Chapter 8: The Canal
November 6, 1984: 0800
The yellow crime tape fluttered in the breeze. Now he understood why Jerry had never heard from her.
He watched them zipper the body bag closed over Barbara Carroll’s face and his heart cracked in two. They wheeled her away on a rickety gurney and he stayed by the edge of the canal, staring out at the muddy water.
“Hey, man I’m sorry,” Rico said as he came up behind his partner.
“How the hell could it have ended here?”
His unspoken worries from the night before came back with a haunting vengeance. What had her last moments been like? Was she frightened? Did she suffer? Did she cry or beg for her life? Did she pray?
“Who did this?” Jerry Carroll asked as he confronted him. “Where are they?”
“Now you listen to me. The kids have already lost one parent. They don’t need to lose the other. Let us handle it!”
“How? Like you handled this?”
Crockett flinched. Shocked by Jerry’s anger, he watched him leave the crime scene, his head down
and his hands stuffed deeply into his pockets.
Castillo was already there, standing in the clearing handing a clipboard to one of the coroner’s technicians.
“Damn it!” Crockett thought miserably. “Just what I need! Mr. Cheerful.”
“Five shots in the back of the head with a .22,” Castillo told him.
Sonny crossed his arms in front of his chest and leaned against one of the black and whites. “Outfit trademark. Lombard.”
“Anybody can buy a .22,” Castillo mused, looking off into the distance.
Rico’s eyes narrowed. He came up to the Lieutenant, almost pawing the ground with frustration.
“Hey, whose side are you on?” he challenged.
Eyes like burning coals fixed on Rico. “Don’t ever come up to my face like this again, Detective.”
Too steamed to recognize he was in serious trouble, Rico squared his shoulders, preparing an angry answer when Sonny pulled him away in a hasty effort to rescue his partner from Castillo’s fury.
“Come on,” he interrupted, pushing Rico along. Rico began to protest, but Crockett gripped his arm in a vise-like grip. “What’s the matter with you, idiot! Get going! Did you see his face? He was
about to send you into orbit!”
Few ever dared to defy him, and those that did learned to regret it immensely. Castillo glared after the two retreating figures and tried to make up his mind if he wanted to trust Ricardo Tubbs.