It was about three in the morning when Ethan got the call. A car had been found overturned in a saltwater reservoir just outside of town. One body had been recovered.
“They traced the car and it was registered as a rental, to a Lesa Sanchez,” the Dispatcher told him, “The Sheriff’s department called her people in California and they gave us the address of where she was staying here.”
“Only one body?” Ethan asked her.
“So far,” the Dispatcher said. “The County can’t get divers in until in the morning.”
“And the house on Shoreline?” He asked.
“Taylor’s there now, he’s knocked but there doesn’t seem to be anyone home. The Chief told me to call you since you are familiar with who lives there,” she said cryptically.
“Ok, call Taylor and tell him to standby until I get there.”
As Ethan raced the eight miles to Brittany’s he prayed that she had not left with Lesa. All he could think about was how he had left her standing there in the cold.
When he pulled into the drive he met the Patrol Officer. “I’ve tried all the doors Sergeant. I also had the Dispatcher keep calling but all she gets is voicemail.”
Ethan walked over to the back door and kicked it in.
“Jesus!” Taylor said, “We can’t do that.”
“We didn’t, I did. You wait out here.”
Ethan raced up the stairs to Brittany’s bedroom and flipped on the lights. There she was, lying across the bed asleep or passed out. He sat down beside her and lifted her in his arms. Her head lolled back, she was out. Ethan saw the empty vodka bottle on the floor and then the empty medicine bottle on the nightstand. He felt for her pulse, it was shallow and weak. Yelling down stairs he told Taylor to call an ambulance.
The death of Lesa Sanchez made the front pages of just about every major newspaper. The fact that she was drunk and was killed leaving the house of her estranged lover Brittany Stevens, made the stories that much juicier. When it was reported that Brittany had tried to commit suicide on the same night; it just added to the Tabloid fodder.
Ethan and Brittany had one opportunity to speak while she was at the hospital, only after they had pumped her stomach and settled her in a room. She told him that after he left, she and Lesa had fought.
“I told her I wanted out, that I couldn’t be with her anymore, she flew into a rage and put her fist through the bedroom wall. I went into the bathroom, and when I came out she was gone. I felt as if everything was falling down around me Ethan,” she told him, her voice raspy where the tubing had irritated her throat. “When she was gone, and knowing that you were gone, I just gave up. I was just too tired to fight.” She leaned over and rested her head on his shoulder. After a moment she started crying. “I knew she had been drinking but I let her leave anyway, and now she dead.“
He held her until she faded off to sleep. When he called her room the next morning she was gone.