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The investigation report had her basic information. Name: Ingrid Milli. Caucasian. Five feet six inches tall. One hundred and sixty eight pounds. Twenty-six years old. Dark hair. Student. Her current home address, social security number, contact information, and other bits and pieces of information completed her identification checklist.
With the help of Kish and his reach into the database of several law enforcement agencies, Scarr discovered more layers of her background. Her father had been charged with first-degree child molestation when she was eight. Her mother left this abusive husband after he was charged, only to get into another abusive relationship that landed her in the ICU many times with battery injuries. She had been admitted into the ICU herself with her wrists badly opened when she was fourteen. A suicide attempt. Her mother was the one who had found her in the bathtub just in time. This was probably the push the mother needed to abandon her second abusive companion, who had been more of a tormentor than a companion anyway, in an effort to start fresh.
Fast-forward, the mother was now living on her own and was working as a clerk in a supermarket. Ingrid had a twenty-two year old cousin who had a child. She was apparently very close to her cousin because she regularly sent her money to help with the expenses that come with raising a child alone at such a young age. However, Ingrid had a little run-in with the law when she was just twenty- two herself. Disorderly conduct. Nothing that really deserved a big mention.
Using a GPS, Scarr decided to drive to the apartment Ingrid Milli had listed in the investigation report. And after some time trading one traffic-laden lane for another, he wound up on Vanowen St., where the building she lived in was located. It was actually one block away from where Scarr had parked his car –– a dark green Audi A8.
Scarr walked up to the building with his hands in his pockets. It was a rent-stabilized walk-up of a building, with a couple of hedges out front forming a short barrage. There was a buzzer-release system at the entrance. Scarr rang it next to the names Milli and Dakota. The buzzer sounded and he pushed the door open. Her apartment was on the fourth floor. As he made his way there, Scarr didn’t see anyone loitering in the hallways. All the doors were closed. And so was Milli’s. He knocked on it. The peephole in the door snapped open, and one white little eye looked out at him.
“Ingrid Milli?” Scarr asked to the person looking out from behind the door.
“Who are you?” replied a female voice. The voice was youthful and vibrant and if the girl were to scream at the top of her lungs, half the block could easily hear it.
“I’m here to ask you a few questions,” Scarr said.
“About the armored car robbery that happened on Erwin St. and Canoga Avenue.”
“Gee, not that again,” the girl said. Scarr seemed to hear a light thud rattling the door. “I’ve already talked to the police. I’m getting tired of all that.”
“I’m not with the police.”
“Then who are you?”
“I’m working on the case independently.”
It was total silence for a moment. The eye was still in the peephole. And the hallway was still empty. However, some music was droning from one of the adjoining doors.
“You mean you’re like a private eye?” the girl finally asked.
“Yes. Can we have this conversation inside?”
“Listen, Ingrid’s not here,” the girl said. “And I don’t feel like letting you in.”
So the girl was Ingrid Milli’s roommate.
“Where can I find her?” Scarr said.
“I don’t know,” she said.
“When will she be back?”
“I don’t know. I’m not her keeper.”
“I could wait out here till she gets back.”
“What for?” the girl said. “I told you, I don’t know when she’ll be back.”
“I’m going to wait out here.”
“And I’m going to call the police.”
“You don’t want to do that,” Scarr said, “if you know what’s good for her.”
The girl behind the door remained still and silent for a minute. She couldn’t move back into the belly of the apartment without making a sound. At last, with her inflexion dropping a decibel or two, she said, “Who are you? What do you want from Ingrid?”
“I told you. I want to talk to her. About that robbery––”
“Look, you’re not a cop. So I’m not obligated to open the door. And Ingrid’s not here anyway. I don’t keep tabs on her. She comes and goes, so try next time, alright?” Scarr said nothing. And the girl added with a flat voice she was struggling to make compelling, “Will you go away now, please? I don’t want to have to call the cops, but I will if you don’t leave. And my boyfriend is on his way here.”