“Any units in the vicinity of 507 Avenida Pintura, hysterical woman reported in the front yard, details unknown. Possible domestic situation, proceed with caution”
Gary Wilson picked up the microphone in his prowl car, “One Echo Seven, Roger.” He re-cradled the mike and hit the toggle switches that activated the light bar and siren. A U-turn at the next intersection had him headed back towards the Bluffs. A trendy upper-middle class neighborhood comprised mostly of condos and townhomes. Avenida Pintura was a small cul de sac, nestled in the high grounds of the Bluffs with distant views of the Back Bay. It was about 5 minutes from his 20, even less if he had good luck with the traffic. He did, and he pulled to the curb in front of the residence just under four minutes later.
Gary muted the siren but left the light bar flashing. He looked at the scene. There were about 15 adults standing around a woman frantically pacing in the front yard. She was waving her hands and walking back and forth. Her face was a mask of pain, although no obvious signs of trauma were visible. She oscillated between crying and pleading with the bystanders who stood silently.
Gary spoke into his handheld and requested backup. There were too many people here for him to keep track of on his own. The sound of the static and the dispatcher’s voice over the radio attracted the attention of one of the witnesses who moved aside, letting Gary pass through and allowing access to the distraught woman.
Gary addressed the crowd first. He raised his voice slightly and with a commanding tone said, “Can you people please step back and give us some room? I would like you all to stick around though. I am going to need statements from each of you. There will be additional officers arriving to assist so, we will not need too much of your time. Your assistance is appreciated.” He then turned his attention to the distressed woman who had ceased pacing and plopped down on the lawn. Her face was in her hands and she was sobbing. Shoulders were heaving up and down. She was shaking too – uncontrollably shaking.
“Ma’am, can you talk to me?” he asked. She looked up and nodded. He could see that she was an attractive woman although that was not immediately apparent right now. Her face was swollen from crying, her eyes were red rimmed; she was still trying to catch her breath, gasping for air.
Gary knelt down and she threw her arms around his neck, “Please help me” she sobbed, “there might still be time.”
Gary gently removed her arms, “that’s why I’m here,” he said. “Can you tell me what’s going on?”
“My baby” she said. And then began saying it over and over. Like a chant or a mantra. “My baby, my baby, my baby…”
“Can you tell me your name ma’am?”
“My baby, my baby”
Gary looked up to see a second patrol car glide in behind his on the street. He was glad to see Carol Napolitano was driving. Carol had good people skills. That was going to be important with this one. Gary could just feel it. She and her partner, a rookie named Stan; with an unpronounceable last name, got out of the car and headed towards the crowd.
One of the women standing on the lawn attracted his attention, an elderly, stout woman. “My name is Jo Anne Presidio,” she said. “Her name is Lilly McGill. I live two doors down. I came out when I heard the screaming. Lilly was running to the Johnson’s, that’s the house between us, and pounding on the door. The McGill’s are such nice people.”
“Does Ms. McGill live alone?” Gary asked. He looked over Jo Anne Presidio’s shoulder and noted that Carol was rounding up all the other witnesses, beginning to take statements. He blessed her efficiency.
“Her husband and their baby…”
“Is her husband home?”
“I don’t know, he’s usually at work this time of day…”
Gary beckoned Carol’s partner, Stan over. He looked at the front of 507 and noted the door was open. “Stan, I need you to check the house. Look for a husband, look for a baby, try to figure out what’s happened and secure the scene. Don’t touch anything.”
Stan nodded, spun towards the house and said “I’m on it.”
Turning his attention back to his witness Gary said, “Ms. Presidio, can you go tell officer Napolitano everything you just told me, please? She will want to hear anything else you know or saw that might help too.” Jo Anne Presidio tottered off in Carol’s direction, eager to help.
Gary knelt back down on the grass, “Ms. McGill? Lilly? Can you tell me what’s going on here? I can’t help if I don’t know the situation.”
“My baby, he took my baby.” She stammered. “We were in the back yard.”
“Who took your baby? Is your husband at home?”
She shook her head, “Jake’s not home, business trip, Dallas. He took my baby. He swooped in, out of nowhere. I never saw him coming. Picked up Colin and… and gone. There was nothing I could do.”
“Did you see him Lilly? Can you describe him?”
She started shaking her head back and forth, “I saw him” she said, “I saw him. He was a hawk, a big hawk. Colin was crying. He took my baby. Help us. Please! There might still be time.”
Gary sat, dumbstruck. He exhaled loudly through his pursed lips. This is just beginning to get ugly, he thought.
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