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Chapter 6: "Change Of Venue"


The detective arrived at SEA at 2:45 Thursday morning. He spent most of the two connecting flights on the way back to Washington State asleep. The airport, under the moist Northwestern weather, contained a smattering of rained-on people checking in, and people off-boarding half asleep. Smith walked to his vehicle, and drove home, but didn't feel the need to go back to bed, so he met the early day with laundry and housecleaning while thinking about Foster's and Wilson's whereabouts with respect to Friday and Saturday nights. He got to the office about 7. Lt. MacKinney was already there, and Smith briefed him on the Santos homicide investigation.

“I'll be catching up with David Wallace with OPD this morning. Their victim is a woman named Katherine Wells, 29, who lived in old downtown Olympia, a musician whose band played regularly downtown. She left after the gig, about 11:30 Saturday night, on foot. Dockworkers found her chopped to bits at the Port of Olympia Marine Terminal a few blocks away, Monday morning,” Smith summarized. “Wallace didn't elaborate about whom, if anyone, Wells might have left with, or, who saw her leaving. Anyway I expect to get a longer story from Wallace today, since he has had some time to establish his investigation.”

“What else?” MacKinney asked.

“A fine arts professor, and his live-in girlfriend, who is a chef – were intimate with Santos. Picture-perfect modern pastoral lifestyles. Birds of a feather to Santos'. A clique of their very own, and their table always kept warm at Kelly Sammys bar,” Smith answered. “So, besides Thompson, then, the couple are the only apparent current romantic interest. It is difficult to tell how hot it was, but it seems to have gone on long term, so it must have been relatively pacifico. At least on the surface, and to their acquaintances. A sort of long term laissez fair bed sharing.”

“Do they have alibis?” MacKinney asked.

“I'll get back to you on that,” Smith answered.

...


At 9, Smith's desk line rang. It was Dixie Thompson from the Pierce County Coroners Office. “Santos' next of kin contacted me yesterday – I believe you're familiar with Ms. Janice Allison. She informs me that Santos' body will not be shipped back east. Services will occur in our neck of the woods,” she said. “Looks like the game is coming to you, Smith.”

“Thank you Dixie. Did Allison say why?” he asked.

“She did. She said Santos' local buddies are going to handle it, since there's not much family or reason to travel. She said she already talked to you about it,” Dixie answered. "Looks like the service is Saturday, here in Tacoma.”

...


Smith subsequently telephoned Detective Wallace in Olympia. Before pressing his peer regarding the Wells' homicide investigation, he informed him that quazi-suspects Wilson and Foster were sponsoring Santos' final arrangements.

“Wells was the bass player in a punk metal group, and it was – still is – a straight edge ship. No drugs, no alcohol abuse. Very driven, squared away people, you know. Her mates have already replaced her with another straight edged bassist. You've probably come across members of the punk/metal straight edge stratum before. I've talked to them all. None of them saw Wells leave, but it was presumed by her fellows that she left on foot as usual, since they all live in the downtown area and none of them own a car. She didn't have a boyfriend, they say. Having been burned by so many men in the past, she refused to date, they said. That makes this a homicide and rape investigation, considering the coroner's evidence,” Wallace said. "Yours was not a rape, correct?"

"Correct. And, Santos suffered only one axe wound," Smith answered. "Have you seen any social connection with my crowd up here?”

“There must certainly be by some small degree of separation. This is no jazz lounge act, but it's the same kind of work, in neighboring cities. It's not a stretch to think the fan demographic includes people who love all kinds of live music. You're welcome to put the question to them yourself, if you like,” Wallace offered, for which Smith was grateful. He provided Smith with some contact information for Wells' associates.

“Those boys are pissed off. I think they're at a loss regarding whom to suspect – but I get the idea that they would really like to know, you know?” Wallace said.

“Maybe I should invite them to Santos' funeral on Saturday,” Smith suggested.

“That sounds like a good plan,” Wallace approved.
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