Harold Mainstay had gone to extreme lengths to prepare for the meeting with the undercover officer. A prearranged meeting at a restaurant, papers in hand as though he were handling a business deal as cover, had McPherson curious and running a background check at the same time.
Then Mainstay opened a file on the table and handed a piece of typed paper across to him. It explained the reason for the clandestine meeting. He’d been receiving threatening letters in his mailbox for over six months. As long as the threats were directed solely at him, he could handle it. He’d also been warned his family would pay the consequences should he contact the police and that fear had kept him silent.
Mainstay hadn’t been willing to entertain the idea of contacting the police until his eight-year-old son was approached outside his school while he was waiting to board the bus home. As a result, he felt he could wait no longer, he had to contact the police for assistance.
Mainstay was wealthy by any standard and Detective McPherson asked if any ransom demands had been issued. Mainstay handed over the letters so he could see first hand what he’d been dealing with.
They were graphic in nature with photos from magazines cut out and glued onto plain white paper while other images were copied right off the internet and included. Mainstay had kept the envelopes he’d received the threats in and had tucked them into a large envelope. He’d tried to touch the paper and envelops as little as possible and asked if McPherson thought they could obtain fingerprints or anything else that might suggest who they were dealing with.
McPherson promised he’d take it to the forensics team immediately and explained that undercover cops would tail his children from school home and vice versa. He assured Mainstay they were professionals and wouldn’t alert an outsider to their presence. McPherson confiscated the file in the guise of looking over its contents and rose to leave.
When the meet was finished, they shook hands and McPherson palmed him a business card with his personal phone number as a contact. Mainstay seemed relieved but it was apparent he was carrying a heavyweight as his shoulders were slightly slumped and McPherson figured that wasn’t normal because he seemed a vibrant determined man.
Eight-year-old children don’t think about physical harm, why should they? Mainstay had been in two minds about how to approach the subject and one night at dinner had told the children (his twelve-year-old daughter as well) that times were changing and so were people and as a result, they all needed to take a more proactive stance to protect themselves.
Dinner finished, still seated at the dinner table, he broached the subject and they went over a variety of scenarios and how to handle them should a stranger approach them. They were given a keyword that only someone with permission to pick them up at school would have and it changed monthly. His wife silently refused to participate.
He’d continued anyway suggesting they take note of their surroundings, who was there and if there were any strangers present. As a result, he’d felt a sense of relief knowing his kids were somewhat prepared should something untoward happen, they had a program in place. Later an argument ensued between Mainstay and his wife and the children listened quite fascinated since they’d never heard them argue before. Finally, bored they shrugged and hustled off to play.
Several days passed before Mainstay contacted him to inform him the perp had somehow learned he’d contacted the police and threatened “steps would follow”. As a result, he’d been nervous enough to keep his children home from school but his wife refused and went to work anyway.
The question in McPherson’s mind was, how would the perp know they’d met and discussed the situation, how did he obtain first-hand information? Were they well enough prepared to have used listening devices, which meant entering the Mainstay home (something else he had to check on), overheard a conversation, or had one of the children talked?
They arranged to meet a couple of days later, Mainstay had his children in tow as his wife refused to be involved, said she wouldn’t lose her job. That bothered McPherson. Meeting Mainstay’s two delightful, well behaved, bright and happy children, he was even more determined to get to the bottom of the situation.
Three days later McPherson received a frantic call from Mainstay that an intruder was in the house and shots had been fired. McPherson called it in and raced to his own vehicle and lights and sirens blaring raced to the Mainstay residence.
When they entered, they found Mainstay’s wife, dead on the kitchen floor, Mainstay upstairs having ushered his children into the master bedroom was racing down the stairs toward the cops. McPherson rounded the corner and stared down at the wife, a gun in her hand and a gunshot that suggested suicide. Damn! He thought. What the hell was going on here?
McPherson directed Mainstay to get his children and take them out through another exit so they wouldn’t have to witness the horrific events and as soon as he’d done so, Mainstay pulled him aside and questioned him.
His wife had confessed that she’d been responsible for everything, that she’d been unhappy in their marriage for a long time and wanted out.
McPherson read the letter she’d written and it explained everything. She’d found someone else and was going to leave her husband and kids to be with him, but she’d become accustomed to the lifestyle and wanted the money. An elaborate plan had been concocted resulting in Mainstay’s death and the children sent off to a boarding school so she and the lover could be together.
McPherson would follow up on all the information to determine whether or not the lover was involved or it was a selfish act on her part alone. Either way, it was a tragic situation.
McPherson hoped the kids would be ok. They’d have to live with the consequences of their mother’s actions for the rest of their lives. Not an easy task.