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“So they think they’re Samuelson’s footprints from last night because he was wearing socks?” Henry asked.

“It’s very possible,” said Zander. “There’s a bigger set in the same area but they’re wearing shoes, and another set that indicates someone stood and looked in the kitchen window. Also in shoes.”

“Those are different sizes?” asked Nora.

“They are.”

“Two people wearing shoes in the backyard,” murmured Nora. “No shoe prints in the house. Bloody or dirty. Did they take off their shoes?”

“One of the shoe prints in the backyard could be Samuelson’s,” argued Ava. “It’s his yard and clearly he spent time outside. It’s well manicured.”

“Does he have a yard service?” Zander asked.


“Putting it on the list,” noted Henry. “I’ll look into the burglaries from six months ago, too.”

“If he has a service, ask about that large indentation by the deck,” said Nora. “There might be an easy explanation for it. Maybe a barrel that they scoop leaves into.”

“Our guys think it looks like someone laid down on their side,” said Zander. “They pointed out where it’s deeper where the shoulder and hip would have been. Once they showed me, I could see it.”

Henry pulled up a photo of the indentation on his laptop. “I can’t see it,” he said. The investigators crowded around his desk. Mason quietly stepped forward and peered over shoulders. He didn’t see it, either.

“You have to look at it from the right angle,” said Zander. “This photo is from a different one.”

“We know Samuelson wasn’t lying there. At least not last night. His clothes were clean,” said Ava.

“I would revise your statement to, ‘He wasn’t lying there while wearing the clothes he was killed in,’” said Zander.

Ava nodded in reluctant agreement. Mason felt her frustration. What’d seemed important at two this morning had been suddenly made irrelevant by logic.

“Have we found a connection between Samuelson and Denny Schefte?” Ava tried a new topic. “They’re both OSP. Surely their paths have crossed.”

“We’re still looking,” said Nora. “Nothing yet. I have a programmer running database searches of our records to try to put the names together in some way.”

“If only there was a database to search for their personal activities,” said Zander. “It’s best to start with interviews of the people close to them. Who’s close to Samuelson? Who does he hang around with?”

“We’ve reached out to his ex-wife,” said Nora. “They were married for a few years about a decade ago. She lives in Idaho and said she hadn’t heard from him in over a year.”

“Denny’s been single a long time. Almost fifteen years,” said Mason, breaking his silence. “Maybe there’s a connection with that? Maybe he and Samuelson were both members of a dating service or belonged to some singles clubs?”

“Weldon’s married,” said Henry.

“But his wife said they’d had their ups and downs like any couple,” pointed out Ava. “I think we all know that people can find a lot of opportunities online if they want to have affairs or get a date.”

Nora made a notation about dating on the whiteboard. “Bank records and credit card reports,” she said. “That’ll turn up a lot of leads. Who did Samuelson hang around with?”

“I asked his sergeant,” said Henry. “He’s promised me a list of coworker names.”

“Can you set up the interviews with his associates and family?” Nora asked. Henry nodded.

“I’ll handle the banking records, cell phone records, that sort of thing,” said Zander.

“Did we get a complete autopsy report on Denny Schefte?” Ava asked.

“I saw it come in, but I only had time to glance at it,” said Nora. “It’s too early for some toxicology reports, but the bulk of it didn’t reveal anything more than we already know.” She glanced quickly at Mason.

He didn’t look away. It was odd to know there was a document that described every aspect of Denny’s dead body. Half the time Mason forgot he was dead. He expected him to walk through the door, or to hear him holler down the hall. Denny was one of those people who was too alive to be dead. His life force had constantly burst out of him.

It lingered in the building.

“His funeral is scheduled for tomorrow,” Nora said slowly, meeting everyone’s gaze. “We’ll have cameras on all the attendees.”

“I want to have this solved before that,” Mason stated.

“You’re not the only one,” said Nora.


Ava rushed through the organic grocery store.

It wasn’t her favorite place to shop, but its location by her home was convenient when she needed a few things. She preferred the big generic grocery store with its wide aisles and familiar brands. This store had narrow aisles, foods she’d never heard of, and a tiny bar where she could have a glass of wine or beer.

She liked the alcohol idea, but the brightly lit store was the last place she wanted to relax and enjoy wine. She noticed several men sitting at the small bar and wondered if they were passing time while their wives shopped. Or if they simply liked to hang out at the grocery store.

She shook her head and moved on, searching for crackers that Mason would eat. He liked familiar labels, too. He was highly suspicious of anything new. Especially if it claimed to be healthy. She spotted a type he’d reluctantly eaten in the past and pronounced edible. She’d stopped at the grocery store primarily to pick up olive oil, but she’d known they were low on a few other staples.