Cory Wade is Missing

by Rick Beck

Chapter 6

Illegal Entry?

Angus stopped for a sandwich before heading into town to see Wes, and give him the news about what he'd found out about Cory's disappearance. The case was a long way from being solved, but they'd need Mrs. Wade's involvement to get into Cory's electronics.

Angus had the papers she signed for that purpose. He'd give them to Wes, Then he needed to talk to Terry to confirm she was a go. Once inside, she'd collected the necessary data and locate Cory's contacts, and decide which he was most likely to be staying with.

Angus went into the main office at Wes's. He wanted coffee to take into Wes's office with him. He'd brief Peg while he got the coffee.

"Hey, Peg. The big guy in?" Angus asked. "The coffee fresh?"

"Does it matter, Angus, and yes, he's expecting you. Sounds like the visit to Bishop's School paid off.?"

"Your boss is spilling the beans on my investigation?" Angus asked with surprise.

"You want to get anything done around here, you better spill it all. I control the levers of power in this office," Peg said.

"I see. The coffee's fine if anyone asks," Angus said, heading for the door to Wes's office.

"I only make fine coffee," Peg said, as Angus went inside.

"You look rushed, Angus. You need a bracer? My heavy lifting is done for the day, and we need to get to work on the Wade thing," Wes said.

"What the hell! I'm drinking your coffee. I may as well drink your booze. The news isn't wonderful. It's a hell of a long way from anything I expected. I'll need to stop by Terry's to give her the scoop on going into the Wade house. She hasn't said yes, but she never says no, when I ask."

"You did put up the capitol that allows her to do what she does. She's obviously grateful. I send work her way when Peg says it's up her alley."

"She's a smart kid. As dump as I am about computers, I need her for anything connected to electronics," Angus said.

Wes went to the top drawer in the first file cabinet to remove the bottle of Knob Hill and a bottle of Fitzgerald. He poured a shot from each of the bottles.

"Your drink. Here's to lazy days and pleasant nights."

"Which makes it all worthwhile," Angus said.

"Has it been a long day? You look tired," Wes said.

"Interviews wear me out. Most of it was what you'd expect from a kid's classmates. Except for one, and the hour I spent with him paid dividends," Angus said.

"I can tell Dolores you're closing in on where Cory will be found?"

"Not a chance. You tell his mother, it's time to go retrieve the information off her son's computer. It's now the next move. By the way, here are the papers she signed to allow us to go into the house."

Angus took the signed papers from his inside pocket.

"With a list of the people he's been in contact with, the search begins. That's all legwork and door knocking, some surveillance.

Shouldn't take long, once we have the information."

"Two days until the weekend. You need to move today if you can. You can't go into his house on the weekend. That would be too risky. We want to avoid Tony if possible," Wes said.

"Tony has meetings. Mrs. Wade knows his routine. We'll go in while he's tied up in town. Do a quick in and out," Angus said. "Mrs. Wade goes with us, watches us go in, and she can leave. Terry copies the hard drive, and I check the house for a crime scene."

"Good plan. We have the signed papers. Our ass is covered," Wes said. "And what is it that has you looking at a possible crime scene."

"Tony was the last person seen with Cory before he disappeared," Angus said with no doubt in his voice.

"You can prove that?"

"Eye witness. Possibly two. I need to interview the man who lives across the street from the Wade's."

"Give me the short version. Tony was in New Jersey. Cory went missing La Jolla. How does that work?" Wes asked.

"Cory and a kid at school were hooking up at Cory's house the day Cory disappeared. They'd been working up to it. Tony was out of town. Mama bear was getting her hair done. Papa bear comes home early. The two kids have left a trail of clothing leading to Cory's bedroom, and Tony walks in on them. To say he wasn't pleased is the least of it. The boy with Cory ran for his life. Tony threw his clothes out the front door. Cory didn't come out. Not while the second boy was still there. The other boy went home as soon as Tony airmailed him his clothes. The man across the street would verify that Tony threw the clothes at the kid, if the kid is telling the truth. Tony would need to be a damn good pitcher to toss them all the way from Jersey."

"I'd say. Always nice to have a witnesses. Not the brightest lovers ever conceived," Wes said. "You'd think they'd be a bit more discreet. Where did you pick up this tidbit?"

"We think of them as kids. We see them as kids. They don't see themselves that way. The other boy is worried sick about Cory. Apparently, It's first love for both of them. Clear thinking isn't a prerequisite of young love," Angus said.

"I'd say," Wes said.

"You don't remember when you were eighteen, Wes? I sure remember when I was. What I remember of it, and there was a lot of drinking involve, wasn't pretty or even fun, as I recall. There was also a lot of throwing up involved. At least these two were sober," Angus said.

"Did the second kid see Tony hit Cory or act violently toward him?" Wes asked.

"He was a bit busy getting the hell out of there," Angus said. "He witnessed no violence."

"At this point, we have no reason to suspect violence. We should get in and out of the house as soon as possible," Wes said. "I'll get Peg to call Dolores. You need to go to the Grant and decide on when you'll go in. Make sure Terry is available. We should be OK on the entry. Dolores will be there when you go in. At this point, no judge will issue a search-warrant on what we have, but we should be OK."

"Mrs. Wade doesn't strike me as being all that reliable, Wes. She'll do what we want her to do as long as it isn't inconvenient."

"It's what we have, Angus. If she isn't there at the time she agrees to be there, back off. Don't go in without her being there. It's her son. You're going into the house to gather information. If she doesn't care enough to help us, I'll give her the money back and tell her to find another attorney," Wes said.

"I'm in the case now. I'd like to find the kid, Wes."

"As long as she goes along, we should be OK. I'd like it better if she was still putting her head on pillows in the Wade house, but she isn't, and we need the information off the kid's computer," Wes said.

"Come in, Mr. McCoy," Sensa said with a smile. "She's expecting you."

"Good afternoon, Sensa. Nice to see you again."

"She's not happy you're interrupting her busy day," Sensa said.

"I get that a lot," Angus said. "I know you'll find this hard to believe, but I'm not very popular."

Sensa laughed.

"You're just fine, McCoy," Sensa said.

"Sensa, don't gossip with guests," Mrs. Wade said with alacrity.

"I'm sorry, ma'am. I just don't know what came over me. I lost my head for a second," Sensa said, as any obedient servant would.

Angus chuckled at the ironclad control exercised over the help. He was certain he didn't like Dolores Wade. She didn't even recognize when she was being made fun of.

"I don't mind telling you that I am a busy woman. I'm on my way out. I'd like to keep this short."

"I've gathered information that involves Mr. Wade. Have you spoken to your husband?"

"I have not," Mrs. Wade said. "I'm entertaining the idea of having Mr. Matthews draw up divorce papers. I don't plan to talk to Tony without my lawyer present."

"How long have you been married, Mrs. Wade?"

"For twenty-two years and I've decided that's enough," she said. "Now if you'll get to the point, I can get to attending to the rest of my busy day. I thought we wouldn't speak again until you had something concrete on my son."

"It seems your husband wasn't being truthful, when he told you that Cory wasn't home, when he came home Monday," Angus said. " I said, I wouldn't contact you without Wes interceding in case of an emergency. That's why I had Wes's office call to tell you I was on the way over. I'm contacting you now, because I've uncovered eyewitness evidence that points to your husband as the reason why Cory ran. It makes getting into Cory's computer that much more important."

"That's preposterous. Tony was in New Jersey on Monday until just before I came home from the hairdresser," Mrs. Wade said. "He has no reason to lie to me about that. How would you have a witness to the goings on inside my house?" Mrs. Wade demanded.

Angus took slow deep breaths. He reminded himself that he worked for this woman. He collected his thoughts and tried again.

"Mrs, Wade, your son is missing. You're contemplating a divorce. Tony is known to be a violent man. In a missing persons cases such as this, the first people you look at are those closest to the missing person. Your husband fits into that category and I've been given information that puts your husband in the house with Cory the last time anyone saw Cory alive," Angus said, being more blunt than he needed to be.

"I'm calling Mr. Matthews as soon as you leave. I don't like your attitude. I am having you taken off this case. Now I'd appreciate it if you'd leave me to attend to my business. I want someone less confrontational to find my son. You are impertinent, sir."

Sensa rolled her eyes. Angus tried not to smile.

"You may well be right, Mrs. Wade, but I'll tell you what Mr. Matthews will tell you. I'm the best man for the job. You are lucky to have me. If anyone can locate your son, I can. That's if you truly want to find Cory, and stop protecting Tony. You call Mr. Matthews and he'll withdraw from this case. He will return your money," Angus said.

"What makes you so sure of that?" Mrs. Wade asked.

"He told me he regretted taking your case, and he wished he hadn't. You give him an out and you'll need a new lawyer, and you can't find a lawyer who doesn't know who Mad Anthony Wade is."

"I've told you that my husband was in New Jersey at the time Cory disappeared," Mrs. Wade said. "You're calling me a liar."

"No, I was fairly clear on that. Your husband is the liar. You're his enabler, and if you aren't going to help me, I can't be of help to you."

"My intentions are to be helpful. If I've given you another impression, I apologize. I'm not accustomed to being questioned in that tone of voice, Mr. McCoy. Who was in my house to give you the information that you have. Please, have a seat. Sensa, coffee," Mrs. Wade ordered.

Angus sat in the same chair he'd used before. He wanted to be careful how he said what he was about to say.

"I'm sorry if my tone of voice offends you. I'm a private investigator. I need to separate fact from fiction. It isn't always easy to do. I don't have time for subtleties," he said. "The sooner I get to the bottom of what happen last Monday, the sooner I'll find Cory."

"Your apology is accepted. I hope this clears the air." she said.

Angus didn't apologize, but he knew to let her have it her way. Anything to cut through the crap.

"Cory thought his father was in New Jersey as well. Your son invited his boyfriend to the house for a little socializing, and I won't get into the details."

"That can't be true," Mrs. Wade resisted.

"Mrs. Wade, it is true. In the middle of the boys socializing, Anthony Wade enters his house. He became suspicious of the trail of clothes scattered about on the way to Cory's bedroom. He barged in on your son and his companion. Cory's friend escaped around the much larger and somewhat slower Tony. He went downstairs and out the front door in the altogether. While contemplating his next move, he noticed a bespectacled man about fifty, wearing his lawn in a Padre's cap. His house was directly across the street. The man is watching the boy without much curiosity as the boy squatted naked between two cars. The boy said it was like he saw what was going on but it didn't alarm him."

"That would be Mr. Madsen. Sounds just like him," she said. "He was career navy. He once told me he'd seen it all," she said.

"Luckily for the boy, your husband came to the door and threw the kid his pants, shirt, and shoes. Your husband was yelling something the boy didn't understand. The man with the hose saw what happened. He saw the boy run from your house."

Mrs. Wade's hand stayed folded in her lap, and she remained silent as Sensa put down her cup of coffee. She turned to deliver the second cup to Angus. She winked at him. Angus tried not to smile.

"It's fresh, McCoy," Sensa said.

"Thank you," Angus said, immediately drinking from the cup.

Sensa returned to where she brought the coffee from.

"How did you find this out?" She asked.

"I'm an expert interrogator. It's part of my job to get information out of people who don't want to give it to me," Angus said. "In this case it was a boy who likes your son very much and he's worried."

"And who is this boy Cory was with?" Mrs. Wade asked.

"Who he is, isn't importance. He's a witness to what happened."

"I'm Cory's mother and I need to know who my son was with," Mrs. Wade barked in a sudden dispatch.

Angus drank coffee, ignoring the outburst.

"Tony wouldn't react well if he found Cory in bed with a boy."

"Is Tony homophobic?" Angus asked.

"No. I don't know. Tony has always wanted Cory to be tougher. He would see Cory being gay as his own failure," Mrs. Wade said. "I don't believe he would hurt Cory."

"Your husband is from a violent world. He didn't get that name because he was Mr. nice guy, Mrs. Wade."

"He's not like that any longer," she said. Tony is capable of some brutish behavior, but he wouldn't hurt Cory. Throw him out of the house, deny he's his son, but Tony isn't a monster."

"I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this is an investigation. I'm not sure I shouldn't call in the police. In any criminal matter, as a licensed private detective, I'm required to notify the police about this case. I realize that high profile people like you and your husband would prefer to keep the police out of it. I need to get into your house. I need Cory's computer and phone, not tomorrow, this afternoon. If you think Tony might be there, then we'll put it off for now, but might I remind you, Mrs. Wade, your son's well-being may well depend on me getting into your house and having my computer expert search his computer for contact information that might lead us to him."

"Tony has a meeting tonight. He meets with fellow contractors on this night each week. He stays late, comes home drunk, if he makes it home at all. It's that kind of meeting."

"I've got to contact my computer expert and explain the circumstances to her. If she's not willing to get involved in a case where violence is a possibility, she'll know someone who can be trusted. Once I have that taken care of, we'll need to go to the house and get a look at Cory's computer. Time is of the essence."

"I'll cancel my afternoon. I'll go to the house with you. He may be home before five, but they have dinner at six on the nights they meet. You should have plenty of time to do what you need to do, Mr. McCoy. I want to apologize for my previous rudeness. You obviously know what you are doing. Of course, Cory is my first and only concern in this matter. I want you to do whatever you need to do to find my son. I'll give you my complete and total cooperation. I can meet you at the house. We can go to the house from here. Whatever you say."

"That is what Mr. Matthew has approved. You need to be there when I go in. After that you can leave. We'll be inside for a half hour. If you agree to meet me there at six, we'll be in and out by six thirty."

"I'll be there at six," she said, sounding sincere.

Angus left the U.S. Grant Hotel and drove up the hill and turned east on University Blvd. He pulled into the Safeway parking lot and walked the half block to Terry Baldwin's computer repair shop.

Terry sat in the far corner of the room, attending to several monitors at the same time. She waited a few seconds before looking up to see who was standing there.

"McCoy. What brings you to headquarters?" Terry asked.

Angus dropped his jacket over the back of the nearest chair.

"How are you situated for six o'clock this afternoon?"

"I'm all yours. Nothing pressing. What's up?" She asked.

"Missing person. We need to go into the boy's house and copy what's on his PC. It's in his bedroom. I want his contact information. Somehow I need to figure out which of the contacts might figure into the boy's disappearance," Angus said.

"You suspect foul play?" She asked.

"I haven't decided. What we find on that computer will help. He might have left under his own power and one of those contacts could be where he landed," Angus said.

"Not a problem. The way everything is posted on-line these days, we shouldn't have any trouble figuring out the most likely places he'd go. If we go in tonight, I can have a list of suspects for you in the morning. I can run down their home addressed for you," she said.

"You can do that?"

"I'm Terry Baldwin, computer expert extraordinaire. I can do anything," she bragged.

"Here's the address. Here's a map I marked for you," Angus said, handing her the page out of his local street atlas.

"La Jolla. Cool! That's not far. You want me there at six?"

"Six," Angus said.

"You got it, boss. See you at six."

At four that afternoon, Angus stood directly across the street from the Wade house. He went up the stairs and knocked on the door. A bespectacled man answered, giving Angus a quick once over.

"May I help you?" he said, sounding official.

"I'm Angus McCoy. I'm a private investigator."

Angus took out his wallet to display his license.

"What is it Mr. McCoy requires of Mr. Madsen today?" He asked.

"There was an event that took place across the street a week ago this past Monday," Angus said.

Mr. Madsen smiled.

"Come on in. This isn't a conversation for the front porch," he said, showing Angus into the house.

"Please, call me Angus," Angus said.

"I'm Frank. Military, retired. I was a fireman for thirty years. I don't mind telling you that I've seen a thing or two in my time. Light some apartments on fire, and any number of naked folks might be standing outside. Can't say as I've seen a man that young caught with his pants down at such an early hour. I've seen enough bare butts on board ship that I hardly notice one these days. Whatever was going on over there was none of my affair. There was anger, no violence."

Mr. Madsen laughed.

"That's all I need to know. You were identified as a witness. I'm just getting all my ducks in a row."

"You look like a man that would enjoy some Irish whiskey. I've been known to partake of that liquid from time to time myself," Mr. Madsen said.

"I am such a man, but I'm going to be on the job for a while longer and it's best I keep my wits about me," Angus said. "Do you recall seeing the son after the incident with the naked boy?"

"I saw Tony when he tossed the boy his clothes. I expected to see the Mrs. shortly thereafter. I never thought to look for the son. I haven't seen him in some time. He's about the age I was when I left home to join the navy. I guess being caught with a boy in your bed is a good reason to make a strategic retreat, which the boy did."

"If Cory went missing, who'd you think of first?" Angus asked.

"I'd start with the naked guy. It didn't go so well at Tony's house. I'd look to see if he wasn't shacked up at the other boy's house," he said.

"Is there any reason you might think Anthony Wade is capable of hurting his son?" Angus asked. "This is just for my benefit. There's nothing that indicates he has, except Cory is missing."

"Mr. McCoy, you know as well as I do that what I think doesn't amount to a hill of beans in a court of law. I've probably heard the same rumors you've heard. I've never witnessed Tony so much as chase a stray dog off his lawn. I might classify what I saw last week as him being angry, but you explained why he was angry. Whatever led that boy to be out there naked, I don't know. Had I found him naked in my house, I don't know how I'd react. I might be angry."

"Could you recognize the naked boy if you saw him again?" Angus asked.

Mr. Madsen needed to give this some thought.

"If you had him drop his drawers and bend over, I might be able to recognize the boy's butt. He was mostly facing the Wade house."

Angus chuckled.

"I won't take up anymore of your time. I appreciate your candor. I doubt you'll hear anymore about this incident. I was told you witnessed these events. You've confirmed it. Thank you, Mr. Madsen."

Angus stepped onto the front porch. Mr. Madsen stood at the door, directly behind him.

"One more thing. Where does Tony usually park his car?"

"Driveway. Beside the house. He goes in and out of the side entrance next to the driveway."

"Thanks," Angus said, moving down the stairs and he saw the Wade house from a new angle.

Angus wasn't sure about his next move. This one wasn't in the plan he gave to Wes. This was his own devise that could satisfy the cop that still lived inside of Angus McCoy. There were certain things he needed to confirm, if he wanted to sleep well at night.

Angus sat in his car two houses down from the Wade's. He was parked on the opposite side of the street. The house was empty. Angus wanted to get inside. There should only be one entry, according to the plan. It should be the one Dolores Wade witnessed. That was the safe way to conduct this business. Angus didn't like waiting.

Mad Tony wasn't going to like it no matter how many times Angus went into his house. They'd gather the necessary information.

Angus had time to think and plan his moves. He reflected on how it was he was where he was on the case. He reached into his inside jacket pocket to look at the key and alarm code Mrs. Wade gave him. After memorizing the code, he put it back in his pocket.

Angus didn't look at the key. He held it in his hand. To go into the house more than once, doubled the risk. On the other hand, Angus needed to check for evidence of foul play. A proper search of the residence would take time, Going inside and not doing a proper investigation was bad investigative work. Angus needed to eliminate the possibility Tony hurt his son. It was the only way he'd move off Tony as the main suspect in the boy's disappearance.

Tony had motive and opportunity. Angus needed to find evidence to prove, or disprove, there was violence done inside the house.

When he took Terry into the house at six, his only duty was to be sure Terry stayed safe, while she did the work he asked her to do. He would be alert for any sound, any indication they'd might be interrupted, and if that happened, he needed to get Terry safely out of the house. And he'd be unable to process the house as a crime scene.

If he intended to do a proper investigation, he needed to go into the house now. He'd have an hour to check the house thoroughly. He'd have time to be back in his car to wait for Terry and Mrs. Wade to arrive as planned.

He looked at his watch. It was 4:48.

He checked in both directions before crossing the street. He went up the steps, inserted the key into the front door, stepping inside, he turned to punch in the alarm code he'd memorized. He watched the red light turn green.

Angus pushed the door shut, but he didn't let it latch, in case he needed to make a quick exit.

Angus stood in the entryway. He listened to the sounds the empty house made.

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