Sunday morning Niles walked directly to the office. He stepped into the office and looked around. “It has to be here,” he murmured and started a methodical search of every drawer in his desk and every drawer in the file cabinets. Finally, in the bottom drawer of a file cabinet he found a white business size envelope. “Keith Beauchard Evidence” was scribbled on the outside. Niles opened it up; tucked inside, a slug and an evidence form describing that the slug was the one removed from Beauchard’s skull.
After Monday morning coffee and conversation at The Harbor Inn, Niles walked across the street to the police headquarters. He gathered the slugs. Rather than mail them to the crime lab, or send by courier, he decided to drive them there and try to obtain the other reports on the evidence he sent earlier. The last time he contacted them was two months earlier. He was informed of a backlog and the reports would be sent out as soon as they were ready. Not only did he intend on delivering the evidence personally, but give them a piece of his mind also.
Mid-morning Niles parked his Jeep at the State of Maine Crime Laboratory in Augusta. He walked in and stood at a closed window. Behind a sliding glass window sat a female officer.
She slid open the window. “Can I help you?” she said.
Niles handed her his badge and identification.
She examined them. “Yes, Chief Quinn.”
“I’ve sent several pieces of evidence to the lab,” Niles said. “Originally it was explained it would only take two weeks. I began calling. I was told the lab was backed up. I understand, but was assured no further calls were needed. My reports and evidence would be sent back as soon as they were complete. It’s been three months. Now I have some slugs that I’d like to have compared with ones the lab is supposed to have completed. You see officer, I’m just a little more than upset. I have three murders in the past three and a half years. I think they’re related. I don’t want number four. I know this has nothing to do with you, but upon hearing me, you will likely know who I can speak to.”
“Chief Quinn,” she said, “let me assure you that this is serious. Let me check our files.”
She turned to her computer screen and tapped on the keyboard. “Brewster Harbor?”
“Yes,” Niles said.
“According to our records we sent a report to your office a couple months ago,” she said. “We waited for your office or a courier from your office to pick up the evidence. We still have the evidence here.”
Niles rubbed his chin. “Sorry for getting little upset.”
“I can see why,” she said.
“I’d like to take possession of that evidence, now,” Niles said.
“Let me call back to the property room and they can bring it up,” she said.
“Is it possible to print out another report?” Niles said.
“No problem,” she said. “Would you like to talk to our commander?”
“No,” Niles said. “There’s no need to trouble him. About how long will it take to get the evidence up here?”
“We can have you out the door in 15 minutes,” she said. “I see in our records we sent your office an additional notice about the evidence we were holding for you.”
“It never got to me,” Niles said.
“It’s strange that two letters would get lost in the mail,” she said.
“I would call it convenient,” Niles said.
“Can we offer you a tour of our lab while you wait?” she said.
“Maybe some other time,” Niles said. “I’m even more upset than I was when I walked in. I’ll just have a seat here in the lobby and simmer a while. Oh, by the way,” Niles held up an evidence envelope. “Two more slugs; I need them compared with the others I sent.”
“I’ll take charge of them personally,” she said and took them through a door behind her desk.
Niles sat on a chair in the lobby. “Lucinda!” He thought. “She got the mail and made sure it didn’t get to me. That’s it, she interfered in a murder investigation. This may tie her to the murders. My head is starting to hurt.”
The glass window slid opened and the officer behind the desk stood. “Chief, Quinn, I checked with the lab; they can have the new slugs compared within an hour. There’s a diner not too far from here.”
“Sounds good,” Niles said. “I didn’t eat breakfast and it’s almost time for lunch.”
The officer gave Niles directions. He found the diner and had a slow thoughtful breakfast. By the time he returned to the crime laboratory everything was ready for him.
He climbed back into the jeep and read the reports. The hair found in the boat matched the hair found on the brush. All the bullets came from Jessica’s rifle.
Before Niles left the parking lot of the crime lab something struck him; it was what he read in the newspaper article about Jessica. “I’d never use my ability to shoot straight, to down a deer. That’s not what good shooting means to me. It’s about hitting a target.”
“It’s not her,” Niles said, “or am I just trying to convince myself?”