Meeting Mrs. Malcolm

Malcolm Residence, Philadelphia, PA

The drive expedited by the use of the emergency lights and lack of traffic this time of day, Kevin and Buzz, arrived outside the Malcolm’s townhome in just over an hour and fifteen minutes. They had shut down the lights a couple blocks away and pulled into a spot up the block as it was closest available and got out on foot. Kevin opted for his raid jacket due to the chilly weather at the moment.

Dressed to match, Buzz stepped out of the car and visually swept the area about them. Quick recon, force of habit. Nothing overtly obvious, so he fell in beside and slightly behind Roe, walking wider as they drew closer to the frontage.

“Be ready in case he’s actually here,” Roe said, as they approached the townhome. He pulled his cred pack from his pocket and climbing up the steps to the front door. He stood to the side of the door and knocked his other hand moving to his weapon and unclasping the holster to draw quickly if necessary.

Buzz nodded, and, like Roe, kept his weapon holstered, but free to draw. He stood on the driveway and looked out for any signs of a runner as they both waited.

After a moment of no response Roe knocked again, “federal agents!”

A feminine voice came back “Coming…” Rustling could be heard at the door as it opened slightly and a woman with short curly blonde hair peeked out “Yes?” She asked seeing Roe’s jacket, weapon and ID she opened the door “Are you here about my boy?” She opened the screen door to allow the two men to enter. They were greeted by four german shepherd puppies who excitedly yipped and sniffed the newcomers.

Hanging back to keep a wider visual, Buzz couldn’t help but smile at the sight of the puppy welcome wagon. He kept quiet and externally focused though, the solid silent back-up to Roe’s lead role for now, and Buzz followed only as Roe moved on up and into the property.

Mrs. Rita Malcom was 44, slender build and well put together for the time of day. The home was tastefully decorated, family pictures adorned the wall, including pictures of the missing recruit.

“Yes ma’am, I’m Special Agent Roe and this is Special Agent Bradley of the Coast Guard Investigative Service, we are working hard to find him,” he said. “Would you mind putting the dogs away?” he asked, as he knelt down and pet one of them. “We don’t want them to be frightened or get loose or anything like that,” he said. “We need to chat with you to get some more information.

Rita nodded “Oh yes, I’m sorry.” She gave a couple of commands in German and headed for the back door to let them outside before returning “My special project, raising dogs for assistance animals.” She said “Would either of you like a cup of coffee, I just made a fresh pot.” She asked before sitting down…

Buzz took note of the second language and worthy canine vocation, then offered up a polite response to offer of caffeinated beverage. “No thank you, ma’am.”

Sitting down in one of the chairs she looked at the two men “What do you need to know?” She asked “My Robert wouldn’t just up and run from his responsibilities to the Coast Guard.” She said preemptively.  

To the two agents, she looked very calm and collected, not really giving off any emotions, or at least keeping them hidden enough to not be readily noticeable.  

“Are there any reasons you’d think he’d put before those responsibilities?” Roe asked, taking the offered seat. “And no thank you for the coffee.”

Sitting down just after Roe, Buzz paid close attention to Robert’s mother’s actions and demeanour. He noted her apparently relaxed attitude, lack of any overt emotion and wondered quietly if this was an act to keep a lid on a deeper anxiety or simply the woman’s baseline normal. Hopefully they’d learn more as they talked. Right now, he listened and observed while Mrs Malcolm composed her reply. 

Rita was quiet for a moment. “The only thing that comes to mind is the girl he is/was dating.” She looked pensive for a moment “Rob said they had split up just before he left…I don’t think they actually did though. He asked us to bring her down with us on one of his liberty weekends. So we did.”

“So you’re not sure if they split up or not?” Buzz checked for confirmation. “But she definitely visited him at the Cape?”

“We took her with us. They didn’t act like they were seperated.” She said.

Bradley nodded. “Could be she didn’t want to make a public scene,” he suggested. “Or maybe they just had a fight. How long they been dating?”

Rita only had to think for a minute “Since Junior year in high school.” She walked over to a shelf “That’s he and Jasmin at Prom.” She said handing over a small photo album of the two kids “They went everywhere together. When Robert had decided to join, Jas was his biggest supporter.”  

Rita reached for her phone and pulled up the posts. “Here, this was posted last week sometime. It was my understanding that they didn’t get alot of liberty while in basic training.” She looked between the two agents for some sort of confirmation that this was the case.

“I would agree, it seems that things are good and she was happy to see him,” Roe said, scrolling through some other things that she posted. “It would also seem she isn’t very happy that he’s in the military. When was the last time that you spoke to her?” Roe asked, while handing the phone to Buzz to take a look.

With Kevin keeping the Mrs Malcolm’s attention for a moment, Buzz took the opportunity to check not only the photos, but the call and text list on the phone. A deft and well-practised left thumb shifted subtly between apps to gain a little more information while he had that implied permission. 

“Two days ago. She brought over some things for the pups.” In the backyard the sound of excited barking would alert them to a new arrival. Glancing at the clock “That’s my husband, Evan. He’s a firefighter and just got off duty.”  

A couple moments later an older version of Malcom walked in carrying a duffle bag and a look of surprise to see two Federal Agents in his living room “Ri?” He questioned before stepping forward and extending his hand “Sorry, Evan Malcom. Please tell me you have some information on my son.” Between the two Evan showed more emotion than his wife, tears welling up as he asked the question.

Roe stood and shook the man’s hand, “Special Agent Roe and this is Special Agent Bradley, we’re with the Coast Guard Investigative Service. We are looking for information that will help us find him,” he said.

Evan nodded “Good to meet you.” He said “Anything we can do we will.” He added.

Standing to shake Mr Malcolm’s hand with a polite strength, Buzz gave that familiar welcome nod and simply added his own voice in support. “Everything’s important right now,” he stated, firmly. “Little details matter, so please try to be proactive if you think anything’s relevant.”

With the introductions out of the way Kevin decided to get back to business as he retook his seat, “one of his shipmates reported he seemed emotionally distressed. Are either you aware of any events that may have taken place over the weekend?”

Rita looked at Evan. “I talked with him Friday evening. He seemed a little down. But brushed it off as being tired.” She said finally cracking. “I knew it was more and should have pushed harder.” Rita said taking Evan’s hand. He took out his phone. “He texted me early Saturday, saying he was going out that night. He said he had asked Jas to come down but she couldn’t and he seemed upset about that. But it seemed minor.”  

While Roe and Rita traded information, Buzz simply observed both parents, took in the details of their facial expressions, stances, mannerisms and generally formed an impression by which to judge truth, lies or emotion. So far, they both seemed genuine enough, but a good baseline profile was just as helpful as an obvious tell.

“Did he have any of your credit cards or a bank account? Access to his own bank accounts or credit cards that you knew about?” Roe asked. They had already been looking into the recruit himself and while he didn’t know how that was going yet getting additional information from the parents could only help as well as their information if he had access to their finances.

Rita looked up “He has my Discover card.” She said “He asked if he could use it for some things and of course I said yes.” She said “What do you need from me to get my records. Or i can pull them up for you right now.”  

“If you could bring up your activity online for me and if you could please write down your account information for me this way we can keep an eye on it, should he use it,” Roe said. “While you’re writing things down I need any information you have on Jasmin, birthday, address, phone number. Parents or family or roommates she might have that she lives with and might know where she is,” he said, pulling a notebook from his jacket pocket and flipping it open to a blank page and then grabbing a pen from the same pocket and handing it across to her. “You can use as many pages as you need just don’t go backward.”

Buzz looked to Roe and offered a silent, mild frown. All seemed legit enough so far, nothing untoward from the home side of things. Jasmin was looking like a definite potential influence though. Buzz hoped so, a moody girlfriend to pacify at least boded well for young Malcolm’s survival.

Rita took the notebook and sat down at the laptop on the small desk under the window. While she waited for the program to open she jotted down Jasmin’s address, phone number and birthday as well as where she worked.

Evan was quiet for a moment. “I was thinking about the conversation i had with Rob the last time we talked…he had asked about a cabin we used to go to when he was little. French Creek State Park…that’s where we’d go.” He said “His gramps had a cabin out there. Its been a couple years since we last went.” Evan added “Its secluded…” He pulled up the map and handed his phone over so they could get directions.  

Taking the phone, Buzz grabbed the digital information and entered into the map on his own device. Could be a wild goose chase, but it did sound kinda perfect for a couple of young folks to go hide and figure out just exactly whatever the fuck they needed to work through. Worth a look, maybe. 

“Jasmin have her own vehicle or access to one?” Buzz asked Evan. They’d check rentals of course, but every little piece of info helped. 

“Yes she has and orange equinox. With a pink sticker of a pug on the back.” Evan said.  

Rita returned with the laptop “Here is the account and here’s your notebook. I put as much information down as I could.” Rita finally broke down “Please find my son. We can deal with whatever is going on. I need to know he’s safe.”

“We’ll find him, ma’am,” promised Bradley. One way or another, he added in the privacy of his mind. “Thank you both for your cooperation, it definitely helps.” There was a confident surety in his voice as he added. “Our best team’s on it, and soon as we know something concrete, we’ll be in touch.” Buzz looked to Roe, his eyes clearly asking – Anything else, boss?

“Add the address to the cabin in the notes,” Roe said, not accepting the notebook back. When they had that information he closed the notebook and placed it with the pen back into his pocket.

“We just need to have a look around the house before we go,” Roe said.

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