At the station Detective Newman dropped a file folder on the desktop in front of Lex.
She said, “What’s this?”
“I obtained the original life insurance policy taken out on Mr. Waltman and it’s quite an interesting read. Most policies list natural and accidental death, but this one has declared dead on it as well. The fine print does say after a year, but still.”
“Declared dead?” Lex opened the file and scanned the policy then sat back in the chair, “This makes no sense John.”
Newman leaned against the desk and crossed his arms, “I know. I think we need to go back to the original evidence--maybe we missed something.”
The evidence locker was empty except for the officer on duty who was very accommodating and got the shop evidence quickly.
“There’s not much here” she said, “a glass soda bottle, fly swatter, silk head scarf, and $100 from the cash register.” Lex contemplated the evidence items. “I’ve seen a scarf like this one at Tessa Williams home, she had it draped over a chair. Would you mind opening the bag up and checking it for me?”
“What am I looking for?” He asked as he put gloves on then carefully slit the top of the bag open and removed the scarf.
“Check it for oil residue like on the back door--it will be easier to find it by smell.”
Lex watched him slowly sniff around the scarf until he found a spot that caused him to jerk back gagging.
“Geni’s right, that is not a pleasant smell. I’ll get this to trace and have it expedited to make sure it’s a positive match.”
“Alright. I’m going to check on Geni and see how it’s going with the bottle labels. Are the Waltman’s and Mrs. Williams still in custody?”
“Then I’ll call you in a couple of hours.”
Lex walked toward the station entrance dialing Geni’s number on her cell when she heard her name called out from behind her.
“Lex!” Geni yelled again and rushed over as quickly as she could.
“I’ve been trying to get a hold of you for the past hour.” Geni said, “The numbers and letters are a bank account number.”
“Are you sure?”
“It looks like whoever put them on there tried to mix things up and they would put sets of one to four numbers on a label at a time. I wouldn’t have been able to figure out what they meant until I found this,” she held out a slip of paper, “The CH before the two numbers is the country code of Switzerland and is standard at the beginning of most Swiss bank accounts.”
“You’re a genius,” Lex said and punched in a number on her cell, “Newman, gather the Waltman’s and Mrs. Williams. I know what happened.”
The interrogation room was packed with the Waltmans, Mrs. Williams, Detective Newman and Lex. Geni had to pick her kids up from school or she would have been there too. Newman gave Lex the signal to take the lead in the interview.
Lex smiled, “You broke into Essential for Life Mr. Waltman.”
“That’s not true. I was at home all evening.”
“And you didn’t act alone--you helped him Mrs. Williams,” Lex continued, “Your headscarf was found in the store, which is why you returned later when you realized you’d left it.”
Mr. Waltman said, “Don’t say anything Tessa. They don’t have proof.”
“Oh, we have proof,” Detective Newman said, “We found Sea Buckthorn Oil on the scarf, and I’m betting it will match yours Mrs. Williams.”
Mrs. Williams bit her lip then burst out, “Mason made me help him!”
“He said the store was floundering and put them more in debt than when they started. He told me that the only way out was to fake a break in and cash in on the insurance money. I called Ella and asked her to spend the day with me to get her away from the store. I made sure she was asleep before I left. He said it was the only way to make sure Ella would be taken care of if he was gone. But I wasn’t wearing a headscarf that day and we didn’t take anything.”
“That’s not quite true, is it Mr. Waltman?” Lex said, “You thought you grabbed all the cinnamon bottles but in the rush to get out you left a few behind. We were able to remove the labels and find the Swiss account number hidden beneath them. You were going to leave New Haven, your wife, take off to a country with no extradition laws and live the rest of your life on the money you’d hidden away over the years.”
Newman said, “We checked the insurance company and Essential for Life is only insured for $10,000.”
“What?” Mrs. Waltman yelled, “You hid money away?”
“You took an insurance policy out on me!”
“Let’s talk about the insurance policy Mrs. Waltman,” Lex said, “We learned that you took the policy out a month before the break in and it said you could collect on the insurance if your husband is “declared dead” after a year.”
“The break in was his idea,” Mrs. Waltman said, “He said the store was worth more destroyed, so we came up with the plan to have someone break into the store and we’d claim the insurance on it. He said it was worth millions and that we’d be set for life. Mason was going to take care of everything, but I didn’t know he’d drag my baby sister into it. I took the life insurance out on him before we came up with the plan.” She rubbed her face, “He was acting weird, secretive--I followed him one day and saw him meet with a man in an alley. I thought he was doing drugs again so I took out the policy just in case the drugs won this time. Without the income from the store, I’d be destitute.” Mrs. Waltman turned to her husband, “Why Mason?”
He glared at her, “To get away from you and this stupid town! I’ve put away millions over the years and you never noticed, you’re so stuck on how you look, always at the salons and getting rubbed in oils--it’s disgusting! All I needed was to get everything together and disappear. The man you saw me with was a pilot who was willing to fly me anywhere I wanted for the right price.” He grinned, “It was easy getting you to agree to the break in and even easier to convince Tessa. She’s always willing to help out her big sister, no matter what. Planting the headscarf and sending Tessa back for it was brilliant, if I do say so myself.”
“Why did you do this?” Tessa said.
“To hurt Ella. She’d be destitute, you’d be in prison for the break in--leaving Ella alone, and I’d be living on some remote island reveling in how much she was suffering.”
“That’s why you were so mad about the insurance policy,” Mrs. Waltman whispered.
“I couldn’t believe you’d managed to find a way to get money from my leaving--it was disastrous!”
Newman said, “Mason Waltman, you are under arrest--get him out of here.”
Through her tears, Mrs. Waltman said, “What’s going to happen to us?”
“You are both accessories and will be placed under arrest, but if you testify against Mr. Waltman the judge will go easy on you both.” He nodded to the officers behind the women and they were quickly led from the room.
Lex ran her hands through her hair, “That was horrible.”
“Thanks Lex, and thank Geni for me as well.”
“Why don’t you bring the family by for a barbeque this weekend?” She smiled.
“We’ll bring the pie!”
“Trick or Treat.” Jocelyn and Trevor said when the lady opened the door.
“Oh aren't you the cutest princess and ninja I’ve ever seen! And look at this adorable ladybug! Here you go kiddos.”
“Thank you,” They said and then ran toward the next house.
“Jocelyn, hold your sister’s hand,” Geni called from where she followed behind them.
Lex linked her arm through Geni’s while holding Links leash in the other, “Thanks for letting us come trick or treating with you guys.”
“Anytime Lex. I still can’t believe Mason Waltman did that to his wife and her sister--despicable.”
“Tell me about it. Makes me glad to be single.”
Geni rolled her eyes, “Whatever Lex. The next one will show you how awesome marriage can be.”
“Next one? Oh no Geni, you promised me one case and I’ve given you one case--no more.”
“Alright, alright. I was just teasing.”
“Good. I can’t keep giving my shifts away--I need money Geni. Link and I won’t survive on ramen noodles and broccoli forever.”
Geni laughed, “No more cases Lex. I promise.”
Written by Linsey Ernst