Saturday, March 15, 2014

How the FBI Investigates Suspects in Airliner Sabotage

In writing my book Stalking the Sky, I wanted to show in a brief way the slogging person-by-person investigation that must be undertaken to find possible motives behind the sabotage of an airliner that killed hundreds of passengers by describing the FBI agent's visits to relatives of three of the deceased. 

Here's an excerpt:

Clayton’s last stop was at the home of Sandra Guerin, the wife of the late SEC official. Grief was slowly evolving into resentment at having been left behind to cope with raising children, paying the mortgage and the taxes, not having enough insurance money to stay in graduate school, and worst of all, having to live out every day, from rising till sleeping, alone.

They had spent Thanksgiving weekend with her mother. She and the kids had planned to spend the rest of the week at Grandma’s before returning to Washington on Friday. He had left for the airport at eight, attended a meeting there and caught a later plane than he had originally planned to take.

Charles Guerin had received a telephone call that morning, his wife explained. She had overheard snatches of a conversation that seemed to deal with the Senate confirmation hearings. He appeared to be angry after he hung up, and said only that he had agreed to an airport meeting and would have to change his reservation.

No, she didn’t have any idea whom the appointment was with. No, she didn’t have the name of anyone else who might know.

Clayton’s colleagues had already questioned dozens of people who had been at O’Hare the night before. They had all been shown a photograph of Guerin, but none could recall having seen him. Clayton held out little hope that more information would be uncovered.

Occasionally Owen was struck by the realization of how superficially even the most intense investigation scanned a person’s life. Markowitz might have been hated by a mistress no one would ever know about. Evelyn Flein might have had a secret suicide compulsion. Charles Guerin might have had a shoe-box full of thousand-dollar bills stashed in a closet. And there were three hundred and thirty-six other passengers and crew members whose lives would ultimately remain as much a mystery as these. Clayton knew that his best chance was to stumble after motives and hope he bumped into the real one, like a grown man playing blind man's buff.

As Clayton was about to leave Guerin’s house, Sandra Guerin added to the mystery by remarking she was sure that when Charles left the house that night he told her he was flying to Washington, not New York.

Read more: Stalking the Sky

No comments:

Post a Comment