I don't care what Detective Sharp said, backing away from the Engel case was not an option. Not after being shot at and then the—possibly—mysterious watcher in a green car in front of our house.
The first thing I did Monday morning when I got to work was call Carlo Donati to find out if he'd heard about Ms Engel's murder.
"I have," he replied when I asked. "A police detective called me last night. It was definitely a shock. Do you think it had anything to do with her looking for my—our son?"
"There's no way to know one way or the other at this point. All I can say is, it's pretty damned coincidental."
"I agree." He paused before asking, "Are you still going to look into her background?"
"Yep. That's what you hired me for so unless you want to drop it…"
"Not at all. In fact I insist on your doing that. Maybe you'll find out there was something else in her past to prompt her being killed. Or something in the present that has nothing to do with Ben."
"I'll probably be duplicating exactly what the cops are going to do."
"But you'll be concentrating only on that. I'm sure they have dozens of cases they have to deal with."
"Undoubtedly." I didn’t bother to tell him that his wasn't my only job. If he thought about it at some point, hopefully he'd realize that. If not…not much I could do about it. "All right, as long as I have your go-ahead, I'll do my best to find out all I can about her."
"You do," he replied.
Twenty minutes after we hung—having gone through the phone messages Chelsea had given me right after I arrived and dealt with them—I set to work. The first order of business, as far as I was concerned, was to find out who Mr Whitmore—Ms Engel's presumptive husband—was.
I went back to the site I'd used to find out about her, homed in on the AKA name and dug deeper. I was presuming, of course, it was her married name at one point. It made sense, since she'd used Coleen Engel as her first and middle names. My search led me to a Mr Gary Simon Whitmore, listed as her husband when she was living in a town in Wyoming. However, there was no record of their marriage---there or anywhere else that I could find.
So I went on the hunt for Mr Whitmore and found four of them. One was in his late seventies, which would have put him at sixty-six when she lived in Wyoming. Two were close to her age, and one would have been in his very early twenties at the time. I eliminated the high and low end men and concentrated on the other two.
It was easy enough to eliminate one of them because, according to his records, he was already married to someone else within the time frame I needed. That left me with just one real possibility, unless Ms Engel truly was either a gold-digger or, as she'd put it, a cougar.
So, after finding his most recent contact information via his profile on LinkedIn, I placed a call to the most likely Gary S. Whitmore.
"Thompson and Whitmore, Clothing for the Well-Dressed Man," the woman who answered the phone said perkily.
From there we went though the usual routine, my asking if Whitmore was available, her saying she would check and see, after taking my name. Finally she admitted he was and transferred my call.