And Never Let Her Go: Thomas Capano: The Deadly Seducer

And Never Let Her Go: Thomas Capano: The Deadly Seducer

by Ann Rule
And Never Let Her Go: Thomas Capano: The Deadly Seducer

And Never Let Her Go: Thomas Capano: The Deadly Seducer

by Ann Rule

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Overview

From the #1 New York Times–bestselling author, the true story of a woman’s disappearance after her affair with a married man is a “true page-turner” (Booklist).

The author of fifteen New York Times bestsellers, Ann Rule, a former Seattle policewoman, has researched thousands of homicides and understands every facet of murder investigation. Now, in the most shocking book of her long career, she explores the details of a fatal affair between a beautiful young woman and a widely admired millionaire attorney who was an immensely popular political figure.

On June 27, 1996, thirty-year-old Anne Marie Fahey, a secretary for the governor of Delaware, had dinner with a married man she had been having a secret affair with for more than two years. “Tommy” Capano, forty-seven, was perhaps the most politically powerful man in Wilmington. Son of a wealthy contractor, former state prosecutor, partner in a prestigious law firm, advisor to governors and mayors, Tom Capano had a soft-spoken and considerate manner that endeared him to many. But sometime after 9:15 that night when Anne Marie and Tom left the restaurant, something terrible happened to Anne Marie. It would be forty-eight hours before her brothers and sisters realized that she had disappeared entirely.

Ann Rule brilliantly traces the lives of both Fahey and Capano as she discloses the intimate details of their ill-fated connection. A vulnerable, trusting woman becomes spellbound by a charming, duplicitous married man, and what begins as a seemingly unremarkable affair is slowly transformed into an obsessive, convoluted, and deadly relationship.

[A] truly creepy true-crime story.” —People

“[Rule] tell[s] the sad story with authority, flair, and pace.” —The Washington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743202794
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 02/13/2024
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: eBook
Pages: 708
Sales rank: 8,559
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

About The Author
Ann Rule wrote thirty-five New York Times bestsellers, all of them still in print. Her first bestseller was The Stranger Beside Me, about her personal relationship with infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. A former Seattle police officer, she used her firsthand expertise in all her books. For more than three decades, she was a powerful advocate for victims of violent crime. She lived near Seattle and died in 2015.

Hometown:

Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth:

October 22, 1935

Place of Birth:

Lowell, Michigan

Education:

Creative Writing Program, University of Washington

Read an Excerpt


Prologue

It was after midnight on June 30, 1996, but even so there was a yellow glow behind the sheer curtains framing two small windows on the top floor of 1718 Washington Street in Wilmington, Delaware. That was unusual. The young woman who lived in the third-floor walk-up was known to be an early riser, the first one to arrive at her job, and was almost always in bed well before the eleven-o'clock news flashed on the little television that sat on the radiator near her bed. If the sixty-watt bulbs behind the lacy curtains were whirling red and blue lights, they could not have signaled more alarm to those who knew her patterns.

Silhouettes moved past the windows. There were people in the room, pacing, staring out at the dark street below and the little park beyond, drinking yet another cup of black coffee. Sleep was not an option for any of those who waited there for a knock, a call, anything that might reassure them that the burgeoning dread they felt was only the result of their overactive imaginations.

Fear often begins with the slightest niggle that something taken for granted can no longer be trusted. A slice of a shadow darkens a spot that only a moment before was sunny, and a chill draft destroys what was warm and cozy. What was solid becomes suddenly fragile. It started that way for the brothers, sister, boyfriend, friends, and coworkers of the young woman who lived in that apartment. There was nothing dramatic to go on. She had failed to return a few phone calls, she wasn't home when her boyfriend had called with a last-minute date idea two nights earlier. But gradually they realized that no one had seen or heard from her for at least forty-eight hours.

Anne Marie Fahey was thirty years old; she wasn't a teenager who had to be checked on. Why, then, did her sister and her friends feel such a sense of urgency? They didn't live in one another's hip pockets, didn't always talk on the phone every day.

Anne Marie -- Annie to those close to her -- led a busy life, both professionally and socially. She was Delaware governor Thomas Carper's scheduling secretary, responsible for getting him to all manner of appointments and events on time and for providing him with enough security so that she knew he was safe. She was so efficient and dependable that she'd worked for Carper since the time he was a congressman.

Anne Marie had more than a dozen close friends, a devoted family, and after many disappointments, she believed she had finally found the love she had looked for so long. She lived a life so full and complicated that it was akin to constantly juggling myriad balls in the air. Somehow, she managed it.

The day before -- Friday -- had passed without any real concern, although even Mike Scanlan, the bank executive she told friends she hoped to marry, couldn't seem to catch up with Anne Marie. And he was puzzled and a little hurt when she stood him up for a dinner with her brother Robert's family on Saturday night. He searched his mind for something he might have said to offend her, and couldn't come up with anything. He called Robert to say he hadn't heard from Anne Marie.

Mike -- and Robert and his wife, Susan -- had tried hard to explain Annie's absence with cautious rationalizations. Maybe she had gotten the date mixed up. Perhaps she had been called away to work late; almost everyone else in the governor's office was working through the night on this last weekend in 1996 that the state legislature was in session.

Those who gathered to wait in the strange quiet of Anne Marie Fahey's little apartment thought of a dozen reasons that would mean she was all right and would be coming home soon. But they all knew better. Annie never stood anyone up. She hated to hurt anyone's feelings. If there was one true thing about her, it was that she tried never to worry or offend anyone. Even if it meant that she herself suffered, she thought always of the other person. If she could see how frightened her sister, her boyfriend, and her friends were now, she would have apologized over and over for scaring them.

Anne Marie's older brother Robert Fahey lived a half hour out of Wilmington. He and Susan had expected Annie and Mike for an early dinner that all of them had looked forward to, but they never arrived, nor did they call. This was so unlike Anne Marie -- or Mike for that matter -- that Robert and Susan began to worry. When Susan Fahey called her sister-in-law, all she got was an answering machine.

Mike Scanlan was concerned, too. He had surmised that Anne Marie had been home earlier in the day because he'd driven by her apartment and her car was there. And yet she hadn't returned any of his calls. At 9 P.M. Mike called Annie's older sister, Kathleen Fahey-Hosey.

"Michael called me and asked me if I had heard from Anne. I responded no," Kathleen recalled. "As soon as Michael told me they had plans and that Anne Marie didn't show, I knew something was terribly wrong....She was just so happy with Michael -- Michael was her future. She would never break plans on her own."

Kathleen told Mike she would call him right back, and then she called her sister's friend Ginny Columbus -- who was a coworker at the governor's office -- to see if she knew of any plans Annie might have had. Ginny was instantly alarmed, too, and she called Jill Morrison. Ginny and Jill lived closer to Annie's apartment than Kathleen did, so they volunteered to go over and check on her.

When no one answered their knocks at Anne Marie's apartment, the two women asked her landlady, Theresa Oliver, if she had seen her. Theresa hadn't seen Anne Marie for a day or so, but that wasn't particularly unusual. Anne Marie's step was so light that she could come in through the front door and be up the closed-off stairs to her apartment without anyone hearing her. Now, on Saturday night, Theresa walked up to the third floor and found Anne Marie's door locked, with the dead bolt in place. She opened the door and called Anne Marie's name -- but there was no answer. Fearing that she was intruding, she walked through the living room to the kitchen, peered in the bedroom, but didn't see Anne Marie.

Jill and Ginny immediately called Kathleen back. "The lights are off, Kathleen, and her door was locked," Ginny said. "Annie's not there -- but her car is parked outside."

"OK," Kathleen said, "I'll be right over."

Kathleen then did something that might seem an overreaction; she called the Wilmington Police Department to report Anne Marie as a missing person. The detective on duty told her she would have to come down to the station or call from her sister's apartment. The moment she called Mike Scanlan back, he said he was on his way to pick her up. Both of them felt such a sense of urgency, although they had nothing tangible to go on.

When Kathleen and Mike arrived at Annie's apartment and spoke with Ginny and Jill, they learned that Annie apparently wasn't with anyone they might expect her to be with. With a dull sense of acceptance, they realized that since Thursday night, June 27, Annie hadn't been in any of the places or with any of the people who made up her world as they knew it.

With Kathleen beside her, Theresa Oliver unlocked the dead bolt on the door of Annie's apartment. Kathleen called her name softly.

There was no answer.

A gush of fetid air washed over them, and they involuntarily held their breaths against the foul, rancid odor. It was initially indefinable, but then they smelled garbage and something rotting.

Kathleen rushed first toward the bathroom; all she could think of was that Annie had fallen in the shower and hit her head on something. She flung the door open, clicked on the light, and pulled back the curtain. The shower was empty. Everything in the bathroom was spotless. For some reason, she looked for Annie's toothbrush. It was there, where it always was.

Kathleen moved next to the single bedroom. Annie's bed was all white, with a comforter of white-on-white puffed hearts and ruffly white pillow shams. But it wasn't made the way she usually made it. Maybe it was her imagination, but it looked to Kathleen as if two fists had yanked the comforter up and then pushed it flat, leaving two indentations.

The little television set that Kathleen's husband, Patrick Hosey, had given Annie one Christmas sat in its usual spot on the radiator underneath the bedroom window. There was a new air conditioner there, too, and it was turned on. That was why there was such a chill in the apartment on this hot summer night.

Annie's jewelry boxes were lined up on top of the radiator, as always. Her blouses and dresses hung in the closet from hangers that were all pointing the same direction. Most of her shoes were in their original boxes, where she always kept them, but some of the boxes were scattered on the floor now -- as if she had been in a hurry to change her shoes and intended to put things back together when she got home.

Anne Marie was the first to admit she was a compulsive neat freak. Her friends teased her and called her Anal Annie when she went through her little rituals. She arranged her CDs alphabetically, stacked her pennies so that Lincoln's profile faced the same way, and made her bed even as she was crawling out of it. She actually folded her soiled laundry, rather than just tossing it in the hamper. Kathleen always smiled at that; her sister did her laundry at Kathleen's house every Wednesday night, and usually had dinner there, too.

The U.S. Open T-shirt Annie had worn when Kathleen saw her last on Wednesday night now lay on the top of the clothes hamper. And there was a long floral-patterned Laura Ashley summer dress folded on a small settee rather than being placed with the rest of the laundry. A small thing, but very unusual for Annie. Kathleen recognized the dress; it was new and one that Anne Marie had bought to wear to the Point-to-Point amateur steeplechase with Mike Scanlan on May 6.

The red oblong box on the floor looked familiar, too. It was from Talbot's, one of the Wilmington area's better women's shops. It hadn't been opened. Kathleen slid the ribbons free, opened the box, and saw that the Talbot's seal still held the layers of tissue inside together. But she knew what the taupe garment beneath was; it was an expensive pantsuit, the same suit she had talked Annie out of buying a week earlier because it cost far too much for her budget. They'd had a little argument about that. When had she gone back to buy it?

There were five people in Anne Marie's apartment: Kathleen, Mike, her friends Jill Morrison and Ginny Columbus, and Ginny's mother, Virginia. They respected Annie's privacy, but they had to look around for some clue to where she might have gone, even as they knew it was an intrusion.

Annie didn't own much, and the furniture she did have was secondhand or the kind of inexpensive stuff that had to be assembled after purchase, but the way she had decorated her place was her and it was charming. There were photographs: family pictures with her brothers and sister one Easter, a candid shot of Anne Marie and Mike taken at her surprise birthday party at Kathleen's in January, and on the wall a picture of their mother, also named Kathleen. There were Annie's scruffy old stuffed animals wearing women's rights buttons, a motley collection of knickknacks that pleased her.

Anne Marie always kept her kitchen almost antiseptically clean. But this was the source of the miasma in her apartment; the whole room smelled of rotting food. The counter was littered with fruit and vegetables long since grown overripe and mushy. The strawberries were brown and had a sickly sweet odor; mushrooms dank as a swamp added to the stench. A garbage can with its plastic liner pulled up was next to the kitchen table, and it, too, was full of decaying food.

Mike shook his head. He knew that Anne Marie hated to keep any garbage in her apartment; when he picked her up for a date, she invariably carried a neat bag of garbage to put in the cans outside. There was no way she would have left her kitchen in this condition.

Looking into the refrigerator, Kathleen found two doggie bags of leftovers from a Philadelphia restaurant, Panorama. The food inside wasn't spoiled, but it looked dry, as if it had been there for a few days at least. Anne Marie wouldn't have left all this food out on the counter. She wouldn't even have kept restaurant food in her refrigerator so long. Kathleen looked at Mike questioningly. Had he and Anne Marie been to this restaurant? He read her mind and shook his head slightly.

Oddly, there were other things on the kitchen counter: prescription medications, sample size, arranged like a row of dominoes; pouches of Rice-A-Roni; pretzels. They hadn't been opened, but they hadn't been put neatly in the cupboards, either.

Perhaps most frightening of all, Anne Marie's purse was there in the kitchen, along with her wallet and all of her credit cards. There was about $40 in bills in the wallet. The day-runner that she used to keep track of all her appointments was also there, but her keys weren't. She kept her house and car keys on a ring attached to a leather pouch that held a little canister of Mace.

There was some unknown component in this puzzle that they couldn't grasp, some missing piece. They questioned one another and themselves, looking for some clue that would reveal Anne Marie's whereabouts. As time went on, their theories grew more outlandish and improbable, anything to make it seem that she was safe. It didn't matter if she had decided to step out of her everyday life without telling them. It didn't even matter if she had run away with no plan to come home again. The only thing that mattered was that they needed to hear from her, because the most terrible emotional anguish known to humans is not knowing.

Surrounded by her things, all the funky, sentimental, humorous, silly possessions that made this apartment so special to Anne Marie, this first real home of her own, it seemed to the people who waited there that at any moment the door downstairs would open and they would hear her voice calling up to them. Their Annie had a lovely pansy-eyed face, but her voice could carry a mile when she chose to shout. She could make people laugh with that voice, a beautiful woman who could bellow like a fishwife and then giggle.

Every creak of the old semidetached house made them hope it was her hand opening the door, her feet on the steps. They felt her essence around them wherever they turned. Annie was the most alive person they knew. And still, the more they willed her to come home, the farther away she seemed to be.

For everything they found that seemed normal and safe, they discovered something else that was totally atypical of Anne Marie. The disorder alone would be anathema to her. Above all else, this told them she was gone. The fact that Anne Marie's green 1995 Volkswagen Jetta was parked in its usual spot across the street frightened them, too. That meant she wasn't off on some errand of her own; she had to be with someone else. But who?

As if there might be some clue there, Kathleen looked to see what CD was in Annie's player. It was one of her sister's favorite singers -- Shawn Colvin. Annie loved Shawn's strong, sweet Irish voice and the songs she wrote and performed. She had programmed the CD to play the track with the song "Get Out of the House."

Many of Shawn Colvin's songs spoke to Anne Marie; her lyrics were poems full of longing, lost love, the fear of danger and a need to be at home and safe again. But Anne Marie wasn't home.

At the moment when time becomes important it is relentless and unforgiving, and with each passing moment the fear and apprehension of Anne Marie's family and friends grew more palpable. It was not possible that Annie should have left of her own volition, that she could have gone away without telling any of these people who loved her.

Anne Marie and Mike should have been with Robert and Susan right now, maybe having coffee after dinner, maybe saying good-bye and getting ready to drive back to Wilmington. But instead, Mike was here, as worried as the rest of them. Kathleen knew that Annie was in love with Mike; she would have returned his calls. She would have called all of them back. Annie hadn't returned any of her calls since Thursday afternoon.

Kathleen couldn't wait any longer to take action. On Sunday, June 30, 1996, at approximately 12:15 A.M., with the full support of her brother Robert and of Michael Scanlan, the man Anne Marie had only just begun to love, she called again to report to the Wilmington Police Department that Anne Marie Fahey was missing. "I called the police," she said. "The Wilmington city police. I waited for what felt like an eternity, and they didn't come, so I called Ed Freel."

The Freels were almost like family to the Faheys. Ed Freel was the Secretary of State for Governor Carper. Kathleen called him at O'Friel's Pub, an Irish tavern owned and operated by the family. "I told him what was going on, and within a couple of minutes, there were two state policemen here."

Once it was official it seemed all the more terrible.

While they had waited for Anne Marie, for the police, for some word, five of the people who meant the most to Anne Marie forced themselves to believe that she was OK, or even if she wasn't completely OK, that she was alive somewhere. And then they caught their breaths and took back even the thought that she wasn't alive. Annie was too vibrant and beautiful not to be somewhere out there. It was just that they had somehow lost touch with her.

Only those who have suddenly lost their connection to someone they love -- not lost to death, simply lost -- can begin to understand the agony of this vigil. Anne Marie Fahey was a young woman blessed with fair beauty as natural as a rose. She was the survivor of adversities that would have beaten a lesser woman, and yet still full of hope and, most of all, love. And now, in the first week of the summer that promised to be her happiest, she was inexplicably missing. This was the emptiest and most agonizing conclusion that her family and friends could come to.

And for Kathleen, one of two sisters among the six Fahey siblings, there were questions that returned to haunt her. She had spent the time as she waited for the police looking around the apartment to see if there was a note, maybe something Annie had jotted down in her day-runner, some clue to where she might be. The little blocks in her sister's calendar were mostly filled, but with prosaic notations -- birthdays Annie wanted to remember, monthly notations of the anniversary of the day she'd met Mike, baby showers, lunches, some dinner dates. There was nothing there that looked even slightly ominous.

But Kathleen was soon almost as shocked as she was worried. She had found a number of notes and cards in Anne Marie's drawers, and they weren't all from Mike Scanlan. Annie was a sentimental pack rat, and she had saved all manner of sentimental mementos from Mike -- ticket stubs from Tosca at the Grand Opera House, the Russian ballet, the Luther Vandross concert -- and even souvenirs from the pope's visit to Baltimore. Those were all in the top drawer of her bedroom dresser.

But in the top drawer of a hutch in Annie's living room, Kathleen had found an envelope that read Anne Marie Fahey, and beneath that, Personal and Confidential. Kathleen opened the envelope and inside was a long and complicated letter from a man who clearly knew her sister very well indeed, a man who appeared to know all of them and seemed intimately acquainted with their family relationships and plans. Scanning the pages was almost like reading a foreign language; this person knew about them and yet he was someone Kathleen barely knew, and not someone she could ever picture in her younger sister's life.

And yet he must be. The first letter ended, "All I want to do is make you happy and be with you. I love you."

That letter wasn't signed, but it didn't really have to be; all the letters and notes in the envelope were written on the letterhead of the law firm of Saul, Ewing, Remick and Saul -- FROM THE DESK OF THOMAS J. CAPANO.

Thomas Capano. Kathleen's thoughts flashed back to the previous fall; her friend Bud Freel, who was a Wilmington city councilman, had mentioned something to her about Tom Capano and Anne Marie. He'd heard a rumor that they were dating. It was so preposterous then -- and now -- that Kathleen had looked at Bud dumbfounded. She had dismissed it from her mind so quickly that there was no time for a solid memory to form. Anne Marie had never talked about Capano to her family. How could she be involved with him and not mention it, when they were all so close? They had banded together when they were only children, the six of them against the world. It was impossible to believe that Annie might have held back such an important secret from her sister and her brothers.

Kathleen had casually asked Annie about Tom Capano, and she had laughed and said they were just friends -- that he sometimes stopped by the governor's office on business. That had been enough for Kathleen; she had almost forgotten about their conversation. No, Capano was the last person in the world anyone would have connected to her sister in any significant way.

Kathleen didn't really know Tom Capano well, but she knew him. Everyone in Wilmington, probably everyone in Delaware, did. The whole Capano family was legendary, and Tom was a political power-hitter, wealthy, older, and married. Kathleen had met him sometime in the early eighties when she worked as a waitress and bartender at O'Friel's, through Bud Freel, whom she used to date. Kathleen hadn't seen Tom Capano for a year, and that was at the closing of Bud's other place: Buddy's Bar.

She stared at the letters in her hand. They seemed to suggest that Annie hadn't told her the whole truth about a hidden place in her life. Kathleen knew she had to tell Mike about the letters and notes from Tom Capano. But, first, they had to talk to the police. They had to do everything they could to try to find Annie. Perhaps then, they could sort out the secrets of her life.

It was sometime after midnight that first night when Colonel Alan Ellingsworth, the superintendent of the Delaware State Police, was notified that one of Governor Carper's secretaries had apparently vanished. Ellingsworth phoned Lieutenant Mark Daniels at home and asked him to respond to 1718 Washington Street to assist the Wilmington Police Department in whatever capacity might be needed.

Daniels was a nineteen-year veteran of the Delaware State Police and was currently the administrative lieutenant in their Criminal Investigative Division in New Castle County. He and DSP officer Steven Montague joined Wilmington detective Robert Donovan at Anne Marie Fahey's apartment.

It was apparent that the missing woman's sister and her friends were terribly worried. Some people vanish on a whim, but this didn't sound like that kind of a disappearance. The investigators listened carefully as Kathleen Fahey-Hosey, Mike Scanlan, Jill Morrison, and the Columbuses reviewed their last contact with Anne Marie. What it came down to was that no one had actually seen or talked to her since Thursday afternoon.

Jill and Ginny said that Anne Marie had worked in the governor's office from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. "She had an appointment with her psychiatrist at five," Jill explained. "And she was going to take Friday off."

Jill recalled that Anne Marie had been in good spirits, and was looking forward to Friday. She was going to have a day all to herself, be babied with a pedicure and a manicure, and then take a book to Valley Garden Park and just relax.

If Anne Marie had special plans for Thursday night, none of the witnesses knew about them. Lieutenant Daniels asked if anyone had listened to the messages on Anne Marie's phone.

Jill told him that she and Anne Marie both had Bell Atlantic's "Answer Call" on their phones that recorded incoming messages. When Kathleen had picked up Annie's phone, she heard a steady beep-beep-beep, and Jill said that meant there were waiting messages.

"I know her code," Jill said. Daniels nodded, and Jill punched in Anne Marie's code so the detectives could listen to incoming messages. Maybe the answer lay there, although it seemed an intrusion, once more, into her privacy -- the privacy that meant so much to her.

The outgoing message was so familiar to most of the people in the room. Now, hearing Anne Marie's voice with her lilting greeting made their hearts skip a beat. They listened, wanting to find answers but afraid of what they might hear.

The first four messages had come in before they lost touch with her. The others only confirmed how long she had been gone. They had begun on Thursday night, June 27, 1996.

RECORDER: Fifth saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hey, Annie, remember me? I'm going to a little cookout thing for our interns. I'll be home around nine. Give me a holler. I'll talk to you when I get home. Thanks. Bye.

RECORDER: Sixth saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hey, Annie, it's almost nine-thirty and a couple of us are headed out to Kid Shelleen's on the way home. I wanted to know if you wanted to step over and join us. I will call you before we head over there and see if you are back.

RECORDER: Seventh saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hey, Annie, we're headed over to Kid Shelleen's right now and it's about a quarter to ten, so if you could stop by, that would be awesome. If not, I'll talk to you later. Bye.

RECORDER: Eighth saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hi, Annie, this is Mike calling. It's around two-fifteen [Friday]. Give me a call....Let me know what you're up to? See ya.

RECORDER: Ninth saved message.

EILEEN WILLIAMS: Hi, Annie. It's Ei. I was just calling. It's Friday around three-thirty. I was calling to see what you were doing tonight. I thought maybe we could get together. Give me a call? Bye.

RECORDER: Tenth saved message.

JILL MORRISON: Hey, girl, give me a call when you get in? I'm at work right now at three after eleven [Saturday morning]. I'll probably be here until one, and then I'll be home afterward. I need to ask you a question. Thanks. Bye.

RECORDER: Eleventh saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hey, Annie. It's Mike. It's Saturday morning. Give me a call. Bye.

RECORDER: Twelfth saved message.

KATHLEEN FAHEY-HOSEY: Hi, Anne. It's Kathleen. Four o'clock on Saturday. When you come back from Robert and Susan's tonight, please bring the boys' sneakers? I forgot to bring them home today and poor Brendan has no shoes. But hold on. Kevin wants to say Hi. Say Hi --

Kevin Hosey [small voice]: Bye. Love you.

RECORDER: Thirteenth saved message.

SUSAN FAHEY: Annie, it's me. Calling to talk to you about tonight, but if I missed you, I will just talk to you when you guys come up. It's five o'clock. Five after five. Bye.

RECORDER: Fourteenth saved message.

Click [hang up].

RECORDER: Fifteenth saved message.

GINNY COLUMBUS: Hey, Annie. It's me. I need to talk to you. Please call me as soon as you get this message. [Gives her number] Thanks. Bye.

RECORDER: Sixteenth saved message.

SUSAN FAHEY: Annie, it's Saturday at eleven P.M. Give us a call. Bye.

The last call had been only two-and-a-half hours ago. And none of the messages needed explaining to the group listening. "Anne Marie would have called back," Jill said. "She always listened to her messages immediately, and she always called you back."

Copyright © 1999 by Ann Rule

Introduction

Prologue

It was after midnight on June 30, 1996, but even so there was a yellow glow behind the sheer curtains framing two small windows on the top floor of 1718 Washington Street in Wilmington, Delaware. That was unusual. The young woman who lived in the third-floor walk-up was known to be an early riser, the first one to arrive at her job, and was almost always in bed well before the eleven-o'clock news flashed on the little television that sat on the radiator near her bed. If the sixty-watt bulbs behind the lacy curtains were whirling red and blue lights, they could not have signaled more alarm to those who knew her patterns.

Silhouettes moved past the windows. There were people in the room, pacing, staring out at the dark street below and the little park beyond, drinking yet another cup of black coffee. Sleep was not an option for any of those who waited there for a knock, a call, anything that might reassure them that the burgeoning dread they felt was only the result of their overactive imaginations.

Fear often begins with the slightest niggle that something taken for granted can no longer be trusted. A slice of a shadow darkens a spot that only a moment before was sunny, and a chill draft destroys what was warm and cozy. What was solid becomes suddenly fragile. It started that way for the brothers, sister, boyfriend, friends, and coworkers of the young woman who lived in that apartment. There was nothing dramatic to go on. She had failed to return a few phone calls, she wasn't home when her boyfriend had called with a last-minute date idea two nights earlier. But gradually they realized that no one had seen or heard from her for at least forty-eight hours.

Anne Marie Fahey was thirty years old; she wasn't a teenager who had to be checked on. Why, then, did her sister and her friends feel such a sense of urgency? They didn't live in one another's hip pockets, didn't always talk on the phone every day.

Anne Marie -- Annie to those close to her -- led a busy life, both professionally and socially. She was Delaware governor Thomas Carper's scheduling secretary, responsible for getting him to all manner of appointments and events on time and for providing him with enough security so that she knew he was safe. She was so efficient and dependable that she'd worked for Carper since the time he was a congressman.

Anne Marie had more than a dozen close friends, a devoted family, and after many disappointments, she believed she had finally found the love she had looked for so long. She lived a life so full and complicated that it was akin to constantly juggling myriad balls in the air. Somehow, she managed it.

The day before -- Friday -- had passed without any real concern, although even Mike Scanlan, the bank executive she told friends she hoped to marry, couldn't seem to catch up with Anne Marie. And he was puzzled and a little hurt when she stood him up for a dinner with her brother Robert's family on Saturday night. He searched his mind for something he might have said to offend her, and couldn't come up with anything. He called Robert to say he hadn't heard from Anne Marie.

Mike -- and Robert and his wife, Susan -- had tried hard to explain Annie's absence with cautious rationalizations. Maybe she had gotten the date mixed up. Perhaps she had been called away to work late; almost everyone else in the governor's office was working through the night on this last weekend in 1996 that the state legislature was in session.

Those who gathered to wait in the strange quiet of Anne Marie Fahey's little apartment thought of a dozen reasons that would mean she was all right and would be coming home soon. But they all knew better. Annie never stood anyone up. She hated to hurt anyone's feelings. If there was one true thing about her, it was that she tried never to worry or offend anyone. Even if it meant that she herself suffered, she thought always of the other person. If she could see how frightened her sister, her boyfriend, and her friends were now, she would have apologized over and over for scaring them.


Anne Marie's older brother Robert Fahey lived a half hour out of Wilmington. He and Susan had expected Annie and Mike for an early dinner that all of them had looked forward to, but they never arrived, nor did they call. This was so unlike Anne Marie -- or Mike for that matter -- that Robert and Susan began to worry. When Susan Fahey called her sister-in-law, all she got was an answering machine.

Mike Scanlan was concerned, too. He had surmised that Anne Marie had been home earlier in the day because he'd driven by her apartment and her car was there. And yet she hadn't returned any of his calls. At 9 P.M. Mike called Annie's older sister, Kathleen Fahey-Hosey.

"Michael called me and asked me if I had heard from Anne. I responded no," Kathleen recalled. "As soon as Michael told me they had plans and that Anne Marie didn't show, I knew something was terribly wrong....She was just so happy with Michael -- Michael was her future. She would never break plans on her own."

Kathleen told Mike she would call him right back, and then she called her sister's friend Ginny Columbus -- who was a coworker at the governor's office -- to see if she knew of any plans Annie might have had. Ginny was instantly alarmed, too, and she called Jill Morrison. Ginny and Jill lived closer to Annie's apartment than Kathleen did, so they volunteered to go over and check on her.

When no one answered their knocks at Anne Marie's apartment, the two women asked her landlady, Theresa Oliver, if she had seen her. Theresa hadn't seen Anne Marie for a day or so, but that wasn't particularly unusual. Anne Marie's step was so light that she could come in through the front door and be up the closed-off stairs to her apartment without anyone hearing her. Now, on Saturday night, Theresa walked up to the third floor and found Anne Marie's door locked, with the dead bolt in place. She opened the door and called Anne Marie's name -- but there was no answer. Fearing that she was intruding, she walked through the living room to the kitchen, peered in the bedroom, but didn't see Anne Marie.

Jill and Ginny immediately called Kathleen back. "The lights are off, Kathleen, and her door was locked," Ginny said. "Annie's not there -- but her car is parked outside."

"OK," Kathleen said, "I'll be right over."

Kathleen then did something that might seem an overreaction; she called the Wilmington Police Department to report Anne Marie as a missing person. The detective on duty told her she would have to come down to the station or call from her sister's apartment. The moment she called Mike Scanlan back, he said he was on his way to pick her up. Both of them felt such a sense of urgency, although they had nothing tangible to go on.


When Kathleen and Mike arrived at Annie's apartment and spoke with Ginny and Jill, they learned that Annie apparently wasn't with anyone they might expect her to be with. With a dull sense of acceptance, they realized that since Thursday night, June 27, Annie hadn't been in any of the places or with any of the people who made up her world as they knew it.

With Kathleen beside her, Theresa Oliver unlocked the dead bolt on the door of Annie's apartment. Kathleen called her name softly.

There was no answer.

A gush of fetid air washed over them, and they involuntarily held their breaths against the foul, rancid odor. It was initially indefinable, but then they smelled garbage and something rotting.

Kathleen rushed first toward the bathroom; all she could think of was that Annie had fallen in the shower and hit her head on something. She flung the door open, clicked on the light, and pulled back the curtain. The shower was empty. Everything in the bathroom was spotless. For some reason, she looked for Annie's toothbrush. It was there, where it always was.

Kathleen moved next to the single bedroom. Annie's bed was all white, with a comforter of white-on-white puffed hearts and ruffly white pillow shams. But it wasn't made the way she usually made it. Maybe it was her imagination, but it looked to Kathleen as if two fists had yanked the comforter up and then pushed it flat, leaving two indentations.

The little television set that Kathleen's husband, Patrick Hosey, had given Annie one Christmas sat in its usual spot on the radiator underneath the bedroom window. There was a new air conditioner there, too, and it was turned on. That was why there was such a chill in the apartment on this hot summer night.

Annie's jewelry boxes were lined up on top of the radiator, as always. Her blouses and dresses hung in the closet from hangers that were all pointing the same direction. Most of her shoes were in their original boxes, where she always kept them, but some of the boxes were scattered on the floor now -- as if she had been in a hurry to change her shoes and intended to put things back together when she got home.

Anne Marie was the first to admit she was a compulsive neat freak. Her friends teased her and called her Anal Annie when she went through her little rituals. She arranged her CDs alphabetically, stacked her pennies so that Lincoln's profile faced the same way, and made her bed even as she was crawling out of it. She actually folded her soiled laundry, rather than just tossing it in the hamper. Kathleen always smiled at that; her sister did her laundry at Kathleen's house every Wednesday night, and usually had dinner there, too.

The U.S. Open T-shirt Annie had worn when Kathleen saw her last on Wednesday night now lay on the top of the clothes hamper. And there was a long floral-patterned Laura Ashley summer dress folded on a small settee rather than being placed with the rest of the laundry. A small thing, but very unusual for Annie. Kathleen recognized the dress; it was new and one that Anne Marie had bought to wear to the Point-to-Point amateur steeplechase with Mike Scanlan on May 6.

The red oblong box on the floor looked familiar, too. It was from Talbot's, one of the Wilmington area's better women's shops. It hadn't been opened. Kathleen slid the ribbons free, opened the box, and saw that the Talbot's seal still held the layers of tissue inside together. But she knew what the taupe garment beneath was; it was an expensive pantsuit, the same suit she had talked Annie out of buying a week earlier because it cost far too much for her budget. They'd had a little argument about that. When had she gone back to buy it?

There were five people in Anne Marie's apartment: Kathleen, Mike, her friends Jill Morrison and Ginny Columbus, and Ginny's mother, Virginia. They respected Annie's privacy, but they had to look around for some clue to where she might have gone, even as they knew it was an intrusion.

Annie didn't own much, and the furniture she did have was secondhand or the kind of inexpensive stuff that had to be assembled after purchase, but the way she had decorated her place was her and it was charming. There were photographs: family pictures with her brothers and sister one Easter, a candid shot of Anne Marie and Mike taken at her surprise birthday party at Kathleen's in January, and on the wall a picture of their mother, also named Kathleen. There were Annie's scruffy old stuffed animals wearing women's rights buttons, a motley collection of knickknacks that pleased her.

Anne Marie always kept her kitchen almost antiseptically clean. But this was the source of the miasma in her apartment; the whole room smelled of rotting food. The counter was littered with fruit and vegetables long since grown overripe and mushy. The strawberries were brown and had a sickly sweet odor; mushrooms dank as a swamp added to the stench. A garbage can with its plastic liner pulled up was next to the kitchen table, and it, too, was full of decaying food.

Mike shook his head. He knew that Anne Marie hated to keep any garbage in her apartment; when he picked her up for a date, she invariably carried a neat bag of garbage to put in the cans outside. There was no way she would have left her kitchen in this condition.

Looking into the refrigerator, Kathleen found two doggie bags of leftovers from a Philadelphia restaurant, Panorama. The food inside wasn't spoiled, but it looked dry, as if it had been there for a few days at least. Anne Marie wouldn't have left all this food out on the counter. She wouldn't even have kept restaurant food in her refrigerator so long. Kathleen looked at Mike questioningly. Had he and Anne Marie been to this restaurant? He read her mind and shook his head slightly.

Oddly, there were other things on the kitchen counter: prescription medications, sample size, arranged like a row of dominoes; pouches of Rice-A-Roni; pretzels. They hadn't been opened, but they hadn't been put neatly in the cupboards, either.

Perhaps most frightening of all, Anne Marie's purse was there in the kitchen, along with her wallet and all of her credit cards. There was about $40 in bills in the wallet. The day-runner that she used to keep track of all her appointments was also there, but her keys weren't. She kept her house and car keys on a ring attached to a leather pouch that held a little canister of Mace.

There was some unknown component in this puzzle that they couldn't grasp, some missing piece. They questioned one another and themselves, looking for some clue that would reveal Anne Marie's whereabouts. As time went on, their theories grew more outlandish and improbable, anything to make it seem that she was safe. It didn't matter if she had decided to step out of her everyday life without telling them. It didn't even matter if she had run away with no plan to come home again. The only thing that mattered was that they needed to hear from her, because the most terrible emotional anguish known to humans is not knowing.

Surrounded by her things, all the funky, sentimental, humorous, silly possessions that made this apartment so special to Anne Marie, this first real home of her own, it seemed to the people who waited there that at any moment the door downstairs would open and they would hear her voice calling up to them. Their Annie had a lovely pansy-eyed face, but her voice could carry a mile when she chose to shout. She could make people laugh with that voice, a beautiful woman who could bellow like a fishwife and then giggle.

Every creak of the old semidetached house made them hope it was her hand opening the door, her feet on the steps. They felt her essence around them wherever they turned. Annie was the most alive person they knew. And still, the more they willed her to come home, the farther away she seemed to be.

For everything they found that seemed normal and safe, they discovered something else that was totally atypical of Anne Marie. The disorder alone would be anathema to her. Above all else, this told them she was gone. The fact that Anne Marie's green 1995 Volkswagen Jetta was parked in its usual spot across the street frightened them, too. That meant she wasn't off on some errand of her own; she had to be with someone else. But who?

As if there might be some clue there, Kathleen looked to see what CD was in Annie's player. It was one of her sister's favorite singers -- Shawn Colvin. Annie loved Shawn's strong, sweet Irish voice and the songs she wrote and performed. She had programmed the CD to play the track with the song "Get Out of the House."

Many of Shawn Colvin's songs spoke to Anne Marie; her lyrics were poems full of longing, lost love, the fear of danger and a need to be at home and safe again. But Anne Marie wasn't home.

At the moment when time becomes important it is relentless and unforgiving, and with each passing moment the fear and apprehension of Anne Marie's family and friends grew more palpable. It was not possible that Annie should have left of her own volition, that she could have gone away without telling any of these people who loved her.

Anne Marie and Mike should have been with Robert and Susan right now, maybe having coffee after dinner, maybe saying good-bye and getting ready to drive back to Wilmington. But instead, Mike was here, as worried as the rest of them. Kathleen knew that Annie was in love with Mike; she would have returned his calls. She would have called all of them back. Annie hadn't returned any of her calls since Thursday afternoon.


Kathleen couldn't wait any longer to take action. On Sunday, June 30, 1996, at approximately 12:15 A.M., with the full support of her brother Robert and of Michael Scanlan, the man Anne Marie had only just begun to love, she called again to report to the Wilmington Police Department that Anne Marie Fahey was missing. "I called the police," she said. "The Wilmington city police. I waited for what felt like an eternity, and they didn't come, so I called Ed Freel."

The Freels were almost like family to the Faheys. Ed Freel was the Secretary of State for Governor Carper. Kathleen called him at O'Friel's Pub, an Irish tavern owned and operated by the family. "I told him what was going on, and within a couple of minutes, there were two state policemen here."

Once it was official it seemed all the more terrible.


While they had waited for Anne Marie, for the police, for some word, five of the people who meant the most to Anne Marie forced themselves to believe that she was OK, or even if she wasn't completely OK, that she was alive somewhere. And then they caught their breaths and took back even the thought that she wasn't alive. Annie was too vibrant and beautiful not to be somewhere out there. It was just that they had somehow lost touch with her.

Only those who have suddenly lost their connection to someone they love -- not lost to death, simply lost -- can begin to understand the agony of this vigil. Anne Marie Fahey was a young woman blessed with fair beauty as natural as a rose. She was the survivor of adversities that would have beaten a lesser woman, and yet still full of hope and, most of all, love. And now, in the first week of the summer that promised to be her happiest, she was inexplicably missing. This was the emptiest and most agonizing conclusion that her family and friends could come to.

And for Kathleen, one of two sisters among the six Fahey siblings, there were questions that returned to haunt her. She had spent the time as she waited for the police looking around the apartment to see if there was a note, maybe something Annie had jotted down in her day-runner, some clue to where she might be. The little blocks in her sister's calendar were mostly filled, but with prosaic notations -- birthdays Annie wanted to remember, monthly notations of the anniversary of the day she'd met Mike, baby showers, lunches, some dinner dates. There was nothing there that looked even slightly ominous.

But Kathleen was soon almost as shocked as she was worried. She had found a number of notes and cards in Anne Marie's drawers, and they weren't all from Mike Scanlan. Annie was a sentimental pack rat, and she had saved all manner of sentimental mementos from Mike -- ticket stubs from Tosca at the Grand Opera House, the Russian ballet, the Luther Vandross concert -- and even souvenirs from the pope's visit to Baltimore. Those were all in the top drawer of her bedroom dresser.

But in the top drawer of a hutch in Annie's living room, Kathleen had found an envelope that read Anne Marie Fahey, and beneath that, Personal and Confidential. Kathleen opened the envelope and inside was a long and complicated letter from a man who clearly knew her sister very well indeed, a man who appeared to know all of them and seemed intimately acquainted with their family relationships and plans. Scanning the pages was almost like reading a foreign language; this person knew about them and yet he was someone Kathleen barely knew, and not someone she could ever picture in her younger sister's life.

And yet he must be. The first letter ended, "All I want to do is make you happy and be with you. I love you."

That letter wasn't signed, but it didn't really have to be; all the letters and notes in the envelope were written on the letterhead of the law firm of Saul, Ewing, Remick and Saul -- FROM THE DESK OF THOMAS J. CAPANO.

Thomas Capano. Kathleen's thoughts flashed back to the previous fall; her friend Bud Freel, who was a Wilmington city councilman, had mentioned something to her about Tom Capano and Anne Marie. He'd heard a rumor that they were dating. It was so preposterous then -- and now -- that Kathleen had looked at Bud dumbfounded. She had dismissed it from her mind so quickly that there was no time for a solid memory to form. Anne Marie had never talked about Capano to her family. How could she be involved with him and not mention it, when they were all so close? They had banded together when they were only children, the six of them against the world. It was impossible to believe that Annie might have held back such an important secret from her sister and her brothers.

Kathleen had casually asked Annie about Tom Capano, and she had laughed and said they were just friends -- that he sometimes stopped by the governor's office on business. That had been enough for Kathleen; she had almost forgotten about their conversation. No, Capano was the last person in the world anyone would have connected to her sister in any significant way.

Kathleen didn't really know Tom Capano well, but she knew him. Everyone in Wilmington, probably everyone in Delaware, did. The whole Capano family was legendary, and Tom was a political power-hitter, wealthy, older, and married. Kathleen had met him sometime in the early eighties when she worked as a waitress and bartender at O'Friel's, through Bud Freel, whom she used to date. Kathleen hadn't seen Tom Capano for a year, and that was at the closing of Bud's other place: Buddy's Bar.

She stared at the letters in her hand. They seemed to suggest that Annie hadn't told her the whole truth about a hidden place in her life. Kathleen knew she had to tell Mike about the letters and notes from Tom Capano. But, first, they had to talk to the police. They had to do everything they could to try to find Annie. Perhaps then, they could sort out the secrets of her life.


It was sometime after midnight that first night when Colonel Alan Ellingsworth, the superintendent of the Delaware State Police, was notified that one of Governor Carper's secretaries had apparently vanished. Ellingsworth phoned Lieutenant Mark Daniels at home and asked him to respond to 1718 Washington Street to assist the Wilmington Police Department in whatever capacity might be needed.

Daniels was a nineteen-year veteran of the Delaware State Police and was currently the administrative lieutenant in their Criminal Investigative Division in New Castle County. He and DSP officer Steven Montague joined Wilmington detective Robert Donovan at Anne Marie Fahey's apartment.

It was apparent that the missing woman's sister and her friends were terribly worried. Some people vanish on a whim, but this didn't sound like that kind of a disappearance. The investigators listened carefully as Kathleen Fahey-Hosey, Mike Scanlan, Jill Morrison, and the Columbuses reviewed their last contact with Anne Marie. What it came down to was that no one had actually seen or talked to her since Thursday afternoon.

Jill and Ginny said that Anne Marie had worked in the governor's office from 7:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. "She had an appointment with her psychiatrist at five," Jill explained. "And she was going to take Friday off."

Jill recalled that Anne Marie had been in good spirits, and was looking forward to Friday. She was going to have a day all to herself, be babied with a pedicure and a manicure, and then take a book to Valley Garden Park and just relax.

If Anne Marie had special plans for Thursday night, none of the witnesses knew about them. Lieutenant Daniels asked if anyone had listened to the messages on Anne Marie's phone.

Jill told him that she and Anne Marie both had Bell Atlantic's "Answer Call" on their phones that recorded incoming messages. When Kathleen had picked up Annie's phone, she heard a steady beep-beep-beep, and Jill said that meant there were waiting messages.

"I know her code," Jill said. Daniels nodded, and Jill punched in Anne Marie's code so the detectives could listen to incoming messages. Maybe the answer lay there, although it seemed an intrusion, once more, into her privacy -- the privacy that meant so much to her.

The outgoing message was so familiar to most of the people in the room. Now, hearing Anne Marie's voice with her lilting greeting made their hearts skip a beat. They listened, wanting to find answers but afraid of what they might hear.

The first four messages had come in before they lost touch with her. The others only confirmed how long she had been gone. They had begun on Thursday night, June 27, 1996.

RECORDER: Fifth saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hey, Annie, remember me? I'm going to a little cookout thing for our interns. I'll be home around nine. Give me a holler. I'll talk to you when I get home. Thanks. Bye.

RECORDER: Sixth saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hey, Annie, it's almost nine-thirty and a couple of us are headed out to Kid Shelleen's on the way home. I wanted to know if you wanted to step over and join us. I will call you before we head over there and see if you are back.

RECORDER: Seventh saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hey, Annie, we're headed over to Kid Shelleen's right now and it's about a quarter to ten, so if you could stop by, that would be awesome. If not, I'll talk to you later. Bye.

RECORDER: Eighth saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hi, Annie, this is Mike calling. It's around two-fifteen [Friday]. Give me a call....Let me know what you're up to? See ya.

RECORDER: Ninth saved message.

EILEEN WILLIAMS: Hi, Annie. It's Ei. I was just calling. It's Friday around three-thirty. I was calling to see what you were doing tonight. I thought maybe we could get together. Give me a call? Bye.

RECORDER: Tenth saved message.

JILL MORRISON: Hey, girl, give me a call when you get in? I'm at work right now at three after eleven [Saturday morning]. I'll probably be here until one, and then I'll be home afterward. I need to ask you a question. Thanks. Bye.

RECORDER: Eleventh saved message.

MICHAEL SCANLAN: Hey, Annie. It's Mike. It's Saturday morning. Give me a call. Bye.

RECORDER: Twelfth saved message.

KATHLEEN FAHEY-HOSEY: Hi, Anne. It's Kathleen. Four o'clock on Saturday. When you come back from Robert and Susan's tonight, please bring the boys' sneakers? I forgot to bring them home today and poor Brendan has no shoes. But hold on. Kevin wants to say Hi. Say Hi --

Kevin Hosey [small voice]: Bye. Love you.

RECORDER: Thirteenth saved message.

SUSAN FAHEY: Annie, it's me. Calling to talk to you about tonight, but if I missed you, I will just talk to you when you guys come up. It's five o'clock. Five after five. Bye.

RECORDER: Fourteenth saved message.

Click [hang up].

RECORDER: Fifteenth saved message.

GINNY COLUMBUS: Hey, Annie. It's me. I need to talk to you. Please call me as soon as you get this message. [Gives her number] Thanks. Bye.

RECORDER: Sixteenth saved message.

SUSAN FAHEY: Annie, it's Saturday at eleven P.M. Give us a call. Bye.


The last call had been only two-and-a-half hours ago. And none of the messages needed explaining to the group listening. "Anne Marie would have called back," Jill said. "She always listened to her messages immediately, and she always called you back."

Copyright © 1999 by Ann Rule

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