“Can you prove the cousin called it in?” Mazur asked.
“No. It’s a hunch. I did a baseline interview with him. We didn’t talk about the case. His job. His house. Basic things so I could see how he reacted when there was no need to lie. When I asked him about the tip on Drexler, he leaned back as he spoke. He also crossed his legs and looked away or checked his watch. Several closed-posture gestures that deviated from the baseline suggested he was hiding secrets.”
“He involved in his cousin’s deeds?”
“I don’t think so. I think Drexler got drunk and talked more than he should. I also think the cousin, though he made the anonymous call to local police, is clearly troubled by the fact he turned in family.”
“I know what it’s like to catch a guy that insidious. For me, it was Frankie Munroe. A piece of shit from the South Side of Chicago. Developed a taste for killing young prostitutes. One was thirteen. The way he cut them.” He paused, pushing the image from his mind. “Took me nine months of tracking. But putting him down was all I drank, ate, and slept.” Caleb had recently died, and the chase had been the only way to salvage his tattering sanity.
“And you caught him.”
He tightened his hands on the wheel. “A couple of uniforms rolled up on him while he was cutting a woman’s throat. Shot and killed him.” Later that day, he’d returned home and Sherry announced she and Alyssa were moving out.
Kate didn’t press him for details, instead turning her gaze toward the highway and the faceless businesses.
They finished the trip in silence, each lost in thought. At the station, she moved beside him, hurrying to match his pace. Normally his pace was steady, but the telling of his story ginned up urgency.
They stepped off the elevators and made their way to the forensic lab. They found Calhoun leaning against a counter, her arms folded over her chest as if she’d been waiting for them.
“Have you found something in the backseat?” Kate asked.
“I did find fresh stains on the seat, and preliminary tests suggest human bodily fluids, which I’ve sent for testing. And I can tell you the receipt in Gloria Sanchez’s car proved she was at a convenience store named Lucky’s shortly before she died.”
“Good work,” Mazur said.
Calhoun shook her head. “That’s not why I called.”
She held up the plastic evidence bag containing the burner cell phone left behind by the killer. “I had barely sat down this morning when I noticed this.”
When Kate and Mazur had both gloved up, Calhoun removed the cell phone from the evidence bag and handed it to Mazur.
The new text read: When is Dr. Hayden going to make a statement to the media? Do I have to kill again?
“Did you put a trace on it?” Mazur asked.
“The message came through at 4:50 a.m., a couple of hours before I arrived. I called in the number right away, and tech support said they couldn’t get a ping on it. You were my first call after they notified me.”
Mazur showed it to Kate. “Who knows you’re working this case?”
“Mr. Sanchez and his attorney, your department, and my people.”
“So if I’m Sanchez or his attorney, would it be smart of me to send a text like this?” Mazur asked. “Or is this Samaritan nut watching?”
Kate studied the message. “His question implies knowledge. But I’ve been a background player on this case since I arrived in San Antonio. He’s either guessing I’m here or is watching this building. Did you have an officer taping the crime scene and the people watching it?”
“Calhoun had a couple of squad cars with dash-cam videos running and aimed at the traffic passing by. She knows killers often return to the murder scenes.”