Race Rocks Diving Tragedy

Submitted into Contest #158 in response to: Write a story where the law plays an important role.... view prompt


Adventure Suspense Mystery

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

"Race Rocks Diving Tragedy"

 Hugh Ferris and David Flintoff had been friends since the second grade. They were both experienced divers who loved challenges and taking on bigger and bigger adventures together. They both visited numerous diving sites on Vancouver Island. "Race Rocks," a world-renowned diving site near the vicinity, had been on their bucket list for quite some time. When the opportunity arose to go there, Hughie and David were not about to say 'no' despite a minor incident that had taken place during their last trip.

The Dive Shop was their go-to for diving on the Island. The last time they had been on the Island, their experience with the shop was not ideal. David, who was impulsive and had a short temper, wrote some pretty nasty comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about the incident. 

When they arrived at the dive shop, both men were happy to see that everything they had asked for was ready and waiting for them. The rental cost, drysuits, tanks, zodiac, and gas surcharge were much higher than expected. The Dive Shop always checked diving credentials and reminded them they would dive in nutrient-rich, current-swept waters (up to 8 knots) that day. The draw to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve had a reason. First, the cold northwest ocean offered a variety of incredible marine life. Secondly, the swift current, where two bodies of water met, was so strong it challenged the most experienced swimmers or divers. 

David and Hughie left the shop, enjoying the feel of the brisk salty air on their skin. The Race Rocks Ecological Reserve was nearby and easy to find. By the time they arrived, two boats had docked before them. That meant two teams were in the water. . . They dropped anchor to prepare for their dive. David and Hughie agreed to stick as close together as possible. If David saw anything interesting, he tended to continue his search alone. Exploration was dangerous and, at the same time, his most substantial interest. He blindly entered unfamiliar waters to pursue an object of his object of interest. This dive would not differ from the many dives they had been on together. Something would catch David's eye, and Hughie wouldn't see him for a few minutes while his friend searched. 

The two men were overwhelmed with the richness of underwater life at the bottom of the sea. Hughie was mesmerized by the colours, the unknown species, and the otherworldliness around them. On the other hand, David was fixated on the fish and creatures of the sea. Neither man was aware of what the other was doing. Almost an hour passed before Hughie realized it was time to surface to change and fill their tanks. He hadn't seen David slip around the tip to the other side of the point. 

Hughie quickly made his way around the corner, and there he saw David, impaled by a Gaff Hook tied to a weight of significant poundage. Hughie swam over to him to see if he was still breathing but realized that the Gaff Hook had gone straight through his heart, leaving him dead instantaneously. Hughie surfaced immediately and called for help.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrived, within 15 minutes, to investigate the scene. Hughie wracked his brain as they came, trying to remember anything about the two boats he had before he and his best friend went down for David's fateful last dive. 

Hughie told the RCMP about seeing two other boats, one a Zodiak and the other a high-speed boat. He said that since he had surfaced after finding David's body, his rental, the Zodiak, was the only boat remaining in the water. He then got his logbook showing that they had been in the water for an estimated 55 minutes.w He couldn't say when David had gone around the corner. Hughie thought it must have been early in the dive. t. After listening to his statement of accounts, the RCMP put four divers, two camera operators and two divers, in the water. Initially, Hughie's story checked out on all fronts. The murderer took a Gaff Hook held down by a 150 lb weight and speared David, impaling him where he swam, puncturing his dry suit, and killing him instantly. The consequence was necessary so that the body could be found and not be swept away by the current in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The RCMP determined that the killer(s) laid in wait for David with the 150 lb weight already in the kelp enveloped bottom and then simply plunged the Gaff Hook directly into his chest. David must have seen it coming but probably recognized his attacker and was not trying to defend himself. The RCMP asked two other questions of Hughie: 1. Who knew you were diving here today? Have you or David had any conflicts with anyone recently? Hughie was in shock. He answered that they had been in the Dive Shop and that they didn't have conflicts with anyone.

Hughie was quickly cleared as a suspect by the RCMP. While working at the scene, the Officer figured out that the killers were lying in wait for David. The Police brought a shaken Hughie back to shore to assist in making arrangements for Hughie's remains. Soon afterwards, the RCMP determined the dockhands had no motive to kill David. (is that relevant?)

The RCMP asked Hughie to call them if he remembered any little thing that was notably different from the past visits to Vancouver Island. 

Two days later, David's relatives reached out to Hughie. They were asking about the Memorial Service for David posted on the Dive Shops website. The Dive Shop was posting all about a memorial for David online. Why would they be asking for money to help with the cost of returning David's body to Ontario? We never asked for that, and we certainly do not need The Dive Shop's help. I will alert the RCMP, thought Hughie. 

How had Hughie forgotten David's minor kerfuffle with The Dive Shop until receiving this call from his family? It had happened the last time they had been on Vancouver Island to dive., He recalled how David was less than impressed. David had not been impressed with their service and left a cascade of unfavourable comments on their website. The owners of the Dive Shop blamed David for significant losses in their business. They had had to reduce the size of their boat fleet to remain open and afloat. Hughie decided to P. He called Officer Kenney. Hughie wondered if this could be important enough to be a motive for murder. He decided to call Officer Kenney at the RCMP.

The Officer arrived and listened closely to Hughie's story. He asked whom they had dealt with at the Dive Shop. "The usual guy, Jay, was not there. We dealt with Sam." 

Office Kenney thanked Hughie and asked him not to leave town for a while. "We might have a few more questions," he said, meaning that Hughie had proven to be a valuable and truthful witness.rAt the Dive Shop, it was business as usual. The men there gave the RCMP a bit of a cold shoulder, and the company had no time to stop. Finally, Officer Kenney had had enough and stated, "look, Stan, if you choose not to talk to me, we can shut this place down for two weeks until we speak with past and present employees. We'll find out where they were on the day in question. We've done these hundreds of times before. It's up to you, Stan."

The Officer had The Dive Shop owner's attention. He Stan left the shop to his employees and went to his office with Officer Kenney.

"Let's start with Jay!" Detective Keeney said.

Stan's eyes got watery and large. "Jay was a great guy, kinda like family, you know? But he had a hot head, and we could not keep him. We also ran into some trouble around the same time with comments online and losing clients to another dive shop nearby, so we had to lay some people off and sell off some boats." 

Officer Kenney asked, "When was the last time you saw Jay?"

Stan replied, "I haven't seen him in about eight months, Stan answered. 

Officer Kenney asked one last question, "Do you believe Jay or anyone else employed here could be responsible for the death of David Flintoff?" Stan looked pale and disgusted. "That's an insult. Why don't you check out Jay and his crew? I heard he does one-off excursions out of his home. He lives near Sooke. r. Here's the number. Like Officer Kenney, you thanked him. Before he left, he asked Stan not to leave town as he or another Officer may be back to ask more questions. 

The RCMP was quick in finding Jay. They had unmarked boars in the water in front of his place. The road was blocked in both directions in case he tried to leave. 

Jay shouted at the Officers as soon as they stepped onto his property. "What the hell do you want? I ain't done nothing! I have no involvement in the death of that diver, but I know who he was. Don't shoot; I'm coming out." 

And with that, the door opened. Jay stepped out and began his tale.

He told the RCMP about how he came to leave the Dive Shop, and yes, he was angry at first but opening his own business from his home was the best thing he could have done. He said, "I began to suspect that Stan was involved in some illegal stuff, which involved diving in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. David Flintoff, the guy who died, David Flintoff, I think his derogatory comment simply hurt the business so much that whatever Stan was moving could no longer be moved appropriately and efficiently because they lost business. They knew David wanted to dive in the Strait of Juan de Fuca the next time he came to town, so they made it happen and lay in wait. Just lucky that the other guy didn't die too. Those two guys always dive together. "

 Officer Kenney interjected, "what do you think the illegal business is all about? Drugs? Money Laundering?" 

Jay began, "well, I don't know, but it could be a combination of both; I just know that the boats they use for diving don't go as fast as they do simply for diving and whale watching. .returned to the office. The Officers called the Major Crime Unit in Vancouver to inquire whether information regarding a Stanley Ross existed. As it turned out, Stan was well known for major crimes, the drug squad, in Vancouver, on Vancouver Island and with the Coast Guard. All groups returned that the suspect was well known; Stan was currently under surveillance and had been for some time. There were hours and hours of footage of Stan and his crew of divers. They were working on the sea in various locations. Officer Kenney asked for the date of May 23, 2021. He explained that Stan was being investigated if they had footage of him and his divers; the divers may turn on Stan and talk instead of being tried for murder. He had caught everyone's attention. Everyone was listening. The Coast Guard sent Officer Kenney the footage for May 23 to the RCMP. It determined that there were four divers on the two dive boats that day who were already below the surface when David and Hughie arrived. One of the divers was none other than Stan. They were working on the identities of the other three. Two were Asian, and the third worked with Stan at the Dive Shop. They would have to get to this man or the two Asian men, who may also work at the Dive Shop. 

The man who worked at the dive shop was identified as Russel Glass. He was eager to talk as he wanted no part of jail time. He gave up the names of Michael Chan and Andy Nguyen faster than we could breathe in and out. A warrant was immediately issued. Russell remained in custody with no contacts available until the other men were in possession. Michael Chan hired an expensive lawyer. Andy Nguyen spilled the entire story implicating Michael Chan. As soon as Michael realized what the others had done, he, too, decided to cut a deal. All three men involved Stanley Ross. . All three men involved Stanley Ross. 

Stan gave the RCMP a warm welcome as they walked through the door of The Dive Shop. The smug look on his face showed he was unprepared for the news he was about to hear. Within seconds he looked as though he had been punched in the stomach (rest welcomed them, believing they were there to tell him about Jay's. He remained silent and composed as he was arrested, read his rights, handcuffed and led out of his store. Stan, always the businessman, shouted to the employees working that day, "keep working. We're going to need all the business we can get!" 

With that, the RCMP Officer led him to the cruiser. Stanley was sequestered by himself, away from the other prisoners. He had visits from US Coast Guard Officers, and after lengthy questioning and facing multiple charges, Stan agreed to plea bargain and squeal at the higher-ups in his organization. 

As he spoke, the RCMP expected the fingers to point at the Russian mob or the Chinese Gangs. However, it turns out that David and Hughie were the bosses. They had come to check on their cash cow; only this time, David spoke of getting out of the game and retiring soon. Hughie, who relied on the cash to live the high life and never having saved a penny, was not in favour of retiring. David and Hughie had been discussing the logistics for weeks, but the common denominator was that David was getting out and coming clean. Hughie, who was backed into a corner, now was faced with taking over the full reins alone. He had to think quickly, and he ordered David's death. After listening to the entire story and all the moving pieces, Officer Kenney was exhausted. He decided to call Hughie Ferris to let him know the developments and ask if he wanted to meet tomorrow for coffee. Of course, Officer Kenney neglected to tell Hughie that the men sang like canaries and implicated Hughie as the one who ordered the hit; Officer Kenney would save that for tomorrow's coffee date.

The next day at ten am sharp, Officer Kenney and Hughie Ferris sat down for coffee. Hughie asked what the progress on the case meant for him as he wanted to go home. Officer Kenney replied, "I am sorry, but that is not possible yet. We have new information that implicates you as the head of the ring that led to David's death. You are under arrest for Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Murder in the First Degree. With a shocked look, Hughie stood up and allowed himself to be handcuffed. He said, "I never meant for things to get this far; David and I have been best friends since grade two."

August 05, 2022 16:39

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