~ 30 ~
Interlude Number Four: Hey Hey they’re the Muntkeys!
Special Agent Pagano stood right outside the hospital room occupied by the two recently found members of The Backstreet Boys, looking at his watch and growing impatient. He really wanted to get in there and talk to them. He felt like time was running out but he also knew the importance of reunions. So, he allowed the wives about fifteen minutes of uninterrupted time before he finally walked in the door.
Captain Blake was already inside the room but doing nothing more than quietly observing. When he saw Robert he gave a nod and walked towards the beds. “I’m sorry to bother you, I know you want to just get to spend time together but we really need a few minutes to talk to both of you, if that’s all right?”
It looked like Mrs. Littrell wasn’t happy but her husband nodded, “I agree, you need to find the others.” He then pulled his wife in for a kiss and let go of her hand.
“I’ll be right outside the door.” She said, wiping away a few tears before giving Pat a small nod and walking away.
AJ’s wife gave him a kiss as well and then shook the police officer’s hand. “Thank you for everything.” She said before joining her friend in the hall.
Once out of the room both Pat and Robert pulled chairs beside the beds and introduced themselves to the celebrities.
“Tell us exactly what happened.” Robert said.
Before they started their story, they made sure to describe the truck and the number of the license plate. Captain Blake took down the information and left the room. They both took turns talking about the accident To Special Agent Pagano and how Nick and Howie left to go get help. They thought they were going to die when suddenly their friend showed up with a man holding a rifle. “And his name was?”
“Tim, that’s all he said.” Brian answered.
“Maybe late 40’s early 50’s”
The Agent then pulled out the photo of Tim from Target, “Is that him?” He asked.
Brian looked at it and nodded slowly. Once he returned the photo to the Agent he then gave it to AJ who had the same reaction. “And can you confirm that this is your friend Nick?”
Brian looked at the picture and then let out a small sigh, “Yeah…” He said.
“Anything else you can think of that might help? Any little detail…did he know who you were? That you were famous?”
AJ stepped in, “I don’t think so. He seemed kind of clueless. He didn’t try to rob us or anything.”
Robert nodded, “Thanks for talking to me, gentleman.”
“You have to find them because this guy was nuts.” AJ sounded frantic, “I’m afraid they don’t have much time.”
Robert tried to give them a reassuring smile, “We have a lot of people out there working on this case. I’ll send your wives back in.”
Brian smiled at him as he let out another sigh, “Thanks.”
When he walked out the door, Brian’s wife just about barreled over him to get back to her husband, but Rochelle Mclean was hugging one of the other wives. They all decided to stick together.
“Can you tell us anything new Agent Pagano?” She asked as she continued to hold onto Howie’s wife.
“Not yet, but your husband and Mr. Littrell were very helpful.” He then looked at Lauren, Leigh and Kirstin, “We are going to do everything we can to find your husbands and your fiancé, I promise.” He said.
“Thank you.” Kristin answered before continuing to pace in the hallway.
Pagano walked down the hall into the small room that the FBI had occupied as their center of operations while in the hospital. They felt it was best to stay in this one location before daylight broke and news vans started showing up. Word was already beginning to leak about what had happened. He supposed that within hours this place would be swarming with reporters trying to talk to the two boys.
“We ran the plates and the truck belongs to a Joseph Muntkey.” Captain Blake said, “Here’s the interesting part, he’s been flagged as a person of interest by you guys.”
He handed Robert the sheet on Muntkey.
“He’s not in his 40’s.”
“No, this guy is 70.”
“It can’t be him then.” Pagano was looking at the rap sheet, “Armed robbery, assault, kidnapping… quite a list.”
“Something else, he was a suspect in a lot of disappearances in this area before he vanished.”
“But it can’t be him. He’s too old.” He then looked up, “What about family members?”
“We’re looking into that. So far all we have is the wife, Marilyn. It doesn’t appear like they had any children.”
“Look for siblings then… cousins, uncles, aunts, any relation at all.” He said, handing paperwork to one of his agents as Captain Blake’s cell phone starting ringing.
Robert nodded, “Great, Thanks!” He put his phone back into his pocket. “My men just called, they found the crash site.”
“Good, maybe our mystery man left some fingerprints there.”
“Why would that third guy,” Pat looked at his notes, “Kevin Richardson just willingly go with him like that?”
The Agent shook his head, “I have no idea what goes through people’s minds in times of crisis. He might have a hero complex.” One of Pagano’s team members handed him a paper, “Well this is interesting. Seems like Mr. Muntkey was a murder suspect 47 years ago. He was accused of killing a local stripper. The charges were dropped when the evidence was tampered with, seems like otherwise they had him dead to rights.”
“No living relatives to speak of besides the wife.” Another one of his team members said showing him a computer screen.
“You sure they had no children?”
“According to medical reports on the wife, she wasn’t able to have any kids. They tried to adopt several times but because she had a history of mental illness, they were always declined.”
“She spent a lot of time in mental wards.” He said as he continued to scroll down the screen that displayed Marilyn Muntkey’s life. She had been admitted into the hospital’s psych ward four different times after failed suicide attempts. “She suffered from severe depression with psychotic tendencies. So she heard voices, interesting.”
Another one of Pagano’s team members came into the room. “We checked out the house on the registration. It was occupied by a nice elderly couple who we felt horrible for waking up this early in the morning. They said they got it at auction because the original owners abandoned it so it went into foreclosure. That was in 1976. But this is the interesting thing, we talked to one of the neighbors who remembered the Muntkey’s and they claimed they had a boy.”
He nodded. “His name was Tim. Apparently the neighborhood kids used to pick on him a lot.”
“So, if she couldn’t conceive or adopt, where did this kid come from?” Agent Pagano asked skimming through all the information he kept being handed.
“Maybe it was a kidnapping?” Captain Blake suggested.
“So our possible abductor was potentially an abductee as well?”
“Sounds about right.”
Pagano walked over to one of his agents sitting at a computer and handed her the file on the dead stripper, “I need you to find out all there is to know about this woman, in particular if she had a newborn at the time of her death or if she ever went to see an OBGYN or doctor leading up to her murder.” The agent nodded and started her search.
He looked over at Captain Blake, “It’s a long shot but if this woman did have a baby, it might be her son we’re looking for.” Robert then looked over at his other agent, “I hate to make you wake up more people, but someone’s going to have to track down some school records on Tim Muntkey. We need to find this guy. We need to know if that house was his last known address.”
“I’m on it!”
He then addressed the remaining agents in the room, “Start scouring the area by the accident, and hit every side road possible. Look for tires tracks, anything that might lead us in the right direction.”
Captain Blake was blown away at how quickly Robert thought on his feet. He would have never made the connection between he murdered stripper and the suspect, but he supposed that’s why he also never pursued an interest in intelligence.
“Is there anything I can do to help?” Agent Pagano looked up to see Kristin Richardson standing in the doorway. “I don’t just want to sit here doing nothing.”
He smiled at her and led her away from the flurry of activity. “I know it is frustrating Mrs. Richardson, but we’ve got it all covered. Go have some coffee and try to relax.”
Taking a deep breath she asked, “Do you think they are still alive?”
He hated when the family members asked him questions like this. It was such a slippery slope. “All we can do is hope. AJ and Brian were very helpful, we know a lot more now than we did even thirty minutes ago.”
“We have a brand new baby at home.” She confessed to the floor, not allowing herself to look up and face her thoughts head on.
“I want him to know his father. Please let that happen, Agent Pagano.”
He let out a small sigh and nodded, “I will try my best.” At that moment, even though kind of out of his character, he felt the need to ask, “Mrs. Richardson…”
“I was just curious, why do you think your husband chose to leave with the suspect?”
She half smiled and shook her head, “Because as long as he’s known these guys, he’s always felt like it was his responsibility to look out for them.”
Pagano nodded, “We will do our best to bring them all home.”
“Thank you.” She turned and went down the hall back to her friends.
He had been trained to say that last line to all the families to ease their minds, but he was also trained to purposely leave out the word, alive.