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-by Jake Doherty
No one slept easily that night, scrunched together with no blankets and only packsacks under their heads. Three of the four cell phones brought by the birders were now dead.
As dawn began to break about 7 am, Nellie recognized where the boat had been found – a small safe harbor just north of the Cabot Head Light, marked on most navigation maps for small craft caught in strong easterly winds across Georgian Bay. Buoys marked the entrance but the channel, though narrow, was passable. Barely.
She found the two officers looking out a window facing the water. "Wind's easing," said Mike. "We may get help soon." Turning to Exner, she added:" So what do we report? We know one name, the name of the boat and where it came from but we don't know why the victims challenged the weather across Lake Huron to get here from Michigan."
As usual, Nellie couldn't help herself.
"Not so," she said, holding up her cell phone. "I had one bar left so I called back to the Sun Times. News of a good murder travels fast. Folks wanna know and--"
Erskine responded quickly, trying not to show that he had been caught off guard. "We'll hold a media briefing as planned when the coroner arrives with the crime scene guys, and we can get you civilians safely home."
"Civilians?" snorted Nellie. "So youse don't want to know what I got or do I hold my own police briefing--"
Exner interjected. "Mike, er sir, perhaps we might take a preliminary report from Nellie."
Erskine nodded his approval.
"Well folks," said Nellie facing her birder friends. "The Sun Times passed my first report yesterday to QMI, our Sun Media wire service in Toronto. And when the Yank angle was spotted, Canadian Press eventually passed it along to Associated Press in New York and Washington where calls were made. Everyone in Owen Sound knows about it now."
"Not me," piped Jean Laforet, now standing beside her. "So, whattya know?"
"Okay then. The late Jonas Isaiah Adams was a captain in the Michigan Nation Guard who had already, it seems, did two tours – one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. Bunch of medals. But Jonas had been called for a third tour even though he had big fights with Veterans Affairs. His family doc believed he had post traumatic stress...whatever, and not fit for active duty.
"You mean PTSD?" offered George.
"Ya, that's it. Nightmares, strange behavior and depressions. High suicide rate for these guys. But the VA said no, and he still had to go. Then his wife left him when he began writing anti-war letters to the local newspaper there."
"Sounds like the Vietnam War," said Jean, "when I came to Canada through the tunnel at Windsor. Made a good life here. But not now though. I read a newspaper item recently that deserters will now be treated like criminals, and I guess, sent back to the United States for whatever the U.S. Military wants to do with them. No safe harbor here anymore."
Distant sounds of approaching snowmobiles and a plow brightened spirits around the room, and all the birders now gathered around the windows. "Hope they have warm coffee," said one. A woman wanted tea. "And decaffeinated please."
The two officers went outside. "So Rob, it seems probable that Adams was sneaking into Canada the hard way. And lost the gamble."
"But we don't know who else was with them, or who was waiting here for them. There's another person out there, probably alive."


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