Three deputies roped off a crime scene using the Lincoln Continental as a center-point. Undamaged on three sides, but with a slight scratch on the front fender where the vehicle rested in a row of shrubbery, it was, as Deputy Sheriff Lawrence Ford described it, “one hell of a car.”
Ford gave his report as he walked Sheriff Maddox around the perimeter. “...black with white leather upholstery. She’s got a 430 inch V8 engine at 320 horsepower. It’s got a three speed automatic transmission, power brakes, power steering, and air conditioning.”
“Uh huh,” nodded Sheriff Maddox. “And what about the dead woman in the driver’s seat?”
“That’s right. I almost forgot,” Deputy Ford said. “There’s a dead woman in the driver’s seat.”
“Any chance this was an accident?” Sheriff Maddox asked.
“There’s hardly any damage to the car,” said Ford. “No skid marks in the grass. It’s like somebody just parked the damn thing in the bushes.”
“And the woman?”
“No contusions that I can see. Not even from the steering wheel. My guess is she was suffocated.”
Sheriff Maddox stopped to survey the landscape, but there wasn’t much to see: just the highway, a little patch of green grass and the the tree line on both sides of the road. “Could be another insurance case.”
Sheriff Maddox started walking toward the Lincoln. “What’s her name?”
Deputy Ford flipped a page of his notepad. “Baxter, first name Mary Anne. Her husband is a preacher in Cottage Grove.”
“What do you know about him?” the Sheriff asked.
“We don’t have a file on him, but I know he’s a vet. He served in one of the colored units during the war. The Philippines, I think.”
“Find out if he ever had any public altercations with the missus.”
“Will do, Sheriff.” Deputy Ford bounced off toward his cruiser.
Sheriff Maddox called after him. “Hey Larry.”
“Find out if she had a policy.”
Go to Chapter 5