7 Suspects

2. The Detective

July 07, 2022 ROLFE Episode 2
2. The Detective
7 Suspects
More Info
7 Suspects
2. The Detective
Jul 07, 2022 Episode 2

Liz speaks to the retired homicide detective who led the original investigation.  He provides more details about the scene, the suspects, and the unusual circumstances of the crime.

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, Joe Shelton, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
Follow us on: 

Show Notes Transcript

Liz speaks to the retired homicide detective who led the original investigation.  He provides more details about the scene, the suspects, and the unusual circumstances of the crime.

Created by Jon Rolfe
Featuring Chelsea Krause, Joe Shelton, Jill Sperling and Alex Eller.

Show Artwork by O2bri
Follow us on: 

News Anchor: Today marks five years since the murder of inventor and entrepreneur, Aiden Croft, seen by many as a visionary pioneer, Mr. Croft was responsible for revolutionary innovations in the field of computer science and sustainable energy. Mr. Croft's body was discovered in his secluded estate in the Sierra Nevada Mountains shortly after midnight. The death was the result of a violent attack. Although several guests were staying at his house at the time of the murder, no arrests were made and no charges were ever filed. To date, a primary suspect has yet to be named.

Narrator: Episode two, The Detective.

Jim: It makes sense that Samantha would hire a freelancer. I'm surprised it took her this long, though.

Liz: Did you speak with her often?

Jim: No, but I made a point to stay in touch, give her what updates I could. With a case like this, you know, high profile victim, conflicting evidence and no immediate arrests, there's a greater tendency to want to blame the police. I wanted to assure her and the family that we were doing all we could.

Liz: You don't mind if I record this, do you Detective? Or is it Sergeant?

Jim: Call me Jim. (laughs) You said you were a PI?

Liz: Oh, no. I'm a reporter. Well, I was a reporter.

Jim: Ugh, that's even worse. You know police don't really talk candidly to reporters like this.

Liz: Well, good thing we're both retired, right?

Jim: (laughs) Fair enough.

Liz: (laughs) Bill Hope gave me your number. I, I don't know if you remember him, from the Globe? He sent me some of his notes, but also suggested you might give me some background, since you were the lead investigator at the time.

Jim: Bill Hope. (laughs) How's he doing?

Liz: Also retired. (laughs)

Jim: Well, you speak to him again, you tell him old Jim Hodge is still waiting on those beers he owes.

Liz: Will do.

Jim: So, uh, what? What, uh, what do you want to know?

Liz: First, I'd like to know about the scene. Can you talk about what you saw when you arrived at the house?

Jim: The scene, sure. It was a mess. The victim was in a room on the second floor of the house. The body was face down, several feet inside the lab door. There were eight stab wounds in the upper back and a deep laceration in the throat. The victim was clothed, but didn't have anything in the pockets. He wasn't really wearing any jewelry, no rings or watch. Although, there was a necklace underneath the body.

Liz: A necklace?

Jim: Yeah, a, a bead necklace. It was saturated in the victim's blood, so no prints. None of the guests claimed to recognize it.

Liz: Anything else around the body?

Jim: Yeah, a micro, uh, recorder.

Liz: A micro recorder.

Jim: Yeah, uh, in his, uh, left hand. The victim used it to make notes for himself while in the lab. We think he was making one right before he died. And I might have a copy of the message. There was only the one, and I'll send it to you if I can find it.

Liz: What about the murder weapon?

Jim: A steak knife, also beside the body. Fancy, but nothing special. It was part of the same set the guests had used earlier that night at dinner.

Liz: Hm. Any prints?

Jim: Just the wife's.

Liz: Samantha? Really?

Jim: Yeah, we all got excited, too. At first. Well, evidently she'd picked it up when she ran in to check the body, and all the others saw her do it. Stupid. But, people do stupid things in those kind of situations, no one's thinking about the evidence. You know, the crime scene.

Liz: I saw in the photos there were blood streaks all over the lab.

Jim: Mostly from the others. The, the guests who found him I mean. Like I said, it was a mess. Forensic evidence had been tracked all over the lab and the house.

Liz: All over the house?

Jim: Yeah. Well it took us several hours to get there, because of the snow and, in that time, the guests had managed to track the crime scene everywhere. Oh, there was a lot of blood. We found it in the kitchen, the library, in the dining room, everywhere.

Liz: Oof. It was a pretty gruesome way to go. Throat cut and back stabbed. How do you make sense of that?

Jim: Oh, hell, I don't know. But, it wasn't the weirdest thing about the case.

Liz: How's that?

Jim: Mm, has Samantha told you about the cameras?

Liz: Mm, yes. She said it proved no one else had gone into the lab that night. She said you checked them, and they hadn't been tampered with.

Jim: Oh, I did check 'em. And the, the feed is an instantaneous upload to an encrypted cloud server. So, no chance for manipulation. The only gaps are during the power outages. We reviewed the footage of the entire evening and most of the night's of the housekeeper going back and forth between the lab and the guests.

Liz: I heard she was passing messages for Croft.

Jim: Right. And then, at 9:28 PM we see Croft himself, open the door and leave his lab.

Liz: Where did he go?

Jim: I'm not sure. He left the entire east wing. That's all we know. He didn't cameras elsewhere in the house. But, at 10:08 PM he returns to the lab, after which point, there is no other outages, and no one else enters or exits. Well, not until the housekeeping finds the body. And she never enters the room.

When I realized what that meant, I had my men tear that lab apart looking for another way in. Secret entrance, trap door, passage of some kind. There was nothing, not even a window.

Liz: And it wasn't possible for one of the guests to sneak into the lab beforehand and wait for Croft?

Jim: Not a chance. If they'd killed Croft and left, we'd have them on camera. But instead, the footage shows each of them arriving on the scene, from the hallway, after the body's found.

Liz: Well, then there has to be someone else.

Jim: An invisible man? Maybe. All we had were six guests and a housekeeper and there's video evidence none of them were in the lab when Croft was murdered.

Liz: Oh, well, what can you tell me about the guests?

Jim: Well, they were all there at the invite of the victim, but not all of them were his friends. There was, uh, Fred Hollister. He was Croft's long time business associate, and a primary investor in Cipher. Um, he wasn't an easy interview. Real self important bastard.

Uh, Hollister's wife, Ryleigh was also there. I don't know if you heard of her, but she's supposed to be famous. Some kind of a actress or influencer, whatever. Well, she's half his age, so, you know. Uh, Martin Childress, he's the founder and CEO of Vantage Corp., a competitor to Cipher. Childress was a long time rival of the deceased. They'd known each other since college.

Then, there's Casey Adams, a blogger and a freelance reporter for Techist, out of San Francisco. He was there for some kind of an exclusive. Uh, and Aaron Waters.

Liz: Air and waters? (laughs) Wait, wait, like the elements? (laughs)

Jim: Not quite. Yeah, well, (laughs) not quite as necessary in my opinion. No, first name Aaron, last name Waters.

Liz: Oh.

Jim: He was Croft's, uh, spiritual, uh, advisor. A real soft spoke, hippie-dippy type. You know, he thinks he's real clever.

Liz: I see.

Jim: Mm. And finally of course, there was Samantha. And that's it for the guests. Oh, uh, and Isabel Reyes, the housekeeper, although calling her that's a little old fashioned. She likely did more than dusting, if you get what I mean. Hm-hm. Turns out Croft left a good portion of his estate to her.

Liz: Well, how much is a good portion?

Jim: Several million.

Liz: Several million (laughs)?

Jim: Mm.

Liz: That is a motive, no?

Jim: Maybe, but good luck proving anything else. Are you planning on talking to all of them?

Liz: Oh, yes. Samantha's arranging all of the calls.

Jim: Is she? Even Hollister? Wonder how she swung that.

Liz: Well, taking the problem of the locked lab off the table, were there any guests you suspected more than the others?

Jim: Mm, aside from Isabelle, we looked at Martin Childress pretty close. And he had a rocky history with the victim. They'd never gotten along. In fact, only a couple years before, there'd been a legal battle between the two of them.

Liz: Do you remember what it was about?

Jim: Mm-hmm, infringement. See, Childress's company hadn't exactly had the same kind of success as Cipher. But they worked in similar fields.

Liz: So, this was about jealousy?

Jim: Well, that was my take, yeah. It was strange he was invited in the first place. Anyway, we know he had tried to get into the lab.

Liz: Well, when was this?

Jim: Earlier in the evening. While the others were at dinner, he'd left and gone upstairs. He intended on paying Croft a visit. The camera feed clearly shows him outside of Croft's lab. He was yelling at the door.

Liz: But he didn't go inside?

Jim: Not that we know of. The power outage cuts the feed, and the next thing we see is Martin's gone and Aiden Croft is returning to the lab.

Liz: Yeah, 10:08.

Jim: Yup. And the next time we see Martin, he's arriving on the scene.

Liz: From the opposite wing.

Jim: Same as the others, you got it. Still, we brought him in for questioning. Wanted to know he was there at the house at all, considering the animosity between the two of them.

Liz: Well, what did he say? Uh, Jim?

Jim: Um, his explanations were unusual. He had this theory that Croft's invention might have affected how he died. I'll say this, his (laughs), his ideas were creative. But, uh, didn't serve much use in a real life, police investigation.

Liz: What does that mean?

Jim: It might be better if you heard it from him. I'm just a dumb, city cop anyway. Right? (laughs) I'll say this. You might want to brush up on your quantum physics.

Liz: I don't follow.

Jim: Nevermind. (laughs) Anyway, we leaned on him pretty hard, but ultimately we didn't have anything to link him to the scene, regardless of how much motive he might have had in wanting Croft dead. Charges were never even filed.

Liz: I see. And what about the others?

Jim: Well, I mean, we looked at all of them, but, the more we dug in, the less it seemed to matter. No matter which one we looked at, we always ran into the same problem of the scene. The, the locked room.

You see, the means and motives weren't the problem with this case, Miss Devereaux That night, no one had the opportunity.

Narrator: Seven Suspects is written, directed and produced by John Rolfe. Liz is voiced by Chelsea Krause. Detective Hodges, by Joe Shelton, the news anchor was Jill Sperling. Sound design and engineering by Randy Greer. The theme music is Cold String, by Tiny Music.

Shows like this, and other audio drama isn't possible without support from our fans. More than anything, we appreciate you listening. If you've been enjoying so far, please take the time to rate the show on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen. This goes a long way to helping us reach other listeners.

If you have a theory about who did it, we'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, at 7Suspects, that's with the number seven. You can also email us at 7Suspectspodcast@gmail.com. Remember, that's the number seven. Please be sure to tune in for our next episode, The Housekeeper.

Until then, I'm Alex Eller, thank you for listening and good night.