Justice Delayed(11)

By: Patricia Bradley


“What?” Matthews’s eyes widened. “Are you sure?”

Brad nodded toward the kitchen. “She printed out her ticket this morning, and her suitcases are packed and by the back door.”

“That doesn’t sound like Lacey.”

Will leaned forward. “How did you meet your wife?”

Matthews shifted toward Will. “She was a flight attendant back in the late nineties, and we occasionally worked together. It went from there.”

Brad looked up from his notebook. “Did you know Stephanie Hollister?”

“Who?”

Will observed Matthews as Brad repeated the question. It had unsettled the pilot. But Brad mentioning his sister unsettled Will too.

“Not that I know of. But there’ve been a lot of flight attendants over the years.”

“He didn’t say she was a flight attendant,” Will said.

“I guess I assumed based on the previous question.” Matthews checked his watch and stood. “Gentlemen, unless you plan to arrest me, I have a plane to fly.”

“Are you flying internationally?”

“Not tonight. Just shuttling to Charlotte, North Carolina.”

“One last question. Did she have any new friends or hobbies?”

“Don’t know the answer to that one, but you might check with that church she went to. Covenant something-or-other.” Matthews pressed his lips together. “You might want to look at her old friends. The crowd she ran around with when we first got married.”

“Can you give me a list?” Brad said.

Matthews checked his watch again. “There were several people we used to have dinner with, but I’ll have to think about it.”

“Can you remember any of them offhand?”

He glanced toward the ceiling. “Laura and Spencer Delaney. Madeline . . . something-or-other.” He shrugged.

“Laura Delaney, the district attorney?”

“They’d been friends a long time. Look, I always have time to kill once I get to the airport. Can I text you any other names I remember from there? I really need to leave.”

“Just don’t skip the country.”

Matthews’s eyes narrowed. “I didn’t kill her. If I had, it would have been years and thousands of dollars ago.”

He stopped at the door. “Oh, you might want to check the mechanic at Taylor’s Garage. That neighbor who told me she was buying a new car—Lacey claimed it was because the mechanic there who worked on her car did something to her transmission. She’d threatened to ruin his business, and he didn’t take too kindly to her accusations.”

Will turned to Brad when Matthews drove away. “Why did you ask him if he knew Stephanie?”

“She was working with the airlines during the time he said he met his wife. When Steph was murdered, she was sharing the house where my parents live now with four other women, and three of them were flight attendants.”

“I remember that. Don’t remember any of their names, though. Do you?” Will asked.

“The only one I remember is one called Maggie,” Brad said.

“I remember her—helped crank that old mower more than once.” He and Brad had been about fifteen then. “What do you think about Matthews?”

“He’s either telling the truth or he’s a really good liar. Not sure which yet. But at least we have a few leads to check out if the medical examiner rules it a homicide.”

“You think he will?”

“I could go either way on this one. If she was bipolar, she could have slipped over the edge.”

It would surprise Will if she committed suicide. Why would she have gone to the trouble of packing for Hawaii? He turned Lacey Wilson’s name over in his mind. “Does the victim’s name ring a bell?”

Brad rubbed his chin. “You too? Ever since I heard it, I’ve tried to place how I could know her. In fact, this whole case has a déjà vu feeling.”

“Hey, Brad.” A tech approached them, holding the victim’s purse and cell phone. “Found something I think you’ll find interesting. Looks like the victim had your sister’s phone number in her phone.”

He took the phone, and Will looked over his shoulder at the screen. “What’s Andi’s phone number doing in Lacey Wilson’s list of recent calls?”