Avery Road Dead End Part III
Having reached the sanctum sanctorum of the Avery property, I had no idea of how to begin with an explanation of how I got there. What would anyone think? A guy watches a show on the internet, becomes convinced that he knows who the killer is, catches a plane, flies over 2,000 miles and shows up on the convicted man’s brother’s doorstep Christmas day? Yeah, that would certainly put someone’s mind at rest.
I knew that I had to start talking to those assembled as quickly as possible before the strangeness of my being there dawned on everyone, and the fact of my being there, more than what I was trying to convey, became the object of their interest.
I began by asking, “Does the name Ryan Hillegas ring a bell?” Chuck, Chris and Leah all shook their heads. That was a revelatory even if they had never suspected Ryan of being involved. It would be like watching Hamlet a few times and having no recall of Yorick.
Then, in the midst of explaining my theory, I asked Chuck Avery directly whether the had any idea of who had committed the murder. He paused for a moment, head cast downward and delivered somewhat gravely a one word answer. “No”. I then directed the same question to Chris and Leah. “No”, they said as well.
I continued with the explanation of my theory: “…and so…Hillegas had no idea that the prosecution was going to concoct the theory that the murder took place in the bedroom”, how many times had they thought it over in their own heads only to give up in exhaustion like everyone else? “But this was going to a problem for him because he needed some evidence that would suggest that Teresa had been in the bedroom…”. Their faces deformed further into confusion. “He had Steven’s DNA, but he didn’t have hers. All he had was the key.” After a little while of this, it became apparent that there wasn’t going to be the eureka moment I had hoped for. If anything, the more I spoke the more confused they seemed to grow.
“Well, why don’t you sit over there and write it down on a piece of paper?”, Chucked suggested. I was handed a piece of paper and a pen and began to write out my thoughts in my best penmanship.
When I was done with about a paragraph, maybe five minutes later, I saw headlights approaching. Within a few moments Scott Tadych and two other people, a slim older woman with straight black hair, and a corpulent man entered the house through the same side door I had. They all made their greetings for a few minutes before turning their attention toward me. Eventually, Scott spoke up. “Who are you?”, he asked. I tried to explain as best I could. More questions followed. “Where are you from?”, and “Why are you here?” He asked if would be okay to search my property. “How do I know you don’t have a gun?”
“Sure”, I said. “Go right ahead”. I answered all of his questions. He was satisfied with that, apparently, and did not proceed to conduct of my property or person. “You know I’m Scott Tadych, don’t you?”, he asked in a quiet way. Actually I didn’t know until he mentioned it. He’d gained a bit of weight over the years, and his hair was thinner and longer than it was the day he appeared in court so many years ago. He was, however, still wearing the earring.
I surely recognized him at that point. “Oh yeah, it is you”, I said. I explained to him that I was there trying to gather information about who really killed Teresa Halbach, and that I had arrived to tell them that I thought Ryan Hillegas should definitely be a prime suspect. And so began another round of me explaining my theory. They listened for awhile, but within a five or so minutes, everyone had left the kitchen area to go into the living room. When I found myself alone at the kitchen table, I resumed what I had been writing before Tadych and his party arrived.
Not very long after, I was rather stunned to see the arrival of an officer from Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department. And then another. And then another and another. Maybe five or six in all. Oh how tense they looked! James Lasee was the officer who first approached, his hand on his gun, masseters spasming beneath mandible. Their supposed venality, in light of recent revelations and insinuations notwithstanding, I must say that a quite thorough and professional inquiry into my purpose and provenance thus commenced. Overall they were polite though, and I did my best to return politeness with politeness.
“The Avery’s have trespassed you”, Lasee informed me. “You are not to come back on the property. If you do, you will be arrested.”
Chuck Avery called the Manitowoc county sheriff’s on me? How very strange, I thought as I got into the back seat of the squad car. I was miles and miles away from town, and the police offered to give me a ride to a motel if I consented to a search of my belongings and person. I happily obliged. I had no idea where I was, or which way to go to get anywhere, and there was a chill wind blowing.