Marco Stein was dead.
From what Silas could tell, the former Sing Sing inmate had been stabbed twenty-two times before the killer had left him in the bathtub to decompose, with several bags of cat litter. Whoever had done this, whoever had killed Grant Harvey and Irene Pearce, hadn’t wanted Stein found. Not for a while. But the color to the victim’s skin and lack of rigor mortis suggested Stein hadn’t been dead for more than a couple hours. They were getting closer.
“Marco Stein wasn’t involved in the Daggett case.” Olivia holstered her weapon and unpocketed her phone, every ounce the committed agent he hadn’t been able to forget.
“But he makes one hell of a patsy, don’t you think?” The pieces were starting to fit together. “The warden confirmed Stein and Daggett participated in the same court-ordered group therapy sessions. Not hard to imagine the two got to know each other. Maybe even became friends. Daggett is manipulative. He knows how to read people better than most of the profilers who analyzed his scenes. He could’ve taken Stein under his wing, learned everything he needed to know about him in order to use him. Set him up.”
“As the perfect suspect in Pearce's and Harvey's murders.” Olivia raised her phone to her ear and closed the bathroom door, securing the victim inside. “It makes sense, but it still leaves the question, who killed Stein after he’d served his purpose?”
It wasn’t a coincidence that three weeks after Stein’s release, two bureau agents had ended up dead. Someone had gone to great lengths to make sure local police never found Marco Stein. Silas was willing to bet—
Movement registered from the corner of his eye from the second bedroom down the hall.
“Get down!” He automatically fisted Olivia’s coat and pulled her down as a blade cut through the air. The apartment blurred in his vision as they hit the floor together.
Olivia struggled to push him off her in the narrow hallway and withdrew her sidearm. She took aim. “FBI! Don’t move!”
The attacker took advantage of their limited movement and bolted past them toward the front door. Olivia’s gunshot exploded in the small space, but the masked suspect was already gone.
“Call it in!” Silas shoved to his feet. His heart threatened to beat straight out of his chest. Pulling his weapon, he pumped his legs as hard as he could. He raced along the corridor they’d come through to reach Stein’s apartment. Every nerve ending he owned caught fire at the sound of footsteps descending the stairs. He was closing in. “Freeze!”
He hit the first floor landing and sprinted down the sidewalk, weapon raised. The smell of burnt rubber and the screech of tires pulled him to the right, but it was too late. The unsub was already getting away. Silas pulled the trigger. Once. Twice. The bullets sank into the back of the dark four-door sedan but failed to slow it down. “Damn it.”
Olivia’s footsteps pounded from behind him, piercing through the ringing in his ears. Marco Stein might’ve been a perfect patsy to distract them from the case, but Silas had just let the man’s killer escape.
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