Justice Delayed(9)

By: Patricia Bradley

The case wasn’t his—it was his friend Brad’s—but after four years as a beat cop and seven as an investigator, Will couldn’t keep from doing what he was trained to do. And his gut said Lacey didn’t kill herself.

His friend rounded the corner from the hall and walked toward him. Like Will, he wore a Tigers sweatshirt and jeans. They’d stopped by Corky’s BBQ on their way to the FedEx Forum for tonight’s game when the call came in, ruining what was supposed to be a celebration over Will’s almost-certain promotion to the Cold Case Unit. His stomach growled at the memory of the pulled pork sandwich sitting in a to-go box in Brad’s car.

“Sorry our celebration got interrupted. You want me to drop you off at the arena before I start chasing leads?” Brad said.

Tonight’s game would determine whether the Memphis Tigers advanced in the NCAA Tournament. “Nah,” Will said. “I’ll catch the highlights tomorrow. We’ll go to the play-offs when the Tigers win.”

He and Brad bumped fists. They’d been friends ever since Will could remember—Will had lived with his aunt and uncle, but he’d spent every minute he could next door at the Hollisters’. One of the saddest days of Will’s life was after Brad’s sister was murdered and his cousin was accused of it. His aunt couldn’t bear to live next door to where the murder happened, and they’d moved two counties over.

Will nodded toward the garage. “This case intrigues me. You think it’s a suicide?”

“Maybe, maybe not. If not, someone tried to make it seem that way. I don’t like that there’s no note, and the next-door neighbor who found her said she was leaving on a trip to Hawaii. But she did say Lacey Wilson suffered with bouts of depression.”

“Is that who called it in?”

“Yeah. Wilson had an 8:00 p.m. flight,” Brad said, “and when the neighbor arrived to drive her to the airport around 5:30, she found her in the garage.”

Will winced. Death was never easy, but to find someone you know unexpectedly like that . . . it’d be hard to get over. “Why was she going to the airport so early?”

“The neighbor talked to Wilson around nine this morning and indicated she was meeting someone before she flew. The ME’s preliminary report puts her death around noon.” Brad turned as a uniformed officer called his name from the front entryway.

The officer thumbed toward the door. “Got a guy here who says the deceased is his ex-wife.”

Will had seen nothing in the house that indicated Lacey Wilson was married. He followed Brad to the front door, where the officer stood with a man in an airline uniform. Judging from the four gold stripes on his sleeve, the man was a pilot.

“Mr. Wilson?” Brad said.

“No, Adam Matthews. When Lacey and I legally separated years ago, she took back her maiden name. The divorce became final five years ago.”

Matthews stood a couple of inches taller than Will’s six feet, and the pilot’s shoulders filled out his uniform jacket. “What airline do you fly for?” Will asked.

“ConwayAir. Can you tell me what happened?”

“Your ex-wife was found behind the wheel of her Lexus with the motor running and the garage door closed,” Brad replied. “How did you find out she was dead?”

Matthews nodded toward the street. “Neighbor called, said the place was crawling with cops. So it was a suicide?”

Brad tapped his pen on the notebook. “Didn’t say that. Do you know anyone who would want to see your wife dead?”

“Other than me, you mean?”

“Why you, Mr. Matthews?” Will asked. The man was too calm and collected to suit him. And with his size, he could have easily put his ex-wife behind the steering wheel.

Matthews shifted his gaze to Will. “Isn’t the husband, or in this case, ex-husband, always the first suspect? I can lay your case out for you . . . if it is a murder, which I doubt. Bitter divorce, ex paying through the nose, and said ex doesn’t have an alibi if the death occurred today, since I spent the day alone. Did I cover everything?”

“Would you like to come in and sit down so we can discuss this further?” Brad asked.