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"The family might be a problem," she said. "Very private people. I'll talk to them again. Anything else?"

"Clay Hickman's medical history."

"We can't let you have that," said DeMaris.

"Of course we can," said Dr. Hulet.

"Paige, don't be foolish."

"I've already cleared it with Dr. Spencer."

DeMaris sighed and stood and went to the window.

I pocketed the money. Felt good. "Did you find a shovel?"

"Negative," said DeMaris.

"I'd like to see his room."

Hickman's room was 25, second floor, a yellow door that DeMaris unlocked with a key card. Inside it was decent-sized and set up like a hotel suite. A window looked west over the mountains and some of the trees were close enough you could ID the birds in them. The walls were bare. No kitchen. There was a desk by the window and a laptop computer on it. I thought he would have taken it with him. I nudged one corner of the laptop but it did not move. "We bolt them to the desks," said DeMaris. "Had an incident."

"You can log on to it, see what he's been doing online?"

"Remotely or right here," said DeMaris. "Care to take a peek?"

"Later, from my office, if possible."

"Can't let you do that," said DeMaris. "Our network isn't secure if we give out usernames and passwords." He gave the doctor a preemptive look.

In the small bedroom the bed was tightly made, as a former airman might do. There was a dresser against one wall with pictures on it—matted but no glass—long-ago shots of Clay Hickman as a boy with his family, mom and dad, two sisters, varying dogs through the years. A dock with a boat, a swimming pool, a tennis court. Clay was the baby. As a child he looked unhealthy and unhappy. Not like the sisters. The older he became the better he looked. "How often do they visit him?" I asked.

"Once a year," said Dr. Hulet.

"That's all?"

"It's difficult for all of them. Their visits bring great anxiety to Clay. Very destabilizing."

"Once a year when?"

"Spring. Usually April. Their visit was scheduled for next week."

"Who all comes to see him?"

"Mr. and Mrs. Hickman and the older sister, Kayla. Never the younger sister. I believe she is estranged from the family. Her name is Daphne."

"I want their numbers."

"Daphne's, too?"

"Hers especially."

A beat. Then, "Of course."

"Show me where he dug out."

"I'll leave that to you two," said the doctor.


DeMaris bucked the quad along a path through the trees to the property line, driving stupidly fast, as guys like DeMaris do. The chain-link fence was ten feet high and topped with strands of razor wire thoughtfully tilted inward toward a would-be escapee. A standard correctional setup, nonelectric. DeMaris's security people had already filled in the escape hole, though its shape was plainly visible. I contemplated it. Big enough for a man to climb in, wriggle under the fence, then climb up and out again on the other side. Digging it had been a big job, done quickly enough to foil security. Which meant that another person was likely digging from the other side. Both of them feeling the pressure, with Arcadia staff soon to catch on to Clay's absence.

I toed through the top few inches of soil with my boot, found it typical for this part of the county—decomposed granite and scattered quartz. I saw bloodhound tracks and shoe prints around the hole, and bike or motorcycle tracks on the firebreak that paralleled the fence. The Arcadia property was sixty acres, according to DeMaris, and this section of fence stood some five hundred well- wooded yards from the main building.

"How did he evade you guys?" I asked.
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