Episode V: Part V - The Case of the Nefarious Nephew
“Have you lost your mind?” Lundsten berated Sutton. The unscrupulous physician and hospital administrator turned and continued his visual examination of Holland as he lay unconscious on a gurney in the morgue section of the hospital’s basement.
Sutton let loose with a sarcastic laugh. “Lost minds are your business, doctor. Arranging for people to get lost is mine,” he sneered, returning a sinister glance. He turned and gazed at the drugged concierge. “Don’t worry, nothing will happen to our interloper here until he provides more information regarding what he knows about efforts to secure Melissa’s release. I know he talked to the cops, and he’s going to tell us exactly what he told them … and you’re going to help me.”
“Help you? Help you with what?”
“Does the hospital have a supply of sodium amytal or sodium pentothal?"
Lundsten gave a sideways glance. “What do you have in mind?” he asked, a suspicious look appearing.
“You’re a smart man, doc … what do you think?”
Lundsten took a deep breath. “Truth serum in a myth, Sutton. Research has proven those drugs are unreliable when used for that purpose. There is currently no drug proven to cause consistent or predictable truth-telling. That’s a hollywood fantasy.”
"Call it what you want, but we’re going to use it if he doesn’t tell us what he knows.”
“Those drugs are for therapeutic use only,” Lundsten insisted. “They can be dangerous if used as a truth drug to force confessions or other information out of patients.”
Sutton pressed his lips together. “Like I said, if Holland doesn’t cooperate, you’re going to help me administer whatever you have -- do you understand?" he angrily taunted.
Lundsten remained silent. He walked over to the unconscious Holland and checked his respiration and pulse again while Sutton opened a hospital garment locker. Removing his shirt and slacks, he donned the standard white garb of a hospital orderly. He clipped on a photo id dating back to his previous employment with the hospital.
“What are you up to?” 'Lundsten asked.
“Stay here with Holland,” he ordered. “I’ll be back shortly.”
“What do you mean, 'Holland’s disappeared?'” Matt asked, a worried look appearing. The others in the conference room stopped what they were doing. They turned and looked in Lauber’s direction.
“Holland was supposed to drop by the office before the end of the workday. He told my greeter earlier he planned to drop off a garment and shoe bag for Melissa along with a make-up kit in anticipation of her being extricated from Paragon,” Lauber explained. “Thirty minutes after he failed to show-up, my receptionist began attempts to contact him, with no response. That’s when she called and left a message on my voice mail. That was an hour ago. I’ve called his cell phone several times. It goes straight to voice mail.”
“I’ll issue a BOLO on behalf of MPD,” Blanchard trumpeted.
Matt whirled around and glanced at Morelli. “Looks like Delia and I will have to take a rain check on the malware. We’ve got a missing concierge to locate.” They started to leave.
“Hold on,” Morelli blurted out.” He glanced at Blanchard before pivoting back in Matt’s direction. That’s our job. You stay out of it until you hear back from me … or Blanchard. Is that clear?"
Matt grinned. “Anything you say, Chief.”
Morelli winced. “Wait a minute." He turned and glanced at Blanchard. "She’s the ... I’m the … hey, are you fucking with me, Duggan?”
“Never,” his grin widening.
Giving Matt the stink eye, the senior FBI agent picked-up the landline and dialed his administrative assistant. “Beth, bring me the dossiers on Sutton, Lundsten, and Shyner.” He dropped the handset back on its cradle and looked at Matt and Delia. “Get over to computer forensics and let them know what you need. After that go about your usual business until I contact you with word about the hacking warrant. And don’t go looking for Holland. Is that understood?”
A pretend smile followed.
“Oh, and one more thing … if for any reason I do need your help, don’t …”
Matt snorted a chuckle. “Yeah, yeah, I know,” he interrupted, “don’t go sticking my neck out.”
Morelli bobbed his head. “Took the words right out of the bad taste in my mouth,” he muttered, the irritation in his voice noticeable.
“You’d better get over here,” Lundsten whispered, talking in a hushed tone over his cell phone.
Shyner pulled a face. “Why? Is …?”
“It’s Sutton,” came the abrupt reply. “He’s kidnapped and drugged Holland. He has him restrained here in the hospital’s morgue, and he’s threatening to use barbiturates to extract information about Melissa Barton.”
“The damn fool,” Shyner scowled. “He’s going to fuck-up this entire operation.” He took in a deep breath. “Humor him until I get there.”
“You’d better hurry. He just left, but said he'd be back. He’s up to something.”
Driving back to the office, Delia wriggled about in her seat. “You really enjoy giving Morelli a case of the red ass, don’t you?”
Matt chuckled. “He’ll get over it … he always does.”
“Morelli and Blanchard are your most frequently used contacts on all our cases,” she reminded him. “It’s probably not a good idea to …"
“To do what?” Matt interrupted.
"Like what I know you’re going to do,” she fired back, “which is to go after and locate Holland, even after Morelli told you to back off.”
Matt chortled in amusement. “He told us to go about our usual business until we hear from him regarding the warrant … and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
“Matt, you really should …”
“I have a good working relationship with Morelli and Blanchard,” he cut in again. “Bear in mind they often come to us for information on perps only they’re investigating ... information that only you and I know or can provide. They need us as much as we need them.”
Delia took in a deep breath. She knew he wouldn't wait for either Blanchard or Morelli..
“And I’m sure you noticed Morelli had no intention of sharing any information in those dossiers on our three perps,” he added.
“Yeah, I picked-up on that.”
“We’ll jump on the internet and use the appropriate search engines to provide the last known residential address of our three miscreants based on what we know," Matt proposed. "Then we'll set-up surveillance, starting with Sutton. You and I both know he’s the key to this whole operation.”
“No argument there."
“Once we get him in our crosshairs, we’ll hone in on him like a hound on a fox. My gut tells me he’ll lead us straight to Holland."
"And your gut is usually right," Delia acknowledged.
"If we discover 'the gang of three' are involved and/or have aided and abetted in the unlawful detention this man, then hacking Paragon’s computer system becomes moot."
Delia turned and smiled. "Checkmate.”
Click to read Episode V Part VI - "MATT DUGGAN - DETECTIVE SERIES"