Log:LHPD Interview - Theodore Marchant
Monday, three days after Brenda Lang disappeared, and Theo has been called down to the station. It was his voicemail that had the only recorded account of the incident, and it strongly suggested abduction. Detective Bloomquist, Detective Cross' partner, is out running down contacts that may have seen her in the days before and might be able to shed some light on a motive. Business is all but ruled out since her un-opened briefcase was left at the scene. Interviewing Theo is, therefore, mostly a formality, but he was the person she was calling when it happened.
The security door to the waiting area opens to admit the very definition of 'tall, dark and handsome. Mason Cross stands 6'3", with thick dark hair, bright blue eyes, and chiseled features that make him look more like a tv or movie cop than one for the Lake Havasu PD. He has a day's growth of beard on his face, as a nod to how he and his partner, Sky Bloomquist, have been working round the clock on the disappearance of Brenda Lang. He's wearing a tailored black suit with the coat unbuttoned and a once-crisp white shirt that has the top button undone and the tie missing (currently shoved into a desk drawer because he's just OVER today already).
"Theodore Marchant?" he announces. There is no charming smile. There is no friendly banter. He has enough on his mind with his niece all mixed up in that gang everyone whispers about. He looks, for lack of a better word, beleaguered. He drew the short straw and has to talk to Marchant. Bloomquist is canvassing Lang's neighbors. He lost the coin toss, clearly. "Follow me please." He escorts the man down the hall beyond the security door to a room. It's not the scary interrogation room at least.
Theodore Marchant looks like Theodore Marchant always does. He may be the opposite of Mason. 5'10, probably about as athletic as a wet paper bag, but he has the cool Marchant air that just seems to want to control the room despite all that. His three piece suit is pitch black and in perfect order, his shirt is a deep sapphire, mimicked by the pair of sapphire set, silver cufflinks on his sleeve. If Brenda's disappearance has him flustered, well, he's certainly not showing it.
He acquiesces to the invitation with a simple nod of his head and stands up, buttoning the middle of the three buttons on his jacket as he moves to follow Mason, holding himself like he's perfectly fine being escorted through a police station and this is merely an everyday occurance.
Mason gestures to one of the seats on one side of the table, settling into a chair on the other side. These seats have padding, and no ring set in the table to link handcuffs to, which is how you know this isn't an interrogation. Other than that, it's the same, grey cinderblock walls, grey linoleum floor, large mirror that is clearly one-way glass set in one wall, and two security cameras recording in corners.
The detective sets a file folder on the table in front of him, as well as a digital recorder in order to be able to play back the voice mail. "Thank you for coming in, Mister Marchant. This shouldn't take too long but, as you are the victim's fiance, there are some standard things we need to ask you." He opens the folder and peruses a report sitting inside. "How long have you known Brenda Lang?"
Theodore takes the chair, that button on his suit jacket being undone as quickly as it was done back up. He rests one arm on the table, crosses his legs and rests the oher arm across his lap. No, he doesn't look worried at all. Either for himself or anyone else. His eyes flit towards the folder on the table, curiosity being what it is, even for him. "Of course." His tone is smooth, even, some might even call it flat. "Brenda and I met in our first year of high school, so roughly fourteen years."
Cross jots down a note in the report's margin. "Thank you. And how long have you been engaged to Ms. Lang? How would you classify your relationship? Were you going through any rough patches?" His sharp blue eyes sweep up to watch Theo as he answers questions, noting his body language, his expression, the tone of his voice, the cadence of his speech. He seems to mentally take in how long the man takes to formulate an answer to each thing.
"A couple of months." Now that is a flat tone, though there is no delay in his answering. Theodore glances at the detective, making direct eye contact and keeping it there. At this point there is a minor pause, a collecting of thoughts. "And our relationship has always been, well, tumultuous. Privately anyway, but I've learned concealing it is not worth the annoyance it will bring down on me when you discover it." He blinks once, slowly. "We've been on and off several times over the years. Though we typically remain amicable."
The answers get noted with the black pen the detective is using. It's a nice pen. It looks fancy. Maybe a gift since those sorts of nice pens are rarely in the realm of a detective's salary. "We'll come back to that in a bit. Can you tell me about Brenda's state in the last few weeks leading up to her disappearance? Did she seem agitated at all? Nervous? Was she under stress from work or express issues with friends, family, or co-workers? Did you notice any injuries or changes to her physically?"
Mason gestures to someone behind the glass and a few seconds later the door to the interview room opens and a much younger detective pokes their head in. "Sir?"
"Bring me a coffee and anything Mister Marchant would like to drink." He gestures to Theo to tell the kid his beverage order, making this as pleasant as he can manage. Honey, vinegar, that whole routine.
"Coffee, splash of milk. Thank you, detective." Toneless does not mean rude, after all. Theo takes a moment to consider the question, hand lifting to his chin, finger running along his lower lip as he thinks. "Well, she was eager about the engagement, she felt we put it off too long as it was and wanted to, how shall we say, get it over with? But society weddings are always large affairs and we couldn't afford to insult everyone by doing it too quickly and inadvertently excluding someone important." It's all said in a tone as if he's explaining how a business deal works.
"And Brenda is not the sort to come to me with her problems. She's a capable woman and preferred to handle those things on her own. I noticed nothing particularly out of the ordinary than you might notice with any bride planning a wedding." Theo lowers his hand back to the table, eyes slowly sliding back down to the detective's notes.
The young man nods and runs off to get that order together and once the, door closes behind him, Mason returns his attention to Theo. "Milk is probably wise. This is police department coffee, after all," he notes with the faintest of tired smirks.
"Let's go back to your tumultuous relationship for a moment. What was causing the issues in your relationship with Brenda?" He's taken to using her first name, making her more of a person rather than a statistic. "Forgive me but you don't seem very emotional about this situation, or the wedding. Was this an arrangement of convenience?" A brow arches, questioningly. "Also was there anyone she would confide in about relationship or any other issues if she couldn't speak to you about them?"
"Convenience? Frankly, yes." Theo doesn't even have to hesitate there. "Many marriages are. We got along well enough, we have similar goals and interests. Love is.." He shakes his head. "We have respect for each other, and similar plans, it was enough. Don't mistake me, she means quite a lot to me." He sighs and shakes his head. "And that is also where the tumultuous nature came from. At some points in our lives we wanted different things. Or thought we did. The younger you are the less you know. Eventually it got figured out."
"As for someone she could confide in? My mother. Brenda and her have always been close, I would almost think she sees her as another daughter, and was probably as excited for the wedding as anyone."
The notes seem to be in some kind of shorthand. Or timestamps? Or they may be gibberish. It is all being recorded after all. Mason glances down at his report again. "Do you know of anyone who might want to hurt Brenda? Especially anyone female? She made a mention of a lady in that voicemail, and there were two different female screams on the recording."
The young man knocks once and returns with two paper cups of coffee, setting them down. One with milk is clearly Theo's. He departs as quickly as he came.
Theodore nods his thanks as the coffee is set down in front of him. "No." Once again, he doesn't have to think about it very long. "Our relationship may have been on and off, but she's the only woman I've ever had a relationship with. She marked me as hers early, and few have been willing to contest her claim." That actually gets a brief flash of a wry smile out of Theodore. Just a flash and then it's gone. "That being said, she is an ambitious woman. I have no doubt she has tred on more than one foot to get where she is. As for who? No idea. We leave each other's business alone unless it concerns both of us."
"Thank you, Mister Marchant. I assume the bank has security cameras inside? Could we kindly get the day of, and all of a week prior to the abduction, from you? This would give us a chance to see if anyone came in or out more than once that seemed overly interested in Brenda or the operating procedures of the bank."
The detective takes a sip of his coffee, black like his mood, and eyes Theo across the table. The man is clearly very controlled. "Did she work late often at the bank? Was she usually the one last to leave and lock up?"
"My father will need to sign off on that, but I doubt he'll be against it. We'll have to exclude any from the private lockboxes and from behind he teller stations without a warrant of course. Customer confidentiality is paramount to our business, but there should be no issue with the lobby and hallway surveillance." And out comes Theodore Marchant the lawyer, the bank's lawyer. "We both were in the habit of working late. Sometimes she's be the last one out, sometimes it was me. But we would be the two most likely to be last out, yes."
"Ah." He holds up a finger. "Also, we'd like to request the return of the banking files in Brenda's briefcase. If they have no bearing on the investigation, they do contain some confidential customer information. You understand."
"Of course. As soon as they are cleared from evidence, I'll see to it they are returned personally, Mister Marchant." He pauses and looks back to his report. "Were there any bars or nightclubs she frequented? Any clubs or hobbies she was involved with?" Mason asks, that pen still scribbling away.
Theodore nods. It's always a delicate balance, relying on the police as well as not wanting them too far into your business. So that offer is enough for the lawyer and he takes a sip of coffee. "I know we would occasionally go for drinks at Kokomo, I wouldn't be surprised if she spent a few nights there alone or with others." The second part of the question ears a shake of the head. "Workaholic. Her job is her hobby."
"We're almost finished here, Mister Marchant. Just a few more questions," Mason promises, eyes sweeping his file folder again with photos of the crime scene, her car, her briefcase. He sets them out so Theodore can look at them. The little evidence markers are inside the car and outside. "From these photos, does it appear anything is missing from the car, the briefcase, or her person, other than Brenda herself?"
ROLL: Theodore rolls brains for: : x1 : x1 : x2 (Pair) -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 4 4 2 1 -- d6)
"I assume you also recovered her Blackberry?" Theodore looks over the photos and perhaps for the second time he shows actual emotion. A simple frown edges over his face, and yes, it is a moment of worry that slips through that cool facade as he surveys the photos. But he manages to compose himself before he looks back up to the detective. "Nothing is missing that I'm aware of."
"We did, yes." The reaction is noted. "I think that's all I need from you for now, Mister Marchant. If you could kindly make a list of known friends and associates that Brenda might contact if she needed help, we'd greatly appreciate it." Mason stands and offers a hand to Theo to shake. He doesn't look too happy. The lack of Theodore's knowledge about his own fiance is just going to make his life harder. And his reaction to the Blackberry makes him all the more interested in seeing what forensics pulls off it.
Theodore stands and takes the offered hand, giving it a firm, polite shake. "Thank you, detective. You'll keep me updated if you find anything?" It's framed only half as a request. His self composure has slid completely back into place. He adjusts his suit as he turns to walk out of the room, making sure everthing is in its place and perfectly in order.
"Of course," Mason notes, gathering his file and coffee, and opening the door for the man. "Ellison!" he calls to the young man who brought the coffee, "Please see Mister Marchant out. I will be in touch." The tall man heads towards the Detectives area of the precinct while Ellison escorts Theo back out to that security door, and through.