Inspector: Rosemary could not have been working alone. How would she have made it to the airport to collect the cash from Jaiyeola with the officers stationed in your house? We have confirmed she was home the whole time. She was clearly used as an accessory.
Me: So why is she not talking to vindicate herself?
TK: How will she talk when you are throwing tantrums? Calm down and let’s reason with her so we can catch the real culprit.
Me: I will not reason with someone who has lived with me for so long and is capable of such. She was here while I was pregnant for Oladunni for crying out loud, she knew that child from the womb, yet she participated in her kidnapping and you ask me to calm down TK?
Inspector: Mrs Ayo-Kessington I’m going to have to ask you to leave.
Inspector: Do you realize that every second you waste here shouting at Rosemary and scaring the girl into not talking, the real culprit is covering his or her tracks?
The inspector had a point and even though I had a few more things to say to Rosemary asides from what I had already said, I realized it was best if I left the interrogation room. It was even a privilege to be there as it was against standard practice and I was obviously abusing it.
Every other suspect had been asked to leave the police station. There was no evidence against any of them so we couldn’t keep them at the police station overnight. Keeping them there any longer would have been illegal and they could sue. There was only one thing left to do…wait.
Rosemary refused to talk and after two hours of futile efforts to convince her to name the person who had implicated her, TK and I went home to join the rest of the family who were waiting for us but not before we made a little plan of our own. A plan only TK and I were aware of this time. The plan was simple, since Rosemary had access to only our inner circle of family and friends that eliminated a lot of people. We agreed to simply pretend that Rosemary had confessed when we arrived at the house and wait for the real culprit to make a move. We were sure this would be the case. When we got home, TK’s entire family was present so was my brother, his wife and my niece.
Tomike TK’s sister spoke first Tomike: What happened? Are they going to sentence Rosemary? TK: We don’t know yet, she might be able to negotiate a deal. TK’s Dad: Why in the world would anyone negotiate a deal with a criminal?
Me: Rosemary was an accessory used to gather information. She was not the mastermind behind the kidnapping. Now that she has co-operated the police are considering striking a deal with her.
The Duchess: Who is the culprit? TK: The police won’t tell us. They have only informed us that the case would be solved in a few hours we can only wait for them to make an arrest before we know. TK and I looked around the room. Of course, there was tension. Silent stares were exchanged, each person wondering if the person standing next to them was capable of the crimes committed. I looked at everyone.
My sister in law Lily picked up her phone and was typing. Who was she sending a message to? It was 3am in the morning. Then I remembered it would be about 10pm in New York where she lived with my brother. So it wasn’t out of place for her to be communicating with someone at that time. TK’s dad was staring blindly at the wall in front of him.
Tomike was sitting on a chair…she had fallen asleep. Certainly not the reaction of someone who was afraid of being arrested any minute. Tomiwa TK’s brother was flipping through a book mindlessly. What he was looking for I couldn’t tell. He seemed uncomfortable. I made a mental note he was my first suspect but with what motive?
Bella was sitting on a barstool. Her arms were folded across her chest. She looked…tired. I made a mental note to talk to her after everyone dispersed. She had not been sleeping well since she got the letter saying she was next.
Oladunni’s full time nanny whom Rosemary assisted in looking after Oladunni was kneeling in a corner with her Bible clutched to her chest and shaking her head vehemently I made her suspect number two, the whole scene she was acting out seemed a little too theatrical for me.
Afolabi my brother was leaning against a wall with an ice pack pressed to his jaw. Where apparently, he had been punched by Jaiyeola the night before. He had no motive and had almost become a victim himself so I eliminated him.
My gaze fell on the last person in the room…The Duchess. Our eyes met and I instantly had goose pimples all over my body. She had been watching me watch everyone and for some reason I knew she knew what I was trying to do. Her face was expressionless and for a second I saw what seemed like a smile and before I could confirm what it was, her face was blank again. Then she spoke
The Duchess: I think we can all leave now since we can only wait for the police to make a move. Let’ hope they are not too late already. She picked up her purse and her children followed her…everyone dispersed after that. TK and I went upstairs to check on Oladunni she was sound asleep. We watched her for a while and then started speaking in whispers.
Me: Are you sure this was a good idea? Lying that Rosemary had confessed? I just find it hard to believe someone this close to us would do something so terrible.
TK: I feel guilty setting our families up like this but we have to find out the truth. We can’t let our guards down until we know the whole story. Me: Part of me never even wants to find out the truth. TK: Me too. I think Oladunni should sleep in our room tonight. I’m still scared to leave her alone here. I nodded. TK picked her up from her bed and headed towards our room.
TK: Coming? He asked me. I nodded Me: I just want to check on Bella, she hasn’t been sleeping well since she got the threatening letter. TK smiled TK: Thanks babe.
I knocked on Bella’s door and it opened slightly. That was strange, she always locked her door. I stepped into the room and before I even turned on the light, I knew something was wrong…Bella was gone. The Inspector was back in our house by 7am with a notepad, two other officers had a grumpy look on his face. I could tell he was tired of the complications in the case. I decided that breakfast was a good way to extend the olive branch.
He ate quickly while the other officers went around the compound looking for how it was possible that Bella had been abducted without the security guards on duty even knowing. It was a really precarious situation. TK was in her room looking around while I was downstairs with Oladunni and my brother waiting for the officers to come back with their findings, when I heard TK call out for me. I handed Oladunni to my brother and went to meet him in Bella’s room. He had a piece of paper in his hand and an angry expression. He handed the piece of paper to me it was a letter from Bella.
It read: Dear Dad,
I cannot believe this is happening, and I wish I could tell you this face to face but I cannot bring myself to see the look on your face when I tell you what actually happened. When I first moved in here, I was bitter…no one could tell but I was. I was jealous of Oladunni and her mum they had something my mother and I never had, they had you. I was convinced that Anjola was no good for you with all that had transpired between you two and her ex-boyfriend. I wished she was out of the picture so I could have you to myself, the way I did when you two were separated. One evening, I was out with my friends when a man approached me. He told me a friend of my dad’s wanted to see me outside.
I didn’t want to go with him but he disclosed intimate details that only a close friend or family would know about my birth and moving to Nigeria so I followed him to meet his boss outside. His boss was Jaiyeola Akin-Badmus. He told me we had a common enemy…Anjola. I did not know how he knew my feelings towards her but apparently one of my close friends had been paid to disclose all I had been telling her and of course I kept ranting about my anger towards Anjola to her every time she cared to listen so she had a lot to tell him.
He told me that Anjola was a manipulative woman and that she had plans to take everything away from me just had she had taken everything away from him by warming her way into his father’s heart making him want to leave his whole inheritance to her at the expense of his other children. I believed him because I was scared.
Dad you’re the only one I have left in this world and I was so scared she would take you away from me and I would be left alone. He made a lot of allegations against Anjola and told me to help him take her down. I agreed. I was constantly feeding him with information on everything that was going on in the family, when I told him about the party, he told me it was an opportunity to set her up and expose her to the world. He asked me to get two invitations for him, so two people whose names would not be on the guest list could attend the party.
I came to your office that day and distracted your PA while I was waiting to see you. I stole two invites and gave them to him not even knowing who they were meant for. At the party, I sent him a message asking who the strangers were so I could keep an eye on them because there were so many people there I had never met. He told me it was none of my business and then Oladunni went missing. I immediately realized that he had his own agenda all along and it was not what he had said he wanted to do.
I called him and threatened to go to the police if he didn’t bring Oladunni back. He responded to my threat by sending me a voice recording of me giving him information on the party and also evidence that I had stolen the invites for him. If I were to expose him I would obviously be a party to the crime. I was happy to bear the consequences and then we got the letter that said I was next. I panicked, I didn’t know what his plans for me were at the time. If he got away with his kidnapping and blackmail would he be willing to get rid of me to cover his tracks? The answer I came up with was…yes.
I called him and promised I would keep quiet and continue to act as his informant as long as he promised once he got what he wanted he would return Oladunni unharmed. He agreed and so I kept him updated on all that was going on with the investigation as I had promised. He told me he would give me a share of the ransom, I declined and he insisted that if I did not collect the money it would mean my silence had not been bought so he would still feel threatened by me. In order not to make him do anything foolish, I agreed.
He told me to meet him at the airport the night he was to escape. I bribed one of the policemen on duty to help me sneak out of the house unnoticed. I told him my boyfriend was coming to take me out for a little while and I would be back in no time, I guess he is a believer in young love because he accepted the money and helped me sneak out. I was smart enough not to touch the money when Jaiyeola gave it to me because I didn’t want my fingerprint on the cash and I had no intentions of spending it.
When I got back to the house, I was trying to sneak in when Rosemary caught me. She wanted to raise alarm but I pleaded with her. She was asking too many questions and was threatening to call you and report as you were in the hospital at the time with Anjola so I lied. I told her that Anjola had asked me to go and pick up some cash for her because she wanted to pay the kidnapper the ransom he had asked for without involving the police as it was the only way we could get Oladunni back. She wanted evidence so she asked me to open the bag to confirm my story.
I did and like I had told her, it was cash in the bag. Unfortunately, she touched it and as soon as I saw the purple ink on her fingers I knew the cash had been marked and she would be a suspect, had I known earlier I would not have let her touch any of it. I explained to her that the ink was to be able to trace the money back to the kidnapper. We tried to wash off the purple ink but it won’t come off and so I prepared her for what was coming.
I told her that what Anjola was trying to do was illegal and she could go to jail so when the police asked her about the purple ink on her fingers she was to remain silent for Anjola’s sake. In exchange, I told her I would tell Anjola what happened and make sure Anjola got her cleared. I admit it was a wicked thing to do, because I was setting her up but I didn’t know how else to manage the situation had I known Oladunni had been released at the time, I would have handled it differently.
I was shocked when you and Anjola turned up at the police station with her by then it was too late Rosemary had been exposed and I panicked. Please help her, she thinks she is protecting Anjola and I know how much she cherishes Anjola and Oladunni…she would not talk for as long as she believes it’s in their best interest. Dad please help her. As for me, I know you probably never want to see me again. I will go somewhere and start my life all over again. Your family is complete without me, I was never meant to be a part of it.
I love you dad…always will. Always, Bella P.s: The money is under my bed…all of it. I did not realize I was crying until a tear dropped on the piece of paper.
TK was angry…very angry. Me: What are we going to do….?
He cut me off and snatched the piece of paper from me.
TK: Stay out of this Anjola! She is my daughter. He stormed out and showed the inspector the letter. A manhunt immediately began for Bella she had not been abducted so she was out there somewhere. With an American passport in her possession, the first place to check was the international airport.
Less than an hour later, the inspector came to us with some news. He requested to speak to TK and I privately. Inspector: Bella has been taken into custody. She was caught trying to board a flight to Ghana. They are taking her to the station.
TK: So what next inspector?
Inspector: This is a criminal case and she has committed a long list of crimes. Aiding and abetting, disrupting an investigation process, accepting cash from a criminal activity, attempting to flee the country, attempting to set up someone else for her crimes. The list is endless but given all that the family has been through and knowing how much damage this could do the family name. I think we can make all of this go away most especially since we have caught the major mastermind, but it’s up to you sir.
TK: How is it up to me?
Inspector: Do you want to officially turn in this piece of evidence so we can arrest and press charges against your daughter?