Crimes Past(16)

By: Lauren Carr

Slowly, Mac shook his head in silence.

“An experienced police detective would know to get rid of the weapon and figure out how to hack into a hotel security system,” David said.

“The killer chose to take them out on their wedding night,” Mac said. “That’s cold. They picked the happiest, most joyous occasion of anyone’s life. To me, that’s personal. Not only did they want to rip their lives away from them, they wanted to do it in the most painful way possible.”

“Who would hate them enough to want to do that?” David asked.

Staring at the pictures of the joy filled bride and groom, Mac uttered a deep sigh.

“You have to have had some gut feeling over the years.” David stared at him until Mac lifted his gaze. Once their eyes met, he said, “After over sixteen years, you have to have formed some opinions.”

“Let’s start with the simplest item on the list,” Bogie said. “Which of them was the intended target?”

“Truthfully, I keep going back and forth. They weren’t really together long enough to both be the target—except for one motive.”

“That being?”

“Kassandra Johansson.”

“The bride’s sister,” Bogie said. “Matron of honor. Found the bodies.” He referred to the background check. “Is chief of staff of the forensics lab in Fairfax, Virginia. Widowed.”

“Her husband was killed on 9/11 at the Pentagon,” Mac said, “leaving her alone to raise a threeyearold little girl and Gina, Brie’s daughter. This was all eight months before the wedding and her sister’s murder.”

“What would be her motive to kill her only sister?” David said.

“I truly don’t believe Kassandra did it,” Mac said. “But they got into a huge fight shortly before the wedding—something Kassandra told me herself—I heard it from no one else. Rod, their father, knew about it, and he never mentioned it to me. To this day, he doesn’t know I know.”

“What was the fight about?”

Mac rested his elbows on his knees and buried his face in his hands. “Kassandra was five years older than Brie. She was the responsible one. Always did the right thing. She married her high school sweetheart right out of college. He was an army officer. She moved up in the ranks with the DC police crime scene investigation.”

“I sense a ‘but’ coming,” Bogie said.

“Brie got pregnant her senior year of high school. She was extremely bright but lacked selfdiscipline. At that time, Kassandra had been told that she could never have children. She and her husband wanted kids. So, she offered to adopt Brie’s baby. After Brie had Gina, she handed her over to Kassandra and, without a look back, signed up for the Marines and took off. After putting in her time, she went to the police academy. She wanted to be a detective and Rod called in some chips to get her assigned to homicide after she passed the detective’s exam. She was my protégé for a short time.”

“Meanwhile, Kassandra and her husband are raising Brie’s daughter as their own,” David said.

“According to Kassandra, Brie was supposed to sign over parental rights to her and her husband. They never hid the fact that Brie was her birth mother. They just wanted full rights and custody to her, but Brie never got around to signing the papers. Then, thirteen years later, Kassandra is raising two children on her own—”

“I thought she couldn’t have children,” David said.

“She did, too,” Mac said. “The doctor ended up being wrong. She had Morgan. After 9/11, Brie announced that she and Trevor were getting married and buying a beautiful home and, as a favor to Kassandra, they wanted Gina to go live with them. Kassandra went to a lawyer who said that since Brie never signed over parental rights, there was nothing she could do.”

“First, she loses her husband and now Brie was taking away her daughter?” Bogie asked.

“The murders solved all of Kassandra’s problems.”

“I know you say you believe Kassandra didn’t do it,” David said, “but what if you were in her shoes? You’ve raised a child from a baby, and then thirteen years later, you’ve lost your spouse in a horrific fashion. Suddenly, your spoiled sister wants to take your daughter away and there’s nothing you can do?”