Crimes of the Fay, Chapter 15

We had to let him go. He hadn’t uttered a single word about his attacker, which he had the right to do, I just seemed odd. If someone cut me off in traffic, I wouldn’t hesitate to report them to authorities, so it felt hard for me to imagine not feeling motivated to tell law enforcement about someone who actually killed me! I’ve seen that happen a few times in my career, and usually the victim got hurt during the commission of another crime that they wanted to cover up. I assured Mister Cielo that if that was the case with him, it didn’t matter to us, all we cared about was catching the perpetrator who did that to him, but he still refused to say a word. The only other time I ever came across a Fay who refused to speak about an atrocity committed against them was Dahlia. Their similar behavior did make me wonder if Dion had some kind of involvement in that event, but I couldn’t find anything that legally tied him to it, so we released him. As we watched him leave, I couldn’t help but wonder if the Fays really were banding together as the signs at each crime scene suggested!

I didn’t have the time to think about that much though. Despite Dion’s refusal to cooperate, we still had proof of a crime taking place, so we worked analyzing other evidence to solve his murder. We searched through his phone history and saw that he arranged to meet someone in that alleyway around the time of his attack! We tried to call that number, but it appeared to have been destroyed. Someone obviously learned from Reed Radley’s case and did more to cover their tracks. We did learn one thing from his cellphone though- his work number registered as Tarahill LLC! Not only did that make Aidan his boss, but it tied Aidan to the two crime scenes! It seemed like too much of a coincidence for him to not have played a role in this double homicide, so I felt sure that I had found our suspect! We just needed to find the proof we needed to get him convicted in court!

It didn’t take long for us to get a warrant to search Aidan’s business! Sandra and I arrived shortly after a police officer escorted Aidan out of his vehicle. As we approached the entrance, Aidan proudly told me, “Did you hear? My DNA didn’t match your suspect’s!”

I actually had gotten that notification prior to my arrival, but it still made me cringe to hear him remind me of this. I tried not to let it show to give him the satisfaction of knowing that he got to me, but I felt sure that he had seen my disappointed expression. To keep him from crowing about it, I quickly came back with, “That doesn’t let you off the hook, Mister Maddox! The only reason you’re not in jail right now is ’cause of all the security measures you got on the place! Don’t get too comfortable! Whatever you’re hiding, we’ll find it!” To my disappointment, he didn’t seem worried. As soon as the police officer who escorted him there uncuffed one of his hands, he took out his wand and waved it to release the protective spells around the area. Afterwards, he lowered his wand and patiently waited. It irked me slightly to see him display such a lax attitude, clearly he expected to get away with this just as he had everything else! I marched in determined to find the evidence we needed!

The front doors opened up to a giant warehouse full of desks with computers and telephones on them. A couple dozen people worked feverishly at their individual stations, and the place lit up with the sounds of typing keyboards and phone calls getting made. When we got closer to them, we caught glimpses of their screens, and we observed order forms as well as ads featuring a variety of things like antique jewelry, appliances, used wedding gowns, old movies, and a number of other random objects. I really expected to see some black market items, so it actually shocked me to not find anything illegal! As if he could read my mind, Aidan remarked, “Does it surprise you that we actually sell what I told you we sold?”

I inwardly grimaced, but I made sure to keep my face neutral because I knew he wanted to get a rise out of me. Instead, I simply directed him, “Just show me to Dion Cielo’s workspace.”

“Yes, ma’am!” he complied in a little too cordial manner. His escorting police officer closely followed him as he led us towards the other side of the building, and I glanced around at my surroundings. This place had the appearance of a factory still, so I found it strange to see such a prestigious hyped up sales company set in a less than glamorous facility! I had a sneaking suspicion that everything displayed at the moment was just a front for something more precarious that they used this space for! Before I could ask him about it though, he declared, “Here’s Dion’s area!”

“Really?” I reacted skeptically as I stared at a nearby and practically empty desk. Everyone else had office supplies arranged the way that functioned best for them as well as personalized pieces for decorative purposes, but Dion’s section looked nearly empty! “Did someone clean things up after Mister Cielo went missing?”

“No!” Aidan replied very casually. “We just hired him not that long ago. He was living on the streets when we found him, so he didn’t have much to bring here yet.”

I heard Sandra’s adoring sigh, and when I turned back to gaze reprovingly at her, she immediately excused herself, “I’m gonna look around, maybe talk to a few of his coworkers…” She then dashed off as soon as she could!

Aidan watched as I pulled out my wand and used it to cipher through Dion’s activity. As I searched, I asked him, “So, you recruit homeless people too?”

“Occasionally,” Aidan answered with a shrug. “A lot of the homeless men and women I recruit are very people savvy. Well, they kind of have to be for their own survival, and the drug dealers and prostitutes wouldn’t get any customers if they didn’t know how to work people. That’s actually how I found Dion. He had a very friendly banter that made buying his crack almost tempting! I convinced him to come down here to work.”

“What do you mean, come down here?” I inquired as I continued to study his browsing history. “Where did you recruit him from?”

He replied, “A little beach town on the other side of Maryland. I didn’t have any clients there, I just needed a day off to relax, and the ocean is so good at clearing your head, you know?”

The mention of the beach made me flashback to that awful day in my childhood, and it wasn’t easy for me to just toss it aside to concentrate on my investigation. I know that my mother had a reasonable explanation for her behavior, but I just remembered a lot of hurt feelings that day, so it still felt awful to have that memory resurface. I tried to sound as nonchalant as I could as I regarded him, “No! I don’t do that.”

“You don’t do what? Go to the beach or relax?” Aidan queried.

“Both,” I admitted truthfully. I could tell he wanted to find out more details about my assertion, so I cut him off by letting him know, “It does seem like he worked here a couple days prior to his murder, but it looks like he spent more time shopping for things instead of selling them. Were you aware of this?”

Aidan shrugged again. “Not really. When someone works on commission only, not working means not getting a paycheck. If a new person takes too long to make their first sale, I might coach them or give them additional training, but I wouldn’t freak out about it.”

I felt sure he figured out that I was fishing for a motive, so I assumed that any anger he may have harbored towards Dion stayed buried within him. It then occurred to me that perhaps he didn’t feel angry towards him. With the two signs that showed up at each crime scene, I started thinking that maybe his ire stemmed from a much greater hate! At that point, I knew that if I wanted to find out more about Aidan’s perspective, I needed to search through his things, not Dion’s! “Show me to your office.”

We walked over to a large, oak door on the wall just behind all of the sales people’s work stations. I expected it to contain a factory-like feel to it too, but instead, I walked into one of the most sophisticated rooms I had ever seen! Not only were the walls updated with a smooth paint, but it had expensive furniture and very posh knick-knacks placed in just the right spots. I felt like I had just walked up to the front desk of a luxurious hotel rather than the manager of an industrious sales force! “I did it for recruitment purposes,” Aidan stated as if he were just asked a question.

“Excuse me?” I puzzled.

“All of this is to impress the people I interview,” he explained. “I know it doesn’t match the rest of the business, but when we have potential new hires, I put a privacy curtain up for my current employees so that all they see is an empty hall space before they see my office. I tell them that this is the end goal! If they work hard, they’ll get to my level someday! I’ve opened up franchises in three different states now, and…!” I could tell he wanted to tout more of his success to me, but when he caught a glimpse of my unimpressed and increasingly impatient face, he somewhat bitterly invited me, “Feel free to search through it.”

I walked over to his desk and said sardonically, “Well, forgive me if I don’t take your word for it!” He seemed a little insulted by my quip, but he didn’t put up a fuss as he pulled out his wand and lifted some security measures on his computer. We stood in silence for a moment, which didn’t bother me at all. I preferred to have it quiet so I could process everything I found there. I didn’t see anything noteworthy until I happened to see the time of his activity. I discovered that large gaps of time hadn’t been accounted for! I felt sure he had deleted certain things knowing he’d get his computer searched through, so I tried to draw the truth from him, “Why are there so many gaps between your different work activities, Mister Maddox?”

He didn’t seem fazed by my attempt. “I was probably talking to people in person. I use my cellphone sometimes too.”

“Can I see it?” I requested.

“Do you have a warrant?” he probed. “It’s my personal cellphone, and I’d hate for you to get in trouble with your boss…”

His refusal told me that whatever he wanted to keep hidden from me was on that cellphone, but his rejoinder had a different effect on Sandra, who stood in the doorway and sighed dreamily. I walked over to her and whispered, “Did you find anything?”

She reported, “This establishment seems really professional, a little too professional, actually! No company is run that flawlessly! I don’t even see a break room! It’s weird, I’ll admit it, but there’s nothing we can arrest him for!”

“So, what do we do now?” I wondered.

“If he’s up to something, he’s too clever to have it hidden here,” she informed me in a low voice so that he couldn’t hear us. “We’ll need to meet him on his own turf…”

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