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 Monday late morning and early afternoon. McKenzie and Logan have known each other 6 days.
Ending of Previous Post:
"I see why you have concerns. Thank you for coming to me."
"I didn't know who else to come to. I'm going to continue working the case. I'm not stopping until I find answers. We're also wondering why the GPS in her phone hasn't been checked." McKenzie stood. "Can you check this out for me? I've kept you long enough. I need to be going. I have a few other places to go and some phone calls to make."
Mitch walked around his desk and gave McKenzie a hug. "Please be safe. Your determination reminds me so much of your dad. Man, I miss him. I'll see what I can find out and get back to you." He shook Logan's hand. "Nice to see you again."
As McKenzie left Mitch's office, she looked across the hall, stopped, turned, hugged Logan, and whispered in his ear, "Read the name plate on the office two doors from the right."
It read: Sidney Parks
Inside the car, Logan teased, "I enjoyed the surprise hug by-the-way." McKenzie playfully slapped his arm, as he continued, "Do you think Sidney Parks is the same guy Megan had an appointment with? If so, who is he? What is his job with the PD?"
"Again, more questions than answers. Maybe Bill can help."
"First, can we stop for a cup of coffee?"
"Why all the extra coffee? Did you stay out late last night?
"After I carried your butt up the stairs and put you to bed, I went straight to my hotel room. To be honest, I struggled getting to sleep. I want to meet up with your mom's dad for a few minutes. Just give me ten minutes with him. He won't ever use another female as a punching bag."
"Thank you for the offer, but I don't need to worry about him anymore. I wish I'd known you when I was younger. You could've helped then." She pointed. "There's a coffee shop in the next block on your right."
Logan pulled into the parking lot, got out of the car, and said, "Let's go." He held the shop's door open and asked, "What would you like?" As McKenzie thought, he walked up to the counter and ordered. He then turned around and faced her. "I think I know what you like.
"I'll find us a table," she said as she walked away. He's taking over my life again. How could he possibly know what I want?
Logan carried a tray with two large black coffees, a blueberry muffin, and a pumpkin oatmeal muffin.
As he placed it in front of McKenzie, her eyes widened and she pointed. "What's that?"
He handed her a coffee. "A pumpkin, Chia seed, oatmeal muffin. Why?"
"I hope it's not for me."
Handing her the blueberry muffin, he said, "Nope, you get the unhealthy one."
"It's got blueberries. How can it be unhealthy?"
"I'll give you that. Just eat your muffin." After taking a few sips of coffee, he continued, "Do you ever eat anything healthy?"
McKenzie took a bite and thought. "Probably not. Well, wait a minute. I do like bananas, apples, just about any fruit, and most vegetables. Does any of that count?"
"It does. Actually, you do have a well-rounded diet, just too many sweets."
"Glad you sort of approve." McKenzie took a few sips of coffee and then checked her watch. "I'm going to the car and call Eleanor. It should be late enough in the morning." She held her hand out for the keys. "I'll be right back."
"Don't forget to ask about Sidney."
McKenzie gave a thumbs-up as she left.
After making the phone call, McKenzie returned and handed Logan the keys. "It's taken care of."
Once McKenzie sat, Logan took a small bite of his muffin, before he asked, "Did you get any new information or did the waters just get muddier?"
"Donny's last name is something like Karlson, Carlton, or Tarlson. She's not sure. He does hang out at the Tin Roof but hasn't been seen for a few days. I also called Kate Hartford and checked out Sidney, all she knew was what there was some guy calling Megan often, but she never said who or what it was about. She kept it to herself. It could be Sidney."
"That seems strange."
"It does to me too." She stirred her coffee. "I can't wait to talk with Bill. Maybe he can shed some light on this."
When McKenzie and Logan arrived, Bill stood in the main office discussing a file with the secretary. He smiled and hugged McKenzie before he pointed to his office door. "Let's go inside and talk. A few minutes ago I got off the phone with Mitch." Once everyone was inside, he shut the door. "Make yourselves comfortable. Logan, you look like you could use a cup of coffee." He poured one and handed it to Logan.
"He not only wants to be protective of me today but now he wants to make the past right."
Bill's eyebrows crunched together. "What?"
McKenzie's phone rang. "Sorry, I need to get this." She left the room.
Logan rubbed his temples. "Yesterday, Mac opened up a little and told me about her childhood. I would love to spend some time alone with her mother's father."
"Wouldn't we all?"
"Could he have hired somebody to threaten her?"
Bill chewed on his lower lip. "No. He's dead."
"How long ago? Natural causes?"
After a sigh, Bill answered, "About thirteen years ago. Mac was fourteen at the time. He died at their house."
"Nobody really knows, except the family. I won't speculate. It's Mac's story to tell."
"So it wasn't natural causes?"
Bill turned away.
"Enough said." Logan sipped his coffee. "Mac got a partial last name for Donny. Something like Karlson, Carlton, or Tarlson. Not sure which one."
Picking up the phone, Bill said, "I'll have a background check done on all three names."
When McKenzie walked back into the room, both men studied her. Logan was the first to ask, "Everything all right?"
"Not really. It was my one of my neighbors. The dogs were going ballistic so they went outside to see if there was a problem. It seems somebody dumped a truckload of garbage on my front walkway."
Bill grabbed his phone. When he finished talking, he said, "A crew is being sent over to clean it up and two officers will be patrolling the area at all times, along with the night detail. Whoever this is, is getting way too brave." He took out a pad of paper and pen. "Back to the case. Let's list your concerns."
McKenzie leaned back in the chair. "I hope you're ready to make a long list. First: Megan was killed eight days ago and still no autopsy and her body has not been released to the family."
Bill wrote then looked up. "Next."
"There are pictures of where Megan's body was found, but it hasn't been roped off as a crime scene. We were there yesterday and there wasn't nearly enough blood. It's a drop sight and nothing is mentioned in the police report about the possibility of her being murdered someplace else." After Bill caught up with writing, McKenzie continued, "The police checked out her apartment, and fingerprints were taken but, again, it wasn't mentioned in the police report."
Logan added, "There's no mention of her cell phone, a purse, or if she was sexually molested." He took a deep breath. "We found a pregnancy kit at her house. We don't know if she was pregnant or not."
"Megan kept a calendar on her refrigerator. On the Sunday she was murdered, she had an eight P.M. appointment with Sidney. There is no mention of this in the police report." McKenzie brushed a piece of hair from her mouth. "The only Sidney we have found is a Sidney Parks. He has an office at the police department."
Bill called to his secretary. "Find out what Sidney Parks does with the police department." He added some notes to his list. "We'll find out. What else?"
"The only suspect the police are looking at is George Whitney, and we're pretty sure he's innocent. He may have been sitting in lock-up during the murder. We've found another suspect, Donny..."
"Logan gave me that name. I've already called the possible last names in and having a background check done. As for Whitney, that's what Mitch called about. Yes, he was in lock-up when Megan was murdered. He's off the hook."
"Okay, we can officially cross his name off." McKenzie adjusted herself in the chair. "Tonight Jose and I are going to the Tin Roof and hope to get information about Donny and maybe Sidney."
Bill studied Logan.
Logan nodded. "Yes, I'll be there. I've promised to sit in the background." After Bill nodded and grinned, Logan continued, "Mac found a burner phone at Buder Park. It may be connected. She gave it to Mitch. I hope you can understand why we feel there's a cover up."
"I definitely see evidence of a cover-up." Bill picked up his ringing phone and listened. "Thank you." He hung up. "It seems Sidney Parks is a detective for the drug unit. Any reason he might be involved?"
McKenzie put her hand on Logan's. "Again, I'm sorry." She hesitated a moment. "One of Megan's friends mentioned Megan used recreational drugs in college, but no indication that she was a hard core user. I don't know about the company she kept. I think this covers it for now. If I've forgotten something, I'll call. Thank you for listening." She stood.
"We'd better let you get back to work."
Bill walked around his desk and hugged McKenzie. "You know I always have time for you." He shook Logan's hand and nodded.
"I saw that nod. Is it secret male language for continue being a pain in Mac's butt?"
"You'll never know," teased Bill.
Inside the car, Logan asked, "Where to next?"
McKenzie glanced at her watch. "Good. I have a standing appointment every Monday at eleven-thirty. We'll just make it."
"Will they let me in?"
"I'm sure you have a military ID or something, right?" After Logan answered, she continued, "Good. There shouldn't be a problem." She paused. "I've never asked, but you do know how to handle a gun, don't you?
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 and Sheila Logan's former Army buddy and a Lab technician. Sheila
is his wife
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
Sidney Parks works for the St. Louis Police Detective with the drug unit.