The Mystery of Seagrass Island (Chapter 9 continued)

“Wow. Whoever Dawn LaRae is…she’s got issues,” Bess said.

Margie sniffed. “That is Bettina’s niece. I don’t think you ever met her. And, yes, you’re right, she does have issues or has had them anyway and is constantly having to deal with them again because of her crazy family. Dawn is a poet but this poem does seem sort of personal.”

“We’ll have to interview her as a possible suspect, Margie,” Lloyd interjected.

“I know, I know. Maybe you could let me, though, as this might be better with a gentle hand,” Margie said.

“No problem,” Lloyd said as he pulled out his cellphone and dialed the number for the local police station. “I need to report a dead body on the east side of Seagrass Island.” He hung up after giving some more details.

“Introduce us to your friend, Bess,” he said while looking down as the light from his flashlight danced around the dead body lying motionless in the sand. Bess had a confused look on her face. “No, no, not her….her,” he said pointing at the red-haired girl standing beside Bess.

“Okay,” Bess said. “This is Ariana. Ariana, these are my parents, Margie and Lloyd McDonnell.”

Ariana ran a hand through her short red hair to push it back and then stuck it out to shake with Lloyd and then Margie. “Nice to meet you both,” she said. “I think it’s time to come clean, Bess.”

Bess nodded in agreement. “Ariana works for the EPA too. She is here undercover to gather information about what’s going on at the research facility.”

Margie and Lloyd looked at Bess in shock. “Why do we keep finding that you are not telling us everything?” Margie asked.

“It’s my job, Mom,” Bess said as she rolled her eyes.

“Well, I’m your mother,” Margie said with a scowl.

“Okay ladies, let’s focus,” Lloyd said.

“It’s my fault,” Ariana interrupted. “I felt like it might put me at risk for anyone to know that I was undercover. I didn’t know if I could trust you. Bess tried to convince me to tell you but I wouldn’t. I have some really interesting information, though, which I believe will help us all to solve at least part of what is going on.

“Let’s all meet tomorrow at the station,” Lloyd said. “I think that it’s time that we make this all official.”

“Okay. Bess, let’s lock everything down the way we found it at the facility before we leave,” Ariana said.

“Sure,” said Bess. The two walked off toward the dock.

Lloyd and Margie stayed with Bettina’s body until the officers and coroner arrived. After they had answered some questions and promised to report to the station the next day, they headed home quietly, both attempting to sort out the events of the day.

To be continued…