They sent Detective Ron Davis to meet me at Sky Harbor Airport. My friend Deb insisted on being there to greet the plane. Deb followed us in her car to the Mesa Police Station. I sat in the back seat with Detective Davis driving who would over a year later, after the guilty verdict came in, apologize to me in a tavern for something I had no idea was even occurring during that visit.
I was famished. You don’t eat much in crisis moments like these and then you’re starving out of nowhere. It’s the way grief hits you sometimes. As we rode in silence I realized it was 1pm and I hadn’t had a bite of food for over twenty four hours. I asked Detective Davis to stop so I could grab a bite somewhere as we made the half hour drive from Phoenix to Mesa. I was thinking a drive thru somewhere–something quick and easy. I had no idea how long I’d be at the Police station.
It felt strange that he had to phone in to ask permission to make this stop. Everything felt stilted. He was too formal about this. What’s the big deal? I thought. It’s just a sandwich and I’m paying for it myself. It was confusing. Like are we on some kind of tight schedule here? I knew I only had one day to complete this interview. I was in town for just twenty four hours and would be flying back to Illinois the next afternoon so I just chalked it up to a time factor. But still, it was odd.
The Detective was given directions where to take me and pulled over to a dinky, non-chain sub sandwich shop in a former run- down gas station on a dilapidated corner in downtown Mesa near the police station. Why here? I wondered. I figured it was where all the police officers ate so they had some kind of familiarity with this place.
In reality, it was a nondescript dry turkey sandwich that Detective Davis went inside and purchased for me. One that I choked down in an interview room alone under two way mirrored surveillance. They wouldn’t even let Deb hang with me while I ate. She was outside in the hall.
I had no way of knowing, that at that moment, I was being considered a suspect in Cindy’s murder.