It had been almost three weeks before Detective Kevin Berkley got a lead on a possible identification on the parents of Baby Jessica. A lady who had rooms for rent in a large house across the street from the orphanage called the phone number in the classified ad, which was transferred to Kevin’s desk. What she told Kevin was very pertinent to the case. He drove over to interview her.
Mrs. Collins was a lovely lady. Kevin liked her right away, but had a heck of a time getting her to stay focused on his questions. She loved to converse to whoever would listen. She had ten rooms she rented out and the house was always full of residents. Kevin quickly learned her daily routine and how she loved to take care of her “roomers” as if they were her own children. She never had any children of her own, so doted on her roomers. Within an hour Kevin knew her life story.
“Mrs. Collins, I would love to come back and visit with you if I may and I love your home here. You are a lovely person with a kind heart.” This made Mrs. Collins blush and get all flustered. “But, right now I am on a tight schedule and need to find out about the couple you believe might be the people I am looking for. It is very important. Can you tell me about them?”
“Oh, yes, yes, of course, Detective Berkley. Well, you see, they moved in here to the back room on this first floor about a year ago. The room is quite large and was perfect for them the young woman said, because it had its own private bathroom and large windows facing the garden out back. She really loved it. It even has french doors that open out onto a lovely patio. You see, she loved the garden and spent a lot of time out there sitting in the sunshine and crocheting.” Kevin started to get squirmy and impatient, but perked up when he heard the word crocheting.
“She liked to crochet?” he asked. “Oh, yes, very much so. And loved pink or pale green yarns. When they had been here about four months she showed me a pink baby blanket she crocheted, that is when I knew she was expecting a baby. She was so proud of that little blanket. I was just heart-broken when I found out Kyra had died. She was such a sweet girl and so happy to become a mother.”
“Yes, it is apparent she would have been a good mother because she left the baby at the orphanage with a note pleading care for her baby,” Kevin cleared his throat. He had become very attached to little Jessica and felt sorrow for the mother who died giving birth. You say her name was Kyra?”
“Yes, I have their file here to show you. It has their names and other information with pictures of them the day they moved in. I make it a habit to put pictures of each roomer in their file.” She handed the file to Kevin. The photo was just like the descriptions the lady in the jewelry store gave to Kevin. Their names were Todd Gunther and Kyra Devereaux. Kevin was very glad to see their names, hoping they were real. If the names were real, Jessica’s mother would have a name remembrance added to her case and to her grave. He almost felt like crying. “Mrs. Collins, I must commend you. You run an excellent and well organized business and have helped a great deal. This couple is the one we are looking for. Is there anything you can tell me about Todd Gunther?”
“Oh! It is so sad. All so sad, Detective,” she took out a hanky and dried her eyes. “You see, Todd left Kyra not knowing she was expecting a baby. I did not know that till after he left. Kyra never told me why Todd left, then she left not long after. I begged her to stay, that she could live here rent free. I had become so attached to her and wanted to help her with the baby. I told her Todd had taken me down to the bank the day before he left and deposited $20,000 in a trust fund account for her He put me on the account as Trustee. Kyra told me she had no desire to ever touch his money. She was very sick, had bronchitis or something and was so depressed. I never heard from her again. Then I read that news about her. I was heartbroken!” She started crying and Kevin patiently waited for her to calm down. “Todd … Todd did not tell me where he was going. He just paid for that month’s rent and three extra months for Kyra and left.”
Kevin was shocked about the bank deposit. It would hopefully be yet another way to trace Todd Gunther. “Detective Berkley, I would like to use part of that money to give Kyra a decent burial and headstone. Then I will turn the balance over to the orphanage for care of the baby, for anything she needs. Do you think that would be the right thing to do?”
Kevin was very touched by Mrs. Collins’ offer. “I think that is very admirable of you and would definitely be the right thing to do.” Kevin then searched through the file and saw that Kyra had listed her previous residence with an address in Wyoming. He asked if he could take the file with him or at least get copies of all the paperwork in it. “I am one step ahead of you, Sir. That file is yours. I made copies of everything right after you called me and set up this interview. I am happy to do whatever I can to help.” Kevin was astonished at the wisdom and sincerity of Mrs. Collins.
When Kevin got back to his office he called Andy. “Andy, we have some good leads and a file I want you to come over and take a look at. Then we need to head out to Wyoming for a few days.” Kevin had researched the bank deposit records, but the deposit was made with a cashier’s check and no detailed information available.
© 2016 Phyllis Doyle Burns