Pittie, The Coffee Shop Detective

Updated on May 23, 2019

Pittie, We're Becoming Coffee Shop Detectives

Alright Pittie, let's see what we can do here. Maybe I should have paid closer attention to some of those crime shows I had watched. I guess we start with the victim, Ashley Redgrave.

With a day old bagel and a black coffee in hand, I was back on Ashley's page. Just as I expected, there was a link to her mother, Joanna Redgrave. I was almost afraid to follow the link to her page. If she just moved on without a care, that would break my heart. If she was like Diane and spent the last 16 years seeking the truth, that seemed even scarier. I clicked it and closed my eyes as though a jump scare was coming.

Her mother didn't post much, but most of her posts did revolve around Ashley and her kids. She had a son and a daughter. One had graduated high school and the other was in her senior year. Scattered throughout were birthday wishes to Ashley in heaven, pleas for information on her murder, and moments of dark depressing thoughts.

How could I help her? I didn't have any evidence. If I told her the whole story, as I know it, would she think I was crazy? (I would if I were her.) If she didn't the cops surely would. I thought long and hard about this. Finally, I made up a page called Coffee Shop Detective.

I sent Joanna this message.

Hello Ms. Redgrave,

I am Sam, a college student studying criminal science. I came across your daughter's article in an archive of the local paper. It was a very brief article, and I could not find any follow up information. Was your daughter's case ever solved? If not I would like to see if I can help. Please contact me back if you would be interested in a fresh set of eyes with a new vision analyzing the case.



That wasn't totally a lie. I did have a vision. And if life hadn't jackknifed the way it did, I would be a college student. Never considered criminal studies, however. Who knows, maybe I found my calling in more than one way.

While I waited, I went back to my notebook. Casper Trucking... I wondered if they were still in business. (Dang Pittie, I wish you were a real. I could use someone to bounce ideas off of here.) A quick Google search, and no, they went out of business. I did find out they were located in Jacksonville, IA. That was interesting. Could the address I saw be Jackonville, IA?

Could the address be Idle Street? I did find and Idle Street, but that address showed up as a vacant lot in the street view. Like I said, 16-year head start. If that had been his address the house was long gone. Not sure if I thought I was going to just knock at the door anyway.

I lingered around the coffee shop for most of the day. The staff was beginning to look at me oddly. With little cash, I couldn't spend much money. I was limiting myself to one or two small cheap meals a day. Maybe I could be a medium on the streets for money. Not sure how to make that into a sideshow, but people will spend money on anything these days.

Pittie, A Desperate Mother Knows No Limits

Joanna finally got back to me. We sent several messages back and forth. Her gut told her I was a scammer, but her desperation made her listen anyway. (Now I understand how people get caught up in scams. They want something so badly they are willing try anything.) We made plans to meet at a park on the other side of town. It's a busy park with a lot of people around. I felt sure I wouldn't know anyone there. It was usually the place where pre-schools took the kids for the day. I remember going there when I was a kid.

I started making my way to the park today. I figured I would find a place to crash even if it was somewhere at the park itself. Pulling down the ARMY hat that was given to me, I started walking. I was trying to keep my head down. Getting to the park meant going past people and places I knew.

It's easier to not exist out here than you think. People try not to make eye contact with you if you look homeless. Some are afraid, some just don't want to deal with beggars, and others just want to pretend we're not there.

The next morning I cleaned up in a gas station bathroom and tried to appear like a normal college student. I stashed my backpack in the bushes. Most college students don't walk around with a sleeping bag strapped to their backpack. Then I sat on a bench and waited. I realized I didn't have wifi out here. I wondered if my cell phone was still working. If Joanna tried to contact me, I wouldn't know if it wasn't.

Seeing more than one crime show where the cell phone was tracked, I had taken the battery out. I hadn't tried to use it since I ran away. I looked toward the bushes and wondered if I dare try now. I decided to give Joanna time. If she didn't show I might. As I sat and fidgeted, I began to wonder what was on my phone. Funny, that thing was glued to my hand before, but lately, I hadn't given it another thought.

Of course, before, I was in constant communication with Sean. If we weren't texting we were sending funny things back and forth. I still want to find him. If these other people are around, why isn't he? Maybe tonight I will go by his house. I can peek in the windows and see if I see him. (That sounds so weird. I'm going to go by my dead best friends house to see if his ghost is hanging around with nothing to do. The idea made me chuckle. First laugh I had in a while. Leave it to Sean to somehow make my day better even in death.)

Joanna finally arrived, but she was alone. Part of me hoped Ashley would be with her.

"Are you Sam?" she asked.

"Yeah," I smiled. "Let's sit down."

I opened my notebook to the page where I was making notes. I thought for a second what I was going to say to this woman. I wasn't sure playing a nosey college kid would do the trick.

"So is this for some extra credit or something?" she asked me as she sat on the bench.

"No, I just saw.." (Saw what? I saw your daughter murdered and it broke my heart. Yeah, sounds like crazy 101 to me.) "the article on her death. The wording in the article really pissed me off. That was the only thing I could find about her. Nothing turned up about her killer or anything. My heart just went out to her." (That wasn't a lie.) "I thought I could help. I don't guess I can hurt at this point."

"That's true," she said quietly as she studied me closely. "If you're looking for money or something."

"No," I interrupted. "I just think I have some unique observation skills, and perhaps I can help Ashley out. I don't want the last thing the world knows about was she was a dead prostitute," (I realized quickly that was a horrible thing to say. Shit!) Joanna began to tear up.

"She had gotten caught up in drugs. Her last year of high school was unbearable. We started trying to be tough on her. We gave her a choice either rehab or get out. She chose to leave. She had a boyfriend that took her in. I think he was the one who introduced her to that world. The boyfriend left, by then she had two kids, and she got arrested for drugs. We tried to tell her again we would send her to rehab. She didn't want any part of it. The court gave us the kids. Otherwise, they would have gone into foster care. She did a few days in jail and was back in her usual routine as soon as she got out.

Our little girl was in there somewhere, and she loved those kids dearly. She knew they would be better off with us, and didn't put up much of a fight. We talked a lot about her getting her life together, but she just couldn't seem to get away from it. She never missed a visit with the kids. When she didn't show up, I knew something was wrong. I couldn't get her on the phone. She didn't' answer her door. I knew something was wrong.

A part of me knew she was dead, but I expected her to have overdosed somewhere. I guess that sounds horrible to say, but it was a fact I had come to expect one day. To find..." Joanna stopped talking. We sat quietly for a few minutes while she tried to gather herself. I reached out and took her hand and just waited. "To find her dead in a gutter somewhere. But I never expected someone to kill her. Not like that." Joanna got quiet again while she tried to hold herself together. I wanted to ask her questions, but I didn't want to rush her. I'm sure it was so hard for her to relive.

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    © 2019 Faron Asher


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