The town moved about on edge. Everyone conducted the simplistic of tasks with extreme vigilance. Niles, Tom, and Sid placed cardboard over the inside of the window in the police department and the courthouse. They deemed this an extra precaution against any further sighted shot, necessary until the capture of the shooter.
In an emergency meeting, the town council approved the only applicant for Mildred’s job, Lucinda Darnell.
Two town employees cleared the hallway and moved Lucinda’s desk to a side office. Cardboard was placed over the town hall’s window as well.
In addition to no clues, no leads, there did not abide any viable theories. Suspicion with little to no substance bounced like a pinball from one suspect to another. The final analysis, nothing made sense, only the missed shot at Niles.
Niles called for a meeting at headquarters with Tom and Sid.
“Anything?” Niles said not expecting any reply.
He was not disappointed. They both shrugged their shoulders.
“Have you ever had a case like this chief?” Sid said.
“Yeah,” Niles said. “You dig and dig and dig and find out your clues are in the pile of dirt that was in the hole you’ve been digging. In other words, you go back and sift through what you’ve already done.”
“That means…” Tom said.
“Re-interview everyone we’ve talked to,” Niles said. “Right now what we have is, nobody saw anyone leave Main Street by car or foot. From all accounts the street was empty. On the surface that might seem the suspect is somebody we have interviewed.”
“I just don’t see any of them being the sniper type,” Tom said. “Charley and Shelly are out of the question and they give Steve an alibi at the time of the shooting. Tom Shepherd and Lucinda provide alibis for each other. They’re the only ones who could have done it without being noticed.”
“Sometimes people remember things after a while,” Niles said. “They may have been asked at the wrong time, they may not have understood the relevance of the question; something. We got to do this all over again. Tom, you interview Sid’s people and Sid you do Tom’s.”
“I saw something in the Augusta paper about the murder,” Sid said. “They make it sound like we don’t know what we’re doing. They had a quote from you, about what do you expect from two small-time cops and a retired detective.”
“They called me right after it happened for a phone interview,” Niles said. “I recorded our conversation. I said we were doing an incredible job given the fact we are a department with no investigative equipment and resources. I’m a retired detective working with two policemen with no experience in working a homicide case.”
“That sounds a little different,” Tom said.
“When they questioned me about not allowing the state in on the case, I mentioned the two-year-old murder that they have zilch on and logged a little more than two hours of investigating time,” Niles said. “Somebody is pressuring the State and they had a professional spokesman spin it as if they could solve it if they were allowed in on the case. The truth is, they don’t want it, unless there was a trail of dripping blood from the murder scene to the suspect’s kitchen drawer.”
“The pressure is on,” Sid said.
“It’s like golf,” Niles said, “you play the course, not your opponent.”
“We don’t play golf,” Sid said.
“Okay,” Niles smiled, “fishing, you fish the waters and not the guy next to you.”
“I’ve never fished that way,” Tom said.
Niles heaved a sigh and about to say something.
“We’re messing with you,” Sid said.
“Good,” Niles said, “I was about to agree with the Augusta reporter.”
“Is that it?” Tom said.
“Yeah,” Niles said. “Let’s interview all over again. I’m going to check with some gun stores off the island.”
“What are you looking for?” Tom said.
“Anyone who has sold anything that can shot a 30-06,” Niles said. “or a scope that can fit on one.”
“We’ll keep our eyes and ears open too,” Sid said.
“Well, let’s hit it,” Niles said.
Niles visited eight gun stores on the mainland. His efforts yielded nothing, not even a tip.