The Mayor had asked me to give a short speech at the Fourth of July Picnic. When I received a phone call from him asking how I was coming with the speech, I decided that I had put it off long enough, and pulled out paper and pen. Thirty minutes later when the telephone rang, I had managed to write, “Good Morning Everyone”.
The caller said, “Sheriff, this is Mrs. Roberts. I really need to talk to you. Could you meet me today?
“Yes Ma'am”, I answered. Shoving the tablet and pen into my desk drawer I said, “I'm not doing anything right now, so if that's ok with you, I'll be there shortly.”
Upon my arrival, Mrs. Roberts asked if I would take her to the cemetery, that she felt she wanted to be by Emma's grave when she talked to me. Once we arrived, and stepped out of my truck, she clearly was quite nervous, so I tried not to rush her, wanting her to feel comfortable to share whatever was on her mind.
Finally, she seemed to summon up her resolve and said, “Sheriff, I feel I must tell you that I haven't been totally honest with you. I've withheld some information from you as I acted out of pride, and tried to protect my daughter's reputation. In the last couple of days I've come face to face with the fact that by denying you information, I could be standing in the way of your catching her killer.”
She seemed to be expecting rebuke or criticism, so I tried to calm her fears by saying “Please go on Mrs. Roberts, you are doing the right thing.”
“Emma was a good girl John David. She didn't deserve to die like that. First of all you have to understand that I really don't know anything, but I have to tell you what I suspected, and what I've tried to avoid facing. Emma's actions in her last year made me wonder if perhaps she was not having an affair with someone, possibly, a married man. We had always shared everything, but the last year of her life, she became more and more secretive. She said she had a boyfriend but would not tell me where he lived, or his name.
She refused to bring him to meet me, or to take me to meet him. I tried to get her to bring him with her to attend events in Jubal, but she always put me off. Just a couple of weeks before her death, I finally confronted her, and asked her point blank if she was involved with a married man. Emma just told me not to worry, that everything would work out. We then had a pretty bad argument, and I never saw her alive again.”
“Mrs. Roberts, I know this has been difficult for you. But I must ask, is there anything else?
“No, that's all”,she replied. “I hope I've done the right thing in telling you this. Do you think it will help?”
“Well Ma'am, all I can tell you, is that up until now, I've been facing a blank wall, with absolutely no place to even begin trying to get answers. What you have told me today, finally gives me a place to start. I will take that, and follow it as far as it leads. Whatever I find, or do not find, I will share with you completely. You most certainly deserve that, at the very least.”
With this new information in my mind as I drove across town, I didn't want people cluttering up my thought process.
My deputy was not around when I returned to the office, so I left him a message telling him where I would be, then called the Mayors office.
“Mayor Elliot's office, may I help you”, the soft voice of Cindy Blue Eyes drifted out of the telephone and into my ear.
“Hi Cindy. Listen, I have some things to take care of, so I'll be at my home for the rest of the day. If there is an emergency, the Mayor can reach me there.”
“O.K. John David, I'll tell him. One of those things you have to take care of, wouldn't be named Lacy Beth would it?”, she asked only half teasingly....
“I'm sorry Cindy Mae, but I'm not allowed to share what I do during business hours with the general public,” I answered.
“JOHN DAVID, you are a..”
Laughing to myself, I hung up the phone and hoped that none of the “dignified” ladies of the town were standing there when she completed that sentence.
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