"I knew this call would come sometime." Ryan Kensington's mother was younger than Vivian had expected. She couldn't have been older than eighteen when she had her son. She was a petite woman, but aside from her size, she bore a striking resemblance to Ryan's fiancée. Her deep copper hair was showing the first streaks of grey, but her long straight hair, the delicate features and the grey eyes mirrored her son's fiancée.
"Thank you for coming in on such short notice, Mrs Kensington. Just to clear this up, when was the last time you saw or spoke to your son?" Vivian asked, not exactly clear what the woman had meant when she had expected their call.
"I remember exactly. It was August 4th, 1994. He was leaving for Singapore the next day. I was so proud of him. You know, he was the first member of our family to leave the country. I work the register in a drug store. We haven't been to college, me and Ryan's father. Ryan did so well for himself." His mother answered.
Vivian picked up on the evasiveness. Things didn't add up. A mother who loved her son and hadn't spoken to her son in ten years without going to the police?
She had checked. Ryan Kensington had not been reported missing to the NYPD or to the American embassy in Singapore.
"What did you talk about during that phone call? Every detail might be important." Vivian encouraged her. Right now they needed information to located Kensington, if he was really alive and well somewhere in the world.
"Ryan just called to say that he was leaving the next day. The fifth. His flight was going early in the morning, so he called me in the evening. He did tell me that his fiancée was going to join him in Singapore in a few weeks, as soon as she could sell her apartment in the City." Chandra Kensington recalled sadly. "She called later, once. It was just before Christmas, I think. I couldn't really understand her. I think she was calling from somewhere very noisy. She was very upset. But the call got cut off before she could tell me what had happened. I called her apartment, but no one was there. Is Rodnina all right?" Chandra asked with concern.
Vivian wasn't sure what to make of the question. For someone how hadn't done anything to find her son for ten years, Chandra Kensington display in inordinate amount of maternal concern.
"We have spoken to her and she is all right as far as we can tell. Did she and your son speak about concrete plans to marry?" Vivian asked. She was curious what else Rodnina had not told her.
"Yes, of course. They wanted to marry next spring. They didn't have a date set yet, but they were sure about it. At first they wanted to get married in 1994, but when Ryan lost his job at the power company, they decided to get on the dry again before they started their family. They would have made such wonderful parents." Chandra was on the verge of tears.
"They spoke about having children?" Vivian was getting an entirely different story about the young couple than from the younger woman.
"Ryan wanted kids. Rodnina never said. I think she wanted to wait some more. She needed her looks. Rodnina was modelling for Cyd Q, that Manhattan designer. She wasn't famous or anything, but she was hoping for a breakthrough." Chandra told her.
Vivian had heard of the eccentric designer who had had fifteen minutes of fame in the early 90ies, by dressing up as slave girls. Once fame had faded Cyd Q had moved back to his native Australia, vanishing from public view.
"One last question, then you can leave. Did your son ever speak about having money troubles?" Vivian asked.
"No, never. He even loaned me 5 000$ dollars when a water pipe broke in my kitchen, ruining the carpet. I didn't need half as much to replace the damages, but he told me to get some new things. He was earning good money." Chandra explained.
Perhaps too good money while being unemployed barely after out of college. Five grand were a lot of money. What Chandra had said was only confirming her suspicions that Ryan was the fourth man. He hadn't held a gun, but he was an accessory to robbery, attempted murder, murder and sabotage. Some ambitious DA might even call it domestic terrorism. Ryan had a good reason not to be found.
Vivian thanked Chandra Kensington for her time and patience ins spite of the unanswered questions still lingering between them, before she returned to the main office.
On her desk was the fax from the state department she had been waiting for. She picked up the page and scanned it eagerly. The state department confirmed that Ryan Kensington had applied for and been granted a work permit for Singapore on August 1st 1994. Since Danny and Martin had now more important matters on their hands, she had the doubtful pleasure of combing through all the airlines flying from New York to Singapore on August 5th. If Ryan had booked a flight and been on it, the matter was out of their hands.
Vivian checked her watch, and then checked the wall clock. It was sixteen past nine and there was no sign of Martin, Danny or Sam. She had already updated the whiteboard with her latest findings about the last days before Ryan Kensington's disappearance, and updated their map with the latest sightings of Richard Dane and his hostages. The wave of calls had started to taper off, mostly because the story had lost its novelty, not necessarily because Dane had probably left the area by this point. Public transport and airlines were keeping an eye out for the trio, but if Dane kept travelling by car, they needed a good portion of luck to get him. Their task would be a lot easier of they knew were Dane was headed. Straight for the border, then he certainly went north. Or did he plan to go elsewhere? Why had he taken Linda and her daughter hostage in the first place if all he wanted flee from prosecution? The answer had to be in the bank robbery. Vivian mentally sighed at the prospect of spending another day in front of a mountain of paperwork, trying to trace to money of the robbery. She should really get a forensic accountant on this, but Van Doren wouldn't assign additional personnel to this investigation without concrete proof that there was a link. The only link they had so far was the testimony of Jack's informant. Vivian hoped the DNA specialist would turn up a match by the end of the day, but they were back-logged and a ten year old crime didn't take precedent.
Vivian had pulled together the stack of tip line transcripts and retreated to her desk to try and search for the one vital witness when Martin and Danny walked into the office. They wore yesterday's clothes, slightly more rumpled. The smell of coffee and fried dough wafted over to her as Martin waved to greet her.
"What the hell have you been doing? It's almost ten; I have been here for two hours. Why haven't you turned on your cell-phones, I have been calling all morning, but none of you three were answering. Where is Sam?" Vivian vented her frustration over her co-workers and lack of progress of the investigation.
Martin said down the paper bag he was carrying and slumped down into the nearest chair. "We have been up all night chasing leads. Linda has turned up. She took a bit of a beating, someone tried to choke her, but she will be fine. She isn't talking. She claims her daughter is with a cousin in Jersey City. We haven't checked that out yet." Martin fished a doughnut out of the paper bag.
"Linda gave us a story about some guy named Brian assaulting her in a downtown club. We went to the club to check it out and there apparently has been a series of assaults and murders recently, so we might check with NYPD. Just in case." Danny added to what Martin had said.
"I thought we were clear on Richard Dane having abducted her and Linda. The scene at their house, several sightings all over the city. What makes you think this other story could be true? She could have read about it in the papers." Vivian asked.
"Yes, about the sightings. That's how we found their trace in the first place. We tracked them to a storage facility in Queens. Apparently Linda forgot to mention that Clyde had rented some space there. A woman fitting Linda description along with a girl and her red-headed husband went there yesterday. The clerk couldn't tell us if they had taken anything out though. We had a quick look around and found a gun casing for a MAC-10. Clyde doesn't legally own one." Martin explained between bites.
"Well you don't get a case if you buy it out of the back of a van. The assault weapons ban outlawed guns like the MAC-10 for civilians in '94, but before, he could have gotten in from anywhere. We need run checks on anyone connected to Clyde or the brothers, see if one of them purchased that gun. Although I assume the original robbery investigation looked into recent purchases of MAC-10 in the area around the bank as well." Vivian considered.
"We still don't know if the gun from the storage shed is the gun that was used in the robbery or yet another gun."
"How many guns can there be?" Danny tried to make light of the situation, but continued in a more serious tone. "Martin and I pulled the file belonging to the gun that fired the bullet in Linda's house. The New Years Eve robbery '99 was on a convenience store in Brooklyn. The robber walked into the store around 11.30 p.m., gun in hand and demanded money. The cashier, a thirty-two year old Korean immigrant complied, but apparently not quickly enough. The robber opened fire and killed the cashier with five shots; three more went into the wall. He ran without taking any cash. Jordan Ramos was arrested three hours later at the train station. He still had the victim's blood all over himself, but the gun had disappeared. Apparently Ramos was a serious junkie, so the investigator assumed he had already sold the gun for drugs. Ramos was indicted, but killed in a prison fight before trial."
"So the trail goes cold in '99. Ramos could have sold the gun to anyone. Who knows who many hands it passed through until Richard had it. We have nothing on the second gun yet." Vivian shook her head. "I don't think this is going to get us anywhere. The time to crime is notoriously short on those types of guns."
"I'm afraid it's not much better where the search for Richard and Christine is concerned. The last thing we know, they switched cars, possibly they are driving a police squad car, but they might have used the disguise to acquire a new car by now."
"Police car? How did this happen?" Vivian asked.
"Long story. We haven't given the news to the press yet. We didn't want to create a panic. But the APB is out on the car." Martin told her and went for his second doughnut.
"All right." Vivian nodded, processing the information. They know all the major players, but they had no evidence backing up their conclusions. Every bit of information only led to a new dead end and more unanswered questions. "As long as Christine is still missing, we have to consider this as abduction. We'll talk to Linda again, make it clear to her that we are her only chance to get her daughter back. And where is Sam?"
"I haven't seen her since yesterday." Martin shrugged.
"Me neither. Has the state department gotten back to you yet?" Danny asked.
"Yes, Ryan applied for and was granted a work permit for Singapore in August, four days before he disappeared. Customs should be able to tell us if he left the country." Vivian said. "But even if he didn't, he could be anywhere. The doorman of his apartment claimed that Ryan asked for a cab to the airport on the evening of August 4th, but he told his mother his flight was leaving on the 5th."
"So, we check all the flights leaving New York on the evening of August 4th. See if Ryan was on any of them." Danny suggested.
"Yeah, but is this even a case for us? There is no direct evidence of foul play. As far as we know he might be a fugitive." Martin considered. "Otherwise, it's not against the law to disappear. No one reported him missing. Not his mother and not his fiancée. I wonder why? We should take another crack at the fiancée." Martin frowned. "Anyone want the last doughnut?"
Danny and Vivian shook their heads.
"The fiancée, Rodnina didn't seem suspicious to me. She said she thought he had walked out on her for good and her parents were pressuring her to break off the relationship anyways." Vivian recalled. "The computer techs are working on the computer Ryan left behind in their apartment. It's been wiped, but that was in '94. There are a lot more sophisticated data recovery tools today. But tech is back-logged like everyone else these days. We won't get the results back before next week. We have no proven link between Ryan's disappearance and the kidnapping; it's not a priority case."
"You needed have dragged me out of my office in the middle of the day. I would have been glad to answer all your questions in my office. The least thing you could do is tell me what is going on?" Rodnina was not happy about having been summoned to the FBI office. But despite her bluster, her posture radiated control and calm.
"We have a couple more questions regarding Ryan Kensington." Martin told her. "You told Agent Johnson that your fiancée left your apartment to catch a flight to Singapore."
"That is correct. I have told you all I know. If Ryan was mixed up with something, I didn't know about it." Rodnina said angrily.
"Why? Did you suspect he was involved in illegal activities?" Martin asked. He was sure that Rodnina knew more than she was telling. She might not have wanted to know at the time, but something had to have given her a reason not to report her friend missing when he failed to contact her after a few weeks.
"Ryan had a few friends from before we meet, I didn't want them in our apartment after I caught them smoking pot during our New Years Party. I believed he had stopped seeing them, but maybe I was mistaken." Rodnina smiled. Martin was growing more and more convinced that Rodnina was hiding something.
"Have you ever seen any of these people?" Martin showed her pictures of Clyde, Eric, Richard and Linda.
"Not the woman, but the others, yes. But I already showed your partner photographs from the party. You should really talk to each other." Rodnina was smug. Martin decided he really didn't like her, but there was nothing to link her to Ryan's disappearance which might or might not be willingly.
"How was your relationship with Ryan?" Martin asked.
"We were planning to marry in spring the next year; I think that says it all." Rodnina crossed her arms in front of her chest. "Can I go now?"
"Not just yet. Ryan's mother told us that you had initially planned to marry in '94, and then you changed your mind. Why?"
"I'm sure Chandra has told you the same. We wanted to wait until Ryan found a new job. When he took the job with Kale, the move to Singapore took priority. We wanted to sort out everything there before we got married." Rodnina replied.
"Whose idea was it that Ryan move to Singapore alone for a while?"
"You make this sound like something completely different. He needed to start at his new job within ten days and I stayed behind to take care of our affairs."
"Affairs like selling your apartment? It is still listed in Ryan's name. You have been living there rent-free for ten years. In this city that means saving a lot of money." Martin tried to provoke her, but Rodnina refused to give anything away.
"Please. I didn't kill my fiancé over an apartment. You have probably checked my bank records. I work because I want to; otherwise I live on income from a trust fond."
"Then what was it that kept you from reporting that man you wanted to marry as missing?" Martin asked sharply.
Rodnina said nothing.
"One last thing. Could I borrow your scrap book?" Martin asked.
"If you must." Rodnina shrugged and got up.
Linda Buckner was just about to change into street clothes dressed when Danny and Martin entered the room. Another woman was standing at the window.
"It's you again." Linda sighed. "I have told you all I know."
"We have a few more questions, that's all. If you could excuse us for a few minutes?" Martin turned to the other woman. She nodded and left.
"She's my cousin." Linda explained.
"The same cousin who is taking care of Christine?" Martin asked.
"Yeah, that's her. Go ahead and ask her." Linda challenged.
"All right, I'll asked her." Martin agreed and slipped out the door.
Vivian sat down on a chair. "Are you ready to tell me what happened last night?"
"I have told you all I know."
"If that's what you want, Linda." Vivian nodded. "But what do you think Richard Dane will do with your daughter? He nearly killed you. He could easily kill a child."
"I was attacked by a man who called himself Brian. We are at a club, the NaNu. I had too much to drink." Linda persisted.
"You weren't drunk or drugged according to the blood test the hospital ran last night." Vivian remarked. "We know Richard stole a car at the same rest stop where he left you to die. He is not coming back and he has your daughter. What really happened?"
Linda looked down. "Richard came to the house. He wanted to know where the gun was. He threatened me with a gun. "
"Did he say which gun he was looking for?" Martin asked.
"No, he only always said 'the gun'. He said Clyde was supposed to have gotten rid of it. I told him that Clyde had a storage shed in Queens. Richard forced us to come along with us. When we got to the storage shed, the gun wasn't there. Richard really freaked out. I thought he was going to shoot us. It seemed like we were driving around for hours, but we never left the city. We were running out of gas and pulled over at a filling station. When Richard left the car to fill up, I tried to get away, but he caught me. I was hoping someone had seen us, but we kept driving and nothing happened." Linda broke off.
Vivian nodded. "Did Richard say anything about what he was planning?"
"He said he was going to find Clyde." Linda admitted. "I think he is going to kill him. He thinks Clyde killed his brother."
"Here is one for you." Megan handed Sam a cup of coffee. "Do you know how many traffic accidents are caused by fatigue?" Megan was leaning against Sam's car.
"A lot, I guess." Sam took a sip of her coffee, black, no sugar. "You want me to drive now?" Both women hadn't slept and the five hour drive was proving to be trying.
"Sure." Sam settled into the passenger seat. She was apprehensive about their trip to the cabin. It was pulling her deep into a world she had only briefly visited and wished she'd never return to. What she might find at the cabin frightened her, but it was too late to turn back.