Crape Myrtle (15)
“Oh daddy! Teep Solution!” Captain Jean Mayron couldn’t stop laughing, “This can’t be accepted when you have forced entry…stolen property…selling yourself, you know! Your Teep Lab is in deep trouble…
“Who killed Savon Martin?”
“I should have known if I did probe. This is only a manifest,” replied Natalia Phol.
“I bet you know,” muttered the captain, “So, why did she do it?”
“I believe it’s based on her character,” explained Natalia, “Linda fell in love with Savon Martin for financial support. Linda knew it was worth quarter million dollars and stole the will. From the very beginning she was after the money. She dug up Crape-Myrtle and built a case like she posed a threat to Thomas Cyril. Blackmail…”
“And she sold the will.”
“For hush money?”
“Yup,” assured Natalia.
“Between two law firms,” asked Captain Mayron, “who do you believe Linda approached?”
“I guess Carmen Law Firm. A set of photographs missing in the camera case.”
“And why was it found in a storage bin?”
“A bin from a real circus…I don’t know.”
“Okay,” he glanced at his notes, “You want to get DNA on certain items. Tell me about the fingerprints!”
“Fingerprints on the photographs in the camera case belonged to ‘Kit’, that’s Linda. I don’t know the other print that appeared very strong. Maybe Joseph Fellon guy who kept the bin. I have identified a set of prints, coded ‘Curtis’, that appeared in Valor and inside the kitchen of 69. What I found more intimidating is that Jadon Quinn of H&Q left his fingerprints in the boat.”
“He’s involved!” asked the captain.
“Absolutely,” replied Natalia.
“You know, Mister Phol,” addressed the captain, “if I send this report to San Diego County Sheriff’s Office, they will seek a federal investigation. That means FBI will investigate for five years or more. They will have a lot of questions to ask.”
“I understand, sir,” said Natalia.
“This black and white photo album in Miss Linda Linz’s possession holds key to any evidence. We haven’t got a knowledge of a payment or the existence of the will. If she burns it, we lose it.
“You have taken these snaps of the album under a forced entry. Do you understand it is unlawful? Teep Lab should not engage in this kind of dirty investigation. Your license could be removed.”
“Sir!” she took a photograph from her folder and shoved to Captain Mayron, “I raved with her. She invited me to get involved in mutual relationship.”
“Don’t show me that!” abstained the captain.
“Show me! Show me!” demanded Simms.
In the picture that Jonathan Simms set his eyes on, Natalia coated in chocolate sat on top of a woman on a canvas folding chair…both stark naked.
“Are you going to show this to the FBI?”
“Yup,” assured Natalia.
“Well,” wrapped the captain, “raise an invoice to cover your expenses. And Jon, pay him under a ‘stranger-danger’ contract. You’ve done a good job, Mister Phol.”
“Thank you. If I may insist,” demanded Natalia, “to clinch that investigation to find the killer!”
Captain Mayron said, “I will recommend you and see that you’re not the case being investigated. I will have to polish this report and cut down to five pages.” As Jeff Lonnell did to publish the article ‘Nicotine Overdose’.
On 22nd September, Hurricane Hugo wandering out in the Atlantic regained strength and made landfall north of Charleston on Isle of Palms as a Category 4 with 140 mph sustained winds and gusts of 160 mph.
It was the costliest hurricane in the country and South Carolina suffered most. Thousands of homes were destroyed or inflicted major damage. In this state, thirty-five fatalities were reported and loss counted in billions. It caused extensive damage to infrastructure, agriculture and property. Governor ordered evacuation of the South Carolina coast in advance of the storm.
Boats harboured along the marinas were washed ashore and piled into large heaps. Valor in Ashley Marina ran aground causing it massive damage.
Natalia heard on television of an extreme storm battering South Carolina. A week later, she called Valerie Burke to find her safe and sound.
In October, she heard that the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office discarded an inquest on Savon Martin’s death because it was extraneous an exaggerated – Savon Martin’s death was not murder but suicide.
With that she had to abandon this hunt because she wouldn’t be able to obtain DNA tests without costing a huge sum of money. She did hard work, developed the negatives, read the logbook, the mini diary, looked at the photographs over and over. She came to a dead end.
She was thinking about the fate of some famous people involved if she could break this case.
Natalia did not disclose everything she found to the sheriff for obvious reasons. For instance, those black and white photos she stole from Mia Crape album. Sidney Martin did have two aunts and four uncles. Some would be alive. These B&W images explored their childhood.
She was having a strong feeling about the guy in the boat behind these nicotine overdose deaths. She just did not have evidence to connect them. Now the boat was gone and this guy she coded as ‘Curtis’ was lost. Perhaps, Captain Paul Clancy of Beaufort would know.
It was a fingerprint collected on the lighter taken from Valor that revealed Jadon Quinn’s presence in the boat. In other words, he was in Charleston while she was there shortly after 4th of July – the Independence Day.
The guy she dubbed ‘Curtis’ was a heavy smoker and he’d be using the lighter to weaken the marks. Jadon Quinn could have been in the boat that morning to leave fresh fingerprints and then flew to Wisconsin before she arrived in Madison.
Natalia compared the ‘Termagant’ film with the porn tape. It looked like Linda was younger in the movie with a round face. In the porn tape, her cheeks appeared stretched. A five-year difference between the ages of 19 and 24 made it hard to tell. Jeff Lonnell certainly lied. He was in the tape without a face; his portion of modicum.
It looked like Natalia followed Linda’s footsteps in the quest for Crape-Myrtle.
On the television, she watched a beauty pageant taking place in New Jersey. The blonde with deep-set eyes and tanned skin to a golden undertone, in a black dress, sat among the panel of judges. From supermodel to Iron Lady; she thrived to celebrity status in a matter of years; such a short span of time.
Natalia could never climb those steps to become a superhero in a Muay Thai outfit.
Sand blew in her face as she twisted through the white sandy beach that stretched seventy miles. Her hair dressed in a mongkhon and in surfer jacket. She arrived at a point with a signpost; ‘Swim At Your Own Risk’.
Waves were low but fairly down-the-line with a discouraging chilly wind blowing from northeast. Natalia entered the water with a surfboard and paddled to catch a wave. On her first attempt, she glided magnificently to the shore.
On the beach, there were rows of four-wheeled vehicles and beachgoers. Not too packed and fewer in the water. An increasing chill stopped them from going in. Linda’s white Corvette Roadster parked in the sand.
Natalie flew the friendly skies on United Airlines to Corpus Christi because somebody in New York tipped-off. Natalia planned next stop in Charleston for the New Year. She booked the same motel, Days Inn, and obtained the same dirt bike, DR250, with a surf rack.