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Chapter 16: Ending Well
Jack was exhausted. It took several tries the following morning, but Amanda finally got the rest of the story from her father.
“I didn’t know what to do. I figured out what was happening and confronted her that Easter when all of you visited. She tried to blackmail me. She said she’d expose my stupidity to the CIA if I turned her in. It would have ruined me, ruined us all…. So I asked Spooky, Horatio Lane, to help me out of the jam I’d gotten myself into.
“He hired a goon named Franklin something to take care of it. Franklin met with Candace and arranged for her to disappear herself. Franklin was to make sure that the police determined that she was just one of those girls who picks up one day and goes off. I thought he’d leave a trail of breadcrumbs leading to a drug-dealer boyfriend or something like that. But Franklin was a rogue asshole. He’s dead now, so I can say it out loud without him coming after me — or you. But he concocted this plan to kill a girl who looked like Candy, leave clues to Candy’s identity with the body and just let everyone think she’d died.”
“He killed Maria Ruiz?”
“Said she was collateral damage in a larger scheme of things.”
Amanda burst into tears.
“I told you Franklin was a scary man — a crazy killer. He’s dead now. I told you that, right. He’s dead now, so you are safe. It’s OK. He can’t come after you. He said he would, he did….” Jack rambled.
“Franklin’s plan backfired two ways, he dumped her body in a construction site on a Friday. It was supposed to be discovered on Monday morning, but the Russian mob was culling their own numbers and they used the same dumpsite for one of their hits. They also filled in the hole. It was confusing, no doubt, for the construction guys on Monday morning, but…”
“Did Candy know Franklin was going to kill someone in her place?” Amanda asked.
“I don’t think so. It’s not what I hired him to do. For all I know, she’s alive and well and living in Germany.”
Daniel and Amanda took her car and headed to the Mall. Amanda said she needed “art therapy” in the form of time in the Hirshhorn Museum’s sculpture garden. A few hours of art and a bottle of wine over dinner later and Daniel made a radical suggestion.
“Let’s try to find her.”