Both detectives, Max Drake and Sarah McFadden stood there facing Parker Knowles. Max knew Sarah felt the same way, complete shock. Neither of them expected that question. Examining the body, there was no evidence Hallie was pregnant.
“Mr. Knowles we are sorry for your loss. We have not heard from the Medical Examiner’s office yet and did not realize your wife was pregnant.” Sarah said in a soft voice.
Max stood there in shock. The case just twisted in the wind and could not be any worse. Now they were dealing with two murders.
“I asked since that is the whole reason we are divorcing,” Parker said
“Excuse me, your wife is having your baby, and that brought on a divorce?” Max interjected.
“Mr. Knowles, please, let’s take this down to the station and get your full statement. This is relevant information. We do not want to miss anything that might help us solve what appears to be two murders.”
Twenty-five minutes later Parker sat in interview room 3. Both Drake and McFadden stood at the one-way mirror and watched him squirm. They gave him a glass of water and then left him there. He did not touch the cup of water, but leaned back in the metal folding chair and folded his arms.
“Do you think he killed his wife and baby?” Max asked Sarah.
“I have no idea, but he has to be our first suspect,” Sarah said while staring through the window watching Parker.
“Sarah you know that if a person is overly nervous or hiding something they do not take a drink of water. It is more than likely their stomach is tied up in knots and if they swallowed anything they would probably puke it up.” Max said.
“We have been out of the room for,” Sarah looked at her watch, “three and a half minutes. He has not taken a drink nor does he seem too rattled.”
“I haven’t seen any tears either,” Max added.
“Shit Max, a baby! How fucked up is that?” Sarah asked.
“I hate cases like this. Thankfully we haven’t dealt with too many this bad.” Max said.
“Yeah, as I recall, the two I’m thinking about both times it ended up domestic violence, and the man doesn’t want to be a father,” Sarah said.
“Well let’s go talk to Mr. Knowles and see what the hell is going on here; he looks too comfortable in there for my liking.” Max unfolded his arms and started for the door leading to the hallway.
McFadden and Drake opened the door and walked into interview room 3. They sat on the opposite side of the table in two cushioned chairs. A trick the detectives use to make their interviewees, more uncomfortable. The suspect is invited to sit in a cold metal folding chair, and the detectives sit in cushioned chairs with rollers. Sometimes at the right time, an investigator could roll up to the suspect and get right in their face. Parker watched them come in. He never unfolded his arms.
“Mr. Knowles you have waived your rights to a lawyer to be present. You can request an attorney at any time if you change your mind.
“I have two lawyers on retainer through my company, so if I need them, I will call. So what do you want to know?”
“How far along was Hallie’s pregnancy?” Sarah asked.
“Around three months, I think.”
“You think?” Sarah asked.
“Yes, I think.” Parker sounded rather upset.
“Look, it’s complicated, but in a nutshell, Hallie had an affair with OUR best friend, Julian Hewitt. She is carrying his child.”
“You know that for a fact?” Sarah asked. “It could be yours.”
“Supposedly Julian and Hallie did a DNA test, it’s Julian’s baby.”
“Where is Mr. Hewitt now?”
“Italy, he is a government consultant. He has, as I understand it, a ten-year contract with the Italian Government.”
“Doing what?” Max asked.
“I don’t really know. After the baby story finally came out, he was on a plane to Italy. He signed over all rights to the child and pays Hallie something like fifteen hundred a month and more as the child grows.”
“So Mr. Hewitt wants nothing to do with the child?” Sarah said sarcastically.
“That’s what Hallie said,” Parker added.
“Kind of cold don’t you think?” Sarah said.
“You asked why we are getting a divorce, there you have it. My sweet Hallie lied to me and married me knowing she had sex with our best friend and got pregnant.” Parker readjusted himself in the metal chair.
“What is your business?” Sarah asked with a blank stare.
“I now own 51% of Knowles Imports; my two loser brothers own the other 49%. They have no interest in the business my father started. So I forge ahead and keep my lame brothers from interfering by giving them quarterly checks.” Parker said.
“So what is your company worth?” Max asked.
“Presently we are worth about seventy-five million dollars.”
“Wow, that is excellent,” Sarah added.
“Would you like some water, Mr. Knowles?” Max asked.
“No thank you. Can we just move on?”
“So how does Victoria Rutledge fit into this story?” Sarah asked.
Parker chuckled and reached out to the glass of water. He gently pushed it further away then leaned back in the chair and folded his arms again. Max and Sarah knew he was protecting himself from their questions.
“Victoria and Julian were talking marriage about the same time as Hallie, and I finalized our wedding plans. Victoria, Julian, Hallie and I were the best of friends. We were always together. We had fun, laughed, went on trips together, stuff like that.”
“Did you ever suspect Julian and Hallie might be carrying on this affair for some time, and you and Victoria were not aware of it?” Sarah asked.
“I don’t think so, but I can say if they did they kept it covered up. I talked to Victoria about it since this whole thing blew up and she didn’t see this coming either.” Parker said.
“So Hallie tells you she’s pregnant, and you have an argument and move out. Is that right?” Max asked.
“Well, it was not a knockdown kind of thing if that is what you are getting at. Yes, I moved out and into a hotel for a couple of days.”
“Did you hit her, Mr. Knowles?” Sarah asked.
“No, of course not. I am not that kind of man.” Parker said.
“Look, Victoria offered me one of her spare bedrooms, and I moved in there.”
“Are you and Victoria sleeping together now?” Sarah asked.
“I realize you have to ask these questions, but I find that a personal question I would say has nothing to do with Hallie being murdered,” Parker said.
“So I take that as a yes,” Sarah said. “Which is fine, people have the right to their own choices. Detective Drake and I need to understand all the dynamics of what was going on in Hallie’s life. We have to dig through everything, talk to everyone and find out why someone would kill her and her unborn child.” Sarah said.
“Let’s be clear here right now. I had nothing to do with Hallie’s death. She was my wife and I loved her. She made a choice that broke us up and blew apart a strong friendship with Victoria, and I suppose Julian since he bailed. I could not live with that broken trust. We are set to be divorced on Thursday. That will, well would have ended this whole thing.”
“What were the financial arrangements since you had only been married for a couple of month’s right?” Max asked.
“I agreed to give Hallie two-hundred thousand dollars and the house. She agreed to that. You can ask my lawyers for that information.”
“So with a company worth say, seventy-five million dollars you didn’t have a prenuptial agreement. Is that what I hearing Mr. Knowles.” Sarah asked while leaning her arms on the interview table.
“That’s a lot of money, Mr. Knowles, even for you, a well off business man. Could it be enough to kill for?” Max asked the question. The question was designed to see his reaction.
Parker stared at them both with his arms still crossed. He was seething. Max and Sarah could see it on his face.
At that moment, Sarah’s phone vibrated. She reached for it and stood up, “This is from the ME’s office I’ll be right back.” Sarah stepped out into the hallway to take the call.
“Are you kidding me? You’re sure. Are you writing it up in your final report that way? Okay, thank you. I sure didn’t expect that.” Sarah hung up the phone.
She came back into the interview room, sat down quickly, and placed the phone on the table.
Both Max and Parker looked at her without saying a word.
“Well, I called the ME from the car on our way down here for the interview about your question about Hallie’s baby, Parker. The official report is, Hallie was not pregnant at the time of her death.