Steve Huft was an unassuming man, average height, average build, strawberry blonde, thinning hair, and brown eyes. A transplant from New York, he was now one of the West Allis Police Department’s finest. He had been a homicide detective for fifteen years before moving to Wisconsin to get away from all of the violence and depression that his career choice had to offer him. A fat lot of good that did him, this scene was all too familiar. Worse than that was the constant reminder that he was an outsider among his fellow detectives. He had managed to become the object of quite a bit of jealousy and scorn. Being the senior detective after serving only five years in a station didn’t do much to get respect. Nobody seemed to care that he came up through the ranks of the N.Y.P.D.; all that mattered was that he had less time with the W.A.P.D. than most of the detectives working under him. Still, it only seemed to really matter when a big case like the one he was on came up. The forced, almost sarcastic respect he was given was painfully obvious.
John Kominski walked up with his notebook open. He had been questioning neighbors, doing the footwork of the investigation. John was three months from retirement and probably Steve’s biggest critic. After thirty years of faithful service and a head full of gray hair – which he blamed on those thirty years of service – he felt that this type of investigation should be his baby. His words were so soaked in condescension that they could have been rung out, “Hey boss, I’ve got some goodies for you.”
Steve ignored John’s tone, “What have you got?”
“Well, it appears that our bloody friend was trying to stop an abduction that more than likely involved his kids. See I deduced that because I’ve been a detective for thirty years and I was able to figure out that Mark Ramsey had two children and two children were taken by force and dumped in the trunk of a big, black Cadillac. I’ve further discovered, through my intense investigation techniques, that there were four perpetrators. As of yet, I can only identify the driver or at least the owner of the vehicle…”
Steve cut him off, “Okay Kominski, I get it. You’re a great detective with a bunch of fucking years on the force. I am sorry for my good fortune, but this isn’t helping. Did you get a plate number on the vehicle?”
John eased up a little, Steve was right. That kind of nonsense should be saved for the bar, after work. “Yeah, the plate number is VNY HRT. I already had it run. The vehicle is registered to a Vincent Valentino. He’s got a Milwaukee address. I’ve already made a call and they’ve got their Homicide division looking into it. I’ve got sketches of all four of the perps. I’m hoping that Milwaukee will be able to help us identify the other three. I’m pretty sure that the owner of the vehicle is the bandleader on this one. He’s got quite a bit on his record, nothing big but Milwaukee knows him pretty well. With the sketches, they should be able to make the rest of his crew.”
Steve nodded, “Vincent Vanentino, VNY HRT, he must go by Vinny Heart on the street. Get me everything you can on Vinny Heart. I want to know where he hangs out, who his parents are, who is friends are. I want to know what this cocksucker eats for fucking breakfast. You know the drill. Get those sketches down to Milwaukee. Also, get me more on the victim here. I don’t think they planned on killing him and this doesn’t have the feel of a random abduction. We need to find out what Vinny Heart wanted with those kids. What about Ramsey’s wife? He’s wearing a ring. Do we know anything about his wife?”
John shook his head, “His wife’s name is Shelia Ramsey, maiden name Smith. Both she and her husband are squeaky clean. So far I haven’t been able to find any connection to anything that would make somebody want to take their kids. The only weird thing I’ve got is that there is no record of Mrs. Ramsey before 1990. It’s like she didn’t exist at all. I’ve got the boys at the station looking into it.”
“Alright, keep me posted.” He began walking away and then turned back to add, “Have them wrap this shit up as quickly as possible. I don’t want the neighbors looking at this mess any longer than they need to. I’ve got to go brief the chief and then make a statement to the press. I hate the press.”
Steve’s mind was racing as he slowly walked into the feeding frenzy of reporters just outside of the police tape. Mark Ramsey was a nobody from Milwaukee’s southwest side. What would anybody want with his kids? He didn’t have any money. He was just an average Joe. A random act of violence would make more sense than a botched abduction, but this was definitely no random act of violence. What about Shelia Ramsey? What happened to her past? People don’t just appear out of nowhere without any record or anything. There had to be more there. He’d have to think about that later. It was time to feed the sharks.