Friday, I actually did stay away from anything concerning the late Ms Engel. I do have a business to run and in that respect there was more than enough to keep me busy.
Saturday I went in to work with the intention of getting back to the Engel case, even though, as such, it didn't exist anymore. Well except in my head and for the cops. I wondered if Detective Sharp had been able to locate Ben. Getting that information from Carlo Donati would probably take an act of congress, or the threat of filing obstruction of justice charges against him.
I considered asking a guy I know who has 'friends' at various cell-phone providers for help. I've used him before when I wanted to gain access to someone's phone records. Legal? Probably, well definitely not. Do I do it anyway? Yep. Chances are Tom had already done that with Donati's records but I knew for certain he wouldn't tell me if he had. So I called my guy and laid out what I needed. He said it could take a couple of days to find out anything, which I'd already figured. Still, it was one step in the right direction if it worked.
Next on the agenda, putting a time-frame to my contacts with the killer. I knew in a general way, but spelling it out might show me something I'd missed. So I did.
1 – Saturday night – Ms Engel murdered
2 – Sunday the potshot at me/Ricky – green car in front of house
3 – Monday – first message from killer
4 – Tuesday – second message after my lunch with Caiazzo – that night the woman at the Elite gym was murdered
5 – Wednesday – the attempted break-in at the house
There had been nothing more since then, but that didn't mean the killer wasn't watching me, or tracking me somehow. I pointed the cursor at number four. Was her murder the direct result of my not backing away? I sure as hell hoped not.
Looking at the list I added:
Friday: My initial contact with Carlo Donati, first by phone and then in person. The first woman murdered.
Saturday: Carlo was in the city because he visited my office again. My 'date' with Ms Engel at the bar was followed by her murder later that night.
Sunday: Carlo could still have been in town. I didn't know Milano existed at that point, so he didn't know about me. Presumption but probably true.
Monday: Same holds true about Milano as for Sunday. Called Carlo but that doesn't say he was in Louisville since it was to his cell phone.
Tuesday: Lunch with Caiazzo. Only knew about Milano at that point. No contact with him until after the second message. Called Carlo about son. Got the brush off. Second woman murdered.
Wednesday: Frank Milano shows up here first thing in the morning, thanks to Caiazzo. He could have remained in town. But as stated above, he didn't know I was looking for him until Caiazzo contacted him. Presumptively.
Thursday through today: No contact with/from killer.
At this point I could almost rule out Frank Milano. He didn't know I had anything to do with Ms Engel until after I received the messages. Of course it was possible he'd been stalking her with the intention of killing her, if he lied about when they ran into each other and she attempted to blackmail him again. In that case he could have followed her when she came to my office. Possible, but not probable, to my way of thinking.
So my money was on Carlo Donati or Ben. A toss-up but I'm betting on Ben. He had the most to lose—and a bigger reason to hate Ms Engel—than Carlo did. If Carlo had talked to Ben on Friday, telling him that his mother was searching for him, it could have triggered the killings. He, Ben, does a practice run Friday night—either to see if he has the guts for it, or to try out his plan for getting rid of his mother. Either way works as a motive for the first murder. Since he knows about me, thanks to Carlo, he decides to try to scare me off. Should I let it go to my head that he thinks I'm smart enough to figure out he's the killer? Probably not. He's just covering all bases to keep from being caught.
Now all I have to do is find Ben. Uh-huh. If Tom hasn't, and I think he'd have told me if he had, given that I was a target of sorts, what the hell chance do I have? Only one. Figure out how to get Ben to show his face again.
I picked up the phone and called Carlo.
"Mr Murphy," he said coldly when I identified myself. "What now?"
"I'd like you to give Ben a message for me."
After a brief pause, he said, "If I hear from him, I'd be glad to."
"Tell him I just found something he dropped when he paid a visit to my house. If he wants it back he should give me a call. It would be in his best interests if he did."
"He visited you?" Carlo sounded shocked.
"In a manner of speaking. He'll know what I mean."
"I'll…let him know."
With that, I hung up.
Now it was just wait and see if Ben took the bait. I printed out my notes, shut down the computer and headed home.