In book 4 in the series, Syd has settled into her new home at the resort just in time for a good old fashion Thanksgiving but before she can leave the stress of her old life behind she must first complete one final interview relating to Conrad Baker, the serial killer whose actions sent her running to Shipwreck Island in the first place. The problem is that the interview turns into a bit of a disaster throwing the entire case built by the district attorney into doubt. Syd knows Baker is guilty in spite of the fact that the case against him seems to be crumbling so she decides to take a second look at her assumptions and ends up with a realization she never expected.
Release date: January 25, 2022
Publisher: Kathi Daley Books
Print pages: 159
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Resort at Castaway Bay: Now and Then
The sky had been dark, and the sea rough as the ferry between Shipwreck Island and San
Francisco had transported me from my home and family toward the deposition I’d been
dreading. As a forensic psychologist for the FBI, I’d been deposed many times and usually
would not have given the task a second thought, but this case was different. This time, the man
being tried had not only assaulted me before temporarily taking me hostage, but prior to my brief
captivity, he’d killed fourteen women, including my good friend and colleague, Faith Meadows.
“They’re ready for you,” a woman with short blond hair wearing a pretty plum-colored suit
My heart rate increased as I turned from the window and stood up. I had to admit that I was
nervous, which didn’t make much sense since I wasn’t the one on trial. Today’s gathering was
simply to answer the questions presented by the attorneys on both sides of the criminal case
against Conrad Baker. I only needed to tell the truth while measuring my words in order to not
give too much away.
“Can I get you anything?” the woman asked as we walked down a long hallway lined with
identical brown doors. “Water? Coffee?”
“Water would be appreciated,” I answered as she opened the last door at the end of the
hallway. There were eight individuals sitting around the utilitarian conference table. Each
individual glanced in my direction, but none seemed particularly happy to see me. Previous
experiences have taught me that depositions can sometimes be morose.
“My name is Luther Valentine,” a short man with a balding head and beaklike nose sitting at
the end of the table informed me once I’d sat down and my water had been delivered. “I will be
acting as moderator for the deposition.” He turned his head slightly. “To my left is Assistant
District Attorney Anthony Rivera, Deputy District Attorney Peter Adams, and the clerk for the
prosecuting team, Jane Smithers.” He turned his head in the other direction. “To my right is the
team from the public defender’s office, lead council, Gayla Rostein, and her assistants, Clarissa
Corizon and Louis Martinez.” He paused and looked toward the opposite end of the table.
“Margaret Jones will be recording your testimony.”
I nodded but didn’t comment.
“Please state your name and occupation for the record,” Mr. Valentine instructed.
“My name is Sydney Whitmore. I am a forensic psychologist for the San Francisco office of
“We’re here to discuss the incident involving Conrad Baker on June fifteenth of two
thousand twenty-one. Please confirm that you were indeed present during the capture and
detainment of Conrad Baker on that date.”
I did as the man instructed. He then asked a few routine questions for the record and then
leaned back in his chair. He asked me to describe in my own words the events leading up to the
capture and detainment of the man whose actions on that day had totally upended my life.
I swallowed hard before responding. I knew that my answer would be a complex one, and I
wanted to get it right, so I fought the urge to hurry through the story. I knew everyone in the
room had been apprised of the details prior to my deposition, making my official statement
nothing more than a formality. “Conrad Baker killed fourteen women who I know of dating back
to two thousand eleven, including my friend and partner, Faith Meadows. Ten of those women
were already dead by the time I was assigned to the team tasked with the responsibility of
identifying, locating, and detaining the serial killer, three of the fourteen women died while I was
a member of the team but before the day in question, and Ms. Meadows died at the scene of the
“Please provide the names and a brief description of the women you just referred to, along
with a general timeline for each death,” Valentine instructed.
I paused and took a breath before reciting the names of the women I’d studied and committed
to memory. “Patricia Taylor was the first victim that we know of. She was found floating in the
bay in June of two thousand eleven. She was twenty-eight at the time, single, and had worked as
an insurance agent. She’d been reported missing by her sister when she never showed up for a
family dinner. Since Patricia’s coworkers confirmed that she’d failed to show up for work on the
same day that she missed the family dinner, it was assumed that she’d actually been kidnapped
either the previous evening after leaving work or early that morning before arriving at her place
of employment. By the time her body was found in the water not far from the Bay Bridge, she
had been missing for five days. Despite an exhaustive investigation, Ms. Taylor’s killer was
never identified. At this point in the overall investigation, Ms. Taylor’s death was considered to
be an isolated incident, and the investigators were looking for suspects with a motive to kill this
“Cause of death?” Assistant District Attorney Anthony Rivera asked.
“It was determined that Patricia Taylor had been strangled. The murder weapon seemed to be
some sort of sash or scarf. Since the ligature marks found on the victim’s throat were smooth, it
was further determined that the victim had not been strangled by hands, a rough object such as a
rope, or a narrow object such as a wire.”
“Was it ever determined how long Ms. Taylor had been dead before she’d been placed in the
water?” Rivera asked.
“It was determined that it was likely that Ms. Taylor had been dead for only a few hours
when her body was placed in the water, but a specific timeline was never settled on.”
Rivera nodded, so the moderator turned back toward me. “Please continue with your
I took a breath and then continued. “In March of two thousand twelve, the body of a cocktail
waitress named Crista Allen was also found floating in the bay five days after she failed to show
up for work. Ms. Allen was single, the same as Ms. Taylor, she was strangled before being
dumped in the bay, and she sported a tattoo identical to the one found on the body of Ms. Taylor,
yet, at this point, the two deaths weren’t linked. Ms. Allen’s murder was likewise never solved.”
“Tattoo?” Rivera asked.
“When the bodies of Patricia Taylor and Crista Allen were autopsied, the coroner noted that
each victim had a recently applied tattoo on their right shoulder. At the time, it was believed the
symbol tattooed on their shoulder was the Roman numeral two.”
“And, looking ahead, did all the victims associated with this particular killer have this same
tattoo?” the same man asked.
He jotted down a note but didn’t ask another question, so I continued. “The third victim the
FBI eventually attributed to the serial killer I now believe is Conrad Baker was a woman named
Lois Starlight. Ms. Starlight was an exotic dancer who was found floating in the bay in
December of two thousand thirteen. Like the first two victims, she was single and had been
missing for five days before her body was found. Like the other two victims, Ms. Starlight had
been strangled before entering the water. As I previously indicated, she had a recently applied
tattoo on her shoulder, the same as the first two victims. This is when a detective from the San
Francisco Police Department, a man named Rogan Hill, unofficially linked the three women.
There were those who still doubted that a link existed until a fourth victim, Jessica Hamilton,
was found floating in the bay in two thousand fourteen.”
No one spoke, so I continued. “By the time the fifth victim, Michelle Post, showed up in the
bay, the theory of a single killer being responsible for all the deaths had made it into the news.
The killings escalated from one a year to two or more annually after the press got involved. In
addition to the death of Michelle Post in two thousand fifteen, a second victim, Ellen Pomeroy, a
married woman with two young children, was found floating in the bay in September of that
same year. In both cases, the victims had been strangled and had been missing for five days
before their bodies, which both sported the same tattoo as the others, were found.”
“Was there ever a direct link established between the escalation in murders and the press
becoming involved?” Gayla Rostein asked.
“Not as far as I know,” I answered. “What I do know is that following the deaths of Michelle
Post and Ellen Pomeroy in two thousand fifteen, Fran Martin’s body was found in April of two
thousand sixteen, and Aileen Waters was found in October of that same year. Fran was a single
bank teller, and Aileen was a married real estate agent. Both women had been missing for five
days before their bodies were found, both had been strangled and then dumped in the bay, and
both sported the same brand-new tattoo on their right shoulder as the others.” I took a breath and
then continued. “Less than two months after Aileen’s body was found, Rene Stewart, an
unmarried art dealer, was found in much the same manner. In all, there were nine women found
between June of two thousand eleven and December of two thousand sixteen.”
“And then?” asked Ms. Rostein.
“The killings stopped after Ms. Stewart’s body was found in December of two thousand
sixteen. At least for a while. Then, in March of last year, a woman named Josie Stanton was
found floating in the bay with the same tattoo. She’d also been strangled before she was dumped
in the bay, and she’d also been missing for five days before her body was found. Even with the
similarities, the investigator initially determined that Ms. Stanton’s murder was most likely not
the work of the same individual who’d killed the other women.”
“And why was that determination made?” Ms. Rostein asked.
“I believe the investigator initially decided that the timespan between the discovery of Ms.
Stewart’s body in two thousand sixteen and the discovery of Ms. Stanton’s body in two thousand
twenty was too great to demonstrate a link.”
“Even though Ms. Stanton had the same tattoo and was found floating in the same body of
water as the first nine women?” Ms. Rostein asked.
I nodded. “Based on what I’ve been told, the investigator felt we were dealing with a
“And then?” the same woman asked.
“And then, in November of last year, Tracy Longines, an unmarried store clerk, was also
found floating in the bay. The team working on the case was divided in their opinion of what was
going on. Some felt that the person who killed the two most recent victims was the same person
who’d killed nine women between two thousand eleven and two thousand sixteen, while others
agreed with the detective in charge who felt that a copycat had carried out the two recent deaths.
In March of two thousand twenty-one, I was brought in to take another look at the profile the
team assigned to the case had been working from.”
“And what did you find?” Ms. Rostein asked.
“Initially, I wasn’t sure. As a resident of the area, I had, of course, heard about all the deaths,
but I hadn’t been part of the investigation to this point, so I felt I needed to dig in and familiarize
myself with the specifics before settling on a theory. While doing my background research, the
body of another woman, a taxi driver named Susana Parks, was found. I could see that the
frequency of the killings had escalated quite a lot over time, and I was still trying to get my
bearings when the body of a nurse’s aide named Bianca Wharton was found in June of this year.
As I was focusing on the specifics surrounding this death, I discovered that Bianca was a twin.
Somehow this knowledge caused the realization that the tattoo on the shoulders of all the victims
wasn’t a representation of the Roman numeral two, as everyone believed to this point, but was
actually a representation of the astrological symbol for Gemini.”
I paused, took a sip of my water, looked around the table, met each individual’s gaze, and
then continued. “This might seem like a minor distinction, but it turned out to be the piece of the
puzzle that eventually led to the arrest of Conrad Baker. Once I realized the tattoo was the
Gemini symbol and not the Roman numeral two, I wondered if the victims hadn’t all been twins.
I knew that my most recent victim, Bianca Wharton, had indeed been a twin, so I looked into the
background of the previous victim, Susana Parks, and found that she had been a twin as well.
With this initial confirmation of my theory, I looked into the backgrounds of the other victims
and found that ten of the thirteen were clearly identified as twins. Of the three without a note in
their file mentioning a twin brother or sister, I was able to determine that two of the women had
been adopted and had never known their biological parents or siblings, and I eventually
discovered, one woman had a twin who’d died in the womb.”
“So how did the realization that all the victims were twins help you to track the man down?”
“Once we realized that the victims were all twins, that allowed us to narrow our focus a bit.
Keep in mind that at this point, we had no idea that our Gemini Killer, as I named the serial
murderer, was Conrad Baker. We actually had no idea who the killer was but knowing that all
the victims were twins led to some assumptions about the person who’d killed the women. As we
dug deeper and reworked the profile, we concluded that while some of the early assumptions the
team had been working from had turned out to be correct, others turned out to be wrong. This
new piece of information allowed us to begin to hone our profile, which in the end, did lead to an
“Please walk us through this process,” the moderator requested.
I nodded, took a breath, and launched into a lengthy explanation. “As I’ve already
mentioned, after my realization that the tattoo everyone believed was the Roman numeral two
was actually the astrological symbol for Gemini, the team and I reworked our assumptions and
modified the profile. Also, as I mentioned previously, we looked for and found the twin link
between all the victims. Even though we still didn’t have any idea who the killer was, I felt
certain that the killer would end up being a twin as well. Of course, before I could determine
whether or not the killer was a twin, I needed to come up with a suspect. After some thought, I
decided to look for males between thirty and fifty who’d been incarcerated in the area between
December of two thousand sixteen and March of two thousand twenty.”
“So was it your belief that the killer had stopped killing because he was incarcerated for at
least part of that time the killings ceased?” Rivera asked.
I nodded. “Yes, that was the assumption I was working from. Initially, I came up with a long
list of possible suspects, but in the end, the team and I were able to narrow things down to eight
men. We continued to whittle the list down until only three men remained. Of the men left on the
list, I felt Conrad Baker best fit the overall profile.”
“And when, exactly, was Baker incarcerated?” Rivera asked.
“He spent time in prison for assault between March of two thousand seventeen and February
of two thousand twenty.”
“So, the timeline worked nearly perfectly,” Rivera said.
I nodded. “Of course, while the timeline was a perfect fit, I also needed to find proof that
Conrad Baker was a twin for my profile to really click. Initially, I was unable to find this proof,
but my gut told me I was on the right track, so I kept looking. It took many hours of digging
through old files and medical records, but I eventually discovered that not only had Baker been a
twin, but he’d been abandoned shortly after birth. My investigation from this point slowed down
dramatically as I tried to trace the baby boy who had been abandoned in a nearby church to his
birth mother. A DNA test allowed me to trace Baker’s origin to a woman named Andrea
Newberry. Andrea was living in Florida by this point, so it took me a while to track her down,
but I was able to eventually determine that she’d given birth to two babies in May of nineteen
eighty-nine, a male and a female. She’d been a single mother and hadn’t been expecting two
children, so she decided to abandon one at the church. She chose to keep the female child and
surrender the male child. The male child would eventually be adopted into a dysfunctional
family where he was emotionally, sexually, and physically abused.”
I paused for a moment. When no one asked a question, I continued. “Once I had the twin
link, I felt that I had the man I’d been looking for. Of course, all I had was a theory at this point,
and I knew the real work of proving the man was the killer we were looking for was still ahead
“So is it your belief that Baker found out that he was a twin and that his sister had been kept
and raised by their mother while he was surrendered and adopted into an abusive family, so he
went on a ten-year killing spree?” Gayla Rostein asked, doubt evident in her voice.
I nodded. “Basically, yes, that is exactly what I believed to be true.”
“So based on this story you told yourself, you headed out on a witch hunt which resulted in
the death of your partner, Faith Meadows,” Ms. Rostein accused.
“It is true that Faith died during the execution of the arrest,” I agreed, knowing I needed to
tread lightly. My boss, Colin Black, had warned me about voicing my opinion that Faith’s death
had been my fault, which was a sentiment I’d expressed to him privately in the past. Casting
doubt on my actions would only give Baker’s defense team the ammunition needed for his
defense. I knew that the best way to disqualify my testimony during the trial would be to admit
that I’d acted outside the dictates of the policy of the FBI.
“Let’s take a short break before we continue,” Luther Valentine suggested.
I let out a sigh of relief, happy to have a few minutes to pull myself together. Once I
confirmed that we’d meet back in the room in thirty minutes, I headed toward the sheltered patio
at the back of the building. Based on the ashtrays left on each of the four tables arranged in a
circular pattern, I assumed this space was utilized as the smoking area for the building, but it was
cold and windy today, so I was pretty sure I’d be allowed the few minutes of alone time that I
Sitting down and closing my eyes, I fought back the tears that pooled just behind my eyelids.
Faith was dead, and despite the fact that it was important that I stick to my story about her death
being a horrible by-product of a well-executed arrest and not the fault of her friend and partner, I
knew it was my fault. I might not be able to say as much, but I knew I could have done things
differently. I should have done things differently. Conrad Baker was a skilled opponent who I
should never have taken lightly. If I had acted in a professional manner when I’d had the chance,
Faith might still be alive today.
After a few minutes, I opened my eyes, took a deep breath, and let my mind drift back to the
day Faith died. I knew before today was over that the group would ask me to detail and justify
every decision I’d made, and I wanted to go over things in my mind once again.
Once I’d settled on a suspect, I still needed to find the man and prove my theory. Eventually,
I’d stumbled onto a lead that referred to a property owned by a distant relative of Conrad Baker’s
adoptive father. The property was located on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge, and all
the killings had occurred in San Francisco. I wasn’t sure such an out-of-the-way hideout would
pan out, but Faith and I had been assigned to interview a witness relating to another case who
just happened to live on the north side of the bridge. On our way back to the office after the
interview, I suggested that we go and check out the property that had made its way onto my
radar. Faith had suggested that we wait and bring backup, but I wanted to be sure that my hunch
was right before bringing anyone else into things, so I made my case, and she agreed to go with
me to have a look.
When we arrived at the out-of-the-way farmhouse, I could see my intuition had been spot on,
and we’d finally found our killer. Faith suggested, once again, that we wait for backup to arrive
before approaching, which without a doubt would have been the right thing to do in that
situation. But I suspected that Baker had another woman in captivity, and I’d felt a rush of
confidence, so I suggested that we split up and approach the buildings from different vantage
points rather than waiting. As a result of my impatience and miscalculation, Faith was killed, and
I was taken hostage. Looking back, I should have realized that Baker was a very real threat, and I
should never have underestimated his ability to gain the upper hand.
Knowing that my thirty minutes were about up, I decided to check my messages. I had one
from Colin and one from my sister, Emily, who was in town with her two daughters to visit the
mother of her deceased husband. Emily’s mother-in-law, Beverly, had suffered a major stroke a
few weeks back, and this would be the first time Estelle, seven, and Esther, five, would be
exposed to their grandmother since the incident. I knew Emily had been nervous about how the
whole thing would go.
“Hey, Em,” I said after she answered.
“Syd? Are you already done?”
“No. We’re just on a break, and I wanted to see how things were going.”
She blew out a long breath. “As well as can be expected, I guess. I spent a lot of time
prepping the girls. I described what happened to their grandmother and what they should expect
to find. They said they understood, but I could see that both girls were shocked and devastated
when we first entered the room. Luckily, after only a few seconds, Esther decided to launch into
her story about the Christmas play she’s in. She walked right up to Beverly, took her hand, and
started to talk. The longer she talked, the more relaxed she became, and eventually, Estelle
joined her. In the end, I think Beverly and the girls had a nice visit. Beverly still can’t talk other
than grunting out a few words that are hard to understand unless you really listen, but her eyes
are very expressive. I could see that she was horrified at first when the girls arrived, but by the
end of the visit, it almost looked as if she had a smile on her face. Not that she can smile. Not
really. Only half her face works, but the half of her face that can smile seemed to.”
“That’s great. How are the girls? Are they okay?”
“I think so. We’re at the mall buying a gift for them to bring to their grandma when we visit
“So, have you definitely decided to stay over?” When I’d spoken to her this morning as I was
leaving for the first ferry of the day, she wasn’t sure if they would. She planned to bring the girls
over on the second ferry and see how things went.
“Yes. I think another visit before we head back to the island will be a good thing. How about
you? Will you be at the apartment tonight?”
“I think so. This is going really slowly. They’re having me go over things everyone already
knows, and I have a feeling it’s going to take all day.”
“Maybe we can get some take-out and watch a movie.”
“I’d like that. I need to run now, but I’ll text you later with an update.”
With that, I hung up and called Colin. I knew he was even more nervous about my deposition
than I was. Despite the fact that our team had focused on some really good assumptions relating
to Conrad Baker that allowed us to narrow in on him as the killer, we never had found any solid
evidence that he’d killed anyone. The main reason he was being held without bail at this point
was because we knew, based on my statement at the scene of Faith’s death, that Conrad was
guilty of at least one murder.
“The prosecution’s entire case rests on your shoulders,” Colin reminded me.
“I know. I’m being careful.”
“I know you blame yourself for Faith’s death, but you can’t express those feelings or even
hint at any sort of blame. The defense will eat you alive if you give them even a tiny in.”
“I know,” I assured Colin. “I’m being careful not to bring emotion into it. I’ve done this
before. I’ll be fine.”
“I hope so. I know you know what you’re doing, but I also know the depth of your guilt. You
need to make sure no one else sees it.”
“I won’t let my emotions get in the way of what I need to do. Look, I need to go. I’ll call you
later,” I said as I hung up and headed back inside. I wasn’t sure if going through things in my
mind had helped or not, but, like Colin had reminded me a million times, I knew it was up to me
to keep my cool and not provide the defense team with a single piece of information they might
be able to turn around and use to set the man free.
After everyone had gathered, the moderator reminded me that I was still under oath and then
asked me to walk the group through my journey to date, beginning with my official involvement
in the case and my suspicion that all the victims were twins. Hadn’t we just been through all of
that? I was sure that everyone in the room, including the moderator, realized that we’d already
gone over all of this, but I did as requested and started at the beginning before continuing to the
confirmation that all the murder victims, other than Faith, whose death was obviously not part of
the pattern, had been conceived as a twin. As I’d stated earlier, and as had been provided to them
previously, I relayed the fact that two of the victims had twins who’d died in childbirth, one twin
died while still in the womb, and ten were live births. Of the ten live births, seven victims grew
up in a family with their twin, while the other three murder victims had been separated from their
twin at birth.
Once I’d walked the group through the long and arduous process of confirming my theory, I
was asked to walk the group through the events of the simply horrific day that would turn out to
be the last day of Faith’s life. I felt my chest constrict as I allowed my mind to travel back in
time. Don’t show fear and don’t show doubt, I reminded myself as I prepared to speak.
“By the time June fifteenth of two thousand twenty-one rolled around, a lot of hours had
gone into identifying and locating Conrad Baker. I’d dug up and discarded dozens of leads which
I hoped would provide us with the physical location of the man I was certain was the killer I was
after, but to that point, I’d come up empty.”
“That must have been frustrating,” Gayla Rostein said.
“It was,” I responded to the lead defense attorney. “And I suppose my lack of success was
even harder to deal with when I found that another woman, Davina Hollinger, had been missing
for three days. At this point, I had no way of knowing for certain that Baker had her, but she had
been born a twin, although her brother had died when they were five days old, so I had reason to
believe that this missing woman might very well be the fourteenth victim of our serial killer.”
“Would you say that your feelings of desperation to save this woman caused you to act
rashly?” Rostein asked.
“Not at all,” I quickly replied. “It is natural to feel a level of stress when someone’s life is in
your hands, but I can assure you that I didn’t act rashly at any point.” I had to stifle a cringe.
“What happened next?” District Attorney Rivera asked.
I took a sip of my water and then continued. “As I’ve stated before, my partner, Faith
Meadows, and I were on our way back from an interview relating to another case when I
remembered a notation I’d found referring to a remote property owned by one of Conrad Baker’s
relatives on his adoptive father’s side. The property being used as a hideout was a longshot due
to its location north of the Golden Gate Bridge, but we were already on the north side of the
bridge, so I suggested that we take a detour to check out my hunch.” I decided to leave out the
part about Faith being uncomfortable with my suggestion and continued with the details of the
drive through the desolate countryside. “When we arrived at the farm, which I’d been led to
believe had been deserted for years, and realized that the house looked to be inhabited, I
suggested to Faith that we split up and look around.” Mistake number one, I admitted only to
myself. “Our plan was simply to confirm that someone was staying at the remote farm, at which
point we’d return to our car and call for backup. Faith headed toward the house while I headed
toward the barn. We had radios, and our weapons were drawn. I felt we were ready for whatever
we might encounter.” I paused. My throat felt tight, so I took another sip of my water. I pushed
down my terror at the memory and continued. “I’m really not sure what happened at this point. I
remember hearing a shot, and I paused. I don’t remember seeing anyone, but Conrad must have
snuck up behind me. He grabbed me from behind, placing a hand over my mouth, and then he
pulled me into the barn. He wrestled me to the ground, dislodging both my gun and my radio. He
tied my hands and used duct tape on my mouth before tossing me into a cage.” I paused and took
a deep breath. “I guess I must have hit my head or something. I remember being dizzy, and it
took me a minute to figure out where I was and what was going on.” I held back a tear. “I’m sure
Baker had planned to kill me, but apparently Faith had called for backup after we’d separated,
and reinforcements showed up in time to save my life. Unfortunately, they were too late to save
“Did you get a good look at Baker’s face?” Ms. Rostein asked.
“Yes,” I stated with more confidence than I felt. I had seen the man’s face, but I was dizzy,
so it was blurry and distorted, but I didn’t think that needed to be pointed out.
“How certain are you that the man who grabbed you from behind was Mr. Baker?” Ms.
Rostein asked, rephrasing her question.
“Pretty sure. Not only did I get a glimpse of the man’s face, but I clearly remember the
person who grabbed me from behind as having worn a blue shirt. Baker had a blue shirt on that
day. Besides, he was the only one on the property when backup arrived. It had to be him.”
The assistant DA sent me a look, and I stopped talking.
Ms. Rostein looked me directly in the eye. “So are you saying with a high degree of
confidence that it was Conrad Baker who grabbed and detained you?”
“Yes. I’ve stated that several times.”
Ms. Rostein smiled and continued. “The report states that Faith died from a single gunshot
wound to the head.”
“Yes,” I answered. “The coroner shared with me that she would have died immediately.”
“So it is likely the shot you heard just before Baker grabbed you from behind was the shot
that killed her,” the woman continued.
“Yes, I suspect that to be the case.”
“Did you hear another shot at any point?”
I slowly shook my head. “No. Like I said before, the whole thing happened so fast that
initially, I wasn’t even sure what had happened.”
“Please state again what you do remember,” Ms. Rostein insisted.
I knew she was trying to trip me up, but I answered. “I remember hearing a shot and then
pausing to figure out what was going on. The next thing I knew, someone had grabbed me from
behind and had dragged me into the barn. I remember being thrown to the ground. After that, I
was tied up, and duct tape was placed over my mouth. I remember being dizzy. I remember
fearing I would vomit, and I remember imagining how it would be to die from choking on that
vomit. I guess I was pretty focused on my own situation at that point, so I suppose there might
have been a second shot.” I paused and frowned. “But no, to answer your question, I don’t
remember hearing one.”
“So you didn’t actually see Conrad Baker shoot Faith Meadows?” the woman asked.
“No,” I admitted.
“And you’re sure it was Conrad Baker who grabbed you?” the woman continued.
“Yes.” This was getting ridiculous.
Rostein jumped right back in. “You said you heard the shot and then paused. Immediately
after that, someone grabbed you from behind. How far away from the location where Faith’s
body was found were you when you were grabbed?”
“I guess it was maybe a hundred yards.” I gasped as something occurred to me. I know better
than to blurt out a thought that hadn’t been processed when in a gathering such as this, but at that
moment, I couldn’t help it. “There had to be two people at the farm.”
I cringed when I realized that I’d let the woman from the defense team lead me into a trap. If
there had been two people, there could have been more than two people. If I hadn’t witnessed
Faith being shot, I couldn’t prove that Conrad Baker had been the one to shoot her. In fact, if
Baker was the one who’d grabbed me, which I’d just stated I was sure of, then he couldn’t have
been the one who killed Faith. The FBI didn’t have a lick of evidence that he’d killed the other
thirteen women, so what this all boiled down to was that without the case that Baker had killed
Faith, all the DA had to hold him on was my assurance that he’d assaulted and kidnapped me.
That was something but not enough. I glanced at the Assistant DA, who was frowning. Please,
please, please, I thought to myself, don’t let this one slight slip be enough for the defense team to
call for Baker to be released on bail.
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