Jamie was outside with Arf and Annie when she saw two cars park alongside the curb across the street. Two men got out of the first car and walked across the street to Barbie’s house and rang the doorbell. When Brad answered the door, the one who appeared to be in charge showed him his badge and asked for Gloria Fitzpatrick.
Gloria was right behind Brad.”I’m Gloria Fitzpatrick. What can I do for you?”
“I’m Lieutenant Sam Crandall and this is my partner Joe Sims. We would like to ask you a few questions regarding a Mr. Hal Hanson. We found him walking along Highway 32. He said his car had been stolen and he believes you had something to do with it. The car parked in your driveway is registered to him. Can you tell us how you came to be in possession of Mr. Hanson’s car?”
“Wait, Gloria,” Brad said. “Lieutenant Crandall, since when do four plain clothes police officers in unmarked cars follow-up on car disappearances? May I see your badge again, please?”
Brad contacted the local police department and verified the man was in fact an investigator. He was, however a Federal investigator. There was much more at the root of the questioning than Mr. Hanson’s car.
Arf and Annie must not have been upset because they distrusted the men. They probably thought their Jamie might be in trouble for making Mr. Hanson fall over a tree stump and then taking his car.
“Mr. Hanson advised us that it is your intent to leave the country with a Miss Barbie Humbolt… your destination being somewhere in Ireland. That ties in with a cold case investigation we have been working on.” Lieutenant Crandall paused to ascertain Gloria’s reaction to his question. Her expression had been cold and did not change.
“I’m Miss Humbolt’s brother,” Brad said. “Let’s cut to the chase. Gloria here told us tonight that our mother whom we thought died in a fire twenty years ago, is in fact alive and living in Ireland. Maybe you can tell us if that has anything to do with your cold case investigation.”
Brad asked the investigators to come in and they began to unfold a story that was not only unbelievable, but considering Gloria had watched over Barbie for the past twenty years, it was also frightening.
Before they began, Jamie, Arf and Annie came inside. Arf and Annie kept a close eye on Gloria until the two officers who were in the second car, came and took her away for formal questioning.
Much of what Gloria had told them was true. Brad and Barbie’s parents had indeed uncovered an extortion attempt. The thing that she didn’t tell them was that she was not only involved in the plan, she was involved in arranging the explosion that had killed Mr. Humbolt and critically injured Mrs. Humbolt and her daughter, Barbie.
Up until recently, none of this information had been acted upon because of an agreement between the two countries, however Gloria had recently fallen out of favor with the current government officials.
In Gloria’s mind, it had all ended up working out to her great satisfaction. She became the one in charge of both Barbie and her mother’s care. Gloria had been a lonely woman and now she had two people who were totally dependent on her. She thought of Barbie as her daughter and became very possessive of her life.
“We have never confirmed exactly where Mrs. Humbolt is and if she is in fact still alive. We’re hoping Miss Fitzpatrick will cooperate and give us that information.”
“Arf, where did you find the airline tickets? Do you remember? The envelopes you brought to Brad.”
At first Jamie’s question appeared to confuse him, but suddenly he and Annie trotted off to Gloria’s bedroom. Arf stretched as low to the floor as he could and reached under the bed. He pulled out a canvas bag and brought it to Jamie.
“May I have that?” The investigator asked as he moved closer to Arf.
Arf dropped the bag long enough to growl at the officer and then he took the bag to Jamie. Annie was standing between Jamie and the Lieutenant.
Jamie looked at Brad who nodded his head. He wanted her to open the bag and reveal it’s contents.
Inside, there was a passport for Barbie, several thousand dollars in cash and a key.
The second officer who up until this point had not spoken, reached for the bag. Arf quickly grabbed it from Jamie and backed away.
“I must have that key. Your dog must give me the bag and the key.” The second officer spoke with a very distinctive Irish accent…