Brandon was kept handcuffed in the room, and he kept on screaming, “I swear to God I didn’t kill her. I went to the house but then just remembering her made my stomach ache, so I went to Melinda’s house, but she was not in her home, so I came back. I am telling you the truth. I didn’t kill her.”
Claire was going to take Brandon to holding cell when Lee stopped her. For Brandon, he was the sheep in wolf’s clothing surrounded by villagers ready to kill him and Lee was the head who stopped the killing just to find the real wolf. The reason for this stop was Adrian. According to Adrian, a purchase was made in the previous month. The person who bought the poison was Robert Martins, Alex’s Partner. An immediate arrest warrant was issued in the name of Robert Martins. They went to his house. After knocking several times, Lee decided to barge in. Robert was nowhere to be seen but an awful smell was filled in the whole place. The smell was originating from the bedroom. Robert Martins was sleeping dead in his bed. Forensics were called to take the body. With no visible wound marks, everyone suspected that he also died of poisoning.
Adrian asked, “Why he wanted to kill Veronica?”
“The real question is whether he was an accomplice or a pawn or another victim?” Lee replied.
The whole house was searched for the poison, but nothing was found in his home. Everyone returned to the bureau. According to the early reports, he died three days ago probably the night he was talking to Lee and his team at Alex’s house. He went to sleep and never woke up again. Last time forensics opened the floodgates but this time, they destroyed it. The news stupefied half of the office. The poison used was not strychnine; it was ricin. According to the forensics, ricin takes about an hour or more to act on anyone’s body. The whole team was exhausted as this new evidence confused the already complicated case to its epitome. Lee told everyone to sum it up for that day and look into the case with a fresh set of eyes next day. Lee also went to his room, but the face of Veronica always surfaced whenever he closes his eyes. Lying there he decided to use his nicotine patch to clear his mind. His usual two nicotine patch was not sufficient this time. Instead, he ended up using five of them at the same time. He flooded his body with nicotine and mind with thoughts.
“Maybe Robert was blackmailed to do.”
“Maybe he collaborated to kill Veronica but why then what he could gain by killing that poor soul.”
“Maybe killer made him buy the poison to keep his name off the charts.”
“But the main question is why two different toxins were used to kill them.”
Lee decided to make the timeline of everything that happened.
“Veronica was found dead in Alex’s room. If our hypothesis is correct, Robert also took the poison at Alex’s house. Since he bought the previous one, it is safe to assume that he had a part in all this. Wait a second. He would have gained nothing by killing Veronica, but now it looks more like the coffee was for Alex to drink and with her dead, he might have taken over the company. This is it. But it only explains what happened before we still need to figure out who killed him and why he needed other drug and especially why ricin. This also means that whoever murdered Robert was also in the party, but if Alex was the target, then there is a lot of money involved. We need to know everyone who will be benefitted from their death.”
Next morning, Lee discussed this idea with everyone. Everyone knew Lee was high during the previous night, but none complained as the theory seemed correct and this would help them move forward in this case.
“But this is a hell lot of a coincidence. What a poor soul.” Claire said.
“Or we can say Alex is incredibly lucky” Adrian tried to lighten the mood, but Lee shut him off. They started looking for people who will be benefitted from both of their deaths. Lee decided to call Alex to know that what will happen to the company and her money if anyone of them dies. According to her, Robert might have named everything he owns to his brother and company to her.
“Why the company to you?”
“He said that we both don’t have the right heir for our business so we should name each other.”
“What will happen if you both die?”
“If I die, everything will be going to Veronica and company to Robert. But if we both die then Michael will get the business as he is VP.”
“This is why no one should name unknown people in their wills, they end up dead and leave guys like us with a lot of work.” Lee thought.
“Find out who is Robert’s brother and call Michael again for questioning but before that gather as much data on him as you can because this is now two homicides and a possible corporate benefit.”
“Detective Lee, why are you asking me this question?”
“Ma’am, we all think that the poison which killed Veronica was intended for you. She just accidently got in the way.”
“Do you mean Robert tried to kill me?”
“Most probably and he was not alone.”
“Please, find them. My sister died because of me; this is so not fair. God even took away the last family I had.”
Alex started sobbing. Claire showed her way out. Michael reached the bureau and asked,
“What’s the matter?”
“Did you and Robert talk during the party?”
“No, not actually. Why?”
“Do you know what will happen to the company if both Robert and Alex dies?”
“I am afraid not.”
“The company will be yours, and I am not sure about you not knowing, so tell us the truth or we will force it out from you.”
“I am telling you the truth, and I think I will need my attorney now.”
With Michael lawyered up, Lee figured they won’t get any useful data from him now without any substantial evidence. On the other hand, Adrian tracked down Robert’s brother. His name was Jordan Martins. He was a salesperson for a car company in Texas. He was notified and was called to the Bureau for further questioning. In the meantime, the team was gathering information on other people at the party to check if someone else is also involved.
“Hey Boss, how to buy ricin?” Adrian asked.
“You can buy it online from the dark web, but it can be made in a home using castor beans.”
Everyone kept vetting the people from the party. Claire and Adrian were given the job to go through their online data to find anything useful. Adrian’s scientific curiosity was piqued, so he started searching for ricin and castor beans. While he was searching for castor beans, he remembered seeing the plant at Alex’s house. The team immediately went to her house. But no one was at the house. They went to the backyard, and there was a castor bean plant. Before anyone can comment on anything, Lee’s phone rang.
“Is Detective Lee there?”
“Yes, Detective Lee here.”
“A girl named Alex was admitted to the Lance Hospital. She gave me this number before fainting, and she said something like P or Po, I didn’t catch it.”
“Who are you?”
“I was shopping at the general store where she fainted,”
“Give it to the attending doctor, right now.”
Lee heard him running.
“Hello, this is Doctor Smith here.”
“Hello doctor, there is a high possibility that she was poisoned probably by ricin or strychnine.”
“Are you sure?”
“I am confident about poisoning but not the drug.”
“With the real murderer continuously changing the drug how can I be sure about the drug.”
Lee and team directly went to the hospital. According to the doctor, she ingested ricin and was almost lethal if she hadn’t arrived on time or without the proper knowledge.
“How is she?”
“She’s stable, but we have given her sedatives. She can talk to you tomorrow morning.”
They straight-forward went to her house and started collecting all the edibles. Claire found a half-eaten chocolate in her kitchen. She was pretty sure that she took poison from this item. She also found a box full of it in the fridge, but there was another piece missing. The forensics send the report early morning, and Claire was right; the chocolate was sprinkled with ricin all over it. According to the forensics, if she had eaten the whole chocolate she was beyond saving.
“She’s got the devil’s luck,” Adrian said laughing.
They went to the hospital. Alex was awake. Lee asked, “How are you feeling now?”
“I am fine but still feeling weak.”
“Are you good enough for us to ask questions?”
“Yeah, I am feeling alright.”
“Why does your backyard has a castor bean plant?”
“Backyard was handled by Veronica. I didn’t even know which plant you are talking about.”
“Okay, who gave you the chocolates that you were eating?”
“Those chocolates…. Veronica gave me before the party. But I kept it in the fridge because I assumed it would be bitter in taste as she loves dark chocolate.”
“Is there any chance Robert might have taken it?”
“Maybe. I mean Robert always helps himself with edibles, and he was very fond of chocolates.”
“Thanks for the input.”
They went to check with the forensics about what Robert ate before he died. According to the forensics, there were steak, lettuce, capsicum, chocolate and some other veggies. They cross-referenced it with the chocolate they found at Alex’s house. It was the same one, so Veronica’s chocolate poisoned Robert. Everyone was a bit astonished by this revelations. Robert and Veronica are dead because they something didn’t go according to the plan. Everyone wanted to know whose plan got awry. Meanwhile, Robert’s brother Jordan arrived at the bureau. They started off with general questions about their relationship.
“He and I were a bit distant after our mother died. I didn’t even know he was a partner in a company.”
“Where were you on May 20?”
“I was in Texas doing my job. You can verify that from my supervisors.”
“Okay. Thank you. We will be in touch.”
Everyone knew that his brother is not even remotely involved in this case. Lee believed every piece of the puzzle is on the board, and no one else is involved in this case. He started explaining everything.
“Let us assume there was someone else killed Robert but that would mean he and Veronica were collaborating to kill Alex, but then this mystery man also knew about the strychnine in the cup. That means he planned on killing Alex by giving her two different poison from two different sources but then one screwed up, and he killed the other guy. “
“It is a possible explanation, isn’t it?” Adrian commented.
“No, it’s not because I don’t think there is a mysterious guy. I believe that they both tried to kill Alex for monetary gain but took each other’s poison and ended up dead.”
“That would be quite the case. I see tomorrow’s headline. Murderers killed themselves.”
“God favors the good,” Claire said.
“Maybe. We have to tell Alex about this and put an end to this case.” Lee said and then Adrian ordered the case ending pizza. Next morning, Alex was discharged. Lee called everyone related to the case to Alex’s house to tell everyone the whole story and after hearing what happened, everyone was shocked by the turn of events.
“God didn’t wait for the human court to punish the wicked,” Melinda said.
“I knew she was the type of the girl who could kill someone for money,” Brandon added.
“Let’s not insult the dead. It’s not right. What are you going to do, Alex?” Michael said. He was still not convinced that the girl he loved tried to kill someone.
“I still can’t believe what happened in this week. I need to take a break. First, I have to visit Oregon and do some paperwork. Michael, you are in charge till I come back.”
Lee and his team left. Alex has made lunch for everyone else. After taking lunch, everyone went on their way. Alex went to Veronica’s room, laid down. It was night by the time she woke up. She went to the living room to drink wine and think about the past.
“It’s been five years since we came to this city and it took me five years, but now everything belongs to me, even your name plus an added bonus from that fool Robert.”