Gone for Good Page 45

Katy waited, still holding her mother’s hand.

“You can try to move past the pain. You can try to forget and get on with your life. But for your father and me”—Lucille Miller closed her eyes and shook her head firmly—“forgetting would be too obscene. We couldn’t betray your sister like that. The pain may be enormous, but how could we go on if we abandoned Julie? She existed. She was real. I know that doesn’t make sense.”

But, Katy thought, maybe it did.

They sat in silence. Eventually Lucille Miller let go of Katy’s hand. She slapped her thighs and stood. “I’ll leave you alone now.”

Katy listened to her footsteps. Then she turned back to the trunk. She dug through the contents. It took her nearly half an hour, but she found it.

And it changed everything.


When we were back in the van, I asked Squares what we should do next.

“I have a source,” he said, a true understatement if ever I’ve heard one. “We’ll run the name Donna White through the airline computers, see if we can figure out when she flew out or where she stayed, something.”

We lapsed into silence.

“Someone has to say it,” Squares began.

I stared down at my hands. “Go ahead, then.”

“What are you trying to do here, Will?”

“Find Carly,” I said too quickly.

“And then what? Raise her as your own?”

“I don’t know.”

“You realize, of course, that you’re using this to block.”

“So are you.”

I looked out the car window. The neighborhood was full of rubble. We drove past housing projects that housed mostly misery. I looked for something good. I didn’t see any.

“I was going to propose,” I said.

Squares kept driving, but I saw something in his posture give way.

“I bought a ring. I showed it to my mother. I was just waiting for some time to pass. You know, after my mom’s death and all.”

We stopped at a red light. Squares would not turn and look at me.

“I have to keep searching,” I said, “because I’m not sure what I’ll do if I don’t. I’m not suicidal or anything, but if I stop running”—I stopped, tried to think how to say this, settled for the simple—“it’ll catch up to me.”

“It’s going to catch you eventually, no matter what,” Squares said.

“I know. But by then, maybe I’ll have done something good. Maybe I’ll have saved her daughter. Maybe, even though she’s dead, I’ll have helped her.”

“Or,” Squares countered, “you might find out that she was not the woman you believed her to be. That she fooled us all and worse.”

“Then so be it,” I said. “You still with me?”

“To the end, Kemosabi.”

“Good, because I think I have an idea.”

His leather face cracked into that smile. “Rock and roll, dude. Lay it on me.”

“We’ve been forgetting something.”


“New Mexico. Sheila’s fingerprints were found at a murder scene in New Mexico.”

He nodded. “You think that murder has something to do with Carly?”

“Could be.”

He nodded. “But we don’t even know who was killed in New Mexico. Hell, we don’t even know where the murder scene is exactly.”

“That’s where my plan comes into action,” I said. “Drop me off at home. I think I need to do a little Web surfing.”

Yes, I had a plan.

It stood to reason that the FBI were not the ones to discover the bodies. Probably a local cop did. Or maybe a neighbor. Or a relative. And since this murder had taken place in a town not already anesthetized to such sudden violence, the crime had probably been reported in the local paper.

I surfed to refdesk.com and clicked on national newspapers. They had thirty-three listings for New Mexico. I tried the ones in the Albuquerque area. I sat back and let the page load. Found one. Okay, good. I clicked on to the archives and started searching. I typed “murder” in. Too many hits. I tried “double murder.” That didn’t work either. I tried another paper. Then another.

It took almost an hour, but I finally nailed it:

TWO MEN FOUND MURDERED Small community shocked by Yvonne Sterno

Late last night, the gated Albuquerque suburb of Stonepointe was reeling from news that two men were both shot in the head, probably in broad daylight, and found in one of the community’s homes. “I didn’t hear a thing,” said Fred Davison, a neighbor. “I just can’t believe something like this could happen in our community.” The two men remain unidentified. Police had no comment other than to say that they were investigating. “This is an ongoing investigation. We’re following several leads.” The homeowner is listed as Owen Enfield. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning.

That was about it. I searched the next day. Nothing. I searched the day after. Still nothing. I searched for all the stories written by Yvonne Sterno. There were pieces on local weddings and charity events. Nothing, not another word, about the murders.

I sat back.

Why weren’t there more stories?

One way to find out. I picked up the phone and began to dial the number for the New Mexico Star-Beacon. Maybe I’d get lucky and reach Yvonne Sterno. And maybe she’d tell me something.

The switchboard was one of those machines that ask you to spell your party’s last name. I had dialed the S-T-E-R when the machine cut in and told me to hit the pound key if I was trying to reach Yvonne Sterno. I followed orders. Two rings later a machine picked up.

“This is Yvonne Sterno at the Star-Beacon. I’m either on the phone or away from my desk.”

I hung up. I was still online so I brought up switchboard.com. I typed in Sterno’s name and tried the Albuquerque area. Bingo. A “Y and M Sterno” was listed as living at 25 Canterbury Drive in Albuquerque. I dialed the number. A woman answered.

“Hello?” Then she shouted, “Quiet back there, Mommy’s on the phone.”

The squeal of young children did not let up.

“Yvonne Sterno?”

“You selling something?”


“Then yes, speaking.”

“My name is Will Klein—”

“Sure sounds like you’re selling something.”

“I’m not,” I said. “Are you the same Yvonne Sterno that writes for the Star-Beacon?”

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