Excerpt from Leave No Stone Unturned
After Justin had thanked me and strolled away, I reinserted the microfilm into the viewing machine with trembling fingers. I was so engrossed in this effort that an explosion could have leveled the building and left it in piles of rubble all around me, and I wouldn't have noticed. I shook my head as if I thought that would help clear it and give a chance for reality to set back in. I slowly read the article again.
Boston police academy standout, Clayton "Clay" Pitt, is being questioned due to the recent disappearance of his wife, Eliza Pitt, who was last seen in the parking lot of Schenectady's Food Pantry grocery store on Fourteenth Street early in the afternoon on April 12. Mr. Pitt has been unable to provide an adequate explanation to authorities regarding his whereabouts on that day. Chief investigator, Detective Ron Glick, stated Mr. Pitt has not officially been named as a suspect, but he is under a "cloud of suspicion" at this time. Pitt has been staying at a Boston motel during the week while attending the police academy. He spends weekends at his home in Schenectady, New York, where he and Eliza have resided since their 1996 marriage. The Pitts, both thirty, celebrated their fifth anniversary in March and are expecting their first child in July.
I had to read it again, and then one more time. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Could this be a different Clay Pitt? Obviously there were a lot of clay pits, but how many human Clay Pitts could there be? How many Clayton "Clay" Pitts lived in New York, were thirty years old, and were enrolled in the police academy in Boston? Not many I presumed.
I was nearly bowled over by the thought that my new son-in-law was a potential killer, a sadistic murderer who could kill one spouse and replace her with another two years later. I sat back in my chair as questions zipped through my mind. Was Clay guilty or not? Was Wendy in mortal danger? Could another raw T-bone push her husband over the edge? What if Clay went really "ballistic"? Could a little marital spat escalate to the point of murder? I needed to find out the truth, one way or the other, or I'd never get another good night's sleep again.
I read the short article one last time, hopeful it was only a matter of needing stronger reading glasses. No such luck, I soon discovered. My vision had not deteriorated. The part about Clay staying at a Boston motel confused me a bit. I could've sworn that Wendy had told me he'd been staying with a friend there during the week. Perhaps he'd moved in with a friend following the disappearance of his wife.
I looked stealthily around the room and thrust the microfilm down into my pocket, as nervously as if shoplifting a diamond-studded watch. I knew there was a good possibility that I'd need to refer to the article again. I also snatched up films covering the following several weeks of the New York Times in case there were subsequent articles about the case. What were the chances anyone else would need to research those exact dates in the near future? Slim to none. I would return the films at a later date, when I no longer had a need for them.
What to do now? Wendy had to be warned that her husband could be a homicidal maniac, didn't she? Would warning her place my own life in peril? Worse yet, would it jeopardize my daughter's life? Would Wendy accept my news as a mother's attempt to protect her own flesh and blood, or would she view it as a mother's attempt to stick her nose in where it didn't belong? I didn't want to appear as if I were trying to come between Wendy and her new husband, as satisfying as that'd be. It would be no easy task to make Wendy see that the man she felt the sun rose and set on was not as flawless as she perceived him to be. I didn't want to take a chance of alienating my daughter in the process of trying to protect her. It seemed a no-win situation.
What to do? What to do? I rubbed my temples with the tips of my fingers as I considered my next move. I didn't think Wendy knew that Clay had been married before and that his wife had mysteriously disappeared. She wasn't the kind to have given him the time of day had she known he was a murder suspect.
Wendy was also not one to watch the news or read the paper, except on rare occasions. She found the news depressing, she'd told me on numerous occasions. But being oblivious to current events could have made Wendy vulnerable in this situation. Yes, I concluded, it was entirely possible that, living in Massachusetts, she'd have no knowledge of events happening in New York. Keeping up with the crimes taking place in New York could become a full-time job. The more I thought about it, the more I was certain that Wendy was completely unaware of Clay's past. The question was whether or not it was my responsibility to make her aware of it. Didn't Clay, himself, owe it to his new bride to fill her in on what most people would consider important events from his past? If he were truly innocent, would he hide the details from her? It didn't seem likely.
If I didn't warn my daughter and she became his next victim, could I live with that on my conscience? If my intervention caused a rift in their marriage, and Clay turned out to be completely innocent, could I live with that instead? But, I asked myself, wasn't it something I had to risk to make sure no harm came to my child?
I gave it serious thought on my way over to Wendy and Clay's new home in Kansas City, Kansas, just seven or eight blocks north of my own. I was hoping I'd come to the right decision on the way and that Clay would not be home when I arrived.