Gone, Baby, Gone
of the twelve confessions check out. We got psychics who say she’s in Connecticut; she’s in California; no, she’s still in the state but in a wooded region. We’ve interrogated Lionel and Beatrice McCready, and their alibis are airtight. We’ve checked the sewers. We’ve interviewed every neighbor on that street inside their houses, not just to see what they might have heard or saw that night but to check their homes casually for any evidence of the girl. We now know which neighbor does coke, which has a drinking problem, which beats his wife, and which beats her husband, but we haven’t found anything to tie any of them to Amanda McCready’s disappearance.”
    “Zero,” I said. “You really have nothing.”
    Broussard turned his head slowly, looked at Poole.
    After about a minute of staring across the table at us, his tongue rolling around and pushing against his lower lip, Poole reached into the battered attaché case on the seat beside him and removed a few glossy photographs. He handed the first one across the table to us.
    It was a black-and-white close-up of a man in his late fifties with a face that looked as if the skin had been pulled back hard against the bone, bunched up, and clipped by a metal clamp at the back of his skull. His pale eyes bulged from their sockets, and his tiny mouth all but disappeared under the shadow of his curved talon of a nose. His sunken cheeks were so puckered, he could have been sucking on a lemon. Ten or twelve strands of silver hair were finger-combed across the exposed flesh at the top of his pointy head.
    “Ever seen him?” Broussard asked.
    We shook our heads.
    “Name’s Leon Trett. Convicted child molester. He’s taken three falls. The first got him sentenced to a psych ward, the last two to the pen. He finished his last bit about two and a half years ago, walked out of Bridgewater, and disappeared.”
    Poole handed us a second photo, this one a full-length color shot of a gigantic woman with the shoulders of a bank vault and the wide girth and shaggy brown mane of a Saint Bernard standing upright.
    “Good God,” Angie said.
    “Roberta Trett,” Poole said. “The lovely missus of the aforementioned Leon. That picture was taken ten years ago, so she could have changed some, but I doubt she’s shrunk. Roberta has a renowned green thumb. She usually supports herself and her dear heart, Leon, as a florist. Two and a half years ago, she quit her job and moved out of her apartment in Roslindale, and no one has seen either of them since.”
    “But…” Angie said.
    Poole handed the third and final photograph across the table. It was a mug shot of a small toffee-skinned man with a lazy right eye and scrunched, confused features. He peered into the lens as if he were looking for it in a dark room, his face a knot of helpless anger and agitated bewilderment.
    “Corwin Earle,” Poole said. “Also a convicted pedophile. Released one week ago from Bridgewater. Whereabouts unknown.”
    “But he’s connected to the Tretts,” I said.
    Broussard nodded. “Bunked with Leon in Bridgewater. After Leon rotated back to the world, Corwin Earle’s roommate was a Dorchester mugger named Bobby Minton, who in between stomping the shit out of Corwin for being a baby-raper was privy to the retard’s musings. Corwin, according to Bobby Minton, had a favorite fantasy: When he was released from prison, he was going to look up his old bunkmate Leon and his wonderful wife, Roberta, and they were going to live together as one big happy family. But Corwin wasn’t going to show up on the door without a gift. Bad form, I guess. And, according to Bobby Minton, the gift wasn’t going to be a bottle of Cutty for Leon and a dozen roses for Roberta. It was going to be a kid. Young, Bobby told us. Corwin and Leon like ’em young. No older than nine.”
    “This Bobby Minton call you?” Angie said.
    Poole nodded. “As soon as he heard about Amanda McCready’s disappearance. Mr. Minton,

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