Interviews with Jason Whitlow’s family weren’t helpful. In fact, it could have made things worse. I’m certain the minute I left his mother’s home he was alerted a detective had been hired. Both of his brothers were very protective and adamant how the ex-wife had been such a bitch and treated him unfairly. They did express some concern for the children but not enough to help my case. Co-workers seemed generally surprised by his disappearance especially since he didn’t provide a two-week notice. Members of his bowling team proved harder to deal with. None of them wanted to get involved in any way. My only option was to show up Friday night during league play. When I introduced myself I thought the captain of the team was going to have me thrown out. When I ordered a few pitchers of beer for everyone they begrudgingly let me stay and ask questions in-between frames.
Mr. Whitlow didn’t know any of these people very well. He had been assigned to the team before league play. They all agreed he was friendly enough, they knew he was a plumber, a divorcee and had kids. He was an average bowler who liked to socialize, and he kept a healthy bar tab. The bartender knew who he was but didn’t know much more. I spoke with one of the waitresses and found out she started work about the time he left town. The bartender smirked, which I caught right away. I asked about other waitresses I could speak with. He said a gal named Rita usually worked the week-ends but had quit around the same time Whitlow skipped town. After some prodding the bartender told me that Whitlow was a big flirt and had taken a liking to Rita who was also divorced. I didn’t need any psychic ability to put two and two together on this one. I got Rita’s address and made a trip to her apartment building to speak with the new tenant. She said she had received some of Rita’s mail and returned it. She thought the forwarding address was out of state but couldn’t remember.
I mailed a bogus letter to Rita’s old address and it came back stating the forwarding order had expired with a Las Vegas address label. I took the red-eye to Nevada and once there staked out her apartment building. Warren had gotten Rita’s DMV photo using his police contacts. Skinny as a rail her pinned up frizzed out bleached blonde hair didn’t dispel her need to try to appear younger. At six p.m. lover boy drove up in a company plumbing truck and I wrote down the information. I snapped some pictures and sent a report to DCS and the county attorneys. Relieved the case was solved I went back to my hotel and played the slots until I needed to go to the airport. Right before I got up to leave the slot machine lit up like a Christmas tree. I thought I broke the damn thing. Come to find out I had won five-thousand dollars. Needless to say I rescheduled the flight, and spent a couple of days in the sun. I’m giving Warren a Christmas bonus and am only charging my client the bare minimum on this one.
Note: All characters appearing in this blog are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Thanks to Kathy M. for input on this case.
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