Dear Ellie - Part 27
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
In your opinion, who is the hero of the story so far?
- Dear Ellie - Part 26
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
From Part 26
In the not-so-distance past, Scott brought home Special as the family pet. She wasted no time entering the investigation by finding a notebook listing all the Brownsville victims by name and date - a gold mine of evidence for the case.
The front door flew open. Scott returned from a jog with Special. "Babe! Babe!" Scott's excitement was hard to contain.
"Shhh," Ellie whispered. She was talking to the mother of the girl who was missing from Wilkensburg. "Yes, we need to get together and compare notes. I'll be in touch. Thank you. Good-bye."
Special seemed to be excited, too. "Okay, what's going on?"
"Special found this down by the golf course." Scott held up a small notebook."
"What is that, Scott?"
"It has names of tons of kids - dates -times - all to be delivered to the Brownsville building. If we cross-check these names, I bet you we find they're all missing. It's a complete list of transactions that went down at Brownsville. We just struck gold!"
"Let me see that." Ellie began to search through the list of names. There it was. Hayley Carson. The missing girl from Wilkensburg. She went back even further. Carrie was listed, and the deal was checked off as completed. There was no further information.
"Hey, Babe. You better give Stella a call. She needs to see this."
"Detective Larson - How may I help you?"
Ellie thought "Why does he always have to take the calls? There are a dozen people working there." She really didn't want to speak to him.
"Yes, Detective. This is Ellie Branson. I need to speak to Stella, please."
"Oh, Mrs. Branson, Stella is on another call. What can I do for you?"
Reluctantly, Ellie explained the situation. Larson was on his way to the Branson house before Ellie could hang up the phone.
The doorbell rang and Special was the first at the door. Scott ushered Larson into the living room while Special hid behind Ellie. Special had met her first stranger, and she didn't like him.
Larson asked, "So, Mrs. Branson, who is this cute, little guy?"
"This is Special, Detective."
"Yes, she certainly is. What's her name?"
"Special. That's her name. Special."
Detective Larson seemed unimpressed. "So let's see this new evidence you've collected, Mr. Branson."
Scott went to the bedroom to get the notebook he left on the nightstand. It wasn't long until he returned to the living room.
"Ellie, where's the notebook? I know I left it on the nightstand."
"Then that's where it should be. Stay here with Detective Larson. I'll find it. It's probably right where you left it. You were probably looking right at it."
She looked at Detective Larson and added, "It's a man thing."
A few minutes later Ellie returned holding a crumpled, torn notebook.
Mr. Branson, you have got to be kidding!" You expect me to use this as evidence? Your dog chewed through half the pages and the rest are covered with saliva."
"I'm sorry. That's not the way I found it."
"You know what it looks like to me? It looks like you're trying to get the attention off yourself as a suspect, but all you've done is make things worse. What I see is someone that is guilty finding supposed evidence. Then destroying that evidence beyond recognition so his own guilt is covered up.
"Mr. Branson, I could arrest you right now on multiple charges ranging from tampering with evidence to the abduction of your daughter."
Rage began to rise up in Scott. "If you think, I'm guilty, why don't you arrest me now? Maybe I'll just tell you what I know about you."
Ellie's elbow landed hard on Scott's ribs. "First of all, Mr. Branson, I'm a sensible guy. I'm not arresting you because I know the evidence would never hold up in court, although I know what you've done. It won't stand up in court, and I know it. Now, as for your second comment, tell me what you think you know about me. I would love to hear."
"He's just running at the mouth, Detective. You'll have to excuse him. He gets like this once in a while." Ellie took a deep breath."
Larson stuffed the notebook in his back pocket. "I'll add this to the evidence locker. When we need to tie fingerprints to the crime, I'm sure we'll find yours all over this notebook. Thank you, Mr. Branson. Good day, Mrs. Branson. I'll see myself out/"
As soon as Larson left, Special began to prance in circles around Scott's feet. She gently pulled his pant leg directing him to the bedroom. She squirmed under the bed but peeked out frequently to make sure Scott was still there.
"Oh, Special. this isn't a time to play. We have work to do." With that, Special peeked out, with another piece of paper held between her puppy teeth. Scott grabbed it and began to read. It was another sheet from the notebook. It read -
RE: # 43 - Jaime Lee Harrison; 2620-41B Bookman Avenue, Brentwood, PA;
10 years old; First to arrive at the bus stop; carries a pink, North Face backpack; curly, blond hair, blue eyes, approximately four feet eight inches; answers to the name, Jaime. Easy take. Schedule delivery no later than December 12 at Brownsville. Pays $12,000
Scott couldn't believe it. He yelled for Ellie. "Ellie, come here, quick! Look at this! Special found it under the bed. It's another page from the notebook. Stella was right. It is Martin. We have him now. His initials are right there, signed by his own hand."
Ellie glanced over the paper. Scott spoke again. "Quick, see if Larson pulled out yet. He needs to see this. That'll show him we have evidence."
"Ellie stood arms folded, blocking the door. "Scott, you have to calm down. You're not thinking clearly. DM may or may not refer to David Martin. We have the details listed . . . '
"Yes, we absolutely do. So let's get moving on this!"
"Scott, the problem is as far as we know, Larson is also connected to the abductions. You go running to him now, he'll know the deal's been found out. It won't happen. We have to catch him in the act."
"So call Stella."
Ellie reached for the phone and left a message on Stella's voicemail. Within minutes she called back. Ellie briefed her on the latest news. She promised to stop by the house after her shift ended.
Stella yanked her vehicle into the Branson's driveway and ran up the steps. Ellie met her at the door before she had time to ring the doorbell. Scott ran to get the note. The three of them sat at the table looking it over, waiting for Stella to say something. Finally . . .
"Child, there's not much I can do. We don't know which bus stop. It could be any. I assume it is a school bus stop, but my goodness Child, there's so many. I know the Brentwood police can't cover all of them."
Scott spoke up. "Well, can we also assume it's a bus stop on Bookman Avenue? That should narrow it down quite a bit, don't you think? Could we assume it's the closest stop to 2620 Bookman?"
"We might be able to do that, Child, but there is another problem."
Scott wasn't interested in hearing about problems. He wanted action. "Okay, okay. So what's the other problem?"
"We don't know when. It could be any day between now and December 12."
Ellie was growing impatient as well. "Stella, we can't sit here and just do nothing. Another child is going to go missing. There must be something that can be done."
"Honey, you're overlooking the main problem but not to worry. No child will go missing. You're holding the order. It got as far as your dog. It was never delivered to the abductor. He knows nothin' about it."
Ellie and Scott had to agree. There wouldn't be an abduction, but Scott had one last question. "Stella, can you tell anything from the handwriting. Does it match the other notes?"
I was lookin' at that, Child. To me, it looks like someone else's writin.' I'll take it to the lab anyway, and see if we can find anything. What would really be nice would be some DNA. That would be a big break. I'll get back to ya with the results."
- Dear Ellie - Part 28
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price