Case I: Chapter 5: Paloma Engages Matthew Dudley
When Matthew Dudley returned to his room after a physical therapy session, he noticed a small note under his door.
Please come to see me. It is urgent.
Paloma Angostura, La Cocinera
Dudley went to the kitchen where Paloma seemed to be waiting for him. “Señor Dudley, you do not know me. I am Paloma Angostura, the mother of Marisa Angostura Ortega and Antonio Canesco Angostura.”
“Señora Angostura, it is truly an honor to finally meet you. Your son and daughter are two of the finest young people I’ve have ever known.”
Dudley had worked in Santa Fe for the State Water Resources Department and often ran into Antonio, an engineer with the Fish and Wildlife Commission, in the field. Dudley would frequently go to a remote lake to “study the water resource” as a way to get away from the frustration and boredom of the office. On many occasions, Antonio was there taking water samples. They would talk about their shared love of the outdoors and try to get in a little fishing. Antonio always spoke affectionately about his mother and how she had sacrificed to raise him and his sister.
Her daughter Marisa had gone to work for the State in the Water Resources Department when she graduated from the University of New Mexico. After a few months on the job, Marisa had confided in Dudley that she felt she was being harassed and held back from advancement by the male-dominated culture and particularly by one macho male supervisor. They had coffee several times and Dudley realized that this young woman has considerable talent and ambition which were probably not being utilized in her current situation. Dudley intervened on her behalf to get her transferred to another Department. He also suggested that she look elsewhere for employment, preferably in private industry where her chances for advancement would be enhanced. He said that it takes a certain disposition and personality to be able to work for a government agency particularly in a male-dominated environment. Marisa was able to find employment easily based on her drive and skills. She advanced quickly and was soon offered job which required her leave Albuquerque and New Mexico. Although she was close to her family, her mother encouraged her to seize this opportunity.
Finally meeting the mother of these two young people was indeed a privilege for Dudley. He knew that she had been instrumental in raising them to be such fine adults.
Paloma looked deeply into Dudley’s eyes and said, “You are smart. This situation with Maria is similar to the one with my daughter. Maria came crying to me on several occasions and said that the Maintenance Man had tried to get her to “do things”. Maria has been very upset and has spent a considerable amount of time praying. She could not have killed this man, but the police found a silver cross at the scene and I believe it belongs to Maria. Please talk to her.”
“I don’t know much about the situation, except that it looks like the Maintenance Man was stabbed to death with a large screwdriver. I don’t know how I can help, but I will certainly do my best. Perhaps it would be best if Maria were to tell me exactly what happened. And, it would help if you were present so that she is not so afraid. But first let me go to the utility room and look at the scene for myself.”