Sheriff, Harlow cried out, got another one! But sheriff Pontieff didn’t reply, except to sigh and turn away from Denis Harlow. Walk away, actually.
The massacre that had silently taken place here in Ronan was more than Pontieff could take and he wanted no witnesses to the gurgling sounds in his throat or the trembling that was taking over his limbs. They had had dozens of men digging on Onger’s five acre hideaway for seventy two hours. And there seemed no end in sight, with Harlow's declaration of corpse twenty-three.
Jane. Why hadn’t they found Jane? The cold blooded killer that got away had burrowed herself into his heart. It was the fourteen year old girl he couldn’t get out of his head.
The pieces had come together for the four of them back at the station. They had been more like hunches, really. It was true that the resemblance between the victim and his brother was uncanny. They knew Jane had likely not seen her abductor for fifteen years, and they had confirmed Richard’s presence in Sturgis. Jane’s aunt had seemed quite certain she may have seen him at Rudy’s that weekend. Her remaining family and fellow coffee shleppers were very concerned about sweet Jane’s sudden disappearance.
Pontieff was in his head, not paying attention to the ground below him as he tried escaping the whole scene behind him. He nearly fell over. What had tripped his step? He regained his balance and tapped the heel of his boot against the ridge below his feet. The knock of his boot echoed up. He tapped again, harder this time. Sure enough, he was standing on a wood shelf, and the resonation told him there was hollow space below it.