Episode I: Part IV - The Case of the Mystery Phone Call
Chief Detective Sullivan was sitting behind his desk viewing his open laptop when I walked into his Office at exactly 4 pm following the earlier melee at my agency. I was particularly eager for a briefing regarding any additional information obtained about Travis Moore, the subject of a mysterious phone call and subsequent criminal abduction charge after unlawfully holding my assistant Delia Perez hostage.
"Reporting as ordered, Chief," I announced in a somewhat flippant tone, still irritated about the earlier felonious event at my office and the subsequent downplay by MPD.
"Have a seat, Duggan," he said, pointing with a quick motion of his arm as he continued staring at his computer screen.
"What's going on with Mr. Moore? What can you tell me about this yahoo?" I inquired. I knew Delia was running the usual background checks on the suspect as the Chief and I began our meeting. It was my intention to compare information gleaned by MPD against whatever Delia was able to dig up.
"We released him an hour ago; he's not being charged with anything," the Chief Detective responded, closing his laptop and turning in my direction.
"You did what?" I shouted, staring incredulously at the Department's Head Detective, my rhetorical question another way of asking the chief, "what are you, a total idiot?"
"We found nothing on the guy; we had to let him go," the Chief retorted angrily, pissed off I had indirectly labeled him a moron.
"He walked into my office and held my assistant at gunpoint," I reminded Sullivan. "What do you call it, 'a neighborly visit by the Welcome Wagon?'" I sarcastically asked.
"Any witnesses other than you and Delia?" the Chief fired back, an angry expression still on his face.
"You know there wasn't," I reminded him again. "What about the gun?"
"He has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and he has no criminal record," the Chief replied.
"He had no permit in his wallet or clothing, and you found his gun on the floor of my office," I responded.
"Maybe he dropped it," the Chief replied in a disingenuous tone.
"So, I simply beat the hell out of this guy for no reason other than he just walked into my office?"
"You're lucky I don't arrest you for aggravated battery, Duggan. Fortunately for you, Mr. Moore very generously decided not to press any charges. You're free to go."
"I'm free to go?" I parroted. "That son-of-a-bitch contacted me yesterday, refused to identify himself, and asked me to meet him at an abandoned airport hanger. He doesn't show up; instead I discover McPherson's body. I told you everything I know when you and your team arrived on the scene. The next day Travis Moore decides to pay an unannounced visit to my office, and takes Delia hostage. Why? As a way of thanking her for her pleasant personality? No one except Travis Moore knows the reason for any of this, and you don't see a connection? What kind of half assed investigation are you conducting? Does McPherson's family know how you're handling this? And by the way, what's with Sergeant Mulholland and all that weird shit she's been doing?"
Chief Sullivan slowly rose from his chair. "Get out of my Office, Duggan," he snarled, articulating every word.
We glowered at each other before I finally stood. "McPherson was a good friend," I began, staring directly at the chief. "I have every intention of speaking with his wife and family. If they want me to continue this investigation, that's exactly what I intend to do. You're obviously not getting anywhere."
"Better watch your step, Duggan -- you're walking on thin ice."
"What exactly does that mean, Chief? Is that a warning or a threat."
"It means I can have your license suspended, maybe even revoked; you're not a cop anymore. I don't want you talking to McPherson's family until I'm finished with my investigation," he ordered.
"Try and stop me," I responded curtly, grabbing my jacket and exiting his office. I knew Sullivan and his boys would be watching me. My private eye would have to be a public eye as well. It now dawned on me the chief and his colleagues might be hiding something, and I was determined to find it. I was on my way to McPherson's home when I received a call from Delia.
"Yes, Delia, what's up?"
"Matt, you're not going to believe it," she exclaimed. I just discovered our perp's driver's license is a phony. The DMV has no record of a, "Travis Moore" based on the license information. It's not him, Matt. What did you find out at MPD?"
"Nothing, they let him go -- claimed he had no criminal background."
"And the office brawl -- holding me at gunpoint?"
"No witnesses -- our biased word against his," I answered.
"What now?" Delia asked.
"I have a contact in the FBI. I'll see if I can coax him into pulling prints off the three hole punch he used to try and put a hole in my head. Otherwise, I'm on my way to Seth's home. Keep the doors locked. I'll be there as soon as soon as I finish speaking with the McPherson family."
“Be careful, Matt.”
I stopped at a convenience store to refuel. While I stood behind the pump filling my vehicle, I glanced at what was rumored to be a popular restaurant next door. Checking out the parking lot, I couldn't believe my eyes. Exiting a Hyundai Sonata, Sergeant Leah Mulholland and the now bogus, "Travis Moore" began walking toward the restaurant's front door. Talking all the way to the entrance, they were oblivious to my presence less than a hundred feet away. I fought the urge to confront them, as well as contacting the Chief Detective, opting to photograph the vehicle and license plate instead. I left the store and drove to McPherson's home. Two marked MPD vehicles were in the front, both parked next to the curb. I continued down the street, turning onto a main thoroughfare before pulling into the parking lot of a laundromat. I grabbed my iPhone.
"FBI Regional Office, can I help you?" a pleasant voice answered.
"Agent Frank Morelli, ext 2301," I replied.
Click to read Part V "Matt Duggan - Detective Series"