Welcome to Davis Media

This is Chapters One and Two of the book 'Perfect Alibis' by Lt. Steve Davis. 

'Perfect Alibis'  is a work of fiction set against actual and fictitious locations and events. Characters, events, and circumstances depicted may remind readers of persons, circumstances and events pulled from the headlines of Americas newspapers, but the characters, events, thoughts, expressions and circumstances are entirely fictional and bear no relationship to any actual events and persons. Any resemblance to actual persons, either living or dead, local business establishments, or actual events, are entirely the creative imagination of the author, or are used fictitiously to enhance the storyline.

Author's Note:  The novel contains adult language and may not be acceptable for children and some young adults.  I have attempted to present a factual description of the type of character-specific language which accurate reflects the atmosphere of the events portrayed.

Copyright © 2010 - Steve Davis
All Rights Reserved.



Sunday, May 26, 2013

Ryan Foster paced the floor in a tight semi-circle that seemed to get narrower each time he passed the telephone on the small table between the living room and the dining area. With each pass, he’d pause near the table, look down at the phone, run his fingers through his hair, glance first at the clock, and then at the address book in his hand. When he resumed pacing for the fourth time, Gloria spoke up.

“For God’s sake, Ryan, if you don’t call him, I will.”

“I will,” he said emphatically. “You heard the dispatcher. They aren’t going to get too excited about it this early. I’m sure she is okay and she’ll call if we give her a couple more minutes.” Even as he said the words, the look on his face seemed to belie them, and Gloria knew it.”

“I just knew it. She’s too young. I tried to tell you, but no …,” she said.

“Okay, okay. You’ve made yourself real clear on that, Gloria.”

“Well, then, call him. I mean it.” She got up from the chair and stepped toward him with her hand out. “Give me the phone. I’ll get him out there.”

Ryan held out his arm as if to block her path to the phone. He turned and picked up the receiver and dialed the number written in the address book. After several rings, he said, “Come on Sheriff, answer the phone, damn it.”


“Rick. Thanks for answering. This is Ryan Foster. Sorry to bother you at home on a weekend, but we need your help. Marcy is missing over at the coast, and Gloria and I are scared. She’s not answering her cell, and I can’t seem to get the Mendocino Sheriff’s Office excited about a missing teenager. I know something is terribly wrong.”

“Sure, Ryan. What happened?”

“She went over to Big River Park with some friends for a picnic at the beach. About 6:00 pm, she went back to her friend’s car to re-charge her cell phone, and she never came back to the group. The others packed up and went to the parking area looking for her and found the car, but no-one was around. I understand young girls go off with boyfriends and the sheriff isn’t going to call out the dogs for a 17-year-old girl who is a few hours late, but I know her, and I can tell you something’s really wrong. I’m leaving to go over there now myself, and I know you and Mendocino Sheriff Dan Gleason are friends. I’ve only met him once or twice. I thought you might get him to have one or two deputies put in some time to help out a fellow cop.”

“You are right. I remember Marcy, and it doesn’t seem like her. If there is an emergency, time might be really important.”

“Thanks, Rick. I hope I’m wrong and I’ll owe you and Sheriff Gleason both an apology later.”

“That won’t be necessary. Are you going to be on the radio while you drive over?”

“Yes, and I’ll have my cell phone.”

Moments later, Ryan was on his way to the location his daughter was last seen, an hour-and-a-half drive to the California North Coast. Since he was the Commander of the Clear Lake Area of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), he was on call 24/7, and for that reason, he had an unmarked sedan for emergencies. Although this was not an ‘official’ call, in his mind it was an emergency, and he turned on the red light, and urged the Crown Victoria quickly forward across the winding mountain roads leading to the coast highway.

Fifteen minutes or more passed, and the radio came to life. “7-L, Ukiah dispatch,” the CHP radio blared.

Ryan quickly grabbed the two-way radio microphone from it’s cradle, “This is 7-L, go ahead, Ukiah.”  The urgency of his voice betrayed his attempt to hide his concerns.

“7-L, Mendocino Sheriff advises two sheriffs units are en route to the location.”

Ryan was relieved that Lake County Sheriff Rick Sanders had been able to get his counterpart in Mendocino County to give the disappearance serious consideration, even if only as a favor to a fellow law enforcement Commander. He breathed a little easier at the thought that law enforcement help was en route and would be on the scene well before he got there.

He drove on in silence.  Every time he looked at his watch it showed that he was only a few minutes closer than before, and he cursed the windy mountain road.  About forty minutes later, the radio blared again, “7-L; Ukiah.

Again, Ryan nearly pounced on the microphone.  “This is 7-L, Ukiah, go ahead.”

“Your current location?”

“I’m on Highway 128 two miles west of Boonville.”

After a moment, the radio continued, “Mendocino Sheriff Gleason will meet you at Route 128 and Highway 1.”

“10-4,” he said. “I didn’t expect the Sheriff himself to get involved.”

As he rolled up to the intersection some time later, there was a marked Sheriff’s unit in the turnout. As he pulled in behind the unit, Gleason got out of the passenger door and began walking toward his car. A uniformed deputy sat behind the steering wheel and didn’t get out.

Ryan got out of his car and met Gleason between the vehicles. “Thanks for everything you are doing, Dan, but I never expected … .” He stopped in his tracks when he saw the anguish in Gleason’s face. “You aren’t here for that, are you Dan?”

“This is the toughest thing I’ve ever done, Ryan.” He gulped and paused to moisten his lips. “They found Marcy.”

“Is … she … okay?”

“I’m sorry, Ryan. I’m so sorry. It’s a crime scene. You shouldn’t go there.  



Ryan’s knees buckled and he leaned hard against the fender of the car. “Oh, my God, No! Not Marcy!”

“I am so sorry, Ryan. The Department of Justice crime lab is on the way, and I’ve got my best guys called out. We’ll solve this. Just give us time.”

“Murdered?” was all his broken voice could force through his trembling lips.

“Yes,” Gleason said in a barely audible voice.”

Ryan didn’t feel the need to ask for details at this moment. The look on Gleason’s face spoke of facts too familiar from his own 28 years of law enforcement. Marcy’s luck had simply run out. There, in that most tranquil Pacific Coast setting of warm soft sand and sea grasses caressed by gentle ocean breezes, serenaded by the tranquility of the ever present surf, one young girl’s innocence had crossed paths with the personification of pure evil.

Yes, he knew the story; he’d seen it played out dozens of times with other children, and other parents; and now it was going to be his turn to cope with it … or not.

Ryan stepped away from the men and walked to the edge of the highway. For several minutes he stood and stared in silence at the ocean bluffs in the distance, as the surf relentlessly pounded the rocks below them. Gleason and the deputy, who had gotten out of the car, looked at each other, neither knowing what to say to a man who had just heard the worst news either could imagine.

Occasionally, Ryan slammed his fist into the open palm of his hand, cursing beneath his breath. After a few minutes, he returned to the other men and said, “I want to see her. Take me there, please.”

“I suspected you would,” Gleason said with resignation. “If you don’t mind, I’ll drive your car.”

“Of course. Sure. I understand.”

Gleason motioned at the Deputy, who got back into the patrol car and waited to lead the way. Once Ryan and Gleason were in Ryan’s car, both vehicles pulled out onto the highway at a much slower pace than before.

“Ryan,” Gleason said. “It’s okay not to do this. If at any time you aren’t comfortable, I’ll understand if you want to stop or leave.”

“I’ll be okay on that, but I’ll never accept that my beautiful daughter is dead,” he said through painful tears. “Tell me what you know.”

“Our first officer at the scene began to trace her steps from the beach to her friend’s car, and found her body hidden in the bushes about thirty feet from the parking area. We have DOJ en route, so we didn’t contaminate the scene after he confirmed she was dead.”

“There’s little or nothing to see, until DOJ processes the scene, so please don’t contaminate the scene. You know if it was anyone else, I’d never let you near it.”

“Thanks, I won’t do anything. I just want to see her and say goodbye.” After a few moments, he asked, “Was she … ?” He choked back the words, but Gleason knew what he wanted to know.

“I was only there for a moment, so I can’t be certain, but the deputy who found her said it does appear the perpetrator was alone, and probably did sexually assault her, but it looked like she fought him to the end. He should be scratched up pretty good. We will know more after the autopsy.”

Ryan cringed hard, and didn’t ask any more questions. He stared out the window into the darkness of the road ahead. Occasionally, he uttered, “Oh God,” in a barely discernable voice. Gleason knew there was nothing he could say to ease the pain, so he just drove in silence.

Finally, he said, “Do you think you should notify your wife?”

“Shit,” Ryan said, as he pondered the hell he was going to face when Gloria was told the news. “I’ll take care of it afterwards. This is going to be bad. We’ve been having problems for a while, and this is going to send her over the edge.  She is going to blame me because we had a big fight about whether Marcy should be allowed to come over here with her older teenage friends. I convinced her to let her come, and now … she’s … dead.” His voice trailed off into tears as they drove the rest of the trip in silence.

Ten minutes later they turned off of Highway 1 and quickly arrived at the beach parking area. Both cars pulled up to the crime scene tape that cordoned off the entire western end of the beach and parking area. There were three cars parked inside the taped off area. Ryan recognized his daughter’s best friend’s car, in which Marcy had ridden over to the beach, and another car he’d seen around with her daughter’s friends. It appeared they were sequestered until the Department of Justice had the opportunity to look them over for clues. “Nice job of protecting the scene for possible clues,” Ryan thought to himself.

The third car was the marked patrol car of the first Deputy on scene, who had found her body. It is also common to leave the first responder vehicle where it stopped to prevent it from wiping out possible clues when backtracking.

Ryan and Gleason approached the roped off area cautiously and gently moved under the taped barrier. Gleason led Ryan through the brush-lined path to a point where he could see the body, twenty feet from the path, covered by a yellow plastic blanket, and stopped. Upon sight of the blanket covered body, Ryan put both hands up to his face, and wiped the tears from his eyes.

“I think this is as close as we ought to get, Ryan. We want this guy really bad, and we don’t want to disturb the sand along the path. There might be clues.”


Gleason stepped away to give him a moment to grieve alone. Ryan cupped his hands, covering his nose and mouth, took in a deep breath, and exhaled slowly into his hands. “God, I know we don’t talk much, but if you are there, you’d better fix this. I’ve been a righteous man … a cop … I’ve fought the battle for good over evil all my life. Why would you bring this to my doorstep? You know me. You know I’m not going to put up with this. You know this won’t be the end of it for me. If you want to save my soul from hell, fix this … NOW!” He looked briefly upward again, then back at the body, staring at the blanket, waiting for it to move and for Marcy to sit up.

He stood there, transfixed, for what seemed an eternity, as if waiting for God to deliver on a secret pact they had just made. His eyes closed and his jaw tightened to mask his pain, as his face struggled to hide the depth of his growing pain and anger. He slowly drew in and inhaled a full breath deep into his lungs, exhaling slowly and deliberately, while his face became flushed with inner rage.

Then, forced to accept the truth in front of him, he abandoned the void between faith and reality, turned and slowly walked back toward his car. “Then that’s how it will have to be.” he muttered as he walked away.  Once inside the car, he leaned against the steering wheel, buried his face in his forearms, and sobbed uncontrollably.

As the rising moon from the east broke over the coastal mountain range, it cast an eerie glow over the Big River beach. The waves pounding the shoreline seemed to glow in the reflected twilight, illuminating the crime scene tape that now adorned the once tranquil park. And, just as the surf on that day forever changed that landscape, so too, had Ryan Foster’s life changed, not for the better, and he knew that somewhere out there was a dead man walking.