While wanting to place trust in Logan, McKenzie searches for his sister's murderer. McKenzie doesn't believe anyone would harm her, but Logan feels it's his job to protect her from the threat.
It's Sunday afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 5 days.
Ending of Previous Post:
McKenzie nodded for Logan's help. I don't want to tell her we're going to check out the spot where Megan's body was found. Logan, get me out of this.
Logan put his arm around Nancy's shoulders. "Mom, do they still have the 'Sweet n' Smokey Memphis Stax'?"
Nancy smiled. "They sure do."
"I thought you only ate junk food on three occasions," teased McKenzie. "I bet they have a nice salad."
"Oh, McKenzie, they have a wonderful Greek salad. I know you'll love it." Nancy patted her arm.
Logan shook his head. "Not this gal. She's a total junk food junkier. What I don't know is if she'll go for chicken or pork." He grinned. "Maybe both." He paused. "And to answer your question, I rarely eat Sunday dinner with my parents, so it's an exception. I do allow for exceptions." Nodding toward the car, he added, "We're parked over here," and steered McKenzie toward it.
"Thank you for switching the subject. I didn't want to tell your mom we're going to the dump site."
"I understand. I knew from your face you needed help. Mom's handling all of this a lot better than I expected. I'm not sure it's hit her yet. Since the body hasn't been released, she'll still need to deal with that."
Silence continued to the restaurant.
ST. LOUIS CHAPTER 12 PART 2
As Logan parked in front of McKenzie's townhouse and turned off the engine, she asked, "Aren't you dropping me off and going home to change?"
"It's not a home. It's a hotel, and I'm prepared. I'll change at your house and then we can leave. It'll save time." He opened the car door for her and then the trunk. He held up a black-bag. "See?"
"A regular boy scout," she teased.
"Don't knock it. I'm normally ready for anything."
I bet you are. McKenzie unlocked the front door and was met by both dogs.
Logan let the dogs out while McKenzie went upstairs to change. When she returned, he did the same. When he finished, he asked, "Ready or do you need a snack before we leave?"
McKenzie rubbed her stomach. "I'm stuffed. The food was really good. I need to remember that place." She grabbed a couple of water bottles from the refrigerator. "I'm sure we'll need these. The July heat can be dangerous."
As Logan held the car door for her, she stared out the windshield. "Are you sure you're up for this? I can do it by myself."
"I know you can. But this is something I need to do." Logan shut the door and walked around to his side. From behind the steering wheel, he continued, "I feel I failed Megan. I'm her big brother. I should have been here to protect her."
McKenzie put her hand on his. "Megan was a grown woman. She needed to live her life and make her own mistakes. Unfortunately, this was a huge one."
Logan backed the car onto the street. "That's an understatement."
An easy silence continued until Logan parked the car, and they faced the huge park. Logan shielded his eyes. "It's around one hundred forty acres. Any idea where to start?"
McKenzie passed her camera to Logan to hold as she pulled some papers from her back pocket and unfolded them. "I do." She studied the photos and map before she pointed. "See that train-track bridge? Her body was found under the big tree to the left. See the yellow stake in the ground?"
"I do, but why isn't it staked off? It's a crime scene. I thought all crime scenes were roped off. They are in the movies."
Smiling McKenzie added. "That area should be roped off, but real life and the movies don't always agree. There are a lot of strange things about this case and none of them make sense. It's still an active investigation." She paused and bit her lower lip. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear there's a cover up. I'm going into the police station first thing tomorrow morning. I have numerous questions. I don't want you along."
"But..." He noticed McKenzie's glare. "Understood."
They headed toward the yellow stake. Logan stopped a few feet away. "How close should we get?"
"I need to get a good look of the entire area and take my own pictures." She retrieved her camera from Logan. "You can stay here."
"I'm coming. I just didn't want to contaminate the scene."
McKenzie kicked an empty beer can. "It's already been contaminated." She knelt under a limb and cleared some debris. "This is about where her body laid." She pointed to a photograph. "We need to search for a phone or purse."
Logan wiped his mouth and released a deep breath. "Do you know if she was sexually assaulted?"
"I don't. Her autopsy report hasn't been released, and nothing addressed that in the police report I saw. That's one of the areas I'm going to ask about tomorrow."
"So right now we believe she was murdered someplace else and her body dumped here. We have no clue where, who, or why. Do I understand this correctly?" Logan kicked some dirt.
"The more we find out, the more confusing it becomes. I don't believe it was a wrong place at the wrong time situation." McKenzie tilted her head. "Did she have any credit cards? Nothing was mentioned in the police report. I never thought of robbery."
"Who would rob a teacher? They don't make much money."
"A druggy, who was looking for an easy mark." McKenzie walked around the tree. "It would be nice to know where she went after she left her apartment and who she was with. I'm guessing the Sidney person, but no clue who that was. Why were they meeting? What were they doing? Where were they doing it?"
"Who was the father of her baby? Did he have anything to do with her death?"
"We don't know for a fact that she was pregnant, only that she thought she could be."
"Once again, more questions than answers."
"I'm hoping tomorrow I'll get some answers. Between the police station, calling Kate, and hoping to meet Donny, maybe something will pop up. I need to call Eleanor and see if Donny has a last name." She glanced around the area. "I want to walk around and see if I find anything." She pointed to the right. "Check that area. We'll cover more area if we split up. I'll go this way."
"Exactly what am I looking for?"
"Anything that looks like it doesn't belong in a park."
About thirty minutes later, McKenzie called, "Logan, come here." She waited until he got closer. "Do you have a handkerchief? You're a boy scout. You have to."
As he pulled one from his back pocket, he asked, "Why?" He handed it to her.
She took it and used it to pick up an object. "Look what I just found; a cell phone."
"I doubt it. By the looks of it, I'd say it's a burner, but I don't know." She eyed Logan. "I'm guessing Megan had a pretty little phone, maybe in pink?"
"Light blue with wild flowers growing up from the bottom. You're right, not black." Scanning the area, he continued, "Now what?"
"I'll keep this safe until I turn it into the police." McKenzie started walking. "I'm wondering who we can trust at the police department."
Logan took her arm. "What are you saying?"
"In case there is a cover-up, I need to know who is safe."
"Isn't Jose working on Megan's case, and don't you trust him?"
"I trust Jose with my life. He stays pretty much undercover. He's not the detective assigned to this case. It's complicated."
McKenzie tapped the phone. "Another question. I'm betting Megan's phone can be GPS tracked. So why hasn't anybody checked where she went? Is the phone still on? Maybe somebody has it." Before she entered the car, she paused and asked, "Is there any way we could stop for some ice cream on the way home? I sure could use a turtle concrete about now."
Laughing, Logan said, "Get in. One Ted Drew's coming up. Do you eat anything healthy?"
After he sat, she rubbed her tummy. "Why do you think I run every day? Tomorrow, it may be seven or eight miles instead of five. You up for it?"
"If you can, I'm good."
"The best I've done after a weekend is eight and a half. Let's try."
"Can Edger go eight?"
"Shoot, that guy could probably do ten without breaking a sweat. Don't forget you'll be toting Arlo."
McKenzie 'Mac' Morgan a 27 year old private investigator
Major Logan Nelson 34 years old and an active duty soldier
Arlo McKenzie's black and tan dachshund
Megan Nelson Logan's younger sister - murdered
The Lou local name for St. Louis
Simon Knight Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician.
Fan name for the St. Louis Cardinals - a major league
Yadi's Fan name for Yadier Molina - Cardinal's all-star catcher.
Edger McKenzie's black and tan rottweiler
John Benson Man who murdered McKenzie's parents
Bill Abbot A D.A> and McKenzie's God-Father; he was a high-
school friend of McKenzie's father. Joanie is his wife.
Jose Lopez Chicago Police Department undercover police
Kate Hartford Megan Nelson's friend they taught middle school
Donny A man Megan Nelson dated.
Mitch Gardner St. Louis Police Department detective who has
partnered with McKenzie's dad.
Ivan Smart A bad guy
Peter and Nancy Nelson Logan's parents