The inspector sat at his desk, checking the dead woman’s phone as Monseir Lenoir walked into his office.
“Hello inspector” said Monsieur Lenoir as he walked in accompanied by Valerie.
“Hello Monsieur Lenoir, please have a seat, this will not be easy to hear” said the inspector with a serious tone.
“What happened? Have you found my wife?” asked Monsieur Lenoir with a worried voice.
“We may have” replied the inspector, “Tell me sir, is this your wife’s phone? Can you recognise it?” asked Inspector Leveuf as he handed the phone to the husband.
“Yes, it is hers. I recognise it from the picture on the background. It’s an old picture from the time we first met, 17 years ago.”
“Very well! Your wife received 31 missed calls, all within less than 24 hours, during the time when you came and notified she had gone missing. All these calls were from two numbers and two numbers only. Are any of them yours sir?” asked the inspector as he handed Monsieur Lenoir a paper with two mobile numbers written upon it.
“This one is mine.” replied Monsieur Lenoir as he pointed out the first number listed.
“Do you recognise the other number?”
“Not at all. Could you please explain to me what happened?” demanded Monsieur Lenoir.
Inspector Leveuf took a deep breath as he prepared himself to explain to the man the events that led to this meeting.
“Monsieur Lenoir, when you first came to us with your notification that your wife had gone missing, we assumed it would be another case of a partner who had left their spouse to run away with their lover. This theory became even stronger when we discovered that your wife had not attended any of her dance classes for the past three months!”
“What? How is that possible!” interrupted Monsieur Lenoir with an air of utter surprise.
“Please Monsieur Lenoir” said the inspector, “allow me to continue my explanation of the situation.” Inspector Leveuf lit a cigarette and took a deep breath, as he exhaled, he continued with his explanation; “As I was saying, the dance school confirmed that your wife had not attended any of her classes for the past three months. This strengthened our belief that she had a lover, taking into consideration that she continued to lie to you about her classes, and managed to be gone for many consecutive hours. The dance classes and the friends she had their seemed to be the perfect escape route to allow her to meet her lover, without raising your suspicion.” The inspector took another puff of his cigarette and went on to reveal the truth to the husband. “This morning sir, I was about to pay you a visit to explain to you that your wife had run away with another man, but just as I prepared to leave, my colleague Miss Carion, ran hastily into my office, calling me to join her immediately. We went to the scene of a supposed crime that would change our theory in this case entirely. There we found the body of a woman, dropped into the sewers and left to decompose by the elements of nature. The body was already in a state of decomposition with rats and worms devouring its flesh. The hand bag that you see in front of you here is the one we found next to the body. While searching it, we found the phone that I handed you to check, and an ID card indicating the owner as Amelie Lenoir.”
With a shaken voice, the man looked at the inspector and asked; “Are you saying that my wife has been dead for two weeks and was left in the sewer like a dead rat!?”
Inspector Leveuf saw the tears in the man’s eyes and couldn’t react. He never was skilled with social behaviours, manners or any form of affectionate expressions. A straight forward man, he could only say the things as they were. Valerie approached the weeping husband and with a soft touch on his shoulder and her comforting voice said; “Please do calm down Monsieur Lenoir. I understand this must be difficult for you, but the task we need to ask you to do is very important to determine whether or not the body we found is that of your wife.”
“Yes!” said the inspector with a firm voice. “We need you to identify the body for us Monsieur Lenoir.”
Monsieur Lenoir turned his face towards the inspector, and with a helpless look in his eyes and a weakened voice replied; “I will do whatever is needed of me inspector.”
The three stood by the side of the table where the body of the woman laid. The inspector waited for a reaction from the husband, but all he could do was nod his head as he stared at the dead woman.
“Is this your wife?” asked the inspector.
“Yes.” said Monsieur Lenoir in a low and weak voice.
“I am sorry sir, I can barely hear you. What did you say?”
“Yes, yes! This is my wife. This is my beloved Amelie. Oh God!” monsieur Lenoir burst into tears.
“Monsieur Lenoir, you can go home now. I advise you to try to get some rest tonight, as I will need you tomorrow morning to continue the investigation. Can you be here by 10AM?” asked the inspector.
“Yes sir. I will be here.”
“Good. You can go now sir. I am very sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you. Goodnight inspector, goodnight Miss Carion.” The man turned around and walked away.
“Goodnight Monsieur Lenoir.” said Valerie.
“Goodnight sir.” said the inspector. “Oh, Monsieur Lenoir!” the man turned around and looked at the inspector; “Do not leave the country, or the city, for any reason. I will need you here, close by.”
Monsieur Lenoir walked away with his head bent down.
“Valerie, close the missing person case. It is now a murder case. And send an undercover 24/7 patrol immediately to Monsieur Lenoir’s residence. If he tries to escape, have him arrested.” said the inspector to his assistant.
“Do you think he did it?” asked Valerie.
“I do not know, but I will take no risk.”