42 | Footnotes

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Of all Duane’s children, the cold case cops thought Greg was the most likely to talk. Just 13 when Betty was murdered, he’d been with Duane when she was found. Even if he had no first-hand knowledge of his dad’s guilt, they believed he knew more than he’d said in 1973. But Greg was always an afterthought.

Days after Betty’s murder, Duane had shipped Greg off to her family’s farm in Kansas. They hoped work would keep his mind off her death. But Greg was a zombie. He spoke to no one and a cousin had to do his chores. He returned to Colorado, and Duane called Betty’s sister Lucene. Lu was Greg’s godmother but didn’t know him. She didn’t even attend Greg’s baptism; she’d participated by proxy over the phone.

Duane sent Greg to live with Lu in California. Greg was so out of it that Lu feared he was on drugs and took him for counselling to her parish priest. Greg eventually admitted to Lu that he’d seen Betty’s body on the garage floor.

Greg lived with Lu nearly a year. He arrived after Betty’s funeral in June and returned to Colorado in late November to testify at Duane’s trial. When the charges were dismissed, Lu assumed Duane would keep Greg for the holiday weekend. Duane didn’t even keep that poor kid for Thanksgiving, she told her sister Jean. He sent him right back to us. Years later Greg thanked Lu for saving his life. If it wasn’t for you, he said, I would never have made it. Now the cold case cops hoped Greg would open up to investigator Eric Smith.

Greg lived in a secluded enclave in the mountains in New Mexico. Smith told Greg and his wife they’d developed new information about his mother’s death. Is there a new suspect? Greg asked. Smith said he couldn’t give him any details. Greg said when the case was first investigated, his father went through hell and if he was rearrested it would kill him.

Greg was hesitant to talk and conferred several times with his wife. It’s vital we interview you as soon as possible, Smith said. Greg dropped his head. I’ll talk to you, he said. What do you need to know? Smith suggested it might be more comfortable at headquarters. Greg agreed to follow the detectives to Albuquerque in his own car. He promised not to contact family members on the way down, but said he’d likely be speaking to his wife on his cell.

At headquarters, Smith offered Greg water. Greg was this close to talking, but suddenly he stopped. I want to talk to my lawyer, he said. Greg had completely shut down. Smith tried to convince him how important the interview was.

It seems unlikely you have a new suspect, Greg said. My understanding is it was a random robbery. I’m resolved that the person responsible for my mother’s death will never be found.

Smith gave Greg his cell number. The next day, as he was preparing to leave for Denver, he called Greg. Greg said he’d spoken to his lawyer and wasn’t going to talk.

Years later, I made the trip down Greg’s mountain myself.

Smith and Greg could have walked down Greg’s dirt road and talked, or sat over a cup of coffee at the crossroads café. That solitary drive to Albuquerque, half an hour but a universe away, forced Greg from his refuge. It took him from his wife and kids on a Sunday afternoon and gave him time to think.

Why was he driving all that way, to a place he didn’t want to go, to talk to cops about things he didn’t even want to think about? The closer he got to Albuquerque, the less sense it must have made. And all the way down he was talking to his wife.

In an interview, what’s more important: the witness’s comfort, or the cop’s?

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