I looked through the police report until I found the detective interview with the parents. Shanon had gone out with a friend. One she was supposed to pick up. She actually left the house alone in her car.
I went to my board and wrote. SOURCE OF THE CAR... GIFT OR ?
She didn’t mention the name of the friend, and no one came forward. For that reason her movements that night were a mystery. I would have expected her ten year old car to turn up outside a club, movie, restaurant, or some other place a young women might choose to spend her evening. Instead it turned up in the parking lot of a small strip mall. It was a shame that on one had a parking lot camera.
A canvas of the stores revealed that no one had noticed anyone leaving the car. It seemed that several car pools used that part of the parking lot, so it went unnoticed. One thing for sure, the car had not been wiped clean. It was a cornucopia of finger prints. Most were matched to her one friend, Martha Evans, none of the others popped out of the NCIC computer run. If someone else had driven her car that night, he or she had no criminal record.
I wrote on my board. HOW DID SHARON’S CAR GET TO THE PARKING LOT.
So I knew Sharon left home in her car that night. She may or may not have been headed out to meet her killer. If she had not been on a date with her killer then where was she likely to have gone? I needed to talk to her friend Martha.
“Hello,” I said to the person who answered the cell phone of the only friend the police had interviewed. “Is this Martha?”
“No, it’s Martha’s mother. Who the hell are you, and what is a grown man doing calling my daughter?”
“I’m Chief Burke of security for the park service. I was calling to arrange a meeting. I would like to speak to your daughter about Sharon McDonald.”
“Oh, she has already spoken to Detective Edwards. I don’t know why the park service is interested.”
“Well Shanon might have been involved in some park activities the night she disappeared. Or at the very least park facilities might have been used in her murder, so if you wouldn’t mind, I need to speak with your daughter. Is there a time that would be convenient. You are more than welcome to be at the interview.”
“Even if Shanon was involved with something there, what has my daughter got to do with it?”
“Maybe nothing, but I won’t know until I ask her.” I was avoiding my sarcastic voice.
“It’s late now sometime tomorrow after school would be alright, I guess.”
“Is she home from school by 4pm?” I asked.
“Usually, I’ll make sure she is here tomorrow.”I made a note to be sure Jane asked the people she spoke to if they heard or saw anything the night Shanon died. It might not help, but it couldn’t hurt to ask. Just to be sure that I didn’t forget, I emailed the note to myself at the office.
“Thank you Mrs. Evans.” She hung up without even a goodbye. That went real well, I thought.
“Mrs McDonald?” I asked of the lady who answered the phone at the McDonald house.
“Yes,” she responded carefully..
I explained again about my need for information. “So I will probably be calling you now and then to ask question you have already answered. Lots of bits and pieces of information don’t make it into the police report. I’m just trying to do a thorough assessment of the facts to be sure our parks weren’t involved in her death.”
“Is this necessary, the police are investigating.”
“Mrs. McDonald, I was a regular police officer for 18 years before I transfered to the Park Service. All the security personnel here are sworn officers, so talking to me is just talking to another cop.”
“Very well, anything to help find who killed my little girl.”
“Thank you ma’am. Could you tell me if the car she drove that night was a gift or if she purchased it herself?”
“We didn’t give her the car, she saved her money to buy it.”
“Did Shanon have a job?”