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Книга EchoPark. Страница 59

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So when Bosch recounted the momentary disagreement over whether Waits should be uncuffed to descend the ladder, Randolph pressed him for exact quotes of what was said and by whom. Bosch knew that he was their last interview. They presumably had already talked to Cal Cafarelli, Maury Swann and O’Shea and his videographer.

“Have you looked at the video?” Bosch asked when he was finished telling his view of things.

“Not yet. We will.”

“Well, it should have everything on it. I think the guy was rolling video when the shooting started. In fact, I’d like to see that tape myself.”

“Well, to be honest, we are having a bit of a problem with that,” Randolph said. “Corvin says he must have lost the tape in the woods.”

“Corvin’s the camera guy?”

“Right. Says it must’ve come out of his pocket when you people were carrying Rider on the ladder. We haven’t found it.”

Bosch nodded and did the political math. Corvin worked for O’Shea. The tape would show O’Shea instructing Olivas to take the handcuffs off Waits.

“Corvin’s lying,” Bosch said. “He was wearing the kind of pants with all the pockets, right? For carrying equipment. Cargo pants. I definitely saw him pop the tape out of the camera and put it in one of those pockets with the flap on the side of his leg. It was when he was the last one left at the bottom. Only I saw it. But it wouldn’t have fallen out. He closed the flap. He’s got the tape.”

Randolph just nodded as though he’d assumed all along that what Bosch had said was the situation, as though being lied to was simply par for the course in the OIS Unit.

“The tape’s got O’Shea telling Olivas to take off the cuffs,” Bosch said. “That’s not the kind of video O’Shea would want on the news or in the LAPD’s hands during an election year or any year. So it’s a question of whether Corvin’s keeping the tape to run his own play on O’Shea or O’Shea has told him to hang on to the tape. My bet would be on O’Shea.”

Randolph didn’t even bother nodding to any of that.

“Okay, let’s go over it all once more from the top and then we can get you out of here,” he said instead.

“Sure,” Bosch said, understanding that he was being told that the tape was not his concern. “Whatever you need.”

Bosch finished the second run-through of the story before seven o’clock and asked Randolph and Osani if he could ride with them back to Parker Center so he could retrieve his car. On the ride back, the OIS men did not discuss the investigation. Randolph turned on KFWB at the top of the hour and they listened to the media version of the events in Beachwood Canyon and the latest update on the search for Raynard Waits.

A third report was on the growing political fallout from the escape. If the elections needed an issue, Bosch and company had certainly provided it. Everyone from city council candidates to Rick O’Shea’s opponent weighed in with criticism of the way the LAPD and district attorney’s office had handled the fatal field trip. O’Shea sought to distance himself from the potentially election-killing catastrophe by releasing a statement that characterized him as merely an observer on the trip, an observer who made no decisions concerning the security and transport of the prisoner. He said he relied on the LAPD for all of that. The report concluded with a mention of O’Shea’s bravery in helping to save a wounded police detective, carrying her to safety while the armed fugitive was at large in the wooded canyon.

Having heard enough, Randolph turned the radio off.

“That guy O’Shea?” Bosch said. “He’s got it down. He’s going to make a great DA.”

“No doubt,” Randolph said.

Bosch said good night to the OIS men in the garage behind Parker Center and then walked to a nearby pay lot where he kept a parking space reserved to retrieve his car. He was drained from the day but there was almost an hour of daylight left. He headed back up the freeway toward Beachwood Canyon. Along the way he plugged his dead cell phone into its charger and called Rachel Walling. She was already at his house.

“It will be a while,” he said. “I’m going back up to Beachwood.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s my case and they’re up there working it.”

“Right. You should be there.”

He didn’t respond. He just listened to the silence after that. It was comforting.

“I’ll get home as soon as I can,” he finally said.

Bosch closed the phone as he was exiting the freeway at Gower, and a few minutes later he was heading up Beachwood Drive. Near the top he rounded a curve just as a pair of vans were passing on their way down. He recognized them as a body wagon followed by the SID van with the ladder on top. He felt a space open up in his chest. He knew they had come from the excavation. Marie Gesto was in that front van.

When he got to the parking lot he saw Marcia and Jackson, the two detectives who had been assigned to take over the excavation, peeling off the jumpsuits they had worn over their clothes and throwing them into the open trunk of their car. They were finished for the day. Bosch parked next to them and got out.

“Harry, how’s Kiz?” Marcia asked immediately.

“They say she’s going to be okay.”

“Thank goodness.”

“What a mess, huh?” Jackson said.

Bosch just nodded.

“What did you find?”

“We found her,” Marcia said. “Or, I should say, we found a body. It’s going to be a dental identification. You’ve got dental records, right?”

“In the file on the top of my desk.”

“We’ll get it and take it over to Mission.”

The coroner’s office was on Mission Road. A medical examiner with dental expertise would compare Marie Gesto’s dental X-rays with those taken from the body reclaimed at the spot Waits had led them to that morning.

Marcia closed the trunk of the car and he and his partner looked at Bosch.

“You doing all right?” Jackson asked.

“Long day,” Bosch said.

“And from what I hear, they might get longer,” Marcia said. “Until they catch this guy.”

Bosch nodded. He knew they wanted to know how it could have happened. Two cops dead and another in ICU. But he was tired of telling the story.

“Listen,” he said, “I don’t know how long I’m going to be hung up on this. I’m going to try to get clear tomorrow but obviously it’s not going to be up to me. Either way, if you get the ID I’d appreciate it if you’d let me make the call to the parents. I’ve been talking to them for thirteen years. They’ll want it to come from me. I want it to come from me.”

“You got it, Harry,” Marcia said.

“I’ve never complained about not having to make a notification,” Jackson added.

They spoke for another few moments and then Bosch looked up and appraised the dying light of the day. In the woods the path would already be in deep shadows. He asked if they had a flashlight in the car that he could borrow.

“I’ll bring it back tomorrow,” he promised, though they all knew he might not be back the following day.

“Harry, there’s no ladder in the woods,” Marcia said. “SID took it with them.”

Bosch shrugged and looked down at his mud-caked boots and pants.

“I might get a little dirty,” he said.

Marcia smiled as he popped the trunk and reached in for a Maglite.

“You want us to stick around?” he asked as he gave Bosch the heavy light. “You slip in there and break an ankle, it’ll be just you and the coyotes all night.”

“No, I’ll be fine. I’ve got my cell, anyway. And, besides, I like coyotes.”

“Be careful in there.”

Bosch stood by while they got into their car and drove off. He checked the sky again and headed down the path Waits had taken them on that morning. It took him five minutes to get to the drop-off where the shooting had occurred. He turned on the flashlight and for a few moments played the beam over the area. The place had been trampled by the coroner’s people, OIS investigators and Forensics techs. There was nothing left to see. Eventually, he slid down the incline using the same tree root he had used to climb up that morning. In another two minutes he came to the final clearing, now delineated by yellow police-line tape tied from tree to tree at the edges. In the center was a rectangular excavation hole no more than four feet deep.

Bosch ducked under the tape and entered the hallowed ground of the hidden dead.

30

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