Warning: Contains Spoilers
Motive Case Report: #312
Victim: Rick Wyatt, a married insurance adjuster
Killer: Lawrence Frampton, a recently widowed debt collector
The discovery: Rick is found handcuffed to the steering wheel of his car with a plastic bag over his head. Det. Angie Flynn thinks the killer was in the back seat and watched him suffocate to death.
The investigation: Det. Brian Lucas talks to Rick’s coworker, who says Rick was a passive-aggressive jerk. The detectives later find that Rick was blackmailing several clients for goods by withholding their insurance payments.
Det. Oscar Vega and Angie head to Lisa Wyatt’s house after they can’t reach her to notify her about her husband. They see spilled luggage inside and call for a warrant. All of her clothes and toiletries are gone.
Lawrence Frampton lives next door. His wife Helen died the week before. She had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and was on a ventilator.
Angie and Oscar pick up a woman caught using Lisa’s credit card. She found it in a car at the bus station. The detectives find the car has been there since two days before Rick’s murder. Lisa’s bags are still in her car and there are deep scratches and a fingernail in the driver’s head rest. The DNA on the fingernail is Lisa’s, but it doesn’t match the long hair in the duct tape at Rick’s murder.
Lawrence collects Helen’s life insurance policy in cash and brings it and his car to a woman whose debt he was supposed to be collecting. She’s a single mother of three whose husband racked up the debt and split. Lawrence takes pity on her. She is on his list of things he’s crossing off (including the first item: “kill Rick”).
Det. Lucas finds a bunch of Home Owner’s Association complaints by Rick against Lawrence, including one for putting up Christmas tree lights early for Helen to enjoy. Lawrence filed only one against Rick, for the unlawful removal of a tree branch on Lawrence’s property. It knocked down a power line on the day Helen died.
Angie checks with Dr. Rogers and learns that Helen’s death was classified as an accident despite her condition; her ventilator failed.
Angie and Oscar head back to Lawrence’s house and find him dangling from a noose in his garage. He screams at them to let him die. When they tell him about Helen’s hair in the duct tape, Lawrence confesses that he killed Rick.
Background: Lisa Wyatt had an affair with a colleague but stayed to try to make things work with Rick, but he became jealous and manipulative. She finally decided to leave him, but Wyatt came home early and found her with her bags packed.
The Motive: Lawrence went to get pain meds for his wife and when he returned he found the power out and Helen on the floor. The tree branch Rick cut down knocked out the power to the ventilator. Lawrence says he made Rick pay. As Lawrence sat behind Rick in the car preparing to kill him, Rick laughed and promised that Lisa would miss him.
The detectives are bothered by the comment and the fact they still can’t find Lisa. Angie and Oscar head back to the Wyatt’s house and find a padlocked pit under the garage and Lisa barely alive inside. Rick put her there when he found her trying to leave him and died laughing, thinking his death would ensure hers.
The detectives take Lisa to the hospital, where she’s relieved to learn that Rick is dead.
Medical update: When an MRI finds a mass on Det. Oscar Vega’s thyroid, doctors want to do a biopsy. While standing in a church, he tells Angie about it. After being reminded how precious life is by the case, Oscar asks Dr. Rogers out. She says she’ll get back to him, but seems pleased.
Side Investigation: Angie runs a check on Maria Snow after learning that she dumped her fiancé and took his job. She has an extensive juvenile record from when she was in foster care, but it’s sealed. Angie doesn’t believe that Maria really cleaned up her act.
Sgt. Mark Cross is summoned to lunch with Deputy Chief Halford. As they’re finishing, Neville Montgomery shows up and sends over drinks. Later, Cross receives an expensive watch from Montgomery. The Deputy Chief tells Montgomery about Angie running Maria Snow through the database. Montgomery plays dumb about the break in at Angie’s house, which lead to Threat Assessment installing new steel locks and doors.
While Angie is out for drinks after work with Oscar, she gets a big reminder that the threat hasn’t passed: Her car explodes outside the restaurant.