The Lovely Pines by Don Travis

The Lovely Pines by Don Travis

Author:Don Travis [Travis, Don]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: mystery
ISBN: 978-1-64080-122-6
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Published: 2018-08-28T05:00:00+00:00

Chapter 15

DESPITE WHAT I’d said to Ariel yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t wait out the upcoming holiday weekend without making another stab at finding a nearly two-year-old boy named David James Dayton. As my client acknowledged, if someone deliberately killed his father because of his bloodline, the child might be targeted as well. The purpose of meeting with Del Dahlman was to explore legal means of forcing the Dayton family to reveal the whereabouts of the child, but a little more digging on my part might move us down the road, so to speak.

We are all products of a combination of things, including our past experiences. So it was not surprising that my mind reached back to where I first ran across Ariel Gonda. Alfano Vineyards. Remembering that two-year-old case raised my hackles in ways I didn’t want. It had revolved around money as well. Lots and lots of it.

Was I preparing to deliver a helpless toddler into the arms of a loving grandfather or a cold, calculating man devoted to pruning errant offshoots from his family tree? Ariel Gonda was no Anthony P. Alfano—at least not outwardly. From my background checks, I actually knew quite a bit about him. He had a good, solid upbringing, a stellar educational background, and a history of stable employment and family ties. The affair with Barbara Zuniga was aberrant, but he’d done his best to do the right things.

I often say that paranoia is the constant companion of a good confidential investigator, and this line of reasoning was proof positive. I did not subscribe to the theory that just ran through my head. Nonetheless, I was grateful for the intellectual exercise. That meant my subconscious was aware of a potential danger. Now I needed to proceed carefully and allow my suspicions to guard against an ambush.

Turn that coin over and look at it from the other side. If Zuniga died because someone mistook him for Diego, then the danger to young Mr. C de Baca was real. Natander and Pastis—or someone—wanted him dead. True, I had turned that problem over to Yardley and Muñoz, but I’m cursed with this finely tuned sense of responsibility. I had to prevent that possibility as well.

Charlie was checking his contacts with the Cruces police to see if he could pick up a clue to the baby’s whereabouts before I headed down there. While he pursued that avenue, I left the office Friday afternoon to see if I could cajole any information out of Nancy Hummerman. I parked a couple of houses down from 3501 Holiday and walked to Hummerman’s brick home. Closed front drapes prevented me from glimpsing inside. No one answered the bell. I strolled around behind the house, noting that while Nancy’s public front yard was moderately well-kept, her private backyard was a mess. There were almost as many weeds as there were stems of grass. No mountain bike. I tried to see inside the detached garage, but a curtain on the window to the side door blocked my view.


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