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January 20, 2013. FBI Headquarters. 10 a.m. EST. Washington, D.C.
―Boss, I think we have a hot one,‖ said Ahmad Mahmood, a tall, India-born FBI
analyst who had been assigned to assist Lead Investigator Ruddy Montana.
Montana came across the room to Mahmood‘s desk, and looked over his shoulder at
the computer screen. Montana was handsome for his fifty years, with a square jaw and
friendly brown eyes, gray buzz cut and tan complexion. But he was only 5 foot 4 inches
tall. And for most people he met, that was all they needed to know—he was short. It
made no difference that Montana had been a cum laude graduate of Yale, a decorated
Army Ranger, a municipal police captain cited multiple times for valor during duty, or a
former Olympic fencing champion. All most people saw was his height. But what he
lacked in stature, he more than made up for in an uncanny ability to close cases. Montana
held the record for closing more cases than any other FBI Detective, which was the
reason he was assigned the Cincinnati case. Unfortunately, however, this case was
proving difficult to crack. Most big cases would have broken by now, and it was
irritating Montana that the Cincinnati massacre was largely still a question mark.
The FBI investigators were able to find the detonator in the rubble, of course.
Nothing special about its origin. The materials could have been purchased at any Home
Depot. The RDX from the C-4 explosives, however, was unique. The RDX came from a
Defentris, Inc. chemical plant in Alexandria, Virginia, but unfortunately the Defentris
security tapes did not reveal the thief. All current and former employees of Defentris
were interviewed, but nothing looked like a promising lead. There were no prints on the
white trash barrel other than students and teachers from the school. A full twenty-block
canvas of neighbors by the FBI and local police turned up no witnesses who had seen the
bomber. The school had no video cameras. There were no cameras on the graveyard
across the street or on any of the intersections. The 1-800 number established by the FBI
for hot tips came up with nothing but junk and false leads. Because the fire department
had responded so quickly, firemen and paramedics ran all over the crime scene before the
FBI could get there, so no shoe imprints were available.
Montana had been focusing on the janitor‘s uniform. Montana reasoned that an adult
could not just wander into the elementary school carrying a heavy trash barrel without
looking strange. He must have worn Mills Janitorial coveralls, and probably a red Mills
Janitorial hat to cover his face. In order to get that, he probably stole either a hat or
coveralls or both from Mills Janitorial. Montana‘s team had poured over the security
tapes at Mills looking for anything strange and had found nothing. No one person
remembered losing their uniform. No one remembered any stranger asking about
coveralls or hats. The other option was to hire a seamstress to make the Mills Janitorial
patch, and then sew it on a cap and coveralls. A telephone canvas of forty seamstresses
and sewing companies in Cincinnati came up with nothing. Montana tried dozens of
other ideas, but so far the well was dry, until now.
―Two days ago,‖ said Mahmood, ―we received an anonymous tip about the bombing
which later proved to be interesting. I will tell you the tip in a minute. Anyway, we
traced the tipster‘s call to a payphone in downtown D.C. We pulled up satellite images
from two days ago, and here he is. You can see that the caller is a medium to heavy set