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Assisi & Brannan #3: The Missing Woman

Feb 11, 2014

“Did the husband file a missing person’s report?” I ask.

“It’s too soon for us to get the public record. Find out when you talk to the police,” he said.

“Where do they live?”

“They are in San Mateo up on the hill.”

“I’ll go talk to Peter,” I made a mental note to check in with the neighbors too. It was early but it couldn’t hurt.

“I want the story by 8 tonight.”

I choke over my cream-filled donut.

“But I don’t know what I will find out! Who knows, she might show up.”

The man is a lunatic. BAW is all he knows. He bought the paper 10 years ago after selling his start-up. The Bay Area Weekly was never profitable and now it bleeds money because all he cares about is the story. He’s fired the sales person again and there are barely any advertisements in the paper.

“Put the paper on the web and cut your losses,” Robert, the last salesman told him.

Bruce cut him instead.

I get on the Vespa and head to the Hills.

The house was in the Baywood area of San Mateo.  Houses here are large and spaced comfortably away from the neighbors.  The Dinhs’ house is a handsome Spanish-styled building with nice little touches like a fountain and a beautiful shady grotto.  Someone hung the wind chime on a low branch on the tree in front of the house.

I knocked on the door and waited.  After a while a middle-aged Asian woman came to the door.


“I’m Garnet Chan from the Bay Area Weekly. I’m looking for Gene Dinh.  I had called little earlier.”

A man came to the door.  “It’s OK, mom.”

It was awkward because Sarah was still not declared missing.  Gene was nice enough to see me and agree to answer my questions. We sat down while his mother went to watch the children.

His eyes were rimmed red with fatigue. Despite his exhaustion he showed me Sarah’s office where she worked when she was home. She had flexible hours and often stayed home. There was a picture of her on the refrigerator. Pretty with haunting dark eyes, she had done her hair in long waves, both feminine and alluring. Two children posed in a different picture. The boy looked no more than two and his sister about five.

There was a picture of Sarah and the boys standing in front of a bowl with a fish.

“That’s when they got the Siamese fighting fish,” he said.

There wasn’t much but I had questions for Peter Hunter, the officer on the San Mateo Hills beat.

© Jocelyn Uma 2014. All Rights Reserved.