is Victoria?” Sarah asked.
“And you were there the last time you saw your wife?” Sarah asked.
“It’s complicated, but Hallie and I are going through a divorce, which is final in a couple days.”
“So how does Victoria Rutledge fit into the last time you saw your wife,” Sarah asked again.
“After Hallie and I split up I moved into the spare bedroom at Victoria’s and let Hallie keep our home.”
Max looked around the living room and the kitchen; there was nothing out of place. Max edged around to the kitchen area and looked around. There was not even a coffee cup in the sink. No water spots in the sink. The stove looked brand new. He looked at the refrigerator, He thought about looking inside, but decided to wait for a warrant.
“Looks like your wife liked to keep things spotless,” Max said.
“She was overly clean; nothing would be out of place.”
“Was that a problem for you?” Sarah asked.
Parker looked confused at that question. “No, I like that about Hallie.”
“Sir, do you think you could come down to the station and give an official statement for us. That would be a lot of help in solving who did this.” Sarah said.
“Sure, I’ll do anything to help.”
“So you can come down right now?” Sarah asked. “We can take you down and bring you back home.”
“No, if it is all the same to you I will drive down in a few minutes. I need to make a couple of phone calls.”
Sarah looked at Max. He knew what she was thinking. They did not want to leave him in the house or give him any privacy. Until they knew more and got a warrant there was no way he or anyone else could get in the home and possibly destroy any evidence.
“Sir, if it is okay with you, we will wait here until you have made your phone calls,” Max said.
“Okay that is fine; I’ll just step into the kitchen. Give me a few minutes and then we can go.”
Parker kept his back to the detectives while making two phone calls. Max took the opportunity to move around the living room looking for any sign that would lead to more questions for Mr. Knowles.
Parker finished his calls, “I called Hallie’s mother, and let Victoria know. I have one question before we go, detectives, what about Hallie’s baby?”