You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Chapter 17

Download audio

Chapter 17

Stevie's head throbbed. Her mouth was dry and her neck felt like it was broken.

She looked around. It appeared she was in the back of an ambulance. Jason was by her side.

"What happened?" She tried to raise up.

"Ahhh, you just lie still. The doctors need to check you out. You had a pretty close call."

"Crandall! You ... you shot him. You are a police officer."

"Yes, I'm an undercover FBI agent. Not a photographer. Well, not a professional one. I do take photos." He reached over and pushed a strand of hair off her forehead.

"So the woman in your studio?"

"Uh, yeah, her. I have a friend who really is a photographer. That's his wife. He let me borrow those photos."

"I don't understand."

"When the killings began, I was called in. After we found the photo chemical on one of the murdered women, we knew it had to be a photographer. But not just any photographer; he had to be someone who developed his own photos. A fussy artist. A loner."

Jason went on to tell Stevie how he went undercover to try to get closer to the art community. "The studio had to look real in case anyone asked questions. It wasn't until you told me about your neighbor being an artist that I started to investigate him."

Jason put his head in his hands. "Everything was going smooth until that night at Foster Park. And then you happened."

Stevie shook her head. "So, it was you snooping around the apartment. I was part of your plan to get the killer. You used me as bait."

"No," Jason said forcefully. "I only discovered the connection to you in the last few days. Why do you think I was trying to keep you with me? To keep you safe."

Stevie was so confused. She didn't know who Jason was. What to believe. Who to believe.

"Stevie, I love you."

She turned her head and began to sob quietly. Jason reached over to wipe her tears, but she jerked away.

A paramedic came to the back of the ambulance. "We've got to take her to the hospital. I'm sorry, you've got to get out."

Jason held up a finger, telling the paramedic to wait. "Stevie, listen. I'm heading back to Chicago to finish up this case. Can I call you?"

"I just don't know, Jason."

Jason hung his head. He climbed out of the ambulance. The paramedic shut the doors.

By Terri Richardson, assistant managing editor for features.