Guilty Party
by Peg Keeley

Part 2

The six o'clock flight from LA was delayed by half an hour. With the rest of the office compelled to help with the search for the missing boy which had turned into a full blown manhunt, Steve, finished with the governor's team for the day, went to meet Trent King. The California Department of Transportation had tele-faxed them a copy of Trent's driver's license, so Steve recognized him right away as he exited the jet ramp. The look of dread was so plain on the man, Steve was sure he'd have known him without a picture.

"Trent King," Steve said to him, showing his badge. "Steve McGarrett, Five-O."

King looked mildly surprised to be met at his flight by the police. "Have they found Cam?" he asked anxiously.

"No, not yet," Steve said gently. "May I give you a lift to your hotel?"

He nodded. He'd brought only carry-on luggage.

On the way to the hotel, Steve conducted an informal interview. "You and Amanda have been divorced for how long?"

"A year--almost to the day." He gazed out of the car window. He'd never seen Hawaii before, but the exotic enchantment was lost on him.

"What happened?" Steve asked.

He shrugged. "What ever happens, McGarrett? We just stopped loving each other. One thing, then another."

Steve glanced at him, then back to his driving. "What kind of things?"
"She wanted the divorce. Maybe you should ask her."

"We have."

"What did she tell you?"

McGarrett turned a corner. "I'd like to hear it from you."

"She was unfaithful. I know she probably told you it was me. She was messing with this guy before we were married."

"Does 'this guy' have a name?"

"Andy Clintwood." Even when he mouthed the words, Trent felt a loathing that was evident in his tone and expression. His jaw tensed. "Amanda said it was over; said he was out of her life. Well, he didn't stay out of it," he said bitterly. "First him, now her friend Cindy."

McGarrett was silent wondering if he was implying what he thought he might be. When Trent did not continue he asked: "What about Amanda and Cindy?"

Trent glanced at him. "Amanda seems to just flow with the tide. Know what I mean? She never could understand.....She wanted to be with Andy, so she went to Andy." His voice dropped lower. "It didn't matter that we were married. She just--" He stopped talking for a moment. "--does whatever comes into her head. I don't know this girl Cindy at all. Amanda met her after she came here. She makes all Amanda's decisions for her. You know, for a little while right about they came here, I thought there was a chance for Amanda and I to get back together. Maybe we could have except for Cindy."

"What did she do?"

He shook his head. "I don't really know. Amanda just changed. She got bitter, hard. She was different."

McGarrett expressed no opinion about all that Trent had said. In all these years, I've probably heard it all. It still doesn't stop me from feeling sorry for this guy. "Trent, how long is it since you've seen your son?"

"Six months--when she moved out here. I wanted her to leave him with me. The doctors knew him there and all."

McGarrett's ears perked up. "Is Cam sick?"

Trent stared at him. "She didn't tell you? I don't believe it. No," he laughed sadly, "I do believe it--it's just like her. She always kept denying it anyway."

"King, what is wrong with your son?"

Trent blinked back tears. "What's wrong with all of us. Andy, that damned lover of hers got sick. Some kind of weird pneumonia, PCP they called it. Amanda was pregnant at the time, but she was doing a whole lot of talking with him about it. His life style was--pretty different." Trent paused to lick his lips. "I remember Amanda's obstetrician taking us into his office so well. She had told him what was going on, but hadn't said a word to me. Andy had an immune disorder that he'd caught from a gay lover in San Francisco." He shook his head. "At first I couldn't understand what it had to do with us."

"Immune disorder?" McGarrett scowled, his mind clicking through some chilling facts he'd been reading lately about a new untreatable disease. "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome?"

Trent looked surprised that McGarrett knew what he meant. "Yeah, that's what they call it. It was supposed to be a gay guy thing, you know." He stopped and sighed. "The Doc said straight people can get it, too. He wanted us both to agree to testing. Good ol' Andy gave it to Amanda, she gave it to me. Cam was clear for the first six months of his life, then it showed up in him, too."


The sun was sinking quickly towards the horizon now as the search teams began to report in to pick up flashlights. Amanda had sat huddled in the back seat of a Five-0 car most of the afternoon since awakening from her drug induced sleep. She wept continuously and cuddled a stuffed teddy bear of Cam's.

Danny took a break and decided to speak with her. Her look was hopeful as he opened the door.

"Have they found anything?" she asked.

"Not yet," he replied. "I wanted to see how you were doing."

She slid over on the bench rear seat so he could sit down. "Cam's favorite teddy." She stroked the fur. "I keep praying I'll be able to give it to him." She seemed groggy, her expression blank, her clothing was rumpled and her hair strewn around her face.

"Teams will continue to search for Cam until he's found," Danny promised.

She sank slowly back on the seat. "Where could he go? He's such a little thing." She lapsed into silence momentarily. She whispered, "Your little boy, what's his name?"

"Lonnie," Danny replied. He was not comfortable about Amanda bringing up his personal life again, but she looked so distraught he felt compelled to offer her some kind of support.

"He's about Cam's age?"

He nodded. "Two yesterday."

Tears filled her eyes. "I can't believe this is happening. He must be so scared."

He hesitated a moment. "Did you and your ex ever fight about Cam?"

"Only when we moved here. He wanted Cam in California."


She shrugged, still staring blankly straight ahead. "Cause he loves him."

"Do you think he might --you know--hire someone to take Cam?"

"Oh, no," she mumbled. "Trent is very..."she searched numbly for the word, "traditional."

"Can you tell me any special likes Cam has? Any place in particular he might go?"

She rocked the teddy bear and in her arms. "He's my baby," she murmured. "This can't be happening. I love him."

"Amanda," he said gently, "we're doing all we can."

She looked at him sharply. "Are you doing all you'd do for your own son?"

Her demand was a bit of a shock. "Amanda, we are doing all we can," he repeated with conviction.

She began to sob uncontrollably again, clinging to the stuffed toy, heart broken. "I haven't potty trained him yet," she admitted. "His diaper will be so wet; he'll get a rash." She wiped a tear away, attempting unsuccessfully to regain her composure. "Trent always said I wasn't disciplined enough. He said Cam should be potty trained by two years." She stopped, obviously awaiting a verdict from Danny.

He sat in silence a moment before realizing what she was waiting for. "Um," he shrugged. "I don't know. Lonnie's not trained." Nothing in everyday life was farther from his mind. "I guess I just thought it happens by itself."

She looked hopeful. "Do you really think so?"

"Never saw anybody in diapers in college," he remarked. This seemed an odd thing to be talking about, but he sensed it was what she needed right now: a friend. Danny stayed with her, letting her weep next to him, trying to keep himself detached from the situation. It was too easy to identify with the grieving mom and wonder what he would do in her place. He wanted nothing more than to go home and hug his child and reassure himself that Lonnie was safe.

A tap on the window interrupted his thoughts. An uniformed officer announced: "They found the car."

he missing car was located, nearly completely hidden in tall cane stalks, in a sugar cane field only three miles from town. Danny arrived with Amanda in the car within minutes.
"Intentionally hidden here," Duke reported to them. The forensics team was already going over the car.

"Cam!" Amanda shouted. "Cam! Is he here!" She ran towards the car, but was caught by Gary.

"They need to check things out first, Ma'am," he told her gently, but did not let go.

"No! My baby is here!"

Gary looked past her to Danny. "No kid here, Danno."

Danny glanced quickly inside the car. "No car seat. Amanda said Cam was in a car seat."

"Over here," Duke called, pointing to the empty seat sitting on the ground about fifteen feet away. The straps had been opened and laid aside. No child had done that. Some one had deliberately let Cam out of his seat.

Amanda again had to be restrained as she collapsed into hysteria.

Steve's back Lincoln pulled up, the headlights throwing brilliance across the scene. Even before he brought the car to a stop, Trent had the door open. "Did you find him?" he shouted running forward.

Amanda's crying increased.

The officers exchanged looks. "He's not here," Danny offered.

New lights flashed from the headlamps of several press vehicles as they pulled up and discharged photographers and reporters. Questions and strobe flashes pierced the air.

Trent knelt down to talk to Amanda just as Cindy came running up. "My God! Amanda!" Cindy shouted, pulling her away from Trent with a white-hot glare at him. "What's happening?"

Steve drew his Five-0 team aside with a warning look towards Ms. Donagan that she heeded.

"Somebody let the boy out of the car seat," Duke commented. "They either took him, or..." he did not finish his sentence.

Steve looked around the high sugarcane. "...or just let him wander away," he finished.

"What kind of sick-o would do that to a kid?" Gary grumbled.

Che came away from the car. "Fingerprints galore. It'll take a long time to go through them all."

"What about the car seat?" Steve asked.

"Working on that now. The car's tank is half full. We're getting ready to tow it in to check the engine and filters."

"Take it apart," Steve instructed hotly, "down to every last bolt." He paused to watch as an officer poured plaster of Paris into a set of footprints near the car seat.

Che gave an audible sigh and murmured prophetically. "That cast may be the best clue we get."

Steve gazed into the dark, warm night sky. "We have a child to find. Danno, get the teams assembled and divide this entire area into sectors."

"Right, Steve."


The night was deepening as Danny and Steve searched their chosen sector.

"How's Amanda doing?" Steve asked as he paused to shine his flashlight into a collection of sugar cane.

"How do you think? She's a basket case," Danny poked a flashlight under a bush. "The Dad?"

"He's doing sector three with Duke. He's a hurting man. He opposed Amanda moving here."

Danny nodded. "Yeah, Amanda said a little about that."

"Did she tell you why?"

"Not really."

"Kid has AIDS. So do the Mom and the Dad. Apparently Mom was messing around awhile ago--at least according to the Dad."

Danny was quiet a moment. "AIDS?" Unexpected information. "A kid with AIDS? I thought it was gay guys who get that."

Steve shook his head. "Not exclusively. I read a report last month that said it had started in heterosexual couples in Africa. Contagious through blood and sex. Gave some pretty grim forecasts."

"Gary went back over the garage. Air bells can be heard fairly well over the drill but there was a tire mark like somebody pulled out in a hurry from the garage."

"Has Che seen it?"

Danny nodded. "He's comparing the tires with the marks now. His first guess is that it doesn't match her car, but Amanda said the car thief burned out."

"I know. And Cindy reported the kid was healthy."

Danny glanced at Steve by flashlight and stopped walking. "This isn't fitting together right, is it?"

Steve shook his head. "No, it's not."

They stopped talking as they slid down the steep four-foot bank along the irrigation ditch. "I can't see her doing something to her kid," Danny remarked.

Steve gave a grunt. "Didn't say she did. But it sure looks that way."

Danny caught his arm. "Steve." Something white reflected in the light beam at the edge of the water half-hidden amongst the weeds. They both dashed into the shallow water and as they got closer knew they were seeing a white-socked foot.

Praying for this not to be what it had to be, Danny reached down and grabbed amongst the weeds, finding the small body instantly. He pulled up the child, cold and limp. The skin was blue, face mildly swollen, but he was obviously Cam King. And he'd been in the water several hours. Danny slowly sank onto the wet bank, cradling the dead boy in his arms. He had to take time to control his own tears.

Steve, struggling to contain his emotion, placed the call over the radio and within moments, men, helicopters, trucks, lights, and all the trappings connected with the search and converged on the bank of the ditch. He spotted Trent King approaching at a full run and moved to intercept him. The father collapsed to the ground in grief upon seeing the child.

Carrie Donagan and her news crew were right behind him, tungsten camera lights blazing. "Good God," she uttered, "shut it down, Charlie."


The advisory committee claimed Steve's audience again and he went without much sleep, leaving a frustrated and sorrowing department behind. Kono had just arrived on the "red eye" flight from LA with the background on Trent and Amanda King, but Steve could not wait for it.

Danny, Gary, Duke, and Kono now commiserated together trying to make sense of a meaningless loss.

Kono read off his notes as they all huddled over their cups of coffee. "Trent was born in Idaho, raised on a potato farm. Went to college at UCLA and stayed in LA. According to acquaintances, he works for as a programmer for the Internal Revenue Service."

"He works for the IRS?" Gary muttered with a shudder.

"Does computer programming, not auditing," Kono remarked. "He makes reasonable money but isn't rich. Doesn't drink or smoke. He met Amanda in college, they married when he graduated. The story is stuff romance novels are made of."

"Except Amanda fooled around enough to give everyone AIDS." Danny remarked.

Kono shrugged. "She is a whole different story. Amanda grew up in LA. Spent more time hitting the guys than hitting the books. Most likely to get laid in her graduating class."
No one laughed.

"How did she end up with Trent King," Duke commented.

Kono shrugged again. "Love is blind. She apparently got this AIDS thing from her lover and didn't know it till the doc found out while she was pregnant with Cam. Almost nobody knew what AIDS was then."

Nobody really knows now, Danny thought blackly, remembering Steve's comment the night before.

"Their friends, and apparently Trent, speculate on whether she was unfaithful before her pregnancy. Pretty common knowledge she was during and after. He caught her in their bed with a guy named Andy Clintwood. Couldn't find him. Word is he is in San Francisco. Trent threw Amanda out. Later he tried to get her to come back, but she wouldn't. She asked for the divorce. He filed for custody of the boy but the court gave him to his mother."

Danny shook his head, wondering how different his own relationship with Lonnie might be if Mali was alive.
"King seems like a pretty straight guy. Not someone who'd kidnap the boy--let alone kill him," Kono interjected.

There was a tense silence for a moment. No one had acknowledged the possibility of murder until this moment.

"Coroner's report states the boy died of drowning," Duke commented. "Probably accidental."

There was a knock at the door and Duke stepped away to speak with the uniformed officer. He accepted a one-page report with several black and white glossies attached. He mumbled a thank you.

"Somebody let that kid out of the car seat," Danny snapped angrily. "The same person who took the car. That's murder in my book."

"If the car was ever taken," Gary remarked. "I know everybody's feelin' sorry for this lady, but truth is nobody ever saw the car at the garage, not even the mechanic. There's no rubber burns except the ones Che tracked to your car, Danny."

He flushed with embarrassment. Che'd spent hours tracing those rubber skids and he'd forgotten his haste at getting away from Carrie Donagan earlier.

"And nobody's come forward to say they saw the car leaving, even though everybody on this island was praying for that little boy." Kono placed his large hands on the desk. "Let's face it, the lady is no lady."

Danny gazed miserably out of the window. "But that doesn't make her a killer."

"But this might," Duke declared. He handed over the report. The first photo was of a dumpster, shot downward to see inside. A stick was poking away some trash to reveal a high heel shoe. The second shot was of the shoes on a counter. The last was of the soles of the shoes beside the plaster casts from the cane field.

"Women's size 7B," Danny commented. "Dumpster behind Amanda's apartment. Mud traces on the shoes match the soil content at the site. Sole print matches the cast exactly. Probability that these are the shoes -- 100%" He knew he should feel elated that the perfect evidence had been found. They would not be hounded for months by an unsolved mysterious death of a child. But he was not happy, rather he was filled with discontent bordering on unbelief. "It doesn't put the shoes on Amanda's feet."

"Danno, what do you want? A signed confession? Nobody likes the idea that a mother might kill her own child, but...." Kono did not finish his sentence.

"Motive," Duke commented. "We have no motive for her to do that. Or anyone else for that matter."

Their discussion was no revelation to Danny. He had wrestled with the same thoughts all night. He just could not place the woman he'd seen immobilized by fear and grief as a killer. And the same went for the father. The man's wails of inconsolable anguish still echoed in his head. He turned back to the others. "I've already called Amanda and Trent King and Cindy Maku in for lie detector screens. Maku refused without a court order, so, Duke, I need you to get that for us."

Duke nodded his agreement and turned away.

"I'll be at the police department finding out Amanda King's shoe size."


Danny entered the outer hallway of the police station, but never made it to Amanda. There was a message for him from the polygrapher and as he accepted the cryptic note, he was confronted by Carrie Donagan, minus her cameraman, but armed with a cassette recorder.

"Can you give me an update on the death of Cam King?" she demanded.

He tried to get past her unsuccessfully. Why would I want to do that? "Not anything you don't already know. The boy drowned in an irrigation ditch he stumbled into."

"If you believe that, why is the mother being interrogated?"

"No one's being interrogated."

"Come on, Williams, don't split hairs with me. All of Hawaii is in an uproar over this child's death. You drag the mother in for questioning, you certainly must think-"

"What I might think and what are the facts of the case may not be the same," he retorted. "As a reporter, it's your job to deal in fact, not opinions. The facts require we check everyone out."

She seemed to be outgunned for a moment, and he pushed past. At just that moment, there was a shout at the entry door. "There you are, you pig!" Cindy Maku was barging down the hall, fists raised.

Danny turned, in mild surprise.

"Where's Amanda! How could you do this!" Cindy screamed.

Carrie switched on her recorder.

Danny tried to remain calm. He turned to face her, an obvious display of patience on his expression. "Amanda's in a waiting room. She's just completed her polygraph screening. I need to ask her a few simple questions."

"Just like a cop. The poor thing is in shock, grieving the loss of her only baby. She doesn't know what she's doing. She trusted you!"

"No one's taking advantage of Ms. King," he answered steadily, knowing Donagan was taking this all in. "If she's innocent, we're protecting her by finding the facts to lead us to Cam's abductor."

"You hear that!" She nearly screamed at the reporter. "'If she's innocent!' He's already assuming she's guilty!"

"May I get your name?" Carrie asked calmly, sticking out her microphone.

"Cynthia Maku. I'm Amanda's friend and I can tell you for a fact that she loved her child more than life itself. These cops are looking for an easy way out. That one tricked her! He played on her sympathies, telling her about his little boy her son's age so she'd trust him! All the time he planned to entrap her!" Cindy accused.

Carrie glanced back at Danny. "You have a son Cam King's age?"

He cursed and walked away, but knew it would be simple for Carrie to verify. Her own news team had carried the cloak and dagger story of Mali's death ten months ago.


Amanda looked up and sighed with relief as Cindy entered the small room. "They told me to wait here. What am I waiting for?"

Cindy put an arm around her shoulders. "Amanda, why did you ever consent to the lie detector test? These guys aren't your friends."

She shrugged. "I didn't lie. I don't care, Cindy, I just want to find whoever did this to Cam. I'd do anything to help. I want the police to find his killer." As she said the word killer, it caught in her throat and tears flooded her eyes once again. "O God, my poor baby. I miss Cam so much!"

"Amanda," Cindy snapped, gripping her. "You have to look out for yourself now. Don't you see they are railroading you? You cooperate and they'll never find Cam's killer, they'll find you."


Cindy shook her head. "Yesterday, you were a grieving mother. Today you are a murder suspect."


Danny waited respectfully outside the room for Cindy and Amanda to complete their visit. Ken Beaver, the polygrapher spotted him and waved him around the corner.

"You'll want to see this," the officer remarked handing Danny his report.

Although Danny had known the result was possible, he was still shocked. He picked up the phone on Beaver's desk and called the Sheraton.


Steve had listened to the third speaker, this one advocating that most small arms were in the hands of honest citizens who needed a right to protect themselves from the crooks. There wasn't much logic to the man's theory and Steve had been politely bored.

A clerk came to the door and motioned to him. "Phone call for you."

He followed the officer to the front desk and said into the phone: "McGarrett."

"Steve." It was Danny. "Amanda King failed her lie detector test."

McGarrett gave a sigh that was audible through the line. "Have you spoken with her yet?"

"I'm about to now."

"Have an officer present and make sure she gets her rights first."

"You bet," Danny replied. "Can you make it to a meeting with John Manicote?"

"I'll be there," he promised.


Amanda's face clouded with confusion as Danny tried to explain the lie detector results to her. The uniformed policewoman standing just inside the door had, appropriately, intimidated Amanda further. "How can this be?" Amanda whispered, shaking her head. "I don't understand."

"Amanda, I want to discuss this with you, but I can't explain any more or ask you any questions until I am sure that you understand your rights as Officer Gifford explained them to you," Danny said gently. "Do you understand?"

She looked at him blankly. "What?"

He tried to be patient, but the episode with Cindy had worn his patience thin and he anticipated a less than pleasant impending confrontation with John Manicote as well. "Your rights, Amanda."

Her face twisted a little as her eyes narrowed. "Do you really think I killed my baby?" Tears filled her eyes.

He was glad he did not have to answer that one. He exchanged looks with the Officer Gifford, then turned back to Amanda. "Do you understand your-"

"OF COURSE!" She suddenly screamed, fists clenched.

There was a rap at the door and the officer opened it.

"Sam Yuma, public defender's office."

Danny had never been so grateful to have a lawyer show up. "Amanda, this is Sam Yuma," he explained quietly. "He's from the PD's office and he's here to help you."

Sam put down a brief case and looked icily at Danny. "You haven't been questioning the defendant without an attorney present, have you?"

"Defendant?" Amanda whispered. That word at least sank in.

Sam did a one second evaluation of his client and realized she wasn't capable of much at this time. "Ms. King, the state is filing charges of wrongful death of your child against you."

Amanda stared up at Danny, eyes wide and filled with fear, shock, and most of all, betrayal. "I trusted you!" she shouted, jabbing a finger towards him. "I trusted you!"

Danny moved towards the door, unable to tolerate any more, especially an accusation he felt in his heart might be true. "All yours, Sam."

end Part 2

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