Joe and Connie were law school classmates of my former brother-in-law’s in Houston. I remember first meeting them at one of my brother-in-law’s many parties back in the late ‘70s. Connie was like so many of my brother-in-law’s friends: loud, very talkative, and a little coarse for my taste. Joe, on the other hand, was small, pale, and very quiet and reserved. The two of them seemed to get on well together, though, and over the next few years I ran into them at several more parties and heard they’d gotten married.
My former brother-in-law celebrates his birthday every summer by hosting a big lake party at a house owned by his aunt and uncle on Lake Travis. I often wondered why my ex-husband and I were rarely invited to this [I now suspect my ex- did actually attend this each year without me and told me he was “working”], but one year we did actually go to it. Unfortunately, I had a great deal of statistical work I needed to get done for a big project that particular weekend, so I reluctantly packed up the necessary documents and charts and a calculator and took the work along. When everyone else went down to the boat for an after-lunch cruise and swim, I decided to stay behind and try to finish the work so I’d at least be able to enjoy the evening later, but I immediately began running into problems. Joe and Connie happened to be at the lake as well, and to my pleasant surprise, Joe expressed an interest in what I was trying to do. After I explained my project to him, he mentioned that he had a background in statistics, and he was able to show me where I’d gone wrong with some of my calculations. I was even more pleasantly surprised when he offered to stay behind and help me fix my mistakes so I could finish by dinnertime. I remember feeling very grateful to him, and I also remember suddenly realizing there was probably a lot more to him than I’d previously thought.
I never saw Joe again after that. Sometime after he and Connie finished law school, I heard they’d moved to Florida. Connie came back to Texas several times to visit my brother-in-law and his wife, but she always seemed to come alone. Several years passed, and I pretty much forgot about Connie and Joe.
One day out of the blue, however, my brother-in-law and his wife casually mentioned to me at a family gathering that Joe had died. I was shocked, and I asked them what had happened. They said Joe and Connie had been having marital problems and that Joe had killed himself with carbon monoxide while sitting in a car in his garage with the engine running. My brother-in-law also casually mentioned that Connie wanted to collect some life insurance money and move back to Texas but that the Florida police and the life insurance company were suspicious of her because Joe apparently had a large quantity of Benadryl (an antihistamine that can cause drowsiness) in his system, and they’d told Connie she couldn’t leave.
A couple of years later, I ran into Connie at my brother-in-law’s again. She said she’d finally moved back to Houston but that she often came up to Central Texas to visit. I later heard she was making regular trips up here, and I think I also remember hearing she’d remarried.
I think the last time I remember seeing Connie was a few months before my husband suddenly left me in 1999, but I can’t remember for sure. She had changed a lot, but I immediately recognized her voice. What I do remember for sure was that after my husband left and I was packing up his things to get them to him, I found large quantities of various drugs and syringes hidden in unusual places in his stuff. In the back of one cupboard in the dressing area of our bedroom, I found a number of small glass vials of Benadryl with rubber stoppers, and at least of couple of these appeared to have been used.
Years later, I had occasion to mention all this to an official with Florida state law enforcement whom I was dealing with in regard to Diop Kamau; the official said he’d check into it. A few days after this conversation, I received a letter in the mail from the official saying he’d opened an investigation into Kamau. The very next day, I received a second letter from this same official saying someone high up had cancelled the investigation completely, despite the fact that Kamau had used an investigative company in Florida that wasn’t licensed there (Police Complaint Center) and an operative with this company (Greg Slate) who wasn’t a licensed p.i.