Chapter Two: There's no Place Like Home... or Jail
A few days later Margaretís body was found floating in the Llandview River. The cause of death at the given time was officially unknown although it looked as though she drowned but of course the police showed up at Todd's house like clockwork. He answered the door practically expecting them to be there. "John McBain... and Bo Buchannan; what do I owe the honor of both of you coming to my humble abode?"
"Cut the pleasantries Manning. We just found Margaretís body floating face down in the river... and we wanted to know if you would be so kind as to come down to the station with us and answer a few questions."
Taking a breath he reached for his coat. "Sure no problem. I have nothing to hide. Just give me one moment." As Todd went to make a phone call both men looked at one another.
"Do we have the right household?"
"I'm not even sure we have the right guy."
As Bo and John continued to wonder what the hell was going on Todd called Evangeline.
"Ms. Williamson." She answered.
"I'm on my way to the police station." He remarked softly.
"I'll meet you there." She replied before disconnecting.
Turning to the men he exhaled deeply. "I'm ready when you are." He stated walking to the door and leading the men out.
Twenty minutes later all three men walked through the door greeted by a very prepared and well mannered Evangeline.
"Evangeline?" Bo asked surprised to see her there as though already knowing the situation.
"Lieutenant Buchanan... I see that you brought my client down here for questioning on Ms. Margaretís death; I hope you weren't planning on questioning him without legal representation."
"This isn't anything formal." John stated.
"And yet anything he says can be used against him in a court of law could it not?" She retorted. "Now I think it would be in everyone's best interest to just make sure that we follow procedure here."
"How did you even know this was about Margaret?"
"I told her! She is my lawyer. I know you guys are going to try and pin this on me! I'm always prepared with the best." Todd stated not missing a beat.
Bo didn't seem to question it but John gave her a look which she avoided and continued with the conversation. "My client is more than willing to cooperate with the Llandview police department gentlemen. He has nothing to hide."
"We'll see about that." Bo stated leading Todd into the interrogation room with Evangeline hot on their heels.
"So Manning... do you know how Margaret ended up floating face down in the Llandview river?" Bo asked.
Todd remained silence at first looking over at Evangeline giving him a nod he went into his story word for word the same way he told her earlier. Once he was done both men stood there going over his story.
"Are you telling me that you were there when Margaret went over the railing? You knew about it and you didn't tell anyone? You didn't call someone and report it?" Bo asked frustrated.
"I was scared. I knew what people would think."
"That you murdered her... well why not? You look guilty."
"It's not a crime to be scared. Especially with my client's reputation in this town and his motives."
"Then why would we think differently?" John asked from the corner of the room. He was standing there with his arms crossed in the shadows staring the both of them down.
"Because my client is innocent and the autopsy report that I'm sure is being done at the moment will prove that." Evangeline snapped. "Now if you have everything that you need I think my client should be free to go. If you have any other questions... you can contact my office... you have my number." She remarked taking a stand and making Todd do the same.
As they were about to make their exit Natalie came in holding the manila folder. Evangeline felt herself take a step back almost as if she needed to be physically away from the woman before her. Feeling Todd's hand on the small of her back kept her steady. Straightening herself up a little she swallowed hard trying to avoid the look that Natalie and John shared.
"I just wanted to let you know we have the autopsy report back." She stated handing the folder to her uncle.
There was a general tensed silence as Bo looked over the report. Evangeline kept looking around the room trying to avoid the awkward situation she was in. Todd rubbed her back reassuringly knowing more about the situation then he let on feeling John's eyes on him as he did so.
"It seems here we have a problem."
"What do you mean?" Evangeline asked forgetting about the situation at the moment and focusing on what was going on.
"Well, apparently Margaret didn't die from drowning... she was strangled to death. Do you care to explain Manning?"
"Why would my client need to explain anything? He told you everything that he knew and the last time that he was with the victim. You have his statement."
"But he claimed that Margaret died by going over the railing. It states here that she was strangled to death and then thrown into the river."
"So what? My client didn't strangle her."
"How do we know that?"
"How do you know anything? You're speculating and I don't like it. Todd told you what he knew... and what happened and he told you willingly."
"After we came to his house!" John interjected.
"I explained that he was scared and nervous. There is nothing unusual about that! He didn't fight you on giving a statement. As far as I see it my client has nothing else to answer. Anything else can be conducted through his attorney. Now if you gentlemen will excuse us we really do have to go." She stated. She finally met Natalie's eyes and she gave her a quick nod of acknowledgement. "Natalie." Was all she said before the younger girl stepped aside and both she and Todd left the room. Once in the hall she turned to him. "Talk to me and make it quick. Do I need to be worried about something? Is there something that you didn't tell me?"
He only hesitated for a moment. "My fingerprints might be on her neck... but I swear to you I didn't kill her."
"Todd..." She began but he shook his head.
"I told you that we struggled. I mean I can't be certain but I may have grabbed her neck. I was angry... I don't remember everything that happened blow for blow. But I promise you I didn't... She was alive when she went over that railing. Tell me that you believe me!"
"I do..." She answered. "Now we just have to prove it." She remarked.
"And how do we do that?"
"That's my job. You just... you go home to your family and I will give you a call later on today... and Todd, don't do anything stupid. Don't try and be manipulative. It's only going to hurt your case in the end. Promise me you'll trust me on this and you'll allow me to do my job."
"Yeah... yeah I can do that." He stated and then gave her a very Toddian smile. "Besides if I decide to skip town I would have to take you with me and my family. I know how much you hate to lose cases... you can't take that kind of humiliation." Reaching out he tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "But you let me know if something goes wrong or you can't deal with everything..." He warned softly and she nodded knowing what he meant.
"Deal." She replied and watched him leave the police station before exhaling deep. She was going to have one hell of a fight on her hands.
"Do you want to tell me what the hell you're doing?" John asked coming up behind her.