restricted access Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.
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128 We’ll be there.” She pressed the “end” button. “Tony’s house was ransacked this morning while Perri and Mrs. Lucas were at her husband’s clinic,” she told them. “Vultures,” Roxanne said in a deep, drugged voice. “They knew there was a death and they took advantage of it.” “Pretty early in the morning for a robbery,” Monique said. “Maybe the vultures were waiting for them to leave,” Roxanne offered. “Yes, they certainly were.” “What did they want, I wonder?” “That’s a good question,” Monique answered. “But the more important one is, who are ‘they?’” Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. Monique and Clarke drove to the Smoke Rise residence and parked in the drive next to the first squad car on the scene. They got out and were greeted once again by Mrs. Lucas. “Thank you for coming out,” she said in a high-­ pitched, stressed voice. They entered the room to find the den turned upside down. The pretty ivy plant had been pulled from the ceiling and the dirt dumped on the floor. The room’s drawers lay on the floor and the cabinets emptied. Amid the chaos stood a short gray man in jeans and a flannel shirt talking to the equally short policeman in the kitchen. The policeman saw Monique and Clarke and nodded. “Got here about twenty minutes ago,” Officer Charles Van Rice said loud enough for the two detectives to hear across the room. Monique nodded then pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head. “Thanks.” A thin Native woman sat on the sofa, the two dogs on either side of her. She wore a beige V-­ neck sweater and hip-­ hugger jeans that would have looked good on her had she been healthy and happy. She was not happy and still felt sick, however. Perri Smoke Rise sat slumped, sad and withdrawn. Mrs. Lucas leaned down so Perri could see her face. “Perri, dear,” Mrs. 129 Lucas said gently. “These are the detectives who were here yesterday. You were sleeping.” Perri turned her swollen, bleary eyes to the two detectives. “I gave her a Valium,” the man in the kitchen said. “She’s on her way to pneumonia if she doesn’t move slowly and stay calm.” “We’re here to help,” Clarke said awkwardly. “Help away,” Perri replied. One of the two dogs put his head in her lap and she dropped a hand onto his neck. Monique and Clarke crossed the room to meet the new people. Mrs. Lucas trailed them like a shadow. “This is my husband, Luther. He’s a doctor and we were at his office when this happened.” The short man stuck out his hand and shook authoritatively. “Good to know you,” he said. “Looks like someone wanted something here,” Monique said. “That’s what I thought,” Mrs. Lucas began. “Thank goodness the dogs were outside in the run.” “Dear, let them deal with it,” her husband chided. “Well, it’s true. Whoever came in here would have hurt them just for fun. Most of this is just the house messed up. The bedroom is bad, too. But the televisions, stereo, and Perri’s jewelry are all here. That expensive little color TV they had on the kitchen counter is on the floor.” “According to Mrs. Lucas,” said Officer Van Rice, “the valuables are here. Drawers and cabinets are all torn apart. Contents are thrown everywhere.” Clarke walked around and tried to recall what the place looked like the day before. He looked at the counter behind Dr. Lucas. “Excuse me,” Clarke said as he moved closer. “Where’s that carved elk we saw yesterday?” Mrs. Lucas rushed over to look. All that was left was dirt residue that had fallen off the carving. Mrs. Lucas looked around then went to the other side of the counter and looked on the floor. “Not here,” she said. “That’s odd,” Monique said. “They left the electronics and took the carving. What else is gone that you know of?” she asked her. She put her hands on her hips and walked to the den. Perri sat, staring. “Let’s see,” said Mrs. Lucas as she scanned the room. “I don’t see anything missing in here.” The men followed her as she went from room to 130 room and back to the den. She said the same thing. “Nothing missing that I can tell. Just a mess everywhere.” “The boxes are gone,” Perri said in...


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