Immediately upon eating, Emma contacted the police department to talk with Detectives James and Morris. They reiterated the need for caution and had reopened the investigation surrounding circumstances regarding Sylvia Westwood’s murder and told Emma if she had any further information to contact them immediately.
Nathan drove Emma to her place as he didn’t want her running into any unwarranted surprises. They’d stopped by the caretaker’s residence to obtain the new set of keys. Emma found the destruction no less disturbing than on the previous occasion.
“Wow. Just wow! All I can come up with.”
Nathan began picking up the papers and stacking them as Emma headed to the office. “Well, everything is here. I don’t think anything was taken. I’m a little surprised they didn’t total my things. There are a few broken items that they knocked over during the search, so I guess I got lucky.”
“Not what they were after. It would have seemed more legit if they’d taken something since it might have passed for a robbery. As is, it smacks of a connection to your story which surprises me. They obviously didn’t care about that angle.”
Emma agreed then said, “Wait a minute! There are files missing, but not pertaining to our investigation.”
“There were a set of files in the cabinet regarding an incident in the same area about six months prior to Sylvia Westwood’s demise. A young man was accosted one night after heading home from an all-nighter. The cops weren’t particularly interested since he was hammered and they figured one of his friends pulled a prank.”
“Do you remember the particulars of the case?”
“Surprisingly, I do. It was a college student living in the other apartment building kitty-corner to the one I was attacked in. When I talked to the officers about the incident, it was passed off, but I’m beginning to wonder how it relates. Why would anyone take those particular notes or even have an interest unless it relates somehow. I cant imagine looters takinf that information unless it connects.”
“Perhaps a visit is in order,” Nathan suggested.
“Yeah, I’m with you.” They finished straightening and tidying up when Nathan suggested Emma grab some more clothes. He was concerned about her returning alone. Although he hadn’t mentioned it, he wasn’t able to stand guard every moment as he had work to do. At least at his home, he knew she was safe and he could rest easy.
Emma collected a large piece of luggage and overnight bag and stuffed cosmetics and other products into it then carefully chose a mixture of underwear, outfits, shoes, and a coupleof scarves to place them in the other bag.
As soon as they were on the road, Emma placed a call to a friend at the Gazette. “Elaine, do you remember that article we worked on a little over a year and a half ago about a young college student that was attacked near the Westwood murder?”
“Yeah, that’s the one. Do you have the address of the man handy?”
“No, no. I just wanted to do a follow-up, find out if anything ever came of it, or if it was a prank. Oh, and keep this under your hat, will you?”
“I’m not sure, Elaine and thanks.”
Emma handed the address to Nathan and as soon as they arrived, he parked out front.
When Emma buzzed, a man’s voice answered, “Yeah? What do you want?”
Emma explained who she was and asked if he had a few minutes to talk with her. When he buzzed them in, they hurried to the third floor overlooking the area where he’d been assaulted.
“Mr. Harper, thank you for seeing us. I was wondering if the police ever did a follow-up on your attacker and whether you remember anything else pertinent to the incident?”
“Is this renewed interest related to Sylvia’s death?”
Glancing at Nathan Emma remarked, “Honestly? Yes. We were wondering if there were a connection.”
“Have the cops changed their mind about her death? I mean, Sylvia was great, never into trouble, nose to the grindstone which doesn’t mean she wasn’t fun, she was. She had a great sense of humour.”
“So you knew her personally?”
“No, more passing acquaintances, but you get a feel, ya know?”
“Did the police ask you any questions regarding her death?”
“No. I only wondered if there were a connection since some friends said the cops had re-opened the case and were taking a hard look at the circumstances.”
“Do you recall seeing anything out of the ordinary the night of your attack?”
“It’s pretty hazy, but there were a couple of moving trucks a block or so over that seemed out of place. Can’t tell ya the name, I just kinda noticed it in passing. I didn’t see who hit me, but I’m a big guy and I managed to land a swing before I got into the building. As soon as I called the cops, they took off. I watched from my window.”
“Seems to me after considering Sylvia’s death there might be a connection. I’ve been wondering if she saw something the night she was killed.”
“Was there anything unusual about the trucks?” Nathan asked.
“Not really. Just seemed they shouldn’t be there. There’s nothing down there accept an abandoned building with a connecting warehouse. Both are in pretty sad disrepair and I hear the city’s thinking of ripping them down.”
“A word of caution, Mr. Harper. It seems there may be renewed interest in what happened to you. Someone broke into my home and stole a set of files. The only files they took related to the Gazette’s coverage of the incident relating to you and my follow up notes.”
“You think someone might come after me again?”
“It’s possible. I wouldn’t take any chances if I were you. Keep your guard up for the next while. I don’t understand what you might have seen or how it relates, but I’m sure it does. Until we can make that connection, I think you should take care.”
“Should I call the cops?”
“I’ve already spoken with Morris and James. Although they don’t believe there’s a connection, we both do.”
“Yeah, yeah, thanks for the heads up.”
When they left Nathan said, “Not sure we should have gone that route.”
“What, telling him the facts and suggesting he take precautions?”
“I hope he has more sense than to start digging into this or asking undue questions in the wrong area.”