The warehouse parking lot was ablaze with swirling cop lights. Ten or more police cars were jammed into the lot, with two ambulances and the CSI unit parked near the door to the warehouse. Farber was speaking into his cell phone, madder than hell. “Pick up Sandusky now! And hold him till I get back to the station! I don’t care how much he squawks! He’s not getting away this time!”
Lyle pulled in as far as he could, jumped out of his car, and ran toward Farber. “What happened? How’d they get them out of here so fast?”
“Who knows? Can’t find any blood stains. No sign of Helen Worthington.”
“I doubt you’ll get anything out of Sandusky, no matter how hard you squeeze.”
“We found their camera and rifle in the building across from the parking lot. Baker filmed two men at the handoff, but their faces were covered and unrecognizable. We’re tracking down the owner of the car.” Farber paced back and forth, pulling his fingers through his hair. “This was supposed to be easy. I should’ve sent more men. I really screwed up.”
“No street cameras here I guess?” Lyle asked as he looked around.
“I should’ve been with him.”
Farber wasn’t listening. “I’ll make Sandusky talk if it’s the last thing I do.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll have lots of help.”
Rosemaria was sound asleep when the sound of her cell phone ringing penetrated a strange dream about being in front of her poli-sci class and giving a presentation on pesto sauce. She licked her lips and still tasted the garlic from the lasagna she’d had at Vincente’s the day before. She checked the time on her phone. It was three thirty.
“Yes, hello. This is Rosemaria.”
“Rosemaria, it’s Lieutenant Farber.” He sounded grim.
Rosemaria bolted straight up as if she had been shot from a cannon. “What’s happened to my dad?!”
“I won’t kid you—it’s bad.”
“He went to what should have been to a simple handoff last night, but he, Messina, and the woman they were protecting have disappeared.”
Rosemaria fell back on her bed. “Disappeared?” she whispered.
“Your dad had a camera, and we got a clear picture of the license plate number. The two men were wearing hoodies so we can’t get facial recognition off the video.”
“Did you track down who owns the car?”
“We’re on it, Rosemaria. There’s nothing you can do. We have a BOLO out on the car, and we’ll do our best to track him down.”
“And when you find him?”
“We’ll bring him in and get him to talk.”
“Why was my father there? Who are these people?”
“You know I can’t tell you that. Let us do our job, Rosemaria. I promise you; we’ll find your father.”
“By then he might be dead.”
“Goodbye, Rosemaria. I’ll call you as soon as we know anything.”
She hung up and sat on the bed, letting what Farber had told her sink in and contemplating her choices. She breathed in and out heavily for several minutes and made her decision. She pulled on jeans and a sweatshirt, grabbed her purse, and ran out into the early morning darkness.
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