“Seems pretty damn personal to me,” Calhoun said.
“Or it’s part of his ritual.”
“The killer left the phone so he could communicate with us.”
“Yes, he did,” Mazur said.
“I can try and trace the incoming phone call.”
“Go ahead and do it now. If this guy has any brains, he’s using a burner and will have deactivated it right away. But sometimes we get lucky.”
“I’ll move fast.” She reached for her cell. “Hoping for stupid killers right now.”
A smile tweaked the edge of his lips. “I bet you’ve seen your share.”
“And no doubt you saw a few in Chicago.” She raised her phone to her ear.
“Something tells me this one is smart.” Mazur looked up and down the stretch of highway. A memory sparked. “There were other killings on I-35. Women traveling alone, disabled car, and then shot point-blank. Serial killer or copycat?”
“It’s been six months since that killer struck. The last shooting was farther north. And the FBI made an arrest in that case.”
“All the killings moved progressively south on I-35.”
Calhoun’s call dropped. She cursed and redialed. When the second call went through, she turned from him and discussed a phone trace. Traffic on the northbound side was heavy and noisy, forcing her to cup her hand over her ear as she listened.
Mazur searched the Internet on his phone. The articles were slow to load but finally appeared on the I-35 killer, also known as the Samaritan. His memory had been correct. The five victims had been random, all were shot once in the chest, and each victim’s car had suffered some kind of malfunction. One ran out of gas. One had a punctured tire. Another had a rag stuffed in the tailpipe of her car. The lead FBI investigators on the case were Agent Mike Nevada and Dr. Kate Hayden, profilers based at Quantico.
The killer was reaching out to Agent Kate Hayden.
Calhoun tucked her phone back in her holster. “The phone is being traced as we speak.” She glanced at his display. “FBI? You really want to pull the FBI into this case?”
“Want to? No. But when is life ever about what you want?”
The bait will be too enticing to resist. Get more flies with honey than vinegar.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Sunday, November 26, 12:10 p.m.
Agent Kate Hayden, PhD, was violating hospital visiting hours as well as a direct order from her supervisor when she rolled up the sleeves of the white lab coat and crossed the polished lobby toward the visitor’s station. Overhead lights hummed as the distant elevator doors opened and a gurney disembarked.
Her phone buzzed in her pocket. The display read Agent Jerrod Ramsey. Her boss. The guy had radar. She silenced the phone and tucked it in her pocket.
An older woman wearing a blue volunteer’s smock smiled and then made a sad, pouty face when she didn’t spot hospital identification clipped to Kate’s jacket. “Are you on staff?”
Instead of answering the question, Kate said, “I left my cell phone and ID badge in the gift shop. They have the cutest sweaters, and I tried one on. I just got distracted. You’d be doing me a big favor if you’d let me sneak up there for just a minute.” Her practiced go-to smile usually worked. “I know exactly where I left it.”
“I need to see identification.”
She glanced at the woman’s name badge. “Delores, can you cut me a break? My attending will eat me alive if he finds out I left it.” The store was just up the escalator within sight of the information desk.
“I don’t remember you.”
“I’ll run up there very quickly and bring it back.” Kate allowed some real worry to leak into her expression. “I’m in a rush.”