By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
She was probably mid to late 40’s, tall and almost gaunt as very wealthy women are required to be. Her features said she had once been quite beautiful and was still extremely attractive.
The mouth, though, was hard and judgmental. Perfectly coiffed and dressed for a night out she stood to one side in the kitchen of her Bel Aire home as I spoke to her husband. It was almost 1:00 am and I was bone-tired from the double shift.
Eight hours earlier, I had stood in his den while he recounted his concerns regarding his missing daughter, Chloe.
We were there at the direction of the Chief of Police who had taken a call from Mr. Big that afternoon. I was preparing to leave work for home when the captain called me and one of my teams into his office.
Asking us if we knew who Mr. Big was? Obviously yes, a very recognizable name and face and a very powerful man. It seems his daughter, Chloe had not been home to her beach-front apartment for almost a week. She shared it with two roommates while they attended the local junior college.
As this was the early 70’s, the Golden Age of Terrorism and people tended to see bomb throwers under every bush.
Inasmuch as I was assigned to the Organized Crime Intelligence Division, terrorists, anarchists and the like were not our priority. Why do I mention this? Because Mr. Big went right to the top when he wanted police intervention. Maybe to stir the pot, he told the chief he thought his daughter might have fallen under the influence of a “revolutionary” and run off with him.
Okay, so why were we here? Well whenever the brass needed something done outside normal channels or “off the books,” we got the job. As a matter of fact, some people didn’t even know we existed.
I also failed to mention Chloe was 18 years old, legally an adult and emancipated from her parents. The hook then was the fact she had “possibly” been abducted by this ne’er do well and needed our assistance.
Our instructions were to find her, take no action except if required, urge her to call home and then brief her father, the captain, and chief.
This blog however is not about how we found her but find her we did—living in a garage in San Pedro with a 30 something-year-old ex-con member of the Weathermen, a militant offshoot of the then defunct Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), both radical groups.
Maybe dad knew his daughter better than I had assumed.
This is however about Mrs. Big’s reaction to the news we delivered that early morning in their kitchen over coffee. We were all standing, and I had just finished briefing her husband. Before he could reply, she stated, and I paraphrase, “This is not my world.” A short pause and again, “This is not my world.” Her eyes were focused for middle distance and she looked toward the back door.
“This sort of thing has no place in my world. I cannot and will not acknowledge the existence of such people. Those actions and behavior are a complete contradiction to my lifestyle and have no place in it. I refuse to believe in such people and circumstances. I will hear no more. You have no further business here.”
We said good night and took our leave.
I made no reply that night and even now so long removed, I am not sure I have the words or expertise to counter her complete and absolute denial of reality.
There must be a message or lesson here somewhere.