Back at the station, Stabler was coming up zero. No seemed to know Michelle in New York; she was just another anonymous junkie.
"Just got word from her father," Munch broke in.
Stabler dared to look hopeful for a second.
"He's going to be flying in from San Francisco tomorrow," Munch finished regretfully.
Stabler cursed inwardly. As despicable as it sounded, Michelle's father was probably the most likely suspect in a case like this.
Now they had officially nothing.
"This had to be someone from her past," Stabler mused aloud. "Probably someone from San Francisco. We just have to find someone who knew her back then."
Benson quickly hung up her phone and rushed over to him. "We've got something," she announced.
"Someone who knew her in when she lived in San Francisco," she said triumphantly.
Office of Kimberly Gibbler
Wednesday, October 27
"Michelle was always a sweet kid," Gibbler explained. "I couldn't believe what happened to her."
"You were a friend of the family?" Benson asked.
Gibbler nodded. "I was her older sister's best friend. I spent half my childhood in that house," she reflected. "When I got a little older, I started working for her dad."
"Doing what?" Stabler asked. He could tell Gibbler wasn't their perp from moment one, but she was also the only lead they had right now, so he had to keep her talking.
"Officially, I was his personal assistant," she explained.
"And unofficially?" Benson prodded gently.
"I was his beard," Gibbler continued.
Benson and Stabler exchanged a look.
"Danny and Joey were two grown men in the entertainment industry, no less, living together in San Francisco," Gibbler explained. "Most people didn't have to ask and couldn't have cared less... but Danny was kind of funny."
Stabler raised an eyebrow. "Funny how?"
"He needed everything to be clean," Gibbler explained. For the first time she seemed to be distracted, as if it was hard for her to think about all this. "He couldn't let anything he thought was dirty into the house. He wouldn't accept it, not from himself and not from his daughters."
Stabler and Benson took a moment to digest this. Maybe Danny Tanner had a hand in what happened to his daughter after all.
"This Joey he was involved with... what's his last name?"
"Gladstone," Gibbler answered sadly. "Last I heard he was on the road with some comedy tour."
Stabler nodded, they'd have to check the dates, see if he had been near the city at the time of the murder.
"You'll probably want to talk to Michelle's uncle, too," Gibbler added.
Stabler stopped short. This was news. "Uncle?"
Gibbler nodded. "He's got a recording studio a while from here."
Englewood, New Jersey
Wednesday, October 27
"Yeah, I moved out of San Francisco after the divorce... kinda hard to live in a city where your ex-wife's on every billboard in town," Jesse Katsopolis said with a rude shrug.
"Sorry, can't relate to that one," Tutuola growled. He had been in the Special Victims Unit long enough that he knew a pervert when he saw one.
"We just want to know about your relationship to Michelle Tanner," Munch butted in, ever eager to cut the crap.
"After my sister died, my friend Joey and I moved in, tried to help my brother-in-law raise Michelle and her sisters," Katsopolis replied matter-of-factly.
"And her father and Joey never let that conflict with their shared interests?" Munch dead-panned.
Katsopolis's eyes wide, he clearly hadn't expected them to know that. "Hey, I was never a part of that."
"No one's saying you were," Tutuola snarled meaningfully.
"We were just wondering how a swinging bachelor like yourself could enjoy himself sharing a house with three young girls and two closeted homosexuals," Munch said, smiling slightly.
"I did okay for myself," Katsopolis replied angrily.
"Oh, I don't doubt it," Tutuola muttered threateningly.
Katsopolis looked at him defiantly. "Are you accusing me of something?"
Tutuola shook his head. "Nah, just trying to get some facts straight."
"Like where you were at the time of the rape and murder of Michelle Tanner," Munch continued.
"This is insane!" Katsopolis snorted. "I couldn't hurt Michelle! She was like a daughter to me!"
"You'd be surprised how rarely that matters in cases like these," Tutuola said lowly.
"You got an alibi?" Munch asked.
"I was here all night," Katsopolis countered.
"Anyone here with you?" Tutuola asked doggedly.
"Some girl," Katsopolis replied. "I don't know her name."
Munch adjusted his shades. "Do you know her number?"
"Yeah," Katsopolis admitted. "But I think I'll be calling my lawyer instead."
"Yeah," Tutuola agreed. "I think you better."