“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” Piper said.
Tashya echoed that statement and added, “Look at the journal. We sign in and out when we go into the cabinet.”
Alex was about to grab the journal when Miriam stopped him with the touch of her hand. “We may have a crime scene here,” she said, reached into a utility pouch on her duty belt, and yanked out nitrile gloves.
Embarrassed heat flushed across his cheeks, but he nodded and said, “Thanks.”
He slipped on the gloves, took out the journal and examined it, noting the neat and detailed entries, including the last one. He pointed to it and scrutinized Tashya. “According to this, you accessed the cabinet last weekend. Can you tell me more about that?”
The warm brown color of the girl’s face paled. “The puppies needed their first shots for distemper and measles. Dr. Beaumont had an emergency, so she asked me to administer them.”
“You’re sure you locked the cabinet afterward?” Alex asked, wanting to give the young woman the benefit of the doubt.
Tashya’s gaze flitted nervously to Emma and Piper. “I’m sure. Am I in trouble?” she asked, wringing her hands together.
Miriam laid a hand on the young woman’s shoulder. “We just need to ask these questions. Did you notice anything unusual when you opened the cabinet? Was there anyone else around?”
Tashya shrugged and shook her head. “I don’t think so. I came in and…Tommy was mopping the floor because one of the puppies had an accident in a pen.”
“Tommy? Is he one of your workers?” Alex said as he replaced the journal and examined the cabinet, confirming the ketamine and other controlled substances were missing.
The women, Miriam included, shared an uneasy look. Hesitantly Emma said, “Tommy Adamson. He’s volunteering here as part of a community service program run by Gonzalo Lopez.”
Alex nodded. “Gonzo. I know him and his program well. Would it be possible for us to speak with Tommy?”
The tension in Emma’s body was obvious as she said, “He’s a minor. You’ll have to get Gonzo’s permission. He’s Tommy’s appointed guardian.”
“I’ll call him,” he said and dialed Gonzo, who was a friend in Boise. He sometimes referred troubled teens to Gonzo for his program.
Gonzo answered immediately. “Alex. To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”
Alex glanced at the women worriedly as he said, “I’m sorry to say it’s not pleasure. I understand you sent Tommy Adamson to the DCA.”
“I did. Tommy was a good candidate for our program. Is he in trouble?” Gonzo asked, his discomfort obvious.
“We’re not sure. I need to speak with him, but I need your permission. Is that okay?” Alex asked.
A long pause followed, but then Gonzo said, “It is, but I’d prefer if you waited until I was there.”
It was just over a three-hour drive, but Gonzo was a friend and he trusted the man’s judgment. “We’ll wait. Please meet us at Jasper PD.”
“I will,” Gonzo said and hung up.
“Does Tommy live here?” Alex asked as he walked toward the door of the kennel.
Emma shook her head. “No. Tommy is staying with a nearby family.”
“We’ll get him once Gonzo arrives. In the meantime, I’d like Tashya to do a formal interview as well. Is that all right?” he said, shooting a quick glance at the young woman.
“O-o-kay,” she said while Piper laid a comforting hand on her shoulder.
“Let’s go,” he said and stepped outside.
The crack of a gunshot echoed in the chill afternoon air a second before a bullet slammed into the building by his head.
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