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The Last Move

The Last Move

Page 3

“Thanks, Chief.” He studied the phone. “Have you checked it for incoming calls?”

“It has received eight calls from one phone.”

One number.

“Maybe she was having an affair?” he asked.

“I’d say definitely hiding something.”

Again he puzzled over the car. It was five or six years old. No scrapes or dents or signs of any kind of accident. But not the flashy kind of car Gloria Sanchez sold. She could have pulled any car from the lot, and she chose this one.

Mazur held out his index finger and thumb, mimicking a gun. “The shooter wasn’t more than two feet away when he fired. Judging by the blood spatter, he was standing right here.”

“One shot. The medical examiner will make the final call, but I’d say the bullet shredded her heart.”

“He didn’t try to take her jewelry or money.”

“Something may be missing. Her husband might know.”

There was an open bag of peanut-chocolate clusters on the seat and beside it a bloodstained, rumpled receipt. In the cup holder was a to-go cup. “Is the receipt from a local store?”

“It’s going to take me a little time to figure that one out. Soaked in blood.”

He leaned in and tested the weight of the coffee cup. It was full, and there was none of the victim’s red lipstick on the cup lid.

“Any signs of sexual assault?” he asked.

“Not that I can see, but again, the autopsy will tell you more.”

He popped the trunk, moved to the back of the car, and found the tire and jack in place. Nothing else.

He knelt by the back right tire, now resting on its rim, and ran his hand over the tread. No screw or nail. Likely the puncture was small enough to get her onto the interstate before the tire deflated. “Punctured just enough so that it didn’t flatten right away?”

“Best guess.”

“Once you’ve finished up here, we’ll talk.”

“You know where to find me.”

Mazur crossed to the patrol car that contained a sturdy man with a thick mustache and tussled gray hair. He wore a gray T-shirt stained with blood, sweats, and expensive loafers with no socks. His head was tipped back against the seat, eyes closed, and his hands were balled into tight fists.

Mazur knocked on the window, and the man opened his eyes and sat taller. Briefly his gaze was lost as if he didn’t know where he was, and then realization chased off the wild-eyed expression and replaced it with a scowl. Mazur opened the door and motioned for the man to get out.

“I’m Detective Theo Mazur,” he said.

The man straightened and was almost as tall as Mazur’s six-foot-four frame. “I’m Martin Sanchez.”

“Gloria Sanchez was your wife?”

“Yes.”

“I’m sorry for all this.” He always started off nice. He wanted witnesses and suspects to like him because people, even murderers, opened up to those who felt like a friend.

“It’s been a nightmare,” he said in a thick Texas drawl.

Mazur angled his head down, and dropped his voice a notch. “Mind telling me what happened?”

Martin touched a thick cross that dangled around his neck. “She called me at one a.m. Woke me up out of a sound sleep. She told me she was having car trouble and asked me to come get her. She told me the exit before the line went dead.”

“What was your wife doing out here in the middle of the night?”

“She was driving down to Laredo to see her mother, who’s in a nursing home. Gloria drives to Laredo at least three times a month. Yesterday was very busy at the dealership, and she couldn’t get away from the showroom until after eleven.”

“Is that her regular car?”

“No. She drives a silver Mercedes. She texted me yesterday and said her Mercedes was being serviced and that she’d find a loaner for the trip.”

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