A Different Blue Page 87

“This is a picture of her, taken from her drivers license records, which puts her at about sixteen in this photo.” Detective Martinez slid an 8X10 photo of a smiling girl across the table, and when I let my eyes settle on her face, I saw myself there. Wilson sucked in his breath beside me, and his hand tightened around mine.

“She looks like you, Blue,” he whispered. “The eyes are different, and you have a lighter complexion . . . but the smile and the hair . . . that's you.”

“Yeah. We noticed it right off too, and as a result we were pretty confident when we met with you in October that we had found Winona's baby girl. Of course, we couldn't say anything at the time.” Detective Moody smiled broadly, and I tried to smile back.

Winona Hidalgo's driver's license description said her hair was black and her eyes brown. Her ethnicity was listed as Native American. She was five feet four inches tall and one hundred eighteen pounds. I was taller than she had been but just as slim. I couldn't take my eyes off her. She didn't look evil. She just looked young.

“Initially, we had the notification of death made by local law enforcement, but when the search for the child, uh..when the search for you stalled, Detective Moody and I went and visited with the family personally.”

“I have family?” The churning in my stomach resumed with a vengeance as I felt what little identity I had was being wrenched from my grasping hands.

“You have a grandmother, Stella Hidalgo, who is Winona's mother. You and your mother lived with her until Winona took off with you when you were just shy of two years old. Stella Hidalgo lives in Utah on the Paiute Indian Reservation. We have contacted her, and she is eager to see you.”

“Does my grandmother know who my father is?”

“Yes. Your biological father is a man by the name of Ethan Jacobsen.” Another picture was taken from the file and handed to me. A boy with spiky blonde hair and bright blue eyes stared out, unsmiling. His shoulders were wide and square under a red jersey with a white number 13 displayed proudly on his chest. It looked like a yearbook shot, the kind they take of each football player, where all the guys tried to looker bigger and badder than they really were.

“I've seen that expession before,” Wilson murmured, and when my eyes met his there was tenderness in his gaze. “I saw it the first day I met you. I interpreted it as the 'sod off' look.”

The room grew quiet as everyone seemed to sense I needed a minute to emotionally catch up. Eventually, Detective Martinez resumed speaking.

“According to Ethan Jacobsen, and according to Stella Hidalgo, Ethan wanted nothing to do with Winona when she told him of her pregnancy. His family is on record claiming they begged her to give the baby up for adoption. They did give Winona some money when you were about eighteen months old, which Stella Hidalgo confirmed, but Winona left the area shortly after and none of them ever saw her or you again.

“Ethan Jacobsen is married with kids now, but he did give us a DNA sample back when Winona was found dead and you were declared missing. His DNA was also uploaded into NCIS, and we had it compared to yours as well.”

Heidi Morgan interjected, “Ethan Jacobsen's DNA was also confirmed as being a match with yours, which was why it took us a little longer than I promised to get the results back.”

Detective Moody spoke up again, and his eyes were sober, his smile gone. “As a courtesy, Blue, Mr. Jacobsen has also been contacted, and he has been informed that you were located. He was pretty shaken up, understandably. He did give us his contact information and current address but said any further contact will be up to you.”

I nodded, my head reeling. I knew the names of both of my parents. I knew what they looked like. I had a grandmother. She wanted to see me. There was just one more thing.

“What's my name?”

Detective Martinez swallowed, and Detective Moody's eyes filled up with tears. They both seemed as overwhelmed in the moment as I was.

“The name on your birth certificate is Savana Hidalgo,” Detective Martinez said hoarsely.

“Savana,” Wilson and I breathed together, and it was my turn to be overcome with emotion.

“Savana? Only Jimmy would truly appreciate the irony.” The words trembled on my lips.

Wilson tipped his head in question. I explained, the words catching in my throat as the tears spilled onto my cheeks. “When I was younger, I would pretend my name was Sapana – so close to the name Savana. Sapana is a girl in a Native American story that climbs to the sky and is rescued by a hawk. I always said Jimmy, because of his name, was the hawk and I was Sapana. He always claimed he was more like the porcupine man. I never understood what he meant. I thought he was just being funny. Looking back, he probably felt guilt for not going to the police. I think it must have weighed on him. But I'm not sorry.” I looked from one person to the other, my eyes resting on Wilson at the end. “He was a good father. He didn't hurt my mother or kidnap me –”

“Were you worried he had?” Wilson interrupted gently.

“Sometimes. But then I would remember Jimmy and how he was. It's like you said, Wilson. I knew too much to doubt him. I won't be sorry he chose to keep me with him. Ever. I know it might be hard to understand, but that's the way I feel.”

I was not the only one who needed a minute to compose myself, and we took a brief break to wipe our eyes before Detective Martinez continued.

“You were born on October 28, 1990.”

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