Victoria Drummond was the daughter of Victor Drummond, the Victor Drummond of the Victory Lumber Company. Victor had made his fortune by cutting and selling logs from around the area. Besides agriculture, timber is Montana's chief industry.
Now Victoria was a bit of a floozy. She tended to sleep around with anyone she fancied. As you can guess this didn't sit too well with her father. He threatened to have her removed from his will, sent away to a boarding school and such. Alas, none of it worked to tame the young girl's wild ways.
Finally, in an act of desperation after Victoria graduated from high school, Victor decided to remove his daughter from the temptations of town by buying her a small house in the mountains and granting her an allowance that exceeded my annual pay. The results were not exactly what Victor wanted but at least now, her trysts were discrete and removed from the public eye.
Victor also has a son, Victoria's younger brother, Victor jr. or just Vic. Vic had a gambling addiction. He would spend all he had in the casinos. It wasn't long before Vic had run up some sizable debts. There is a rumor, which Vic, who at the time ran one of Victory Lumber's smaller operations, started to embezzle money from his father's company. The rumor continues that Victor quietly removed his son from the company and enrolled him into a gamblers recovery program.
It must have broken Victor's heart to have two children fall so far from his high expectations. Now, one of them lay dead in her own home.
After making a quick survey of the house, I called in two more of my deputies and began to question Johnny.
"Now Johnny, I need you tell me what you heard and saw." I said to the still shaking fisherman.
Johnny nodded weakly. He stared off into the trees as he began his tale, only occasionally looking up at me. "I fish Miss Drummond's place every Monday. She doesn't...ah, didn't mind. I would always share my catch and she'd happily accept it. Sometimes her latest boyfriend would be here. They would argue sometimes over stuff. I never paid attention to what it was they argued about. None of my business, I'm just here to fish.
"I got here early this morning. I had caught a couple of nice rainbow when I heard arguing coming from the house. Nothing new I figured. Her boyfriend was probably here again. So I continued my fishing."
"About what time was that?" I interrupted.
"Oh, I'd say about two hours ago, maybe eleven." I nodded for Johnny to continue as I scribbled notes down in my notebook. "Then I heard some really loud screaming. I didn't think anything of it at first. She and her boyfriend always argued.
"You know her father didn't like her boyfriends. She being the heir of the lumber tycoon in these parts, her father didn't think it was proper for her to be cavorting around with such men.
"I guess that is what finally made me decide to see what was going on. Her boyfriend hadn't been around for weeks and suddenly he shows up. Plus, even when they did argue she never screamed like she did today.
"I probably thought it over for ten minutes before I went up to the house. By this time the screaming had stopped.
"I saw the kitchen widow had been busted out. It was fine this morning. So, I stepped up to the door. I could see through the screen door the mess in the dining room. I knocked on the door, but there wasn't any answer. I called out for Miss Drummond and still only silence.
"So, I stepped into the dining room. I remembered the window in the kitchen so that was where I went next and...Oh God! The brutality of it all."
"That's quite alright. Did you see anyone else enter or leave the house?"
"No," Johnny shook his head, "Not a soul."
"Did you recognize any of the voices in the argument?"
Johnny sat straight up as if shot through with an electric bolt. "You know sheriff. I remember only hearing her voice."
"Did you hear anything she said?"
"No, I just remember her yelling at someone."
"Did you remove anything from the house?"
"No, I just used the phone to call you guys and I came back out here."
"Johnny, do you remember who Victoria's boyfriend is?"
The older man sat there and scratched his chin. "I was never properly introduced. But, I've seen him around town. Let's see I believe his name was Bart...no that's not right. Brent...yeah that's right Brent Underwood."Posted by deg at October 25, 2006 8:09 PM