Down the Rabbit Hole- The End by Paty Jager

Oliver Ensley was picked up and brought in for questioning. Scott tried his best to get the man to talk, but he stonewalled and kept repeating he wanted to call his lawyer. They had no choice but to allow him to make the call. They didn’t have any evidence against him, other than hearsay.

In the Sheriff’s office, Scott paced back and forth. “We have to find Tommy Joe and get him to talk. He’s the only one who can give us the information to make Ensley talk.”

“Are you sure it is Ensley and not Tommy Joe who killed Forseth?” the sheriff asked.

Scott stopped and stared at the sheriff. “What do you know about Tommy Joe? Everyone else seems to think he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“He isn’t the simple man he portrays.” Sheriff Quinn tossed a file to the edge of his desk nearest Scott. “Take a look.”

The file was on Raymond Forseth, the victim. His family and business. Thomas Joseph Forseth was Raymond’s brother and second in line in the investing company.

Scott shook his head. “I don’t understand. I was under the impression Tommy Joe, Thomas Joseph, was here for many years. And no one said he was a Forseth.”

“He never gave a last name. And he has been in and out of here for years. I believe he was prospecting to find what he finally found, that tunnel with gold. His brother always did business on sure things. Go talk to Raymond’s secretary and wife. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping a look out for Tommy Joe.”

Scott left the office and returned to his desk. He called Mrs. Forseth first. She said, that at the death of her husband the business would go to her brother-in-law, Thomas. After adding that to his notes, he called the business and talked with Raymond’s secretary.

“Oh yes, those two brothers would get into it all the time. Thomas felt they needed to take more chances, and Raymond always made sure he had the information necessary to make an intelligent decision.”

“What will happen to the company now that Raymond is gone?” Scott asked.

“Thomas will take over, and who knows what will happen.” The woman sniffed. “I’ll be retiring. I won’t work for that man.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Raley.” He started to hang up and said, “Do you have any idea where I might find Thomas?”

“He has a cabin in the Sierras.” She rattled off the address and hung up.

Scott told dispatch to send three cars to the address and bring Thomas to the Sheriff’s Office.

He decided to have a better look at the photos and forensics. Staring at the photos, a thought struck him. Scott strode down the hall to the interview room, stopping at the door. “Is Ensley alone in there?”

The deputy standing guard nodded.

“Good. If his lawyer shows up, try to stall him.” Scott entered the room.

“Where’s my lawyer?” Ensley asked. He was a bald-headed man with broad shoulders and a permanent scowl.

“I don’t know. But I have some questions for you. Who did you work for? Raymond or Thomas?” Scott settled into the seat across the table from Ensley.

“What do you mean?” The man seemed to be perplexed. “I’m the builder for Forseth Development.”

“I know that. But were you working for Raymond or Thomas?”

The man shook his head. “I don’t know any Thomas.”

“Okay, let me rephrase it. Did you work for Tommy Joe?”

“The smelly old prospector? No.” The man laughed. “That’s a good one. He doesn’t have a nickel to rub between his fingers.”

“But you told him you’d take care of Raymond the other night at The Lone Wolf Restaurant.” Scott watched him.

“Yeah. He wanted to make sure that Raymond looked at the survey stakes and made sure the land Tommy Joe claimed wasn’t on our development. Tommy Joe was worried he was encroaching and didn’t want to get started digging and have Raymond take it away from him.” The man sounded sincere.

Scott studied him. “That’s all he wanted to know?”

“Yeah.” Ensley pursed his lips as if in thought. “When I talked to Raymond about it, he asked me where Tommy Joe lived. I gave him directions to that camp of his.” His eyes widened. “Wait a minute. You think Tommy Joe killed Raymond!”

#

While waiting for the deputies to bring Tommy Joe in, Scott received a call from the state forensics. “What did you find?” he asked the forensic technician.

“The victim was killed by a blow to the head after having been in a fight. We noted the bruises and scrapes consistent with fighting.”

“And the evidence recovered at the crime scene?” Scott asked. He hoped it was good news for Dela’s grandfather.

“The blood on the donkey was that of the victim’s. The animal had been used to move the body. The mining equipment you sent from the camp was tested. A shovel had the victim’s blood on the spade end and was consistent with the head wound. Your suspect’s prints were on the handle.”

Deputy Jones stuck his head in the room. “They’re bringing him in,”

Scott stood at the door of the county station watching Tommy Joe, dressed in slacks, a fancy shirt, and shiny leather shoes, be led into the station. The man glared at everyone. Gone were the whiskers, the longish hair, and the stench. He smelled of two-hundred-dollar cologne.

Relieved the right man was in custody, Scott called Dela.

“Hello?” the woman questioned, answering the phone.

“It’s Detective Harper. We have the person responsible for Forseth’s murder in jail. I’m pleased to tell you, it’s not your grandfather.”

###

Have you figured out which character could show up in a mystery series of their own?

Image from Depositphotos

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