Chapter Forty-three Excerpt

Fortunately, while he was at the County Assessor’s office, Gladd ran into a good friend of his who had been a big help in some of his previous cases.  He printed out a copy of all of Cordtex Industries holdings in LA county and the residences of the Babble brothers and Van Hesse.  At his work desk, he carefully went over each listing and marked them on a map.  He also decided that it might be useful to mark where the kidnappings had occurred.  As far as property holdings were concerned, there wasn’t much to go on.

Cordtex had a warehouse down in Long Beach and an office space in the downtown area.  He didn’t think that the kidnappers would use the warehouse or the office space since there would have been too many people in those areas.  One of the home seem more of a sure bet.  Unfortunately, all of the remaining brothers lived in gated communities, which would mean that he would have to speak to the guards and see if there had been any unusual arrivals early in the morning.  Not knowing how much time he had left if Donna and Alex were going to be moved, he decided that he would call the guard stations and save time.  Before he did that though, a thought suddenly came to him.  He noticed that there was one address close to the Santa Monica Airport.  If the kidnappers had orders to fly their victims either out of the city or to another state, they couldn’t use LAX; they would leave out of a smaller airport.  Opening his desk drawer, Gladd took out an address book that he kept which had the phone numbers for his informants.  He found the number that he was looking for and dialed.

“Carl, its James Gladd.  How’s it going?”

“Not bad.  What can I help you with James?”

“I’m working on a kidnapping case and I was wondering if you’ve received any flight plans for tonight involving a private plane owned by Cordtex Industries or listed under the name of Babble.”

“Give me a minute, James, and I’ll check.”  Three minutes later, Carl got back on the phone and told Gladd that a plane listed under Cordtex Industries name was scheduled for leaving at 8:00 that night on runway 86.

“Thanks, Carl.  Can you tell me who filed the flight plan?”

“Yeah, it was a woman named Sandra Harper.”

“OK, thanks.  I know that I don’t have to tell you to keep this call to yourself.  Say hi to Maureen for me.”

“You got it.”

Gladd checked the clock on the wall and saw that he had two hours before the plane left.  He went onto his computer to see if he could find out who Sandra Harper was what her background was.  He printed out the information and went to Captain Janus’ office to tell him what he had found out and to ask for some backup.  Janus was satisfied with the information that Gladd brought to him and within 30 minutes, Gladd had six people for backup.  They got to the runway and set up their positions.  The plane was sitting on the runway waiting for its passengers to arrive and there didn’t seem to be any lookouts around the plane.  All that Gladd and his men could do was wait.

A sliver of moonlight was crawling through the shed’s doorway.  Henson looked outside and saw that neither of the men nor the woman was visible in the living room.  She whispered to Alex that this looked like their chance.  While waiting to make their break, Henson had scanned the area in order to get an idea of their best escape route.  She told Dali that there looked like there was a wooden gate on the left side of the house and that they would go separately; Alex would go first and wait for Henson on the other side.  She warned him to be quick but to be quiet.  If she was spotted, Alex was to run as fast as possible and to get some help.

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