Detective Inspector Ronan Alister Walsh drove out of the city and soon turned off onto a little used road that ran beside the river. It was his favourite place to go when he needed peace and quiet to think, and there was a cold case that was bothering him. He had led the team in the first investigations, and worked with the second team until it had to be declared cold and shelved until or if new clues were found.
He had expected today, his day off, would be a day of leisure and quiet, but fate decreed otherwise. His wife had received an emergency call to the hospital at 2 am, so his plan to sleep late was scratched. With her gone, he had to be up early to get the children off to school and the baby to his Mother’s for the day. By the time that was accomplished, he was fully awake, and decided to take this drive to his ‘thinking spot’.
He drove on and finally came to a place where there was a sort of grassy bay jutting out into the river. He pulled in there, got out of the car, dug out his pipe and tobacco, and, once he had that gong, leaned against the car and stared out at the slowly moving water. A family of ducks swam by and ripples showed where a fish had touched the surface. The peace and calm of the scene soaked in, and he started to run over in his mind al that he knew of the cold case.
On the fifteenth of August, 2007, a twenty three year old woman, Laura Anne Dianne Yarborough, had gone to the beach for a volley ball game. The other players all said she had seemed happy, and played her best, laughing and crowing whenever she scored a point. At the end of the game they said she was hot, sweaty, and vibrantly alive, happy that her team had won. She had said goodbye and gone off, saying she was meeting an old friend for dinner, but was going to her dorm room to shower and change first. That was the last anyone had seen of her. She never arrived at the dorm; something happened between the beach and the college, but no one knew what.
That was seven years ago and there had been nothing; no clues, nothing at all to suggest what had happened, or where she had gone. She had never mentioned the name of the friend, or whether it was male or female. It was one of those cases that got under ones skin. No matter how hard they had searched, how many people were interviewed, no further sign of her had turned up. Ronan sighed, and focused again on the river. He stood up suddenly, staring. What was that, just coming into sight? A young woman, obviously unconscious, balanced on a lifebuoy, floating with the current! He dropped his pipe, tore off his jacket and kicked off his shoes and ran into the water, wading then swimming out to stop the buoy and its burden and bring them to shore.