The taller man wore a hand-tailored charcoal-gray suit. His red tie was fashioned into a Windsor knot, his watch was gold, and his shined shoes were made of fine leather. He could only be the lawyer.
Hanging on the wall was a tall portrait of Gloria Sanchez. She was dressed in a red gown. A diamond necklace encircled her neck. Her eyes stared boldly at the artist. The portrait exuded the woman’s confidence and total comfort with the trappings of wealth.
The shorter of the two men moved to greet Detective Mazur. “Detective.”
“Mr. Sanchez,” he said.
“I’d like you to meet my lawyer, Roger Bennett. I called him a few hours ago.”
Mazur didn’t comment, but Kate knew he didn’t like the addition of an attorney who represented an added layer between Mazur and his investigation.
“This is Dr. Kate Hayden,” Mazur said. “She’s with the FBI.”
“FBI?” Bennett asked. “So it’s true what I’m hearing.”
“What are you hearing?” Mazur asked.
“That Mrs. Sanchez might have been murdered by a serial killer,” Bennett said.
Mr. Sanchez gasped and shook his head. “When Bennett first suggested this idea, it seemed too far-fetched.”
Bennett shrugged. “I know you don’t want to hear this again, Martin, but Gloria’s case is very similar to the Samaritan murders.”
“That suspect is in jail,” Kate said.
“Or maybe not,” Bennett said.
“I’d like to ask your client a few routine questions, Mr. Bennett,” Kate said.
“I’d like to help,” Sanchez said.
When Bennett nodded, Mazur asked, “Mr. Sanchez, can you tell us about your wife’s trip? You said she was traveling to Laredo to see her mother.”
Sanchez looked at his attorney, and when Bennett nodded, he said, “Yes, that’s what she told me. She was on the road so late because she’d worked a long day at the showroom. I never met a harder-working person than Gloria.”
“And did she normally call the nursing home to let them know she was coming for a visit?” Mazur asked.
“Not every single time. Sometimes she surprised them. It was important to her that the staff stayed on their toes. She liked surprise inspections.”
“Where did she stay when she was in Laredo?” Mazur asked.
“She has a condo there,” Sanchez said. “It was easier for her to stay in the same place. In the last year, she had to be in Laredo for days at a stretch because of her mother.”
Mazur pulled a small notebook from his breast pocket and made several notes.
“Was there any reason to go to Laredo other than to visit her mother?” Kate asked.
“We do have friends there, but her primary reason was her mother. We had a dealership there but closed it several months ago. It wasn’t profitable.”
“How was your wife feeling when you last saw her?” Mazur asked.
Sanchez’s brow wrinkled. “Fine. Why do you ask?”
“The medical examiner theorized she couldn’t have been feeling well,” Mazur said.
“Why?” Sanchez asked. “She looked fine on Sunday.” Again he looked to his attorney, but the man shrugged.
Kate found Sanchez’s reaction interesting. He seemed genuinely taken aback with the question. “Did you know your wife was sick?”
Sanchez shook his head. “What do you mean sick?”
“She had cancer,” Mazur said. “According to the medical examiner, it was advanced.”
Sanchez shook his head, the color draining from his face. “No. She would have told me. The medical examiner has made a mistake.”
“The medical examiner was certain,” Mazur said. “She was a very sick woman.”