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When the cops showed up at the hotel, they were wearing all black. Simmons thought they looked like street people, like undercover cops on a TV show.
"How did you hear about me? What did you hear?" Holmes asked.
"Oh, they said you were a good officer," Simmons lied, "and we should ask for you."
"OK, I'll look into this," Holmes said. He took a picture of Coombs from them, then walked out.
On January 28, 2003, the day after Holmes and Hamre searched Henderson's apartment, the KCPD received an anonymous 911 call. The woman said the body of "the missing white guy" could be found in the basement of the Boston apartments at 38th Street and Main.
Coombs was still dressed in the black coat and pants he had worn to the Cerner meeting. He'd been shot three times in quick succession from more than 6 feet away. One .357-caliber bullet had pierced the back of his hand, entered through his chest, passed through a lung and through his heart and exited out his back.
In his mouth was a plastic bag of crack rocks.
The missing-person case had become a homicide investigation. Detective Hutcheson called Holmes. "Were you wearing gloves when you put the handgun in the freezer?" he asked. Holmes said that he was. "We don't want your fingerprints on it," Hutcheson said, according to Holmes.
The detectives got a search warrant to find the gun Holmes had hidden in the freezer. But they wrote apartment No. 1 on the search warrant instead of apartment No. 3 and returned without the gun.
Looking for a new lead, detectives asked the narcotics unit for help. According to court documents, Henderson's address had been the subject of a narcotics investigation since at least January 7, 2003, when undercover KCPD officer Larryn Lewis bought crack from Henderson. Narcotics cops recommended finding the owner of a Mazda Protégé with the license plate "HYDACO," which was often spotted outside Henderson's building. The car was registered at 4411 East 54th Terrace, where detectives found Hykeshia D. Coleman and her boyfriend, Jeffrey Tubbs.
Tubbs came to the door when cops showed up. He announced, "This is about that dead white boy on 38th Street."
Detectives took Tubbs to the police station. Meanwhile, Coleman agreed to let the cops search the house.
In a KCPD interview room, Det. Joseph Marinella asked Tubbs if he'd mind answering a few questions. "I could stay here all night to clear things up," Tubbs said. It was in his best interest to try to prove that he had nothing to do with the murder of the tourist, even if it meant discussing the details of his drug business.
Tubbs, who was 29 years old, said he'd learned the drug trade at age 14 from his brother. They ran with street gangs in his native Los Angeles. The family moved to Kansas City in the early 1980s. He met Henderson in 1986 in the neighborhood of 24th Street and Olive, where he said they both sold $10 and $20 crack rocks. In 2000, Tubbs explained, he and Henderson set up shop at 29th Street and Prospect. By the summer of 2003, they were buying half-kilos of coke weekly to cook into crack.
He told Marinella that on January 28, the day the body had been found, he drove by his operation at 16 West 37th Street and saw police tape and cop cars outside the building where Coombs' body was found.