The following is another excerpt from my work in progress, The Throuple Private Eye—Business is Booming, a Jen McDowell Series. This is the second draft. I’m at 54k words now. If you want to catch up, order the novella The Throuple Private Eye—Hate Crimes, on Amazon ($2.99). The link is https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084LTTHGN. Enjoy.
CHAPTER 16 (Cont.)
Jen thought about it for a moment. Hong Kong is part of China, and she didn’t know what laws if any applied to transporting DNA samples. “Do you have labs in Hong Kong that can do the DNA analysis? “
“Of course,” Mr. Zhang answered. “but it’s expensive. I’ll need more money for that.”
Jen had an idea. “Mr. Zhang, will this hurt your business?”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Well, you connected one of your clients with a murderer. That can’t be good for business once the news gets out.”
Mr. Zhang was silent for a few moments. “Well, technically, the murderer is my client, not Biyu… but, maybe it would be better if I just mail this sample to you and you have a lab process it. I’ll wave my normal fees if you can keep my name out of the news.”
“I think we can do that. Please send the DNA by the fastest means.”
A week later, Jen received a package in the mail from Hong Kong. It was the DNA sample. Jen decide it was time to get the police and the FBI involved. Of course, that would have to include how Charlize was involved. Jonah agreed to keep her name out of it as long as possible.
Jen told Jonah that she suspected that Richardson killed Biyu and that he may have killed others. Jonah explained that without any proof, there’s no probable cause to suspect Richardson. The fact that he was now married to two women is not, in itself, any evidence of murder. Jonah pointed out that right now it’s simply a missing person case.
Jen gave the DNA sample to Jonah. He said it would take the FBI about 48 hours to process the DNA, but to compare that DNA with the DNA of the unidentified remains might take weeks. Two weeks later, Jen got a call from Special Agent Malcolm Andrews of the FBI.
Jen answered the call and put it on speaker phone so Molly could hear. “Special Agent Malcolm, this is a surprise. How are you?”
“I’m fine,” Malcolm answered. “How are you? No more assignation attempts, I hope.”
“No, I’m good,” Jen replied. “What can I do for you.”
“Jen, I just wanted to discuss a couple of things with you. First, that DNA sample you gave us; turns out it didn’t match any of the unidentified Jane Does. It was not Ms. Biyu Richards.”
Jen was disappointed. “I’m sorry to hear that. I was so certain that it would match Biyu. I’m sure her husband killed her.”
“That’s another thing,” Malcolm continued. “Since there is no body or any evidence that Mr. Richards or Mr. Richardson murdered anyone, we have no probably cause to seek any evidence against him.”
“Malcolm, I’ll bet he’s done this before; he marries a mail order bride in Vegas and then later kills her. Could the FBI in Vegas at least check to see if he married anyone else there?”
“Jen, without probable cause, any evidence gathered that way would get thrown out. We can’t go there. However, a private citizen might be able to do that. You didn’t hear that from me. Of course, that alone isn’t proof of murder unless we can identify those Asian Jane Does.”
“Got it,” Jen said. “Anything else?”
“There is one more thing,” Malcolm answered. “We like the work you did to obtain that DNA even though it didn’t match anyone. We’ve decided to trace a theory that one or more of the Asian Jane Does might be mail order brides. We know one came from Malawi, one from Indonesia and one from South Africa. We will officially request assistance in obtaining DNA samples from relatives in those countries. Maybe we’ll get lucky.”
“Do you think those countries will cooperate?” Jen asked.
“Malawi and South Africa will,” Malcolm answered. “We don’t know if Indonesia will. Sometimes they do. They’ll want something in return; perhaps assistance from us on one of their cases.”
“Can you ask them to check with the mail order bride agencies to see if Richardson is a client?”
“No,” Malcolm answered quickly. “We have to do this by the book. We don’t have probable cause.”
Three weeks later, Malcolm called Jen again. “Jen, we got the DNA samples from Malawi and South Africa. We received two from Malawi and one from South Africa. We’re still checking the DNA samples against the DNA of the unidentified remains.”
“What about Indonesia?” Jen asked.
“Not yet. They’re playing hardball, but they’ll come around. They did say that the one Jane does we considered Chinese is more likely Javanese. They don’t have a lot of Chinese. I’ll keep you updated.”
Four days later, Malcolm called again. “Jen, bad news. None of the DNA sample match the DNA from the Asian Jane Does. It was a long shot. Without a good picture, the countries did the best they could. Sorry.”