Tom Lucas left Romford Police Station and was on his way back to the Travel Lodge. The Commander had been quite clear with him and Spencer how he wanted things to proceed.
His job was to stay with Ray. Get close to him and get him talking. Try to make him open up as much as possible. At first he was a bit reluctant to get involved. Even though he’d only known him for twenty four hours, he somehow felt close to Ray. But the more he thought about it the more he understood why he had to do it. Whatever the outcome, Ray’s life would never be the same again. Tom decided it was up to him to help in any way he could. He had a feeling things would get worse before they got better.
Spencer on the other hand had to deal with forensics. He was to get evidence. Ray’s clothes would have to be analysed to make sure they were genuine. His dental and medical records were on file and Ray would have to undergo various examinations to prove without doubt that he was who he said he was.
The Commander said he would be involved in research. Tom wasn’t sure what that meant, but had a feeling that he was dealing with people at the highest level.
Tom arrived back at the Travel lodge and went to room 37. The Policeman was sitting in the corridor reading a paper.
“Nothing, all very quiet in there”
Tom went in and found Ray asleep on the bed. He looked like he’d been that way since they left him three hours before.
Spencer was at the station, he had to work in secret which wasn’t going to be easy. He had Ray’s dental and medical records on file from when he’d gone missing in 1982. Now he had to get Ray to a dentist and get full x-rays of his teeth so they could be compared. He also had about twenty photographs that Laura Samuels had given them from 1982. As he looked through them he was even more convinced that they really did have the right man. He also had the running shorts and vest that Ray had been wearing when he came into the station along with the trainers. He made a phone call to a friend at Upminster Running Club.
“Hello Billy, its Albert, Albert Spencer”
“Hello mate, what do you want, two tickets for next year’s Olympics?”
They both laughed, it was some kind of “IN” joke.
“I want you to do me a favour, I know you’re a bit of a running nut and have all sorts of archives at the club. If I send over some running kit, can you have a look at it and let me know how old it is and whether it’s authentic or not. Basically anything you can about it?”
“Yeh sure, when can you get it over?”
“Actually mate it’s on its way now, be with you in about ten minutes.”
“Fuck me, bit of an emergency?”
“Okay, I’ll have a look and call you back later today.”
Spencer hung up and then made an appointment for Ray to go to see a Dentist in Brentwood later that afternoon. It was a dentist that he had used a few times on other cases so he knew he would be discreet. Okay, so far so good.
A young PC came into his office.
“Sir, I’ve got a Laura Crossley on the phone she says it’s urgent.”
Spencer was taken back. He knew that Laura Samuels was now Laura Crossley. Why on earth would she being ringing him now? Today of all days. Coincidence? He didn’t think so.
He picked up the phone.
“DCI Spencer, how can I help?”
“It’s Laura Samuels, well, Crossley now. I hear there’s been a new sighting of Ray.”
“Where did you hear that from Mrs Crossley?”
“That doesn’t matter, is it true?”
“There was a sighting in Derbyshire yesterday. But we looked into it and it couldn’t have been Ray. I’m sorry.”
“Because the man was only in his twenties. It was just a hoax, some kind of prank.”
“Why would someone do that, after more than twenty years? What would be the point?”
“I don’t know Mrs Crossley, but it takes all sorts as they say. But rest assured if we hear anything else we’ll be in touch. Goodbye.”
Spencer put down the phone. Had he done enough to put her off? He wasn’t sure.
Ray woke up and saw Tom sitting watching TV. Tom looked over and smiled.
“Ahh, sleeping beauty has awoken.”
Ray stretched and yawned.
“I don’t know what the matter with me is. Every time I sit down I fall asleep.”
Tom threw him a brand new shirt and jeans.
“Put these on. You’ve got an appointment in Brentwood in forty five minutes so we better get going.”
Ray never asked any questions about the appointment which surprised Tom. He seemed a bit quiet. Tom tried to engage him in conversation but Ray seemed to be far away, deep in thought, in another place.
They drove to Brentwood and Ray went in to see the dentist, within thirty minutes he was back in the car and on his way back to the Travel lodge. As they travelled down the A12, Ray became agitated. Suddenly, he shouted out.
“Stop, stop, I live down there.”
He was pointing to a road full of nice 3 bed detached houses.
“That’s where I live, that’s my house!”
Tom didn’t want to say it. He didn’t want to state the obvious but he couldn’t help it.
“No Ray, it used to be, but not anymore, that was a long time ago.”
For the first time in forty eight hours Ray Samuels sobbed like a baby.