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Secrets, Lies and Private Eyes

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Leslie returned to her desk, deep in thought about the assignment she had just accepted. She wasn't even sure why she had said yes, just that it had felt like th right things to do. She knew that she wouldn't be allowed to investigate Jake's kidnapping not when she wasn't medically cleared for duty. Plus, the brass would probably argue that she was too close to the victim to remain objective and they were probably right. Whether she liked it or not, she had feelings for Jake, even though they tended to vacillate anywhere between affection and irritation. Meanwhile, she had another case to investigate. Cindy Dobson's murder was still open and before she had been handed the envelope by constable Markham, she had been on her way to check on the forensics reports from the Dobson murder scene.

As she had expected, the remaining reports were waiting for her on her desk. The analysis of the blood evidence had yielded nothing she hadn't already known or suspected. Cindy Dobson had most like been shot in the doorway, then her body had been dragged out of sight and into the room. Subsequently, at least five people had stepped into the still wet blood, leaving footprints all over the room and the hallways in both directions over a distance of over a dozen yards. Based in the shoe prints, most of the prints belonged to doctors and nurses, probably the ones who had attended to Cindy and Jake after Mal and the student nurse Marion had discovered them, in the course leaving shoe prints of their own. None of this was going to her her clear up the murder and thus give her a clue as to who had kidnapped Jake. She tossed the file back onto her desk.

She picked up a second forensics report, curious to see what was in there. Apparently Lynch and her colleagues had been extremely thorough They had even examined the pillow found on the ground. Traces of saliva had been found on the pillow as belonging to Jake Doyle. There had also been a tear on the side, probably made by someone's fingernails as they had held the pillow to Jake's face. Now that was revealing, if slightly puzzling. If the killer had had a gun, why had he poisoned Jake and hen tried to smother him? Why not simply shoot him and get the job done, Leslie wondered. Leslie was glad that the killer hadn't shot Jake, but nonetheless it made her wonder.

Whoever had poisoned Jake would have to wait hang around for a while. First to wait for an opening to drug Jake's tray and then, the killer would have to wait for the drug to take effect and render Jake unconscious, before smothering him. It all seemed clumsy and awkward for a killer who was supposedly affiliated with organized criminals. Poison wasn't their style anyway. Maybe, Leslie realized, they were dealing with two assailants. One person who slipped poison into Jake's food, hoping the overdose would kill him and another person, the guy from the surveillance video, who had brought a gun with him.

It was possible that he had planned on shooting Jake all along, but when he had found him unconscious and unable to resist, decided to smother him instead. Smothering did have its advantages, it was less messy and noisy than shooting someone. That would make sense. However, this theory of events opened up more question than it did answer. It would imply that there were two people after Jake. One of them was undoubtedly connected to the kidnapped girl from the parking lot which in turn was probably linked to human trafficking. Leslie paused when she had reached that point in her reasoning. She powered up her work computer, anxiously waiting to for the machine to boot up. As soon as it was ready, she logged on and pulled up Alonzo Sanchez's file.

It wasn't his record she was interested in but the other information that might be on file. There were no affiliates or known associates listed, but Leslie wasn't about to give up yet. She pulled up information about his prior arrests. It was the people connected to and circumstances of the man's arrests that interested her. None of the names were familiar to her, but when she went through the lists of names of people arrested together with, she found a familiar face. She got out the screen cap from the security footage from the hospital, now enhanced by the AV techs. The photo was blurry at best and as the shooter had done his best to keep his face out of sight of the surveillance camera, the best was a half profile. The mugshot on file was over five years old, but Leslie was sure it was the same man. She pulled up the details of the man's file. His name was Zlatko Batic, aged 37, a native of former Yugoslavia who had lived in Canada since his early childhood. There wasn't much in the way of a criminal record, his only arrest resulting in a conviction had been during a raid on a brothel suspecting of employing underage girls. Batic had been found to be in possession of a small amount of cocaine and had been convicted of drug possession. Apparently he had claimed to be merely a customer at the brothel, but in light of recent discoveries, Leslie was fairly certain that this had been a lie and that he was really involved in the business. Alonzo had been one of the pimps arrested at that brothel during then raid.

Interesting, Leslie thought, one day Alonzo kidnapped a girl and a few hours later, the only witness to the event was nearly smothered to death and the woman who had interrupted him had been shot with the same gun that had previously been used in the murder of a prostitute. It was all starting to come together, save for one point: how had anyone connected to the traffickers known Jake had witnesses the kidnapping? That was what Leslie couldn't figure out. Maybe going undercover with the Parker family wasn't such a bad idea after all, they were involved in human trafficking and underage prostitution after all.

Rose had left Des behind to stay at the office while she went to track down Steve Travis. She had tasked Des with finding out who the phone number the texts Tinny had received had been sent from and also left strict instructions that Des wasn't to accept any new clients that happened to wander into the offices of Doyle and Doyle investigative services. Clients had been few and far in between in the last few days, but it was better to be safe than sorry, especially when Des was in charge of the office.

Her first port of call had been the Romatica movie theater, where, she had learned Steve's home address. She had questioned the girl working the matinee shift briefly. The woman who was clearly bored out of her mind at her job had only been to glad to tell the story of what had happened the previous day. Apparently one of her fellow employees getting beaten up made for a welcome change from the normal day to day routine. If she had been surprised by the fact that Steve had gotten beaten up, she hadn't let on. Rather, she seemed to be of the pinion that it was wonder it hadn't happened sooner. Apparently wasn't the first girl who had taken offense to his particular brand of advances. According to the girl, Steve's vocabulary didn't include the word 'no', when spoken by a member of the female species. But aside from making her rather glad that the guy was probably out of Tinny's life for good, Rose had learned little of value. The woman hadn't seen who had beaten up Steve. All she knew was that Steve had come in, his face all messed up, as she had put it, had told her that he was done with 'that crazy bitch' and had left shortly after.

Rose didn't need to guess who he had meant by 'crazy bitch'. Rose had left the cinema with the distinct impression that whoever had beaten up Steve had done Tinny a favour. Still, whoever had beaten him up was probably the guy who was really following Tinny around. Otherwise,how could he have known tat Steve was interested in Tinny? Steve clearly hadn't known his attacker, why else would he have thought that Jake was responsible? So probably not someone who went to school with Tinny. Rose had gotten that far in her deductions when she arrived in front of the tenement building where the Travis' lived.

She was just about to press the bell next to the faded label that read 'Travis', when the door opened and a young man stepped outside. From his face, it was obvious that he'd been the subject of a beating.

"Steve Travis?" Rose asked.

The man whirled around. "Who wants to know?"

"I'm here about what happened to you yesterday," Rose said, not answering his question.

"What's it to you?" Steve fixed her with a hostile glance, before narrowing his eyes at her. "You are one of Tinny's crazy lot, aren't you?" Before Rose could answer in any way, he continued. "I told her that I'm through with her and I meant it. So just leave me alone already! It's her loss anyway."

Rose highly doubted that last statement, but instead, she said: "I just want to know one thing, what did the guy who beat you up look like?"

Steve paused, staring at her. At first, it looked like he was simply going ti urn away and leave her standing on the stoop, but eventually, he answered: "Some old dude with a ponytail. Told me to stay way from Tinny or he'd be back. Well, he can have her, I'm not getting beaten up again over a bitch like her." With that he strode away without a second look at Rose.

While it wasn't exactly a name and address, it did narrow things down quite a bit. It confirmed that Tinny's admirer come stalker wasn't a student, even though Steve probably called everyone over twenty-five old. When Tinny got here in the afternoon, Rose would ask if she knew anyone fitting that description. Hopefully that would clear up the mystery.

"I brought lunch," Rose announced as she opened the door to the office. She entered, a bag with sandwiches in hand, thinking that Des was probably too lost in whatever he was doing on his laptop to have heard her.

"Did you find who that number belongs to?" she asked, back turned to the room as she hung up her jacket. When she once again received no reply, she turned around. "Des?" she asked, but there was no sign of the young man anywhere.

His laptop was still there, a bag of crisps lying beside it. Rose walked over to the desk intent on checking to see if Des had left any note that he was going out. Inside, she nearly stepped into a brownish puddle on the floor. The source was no mystery, in the middle of the spill was a broken coffee mug. An internal alarm bell went off in Roses' head. Des might not have been the most orderly person, but he would have cleaned up the broken mug and spilt liquid before leaving. Rose cast around a glance for any other signs that would indicate what had happened. There was nothing. The office was exactly as she had left it, save for the broken mug and Des' unexplained absence. Rose reached for the phone and dialed Des' mobile number. The phone rang a number of times, but no one picked up. Eventually, the call went to voice mail.

"Des, it's Rose. Call me as soon as possible, okay? Bye."

Rose hung up the phone. She briefly considered calling her husband, but decided against it. Mal was a grown man and while he might not show his concern outwardly, Rose knew he was deeply worried about Jake. His early morning departure indicated that he needed some space and Rose was willing to let him have it, at least for now.

There was a knock at the door.

"Come in," Rose replied, wondering who it could be. A client maybe, or Des returning? But Des wouldn't knock. She wasn't long left in doubt, when a man and woman entered the office. They were both dressed fairly smartly and Rose could tell that they weren't clients, but likely there on official business.

"I'm Sergeant Davenport, this is Constable Grunewald, we are looking for Malachy Doyle," the man introduced himself and his partner.

"He isn't in right now. I'm his wife, Rose Doyle." Rose explained. "Is there anyone news about his son Jake?"

"We're pursuing a number of leads at the moment," the woman replied evasively and Rose was pretty sure that meant that they had no clue where Jake was or who had taken him hostage.

"Maybe you can help us," the man suggested helpfully. "We are looking for any information that could point us to who might have kidnapped your stepson."

"I assume you know that he was poisoned the day before he was kidnapped?" Rose asked, wondering why the detectives were wasting precious time talking to her when they could be running down leads.

"Yes, we are aware of the fact as well as the alleged kidnapping Mr Doyle claimed he witnessed."

"Alleged?" Rose echoed, incredulous and angry.

"We are still investigating that incident," the woman added, clearly trying to calm matters.

"Then I suggest you go out and do that," Rose replied sharply, turning away from the two investigators.