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Книга EchoPark. Страница 81

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“If his real name is Foxworth,” Bosch repeated. “Maybe we just found another alias.”

“Maybe. But at least it’s something you didn’t have before.”

Bosch nodded. He could feel his excitement building. She was right. Finally they had a new angle to pursue. Bosch pulled out his phone.

“I’m going to run the name and see what happens.”

He called central dispatch and asked a service operator to run the name and birth date they had found on the pawn slip. It came back clean and with no record of a current driver’s license. He thanked the operator and hung up.

“Nothing,” he said. “Not even a driver’s license.”

“But that’s good,” Rachel said. “Don’t you see? Robert Foxworth would be about to turn thirty-five right now. If there’s no history or current license, then that is further confirmation that he is no more, that he’s either dead or he became someone else.”

“Raynard Waits.”

She nodded.

“I guess I was hoping for a DL with an Echo Park address,” Bosch said. “I guess that’s too much to ask for.”

“Maybe not. Is there a way in this state to check defunct driver’s licenses? Robert Foxworth, if that’s his real name, probably got a license when he turned sixteen in nineteen eighty-seven. When he switched identities it would have expired.”

Bosch considered this. He knew that the state did not start requiring a thumbprint from licensed drivers until the early nineties. It meant Foxworth could have gotten a driver’s license in the late eighties and there would be no way to connect him to his new identity as Raynard Waits.

“I could check with DMV in the morning. It’s not something I can get through communications dispatch tonight.”

“There is something else you can check tomorrow,” she said. “Remember the quick and dirty profile I did the other night? I said these early crimes weren’t aberrations. He built up to them.”

Bosch understood.

“A juvy jacket.”

She nodded.

“You might find a juvenile record on Robert Foxworth-again, if that’s his real name. It wouldn’t have been accessible through dispatch either.”

She was right. State law kept juvenile records from trailing an offender into adulthood. The name may have come up clean when Bosch called dispatch to run it but that didn’t mean it was squeaky clean. As with the driver’s license information, Bosch would have to wait until morning, when he could get into the juvenile records at the Department of Probation.

But as soon as his hopes were lifted he knocked them down again.

“Wait a minute, that doesn’t work,” he said. “His prints would have drawn a match. When they ran his prints as Raynard Waits, they would have hit the prints taken from Robert Foxworth as a juvenile. His record might not be available but the prints stay in the system.”

“Maybe, maybe not. Two separate systems. Two separate bureaucracies. The crossover doesn’t always work.”

That was true, but it was more wishful thinking than anything else. Bosch now reduced the juvenile angle to a long shot. It was more likely that Robert Foxworth had never been in the juvenile system. Bosch was beginning to think the name was just another false identity in a string of them.

Rachel tried to change the subject.

“What do you think about this heirloom medallion he pawned?” she asked.

“I have no idea.”

“The fact that he wanted to get it back is interesting. Makes me think maybe it wasn’t stolen. Like maybe it belonged to someone in his family and he needed to get it back.”

“It would explain him cursing and slamming doors, I guess.”

She nodded.

Bosch yawned and all at once he realized how tired he was. He had been running all day just to get to this name and the uncertainties that accompanied it. The case was crowding his brain. Rachel seemed to read him.

“Harry, I say we quit while we’re ahead and have another beer.”

“I don’t know how far ahead we are but I could use another beer,” Bosch said. “There’s only one problem with that.”

“What?”

“No more beer.”

“Harry, you invited a girl over to do your dirty work and help you crack the case and all you give her is one beer? What’s wrong with you? What about wine? You have some wine?”

Bosch shook his head sadly.

“But I’m on my way to the store.”

“That’s good. I’m on my way to the bedroom. I’ll be waiting for you there.”

“Then, I won’t delay.”

“Make mine a red wine, will you?”

“I’m on it.”

Bosch hurried from the house. He had parked earlier at the front curb so that Rachel could use the carport if she came over. As he walked out the front door he noticed a vehicle sitting at the opposite curb two houses down. The vehicle, a silver SUV, caught his eye because it was parked in a red zone. There was no parking allowed along that curb, since it was too close to the next curve in the road. A car could come around the bend and easily collide with any car parked there.

As Bosch looked up the street the SUV suddenly took off without its lights on. It sped north around the bend and disappeared.

Bosch ran to his car, jumped in and headed north after the SUV. He drove as fast as he could safely go. Within two minutes he had followed the curving street around to the four-way stop at Mulholland Drive. There was no sign of the SUV and it could have gone in any of three directions from the stop.

“Shit!”

Bosch sat at the intersection for a long moment, thinking about what he had just seen and what it might mean. He decided that it either meant nothing or it meant someone was watching his house and therefore watching him. But at the moment there was nothing he could do. He let it go. He turned left and drove Mulholland at a safe speed all the way down to Cahuenga. He knew there was a liquor store near Lankershim. He headed there, checking the rearview mirror for a trailer the whole way.

26

HOME DUTY OR NOT, Bosch dressed in a suit the next morning before heading out. He knew it would give him an aura of authority and confidence while dealing with government bureaucrats. And by twenty minutes after nine it had paid off. He had a solid lead. The Department of Motor Vehicles’ archives had produced a driver’s license issued to a Robert Foxworth on November 3, 1987, the day he turned sixteen and was eligible to drive. The license was never renewed in California but there was no DMV record of the holder being deceased. This meant Foxworth had either moved to another state and was licensed there, decided he no longer wanted to drive or changed identities. Bosch was betting on the third option.

The address on the license was the lead. It listed Foxworth’s residence as the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, 3075 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. In 1987 he had been a juvenile ward of the county. He either had no parents or they had been declared unfit to raise him and he was removed from them. The designation of DCFS as his address meant that he was either housed in one of the department’s youth halls or had been placed in its foster care program. Bosch knew all of this because he, too, had had such a designation on his first driver’s license. He, too, had been a ward of the county.

As Bosch stepped out of the DMV offices on Spring Street he felt a renewed surge of energy. He had broken through what had seemed to be a dead end the night before and had turned it into a solid lead. As he headed to his car his cell phone vibrated and he answered it without breaking stride or looking at the screen, hoping that it would be Rachel and that he’d be able to share the good news.

“Harry, where are you? No one answered the home line.”

It was Abel Pratt. Bosch was getting tired of his constant checking up on him.

“I’m on my way in to visit Kiz. Is that all right with you?”

“Sure, Harry, except you’re supposed to check in with me.”

“Once a day. It’s not even ten o’clock!”

“I want to hear from you every morning.”

“Whatever. Tomorrow’s Saturday, should I call you? What about Sunday?”

“Don’t go overboard. I’m just trying to look out for you, you know.”

“Sure, Top. Whatever you say.”

“You heard the latest, I take it.”

Bosch stopped in his tracks.

“They caught Waits?”

“No, I wish.”

“Then, what?”

“It’s all over the news. Everybody’s worked up about it down here. Some girl got snatched off the street in Hollywood last night. Pulled into a van on Hollywood Boulevard. The division had those new street cameras installed last year and one of the cameras caught part of the abduction. I haven’t seen it but they say it’s Waits. He’s changed his look-shaved his head, I think-but they’re saying it was him. There’s a press conference at eleven and they’re going to show the tape to the world.”

Bosch felt a dull thud pound in his chest. He had been right about Waits not leaving town. He wished now he had been wrong. As he had these thoughts he realized that he still thought of the killer as Raynard Waits. It didn’t matter if he was truly Robert Foxworth, Bosch knew he would always think of him as Waits.

“Did they get a plate off the van?” he asked.

“No, it was covered. All they put out was that it was a plain white Econoline van. Like the other one he used but older. Look, I’ve gotta go. I just wanted to check in. Hopefully, this is the last day. OIS will finish up and you’ll be back in the unit.”

“Yeah, that would be good. But listen, during his confession, Waits said he had a different van in the nineties. Maybe the task force should get somebody to look through old DMV registrations under his name. They might come up with a plate to go with the van.”

“It’s worth a shot. I’ll tell them.”

“Okay.”

“Stay close to home, Harry. And give my regards to Kiz.”

“Right.”

Bosch closed the phone, happy that he’d been able to come up with the Kiz line on the spot like that. But he also knew that he was becoming a good liar with Pratt, and that didn’t make him very happy.

Bosch got into his car and headed toward Wilshire Boulevard. The call from Pratt had increased his sense of urgency. Waits had abducted another woman, but there had been nothing in the files to indicate that he killed his victims immediately. That meant the latest victim might still be alive. Bosch knew that if he could get to Waits he could save her.

The DCFS offices were crowded and loud. He waited at a records counter for fifteen minutes before he got the attention of a clerk. After taking Bosch’s information and typing it into a computer, she told him that there was indeed a juvenile file relating to Robert Foxworth, DOB 11/03/71, but that to see it he would need a court order authorizing his search of the records.

41

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