Officer Patrick gets called to investigate a complaint about stolen wages at a local restaurant and as he stumbles upon a decades-old DNA mystery that involves his own family. This is the story of how a small town detective, through a series of wild coincidences and lotto-level good luck, manages to solve the case of his life.
Guest detective: Officer Patrick
Officer Patrick has over 20 years in law enforcement. Nearly half of the time was spent investigating financial crimes. As of this recording, he was back on patrol as a field training officer. He speaks Spanish and teaches an emergency vehicle operations course. Patrick’s hobbies are unusual: He’s an aerobatic pilot (currently looking to upgrade to a more badass airplane). He is raising a child with Type 1 diabetes.Read Transcript
Yeardley: [00:00:07] Hey, Small Town Fam. It’s Yeardley. How are you? Where are you? I hope you’re all wonderfully well. We have a delightful episode for you today. I know, I don’t think I’ve ever described one of our episodes quite like that before, but I can imagine our guest, Officer Patrick, talking about this case at a dinner party. And everyone happily continues eating because all the children in the story are safe and there aren’t any body parts strewn across multiple crime scenes. However, this is still a true crime podcast, so a crime is definitely committed, followed by an investigation which ultimately leads Officer Patrick down a rabbit hole he never ever saw coming. If you’ve been listening all season, you’ll remember that Officer Patrick gave us another case a few weeks back called Without Warning, where a welfare check turns deadly. If that doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps reminding you that Officer Patrick is a pilot will bring the aha. Because in his last episode, he cheekily never let us forget it. We’re so happy he’s back with us this week for “No Way.”[Small Town Dicks theme]
Yeardley: [00:01:22] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:01:23] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:01:24] I’m Dave.
Paul: [00:01:25] And I’m Paul.
Yeardley: [00:01:26] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:01:28] Dave and I are identical twins-
Dave: [00:01:30] -and retired detectives from Small Town, USA.
Paul: [00:01:32] And I’m a veteran cold case investigator who helped catch the Golden State Killer using a revolutionary DNA tool.
Dan: [00:01:38] Between the three of us, we’ve investigated thousands of crimes, from petty theft to sexual assault, child abuse to murder.
Dave: [00:01:45] Each case we cover is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they solved the crime.
Paul: [00:01:52] Names, places, and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of victims and their families.
Dan: [00:01:57] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved-
Dave: [00:02:05] -out of respect for what they’ve been through.
Unison: [00:02:08] Thank you.[music]
Yeardley: [00:02:17] Today on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:02:25] Hello, there.
Yeardley: [00:02:26] Hello, you. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:02:30] Good afternoon, Yeardley.
Yeardley: [00:02:33] [laughs] Good afternoon. I feel like they’re always trying to do things to tell me to pipe down. And we have the one and only Paul Holes.
Paul: [00:02:40] Hey, hey.
Yeardley: [00:02:41] Hey, hey. And Small Town Fam, we have one of your favorites returning with another incredible case. We have Officer Patrick.
Patrick: [00:02:52] Thank you very much for having me back.
Yeardley: [00:02:54] It’s so great to see you, really. It was so much fun the last time. I mean, as far as any actual true crime stories are fun. You’re fun.
Patrick: [00:03:03] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:03:04] The things that happen, not so fun.
Patrick: [00:03:07] But I’m fun.
Yeardley: [00:03:07] But you’re fun.
Patrick: [00:03:08] I agree.
Yeardley: [00:03:09] So, Patrick, tell us how this case came to you.
Patrick: [00:03:12] So, I started out my career initially in corrections and then in a small-town municipality working as a police officer. And like a lot of police officers, I, at one point, decided I wanted to try being a detective. And so, I did. And the detective job that opened up was in financial crimes. Again, not the one that they make a lot of movies about. [Yeardley laughs] It’s not as terrible as some people think it is, because you’re usually dealing with the same types of criminals. You’re dealing with the people that victimize other people and just in a different way. And a lot of times there are lots of spreadsheets and lots of documents and stuff to put together. So that’s the dry stuff.
[00:03:50] But you’re still dealing with oftentimes really bad people and sometimes people that are especially bad because they victimize nonprofit organizations or they victimize the elderly. So very good job. Did it for nearly 11 years. And there were some cases that stood out. This case would not have stood out so much except for what happened way later. I have to go all the way back to 2010 to the beginning to tell you how this started. And you’re not going to believe where it ends up, but if you stick with me for this, there’s a surprise that I was definitely not expecting. And hearing it 10 years after the fact was a huge thing. And I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
Yeardley: [00:04:32] Well, I’ll be here the whole time, so I can’t wait.
Patrick: [00:04:35] Oh, well, I’ve got you hostage then. [Yeardley laughs] So, when our cases come in, they initially go to a patrol officer. I was a new detective. I’d been a detective for maybe a year. I had my own little office at the time, had my own little desk and computer, and I would get cases. The boss would either hand them to me or throw them on the desk, and I would look them over. And I got this one that had a bunch of documents attached to it and it was just a theft. It was an employee embezzlement theft. And this one occurred at a restaurant. So, our victim, Darryl had not a big restaurant, just a mom-and-pop size restaurant. He had a handful of employees, servers, cooks, the usual.
[00:05:21] This was not a huge business, but it was enough, probably, to make him a decent living. Darryl reported to our little police department that a waitress that was working there named May, she would take the cash that she received for people’s meals and she would pocket it. And he had installed video cameras. He had video of her taking the guest receipts, the ones that she writes the order on. She submits it to the cook. The cook puts it under the heat lamp with the food. She takes the food and then she’s supposed to take that guest check and put it on the spike when it’s done, when they pay. She would take these things and stick them in her pocket.
[00:06:00] And when people paid with cash, she would keep the checks, and she would keep the cash and basically never entered it into the cash register. And he started noticing that there were times when it seemed like he was really having short days, and he started realizing, “Well, okay, there’s some kind of theft happening.” So, he installed cameras inside his restaurant, and he catches her doing it, and she’s not really making any effort to hide it. She’s just pretty blatantly taking the checks, putting the money in her pocket, and taking home maybe 100, 200 bucks a day.
Yeardley: [00:06:30] And how old is May?
Patrick: [00:06:31] May at the time was probably mid-60s.
Yeardley: [00:06:36] Oh.
Patrick: [00:06:37] She was not a young lady by some standards. It was a family-owned business. She seemed like a nice employee to have. She did her job. She fit in well. I remember talking to another employee there about her and he liked her. Couldn’t believe she would be doing this. Couldn’t believe she would be stealing from her employer. It’s just unfathomable. And Darryl, he ends up going back and backtracking what the cooks had cooked. And over months and a year, he had thousands and thousands of dollars that she had embezzled from his business. And so, he reports it to us, and ultimately, I end up talking to her, bring her to the police department, have a conversation with her. She denies, denies, denies. She answered all of my questions with questions, made excuses for everything.
[00:07:24] Never gave any clear indication that she was going to admit any kind of guilt, but it was not convincing. So, I took this 65-year-old lady to jail and she was a tiny thing. She’s just a tiny lady. I’m taking her to jail and the deputies are looking at me like, “Who’d she murder? Why is this person here?” I’m like, “Well, I have several counts of aggravated theft against May.” And May wasn’t her real name. Her real name was Saruta Baker. May is a common nickname in Thailand, which is where she is from. So, she worked at this restaurant. They loved her there and she was stealing from it. And you’re thinking, okay, well, whatever your age is, you don’t get a steal from your employer, and especially thousands of dollars. We’re talking aggravated theft. Ultimately, I want to say it was well over $10,000 when they backtracked a year or so.
Yeardley: [00:08:15] And is aggravated theft determined by a dollar amount?
Patrick: [00:08:19] Yes, by a dollar amount. Typically, over $10,000 is going to get you that aggravated theft amount in my state.
Yeardley: [00:08:23] So, like, Grand Theft Auto?
Patrick: [00:08:26] Grand Theft Auto, I think, is a California code.
Dave: [00:08:29] We don’t talk about California.
Patrick: [00:08:30] Oh, we don’t talk about California. Okay.[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:08:33] Does May have a family? Is she married? Does she have children, grandchildren? Or is she just taking all the dough for herself?
Patrick: [00:08:40] So, I didn’t know much about May other than I knew the basic demographics. And she did have a husband. I knew that. And her husband was a guy named Richard Baker. So, I knew that we have Saruta Baker and Richard Baker and there’s this couple in my town. And I knew that because I was going to have to do subpoenas for bank records, because when the DA got this arrest, they’re like, “Well, first of all, you took this 65-year-old lady to jail and so now we have to start doing some work.” I’m like, cool. I’m a new detective. I didn’t realize that what might have been better would be to stand down just a little bit, talk to the DAs, get them involved, we do some subpoenas, and then we take people to jail. I was just a young guy. I was excited. “Yeah, I got this big theft case and it’s huge.”
Yeardley: [00:09:24] Hang on one second. Are you saying you forced the DA’s hand because you took her to jail before consulting with them?
Patrick: [00:09:31] I unintentionally forced their hand. What happens is once you start that clock, then they have to either no file a case or they have to start taking actions as a prosecutor. I basically made it so that they need to start taking actions as a prosecutor. They might have waited on otherwise till we had our case more ready. But I was a new detective. I didn’t know all the ins and outs. I was still learning stuff like that and I ended up finding out a lot of interesting information going through this bank record subpoena process. When you do a subpoena for bank records, it’s almost like doing a search warrant. You have to do this long affidavit. You have to get it all signed by a judge.
[00:10:09] Someone from the DA’s office typically will look it over and make sure that you did it right and didn’t do anything stupid. You want to get your words just right. You don’t want to end up stepping on yourself from saying something that you shouldn’t say or say it incorrectly. You want to just put in the facts. This is my investigation. So, I did all that. We get the bank records. And when I get the bank records back, I start going through them, and I discover something really strange, which is a personal check from Darryl, not a payroll check, a personal check for $10,000 written out to May that she deposited into her bank account. I’m like, “Ah, you reported her for theft, but you’re giving her $10,000 clearly not through a payroll check.”
[00:10:55] And so, the first thing I thought was, well, maybe this was like, he’s paying her under the table and avoiding employee taxes, employer taxes, stuff like that. Maybe it’s something like that. Maybe they have some agreement. I don’t know. Just maybe he’s funneling money through her bank account in a really weird way to avoid paying taxes on his profits. As I look into this account more, I find that it’s not just one check, but it’s multiple checks over the years for several thousand dollars each time. I’m thinking, okay, well, I have definitely got an issue with my victim, Darryl, and I can’t talk to May because, stupidly, I’ve already interviewed her before I had all of my evidence, and now she’s represented by an attorney and I can’t interview her again.
[00:11:42] The detectives around me are nodding their heads like, “Yeah, dumbass.” [Yeardley laughs] Like, “That’s day one stuff, you idiot.”
Dave: [00:11:48] We’ve all made the mistakes.
Patrick: [00:11:50] I’m just here to publicly air mine. [Yeardley laughs]
Patrick: [00:12:12] So, May was released from the jail the next day. Our jail has a tendency to not keep people very long to begin with. And this wasn’t one they were going to hold on to pretrial. At this point. I’m like, “I know I have some issues with my victim, and I got to figure out what they are.” So, I call Darryl and I record the phone call, and I say, “Hey, this is Detective Pat and I’m calling about your case. And we did a subpoena for May’s bank records. And I want to talk to you about it.” And he’s like, “Oh, okay.” And I was like, “So, in May’s bank account, I’m seeing deposits of pretty large checks written by you to May. And they don’t look like payroll checks. They look like personal checks. Can you tell me about those?” Darryl’s response was silence.
[00:12:59] And then, “I’m going to have to call you back. I can’t talk about that right now.” I said, “Oh, okay. Well, is there a time when I can call back. Are you safe to talk about this? What’s going on?” He’s like, “I can’t talk about it right now. I will talk to you about this later.” I was like, “Oh, okay.” And I’m wondering if maybe the missus is in the room and he doesn’t want to say what’s going on. Something is afoot here. I swear, less than five minutes later, phone rings and it’s an attorney saying, “I represent Darryl and you are not allowed to ask him any more questions.” Now, I asked the attorney, I was like, “Well, can I ask you a couple questions?” Sure.
[00:13:38] Do you know what these checks are about? No. And if I did, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about them obviously. It’s like, “Okay, well, I’m looking at this case against May that Darryl filed at the police department. Are you familiar with the case?” Attorney says, “Yeah, I’ve got a little bit of familiarity with it just in the last few minutes that I talked to Darryl,” seriously, less than five minutes. It was so quick. It was so quick. I said, “Okay, well, this is going to really compromise our case against May, the fact that Darryl won’t even talk,” and attorney says, “Yeah, that’s not my problem. My client has said all he’s going to say and you are not allowed to ask him any more questions.”
[00:14:17] I was hoping that they would give me something a little bit more like some kind of indication and nothing. So, I talked to the DA and at this point, I have already put in a lot of hours into going through documents, stacking all this stuff together, spreadsheets, all the usual financial crimes beauty that you put into a case to put on a silver platter and take to the DA. And the DAs do not like financial crimes cases that much. If they’re being honest, most of them don’t because it’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of documents to go through. And so, we would really try and dress them up. We would do casebooks that were just really nice and pretty. We would do everything we could to try and make it more attractive. And sometimes we had great success.
[00:15:01] Some of the DAs were just like, “Oh, my gosh, please don’t ever bring me another one of these.” This particular DA was sharp and she was following, and then she said, “Yeah, you’re not going to be able to go anywhere else with this case. We’re done.” And I said, “Okay, well, that kind of sucks.” She said, “Yeah, if our victim can’t testify, how do we have a case?” Our victim is not going to testify because he’s going to be incriminating himself on whatever bad things he was doing. Like, “What do you think he was doing?” And I said, “Well, I mean, first thing that comes to mind is tax evasion.”
Paul: [00:15:31] There’s something more going on. This idea that Darryl– you’ve got restaurant proceeds that he is now trying to launder through an employee. If he’s just trying to circumvent taxes, then there’s going to be that money coming back to him at some point in some manner.
Patrick: [00:15:52] Exactly. So, we surmise that it must be some tax evasion. Either he’s paying her under the table for work or he’s funneling money through May’s bank account in order to avoid paying taxes. Now, it would be a terrible way to do it because obviously, if there were an audit, they’d see these large checks going to an employee, and it’s pretty easy to follow that money. I was a new financial crimes detective. I knew how to follow that money, so it didn’t seem like a real good way to do it. But as we oftentimes find out, criminals are not what?
Dave: [00:16:26] We don’t catch the smart ones.
Patrick: [00:16:28] Yeah, [Yeardley laughs] we don’t catch the smart ones.
Paul: [00:16:31] Well, think about this. If Darryl’s doing something under the table with May that’s criminal. And now he’s reporting this aggravated theft about May and he’s the victim. He’s just pulled attention onto whatever criminal activity he’s doing. So, he is definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Patrick: [00:16:51] Exactly.
Yeardley: [00:16:52] Seriously, did he not think that you were going to subpoena May’s bank records or even his?
Patrick: [00:16:58] He did not. I’m speculating, but I’m guessing he had no idea I was going to go to that extent.
Yeardley: [00:17:03] Wow.
Patrick: [00:17:04] He had no idea what financial crimes nerd he was dealing with. [Yeardley laughs]
Paul: [00:17:10] I mean, now he’s putting jeopardy on May by reporting this aggravated theft. And I would expect May to go, well, guess what he’s doing. [laughs]
Patrick: [00:17:19] You would expect that. Looking back, I am so surprised that she did not just say, “Hey, I’ll make a deal, or hey, let me throw him under the bus.” Something to that effect. But she didn’t. So, I don’t know if there was some kind of honor code there. I really don’t know. I just know that somebody was bluffing and the bluff was called and both of them end up in the hot seat.
Yeardley: [00:17:42] Did Darryl’s lawyer ever share more info with you on why Darryl stopped talking?
Patrick: [00:17:48] I ended up later talking to Darryl’s attorney and saying, if you can just answer this, I won’t turn him into the IRS. Was this a tax evasion thing? Is that what’s going on? And we ended up finding out that Darryl was trying to basically avoid paying taxes, although I don’t know exactly the means or exactly why or exactly how that was expected to be successful. Not a smart way to do it, but that was the whole idea. And I did not report him to the IRS. I heard a rumor that someone else did and it was not me. I am a man of my word and I did not report him. [Yeardley laughs]
Dan: [00:18:28] Patrick ain’t no snitch.
Patrick: [00:18:29] I ain’t no snitch. Oh, my gosh. So, this case was something that we joked about in the office as much as financial crimes detectives can joke, that’s our bread-and-butter joke. [Yeardley laughs] Like, this is a funny joke to us. We talk about cases like that, and it was joke for a few years, other people retire, it fades away into history, and I don’t think about it for many, many years. I’m going to tell you a brief other story and if you stick with me for this, this will make sense. So, I have two sisters and about five years ago now, I suppose, they did DNA checks on our family, one of them being Ancestry and the other one being 23andMe. So, they did these DNA tests.
[00:19:16] Well, when they did this first one, this guy shows up that says, “You share 23% of your DNA, which makes them your half sibling.” They’re like, “Well, I don’t recognize that name. I don’t recognize that person.” And there’s a way to make it known that you guys know about each other and to make your names known. So, they do that, they end up reaching out to him, and he says something the effect of, “Hey, it looks like we share this amount of DNA and that we’re half siblings. Ha ha, ha, that’s weird. Do you know who your real dad is?” And my sister says, “Yeah, I know who my real dad is for sure. Do you?” [Yeardley laughs] “Yeah, absolutely.” “Oh, okay. Well, this is weird.” “It sure is.” “Well, this has been fun. So, see you later.”
Yeardley: [00:19:58] What?
Patrick: [00:19:59] A few months later, he gets back in touch with my sister and says, “Hey, I think I have this figured out.” And in that time period, he had talked to a sibling that he grew up with and finds out from this sibling, his sister did the DNA testing, and then she finds out, you and I, brother, are only half siblings.
Yeardley: [00:20:20] Oh, shit.
Patrick: [00:20:22] Yes. So, this was a big issue in their family.
Yeardley: [00:20:26] The new half-brother is saying this to your sister, who reached out to him in the first place.
Patrick: [00:20:30] Correct. He came back and he said, “Listen, this is the big deal for us. I think probably my parents were not able to conceive and they probably did some fertility treatment. I highly doubt this is what they anticipated, but it makes sense now. They ended up sharing pictures, and you can see the family resemblance. They took a picture of my dad, and we look like we’re alike. So, yeah, I mean, this solves that.” It was a pretty big deal to his family and it was a pretty big deal to our family for a little while. We didn’t really talk about it much. It was just like this. “Ooh, this is out there. And we’re not really sure what this means.”
Yeardley: [00:21:06] So, Patrick, are you saying then that your father was also the father of this now newfound half sibling from, say, Ancestry? You guys had the same father?
Patrick: [00:21:18] Yes.
Yeardley: [00:21:20] So, is the half-brother that your sister found who’s only half related to his sister that he grew up with?
Patrick: [00:21:26] Yeah. So, he had this half-sister growing up that he thought was his full sister. He had his parents that he thought were his full-blooded parents. And as it turns out, his father that he grew up with was not his biological father. Although they were close. There was never any lack of love like this was a real family. I think that’s part of why it probably hit him so hard. So, I hadn’t done any of this testing. I was just hearing about these things. After this happens, a few months go by, and then there’s another DNA hit on a woman this time. And it says, you share about a quarter of your DNA. So, my sister reaches out to her, “Hey, looks like we share this amount of DNA. Do you know who your real parents are? Are you adopted or anything?”
“No, I know who my real parents are. Do you?” And my sister says, “Yeah, I do. I know who my real parents are.” “Oh, okay. That’s weird.” “Yeah, that’s weird, all right.”
Yeardley: [00:22:19] So, same story as before.
Patrick: [00:22:20] Same story as before. So, my sister didn’t necessarily let on right away that she knew about this potential, because it’s a delicate thing. And my sister got an email back a few minutes later from this new half sibling saying, “Hey, I think I have it figured out. I think my parents were unable to conceive, and I think that they probably sought fertility treatments, and I think that’s probably what happened.” And she had said that her father had some pretty specific medical issues, that in looking back, it makes sense that he wasn’t able to conceive.
Yeardley: [00:22:56] Your new half-sister is saying this.
Patrick: [00:22:58] Yeah, so that’s probably what happened. And both of these two siblings that I’ve mentioned are from California. At the time, there was a clinic in Southern California that was pretty disreputable, where they advertised a type of fertility treatment that they were doing, but what they were doing is they were taking donations and then impregnating women with that. Their research was not real sound. There are other podcasts and things about this that people can look into, but it sounds like that’s what this was all a result of.
Yeardley: [00:23:30] I actually have an acquaintance who decided she wanted to be a single mom, and she went to a sperm bank to find a donor, and she told me that in order to select your guy, you basically go through this phonebook of candidates where they only have pictures of the donors as really young children. That’s all you can see, along with, obviously all the other relevant information, like their education, sports, whatever they like to play. You say, “Okay, I choose candidate 5678.” But you’re saying that this clinic was like, “Sure, no problem, we’ll get you 5678,” and then just inserted any old sperm.
Patrick: [00:24:10] I don’t know what their methods were. I can tell you that my dad was a med student in California when this happened and initially it was a real strain, I think, on him because when he made those donations–
Yeardley: [00:24:26] His sperm donations.
Patrick: [00:24:27] Correct. When he was a med student, I’m pretty sure he got paid a little extra because he was a med student at a good school. I don’t want to speak for him, but I could see him thinking, I’m doing a good thing and I’m making some money. So, this is a win-win. He’s helping people who can’t have a child. I could see it being that kind of a thing because he is a good man with a big heart. I could totally see him looking at it that way and it definitely helped him pay for med school. They paid a lot.
Yeardley: [00:24:56] But my point being that the clinic didn’t necessarily take care to match up your choice with what you were actually getting.
Patrick: [00:25:05] My understanding is they mixed healthy sperm with the “desired specimen” from the biological parent that they wanted and they mixed healthy sperm with that to try and encourage the unhealthy ones to swim faster and do better. And that was the limit of their science at the time.
Dave: [00:25:25] Competition.
Patrick: [00:25:26] Competition. From what I understand, I’m not a scientist, I’m not a doctor, just a dumb cop.
Dave: [00:25:31] We just happen to have one as a co-host, [Paul laughs]
Yeardley: [00:25:36] Have you ever heard of, “I’m going to mix the healthy sperm with the not so healthy sperm, and that’s going to make the not so healthy sperm inspired and swim faster and harder.”
Paul: [00:25:45] Yeah, I remember reading articles about that way back in the day. I have no expertise on the fertility side when it comes to the techniques that they’re using. My expertise is in the identification of sperm.
Yeardley: [00:25:58] Right.
Paul: [00:25:59] Maybe I shouldn’t be so proud of that. I don’t know.
Yeardley: [00:26:20] Okay, Patrick, so your dad has donated a fair amount of sperm to help out people who are not able to conceive and he’s making some extra dough. And you seem to have several half siblings you didn’t know about.
Patrick: [00:26:35] That’s pretty darn accurate. The new half-sister invited me and my two sisters out to a beach house. They went up the West Coast to near where we all live, and we all drove out and met her and her family. And it was amazing because it’s like we are family. Like, we met her and it’s like an instant family connection. And we all agreed that she was our favorite sibling immediately. [Yeardley laughs] Just a super nice lady, great family, great husband, great kids, and her in laws were there. And there was just like this wonderful group of people that just welcomed us into their family vacation like we were family. And we immediately felt like family. It was a little magical, I’ll have to say. It’s just a little magical.
[00:27:17] It was like, well, okay, something really good came out of all this and that we have this new family member who we really like. After this is all out in the open, and we’re all acknowledging it. It’s kind of cool. Several months go b, and if you’ve already guessed that there’s another sibling, you’re right. You get the prize. Because there’s another guy that comes forward and emails my sister says, “Hey, look at this. We share a quarter of the same DNA. Do you know who your real parents are?” “Yeah, yeah I do.” Do you? “Yeah, yeah, I know who my real parents are. Okay.” And then go their separate ways. And then a little while later, he comes back, “Hey, I think I have this figured out.” [Yeardley laughs] And his story, new guy is Rick, Rick Baker.
Patrick: [00:28:01] Rick is a really cool guy. And I look at the picture of Rick, and I’m like, “This guy and I are related.” We are absolutely related. There’s no doubt. He looks a lot like me and he looks a lot like my dad. And, okay, we’re biologically related. We end up having this family Zoom call. So, this is 2020 and we’re having this Zoom meeting with new guy, Rick, a few of the other siblings, and my dad to, I guess, get to know the new guy and have him get to know us. So, we’re all joking around for a little while. Probably 15 minutes go by, and I say, “Hey, new guy, tell us about yourself. Where’d you grow up?”
[00:28:43] Rick said, “Well, like the other new siblings and like your dad, I grew up in Southern California and spent a good portion of my childhood there. Grew up with my parents and my brother, who I guess is my half-brother. And at one point, there was some strain in my parent’s marriage. And my mom took me and my brother and moved us to Austin, Texas. And we didn’t know really what was going to happen with the two of them, but we always expected that our dad was going to send for us, and he didn’t send for us and ended up being a sad thing.” But he didn’t say anything negative about his parents, but he said there was something where he said, “I guess it made sense that they couldn’t conceive.”
[00:29:29] And he’s like, “And looking at you guys, I mean, clearly we’re biologically related. I mean, we all fit in.” And we asked Rick to tell us more about his upbringing. And he said, “Well eventually, my parents did get divorced and my dad married this lady from Thailand. I mean, she was unique. Her name was May.” Right when he says this, there’s, like, this thing in the back of my mind that starts to tickle. I get little bit of goosebumps and I am like, “Wait, wait, wait, hold on a second. Your stepmom’s name was May Baker?” He said, “Yeah.” And everybody’s looking at me like, so?
Yeardley: [00:30:07] [laughs] What’s the matter with you?
Patrick: [00:30:08] And I said, “But that’s not a real name, is it?” He’s looking at me like, “What?” And I said, “That’s, like, a popular nickname in Thailand, she’s from Thailand, right?” And he said, “Yeah, yeah. How’d you know that?” I was like, “What was her real name?”
Yeardley: [00:30:21] Oh, no.
Patrick: [00:30:22] And he goes, Saruta. I said, “Saruta May Baker?” He goes, “Yeah.” And everybody’s looking at me like, give it up. What’s wrong with you? What the heck is happening? [Yeardley laughs]
Dave: [00:30:35] David Blaine?
Patrick: [00:30:38] I’m just like, stuttering at this point. I’m like, “Did your stepmom work at a restaurant in my town?” And he’s like ah… I’m like, “Did she work at a restaurant in my town?” [Yeardley laughs] And he said, “Yeah, yeah, she did.” And I said, “Bro, I arrested your stepmom 10 years ago.”[laughter]
Yeardley: [00:31:00] Oh God. And I put her in jail.
Patrick: [00:31:02] In the Zoom call, everybody’s just looking at me like, what in the actual F is wrong with you? [Yeardley laughs] Are you serious right now? Rick is looking at me and I’m looking at Rick. You know how when you’re in a Zoom call and you can tell who’s looking at who sometimes. Rick and I were looking right at each other, what the fuck just happened? How is this even possible? What are the chances of, like, we’re reading each other’s minds? Like, is this really true? So, there’s some stuttering and siblings like, “Wow, that’s quite a coincidence. Oh, okay.” And then, I am like, no, no, no. “Did May tell you about going to jail?” And Rick said, “I remember that. I remember her saying she needed an attorney, that she was in trouble at work.” And I’m like, I cannot believe the chances of this. We are thousands of miles away, six degrees of separation, I guess. What on earth are the chances that I arrested my half-brother’s stepmother 10 years before we knew each other existed?
Yeardley: [00:32:05] That’s insane.
Patrick: [00:32:23] So initially, this was a bit of a strain, I think, on my dad. DNA technology wasn’t a thing back then. I mean, this was in the early 70s. I think at first it was a bit of a shock to the system, knowing that this is something that was supposed to be anonymous back in the day, and it should have been for everyone’s sake. It was all supposed to be anonymous. And now it’s not because of DNA testing, DNA technology. And the parents at the time all had intentions of probably not having their children ever find out about this and for a good reason, because what good can come of it?
[00:32:53] I mean, you could find out that you arrested your half-brother’s stepmom, [Yeardley laughs] but my dad, he’s reached out to all of them, he’s met them, and he’s certainly open to having a relationship of sorts. Whatever they want, he’s willing to give.
Yeardley: [00:33:09] That’s amazing.
Patrick: [00:33:11] Yeah, he’s a great guy. I could see him back in the day doing that with the best of intentions and thinking, “Hey, I’m doing this really nice thing for these families.” And he was.
Yeardley: [00:33:22] Yeah, sure.
Dan: [00:33:23] I don’t think anybody who ever donated in such a clinic back in the day ever had the inkling that they would find out who their biological offspring were based on their donations.
Patrick: [00:33:37] Right
Dan: [00:33:39] Without23andMe and ancestry.com and services like that, you would never think twice.
Patrick: [00:33:44] It wasn’t even a thought.
Dan: [00:33:45] Yeah. And I would imagine that when you make a donation to a sperm bank, essentially, that you can check a box and say, “I don’t want to know.” But the wild card here is 23andMe and ancestry.com that there’s no box to check. Like the fertility clinic doesn’t check with 23andMe and ancestry.com and say, “Hey, is it okay?” It’s completely separate.
Patrick: [00:34:11] And here’s the other thing. Even if you don’t submit your DNA to 23andMe or to ancestry.com, if a sibling does, you are going to find out about relatives and they are going to find out potentially about you, whether you wanted to have that anonymity or not.
Paul: [00:34:28] When you think about the genealogy databases, it’s just a percentage of the population that have uploaded their DNA. So, if you’ve got three new half siblings, generally it’s about 10% of the population have had their DNA put in the database. There’s probably a fair number out there that have not pursued the genealogy testing.
Patrick: [00:34:47] I’ve thought about them and I’ve thought, what relatives of theirs have I arrested?aughter]
Dan: [00:34:52] Yeah.
Patrick: [00:34:53] Have I arrested them myself? [Yeardley laughs] Not realize how much we look alike?
Paul: [00:34:58] So what’s the statute of limitations on aggravated theft in your state.
Patrick: [00:35:02] Three years.
Paul: [00:35:03] Okay, okay so Rick’s stepmom is free and clear, huh?
Patrick: [00:35:09] May is way in the clear. And Rick did not want to talk to her about it. He did not want to open that wound. And she’s even older now, so Rick did not want to talk to May about that or even talk about the connection. Rick did not want to upset May by bringing that up.
Dave: [00:35:29] He knows what that’s going to do.
Patrick: [00:35:33] Yeah. And from talking to him, Rick has a lot of fondness for May. He doesn’t have anything bad to say about her. He wouldn’t have guessed that this would be the case. And when I talked to him later about talking about it on this show, Rick said, “I really hope that you find out that there was, like, a good reason for why she did what she did, because it just doesn’t seem like something she would do.”
Yeardley: [00:35:57] Skim the money from the customer checks and stuff.
Patrick: [00:36:02] Yeah. So, I did tell him, “Well, in researching, I did go back and look at more of this, and this was what was going on behind the scenes with her employer, Darryl. So, May was potentially being used to launder money, and perhaps to her, it felt like the right thing to do was to build up her own funds to have something to fall back on, because obviously that’s not sustainable. It’s untenable. I wish that I’d been able to hear exactly why they had that arrangement, but I don’t think I’ll ever get to know that.
Dan: [00:36:38] But may never faced trial.
Patrick;’ [00:36:38] Nope.
Dan: [00:36:38] It just all went away because Darryl didn’t want to give you a statement.
Patrick: [00:36:43] Correct. He was not able to answer it.
Dan: [00:36:46] Is Rick’s father still married to May?
Patrick: [00:36:48] Rick’s biological father is my father. So, his father, growing up, has unfortunately passed away. And nothing to indicate that he had any idea what was going on. In fact, I don’t think I ever met him. I just knew that they had the same name.
Yeardley: [00:37:05] So, you never met Rick’s dad, the dad he thought was his dad.
Patrick: [00:37:09] Correct. Yeah. I never met Rick Sr.
Yeardley: [00:37:12] Have you met all your other half siblings?
Patrick: [00:37:15] The first guy, we hadn’t gotten to know him because it had just affected him in such a different way. I have since met him in person and love the guy. Like, immediately when we met, it’s like we’re brothers. Just such a nice guy. And our minds think alike in so many ways, it was just so weird. Dan and Dave, you guys are identical twins, so I’m sure you guys can relate how much you think alike.
Dan: [00:37:41] I know what he’s thinking right now and it’s dark.[laughter]
Patrick: [00:37:46] It feels dark from over here.
Dave: [00:37:48] We finish each other’s sentences. I mean, obviously, when you are siblings with someone, there’s a bond there that I think goes beyond explanation.
Patrick: [00:37:56] I totally agree. And I think some siblings have more of a bond, more like alike. And maybe it is how much DNA you share. Like, one of the sisters that I grew up with, knowing that was my sister and this new sister, they shared more DNA than my two sisters that grew up with each other did.
Yeardley: [00:38:14] How is that?
Patrick: [00:38:16] They were also half siblings. So, my dad was married once and had two kids. Then he married again and had me and my sister. And that was all that we knew about was us four siblings, and we all grew up together. And so, getting new siblings added to me. At first, I was like, “This is awesome. This is cool. Maybe I’ll like these ones more.” And I did. [Yeardley laughs] My siblings are going to hate me for that one. It’s a little jab. If they’re being honest. They’re happier now too.
Dave: [00:38:41] So, earlier you mentioned that among the detectives that you worked with, this was kind of a running joke, but that you had detectives retire, move to different assignments. So that joke eventually died a little bit. Right?
Patrick: [00:38:54] Right.
Dave: [00:38:56] Was anybody around when all of this DNA stuff happened and you were on the Zoom call with Rick talking about May? Did you go back into the office one day and say, “You will not believe? Do you remember that case we used to joke about?” Did you have a moment like that?
Patrick: [00:39:10] I had a moment. All of them except one had left police work either through retirement or going to a different line of work. But we still had our old financial crimes group message. And every now and then, it would light up with some memories. And I was like, “I got one for you guys. Check this out.” And it was again, met with the. “Are you kidding me? Are you serious? That’s actually legit? Like, that really happened?” Yeah, that actually happened. There’s DNA to prove it. It was a strange case in 2010. I had a corrupt reporting party from the beginning.
Yeardley: [00:39:49] Who was Darryl?
Patrick: [00:39:50] Correct. And then it was a strange resurfacing of that case in 2020. 2020 was weird enough. That was the weirdest year of my life. And this may be the topper of all of it. And so, it was a fun lesson to learn as a new guy and a frustrating thing to put so many hours into a case and to have it reach such a strange conclusion. I had no idea at the time, 10 years later, I was going to find out that there’s a family connection to this lady that I put in jail.
Yeardley: [00:40:25] You know, if this was a movie, nobody would believe it. Patrick, that was great. I think it’s so lovely when we usually talk about so many dark situations and the absolute worst that people will do to each other to have a story like this that has a great unexpected twist and nobody actually died. So, thank you for that.
Patrick: [00:40:46] Absolutely. Thank you.
Paul: [00:40:48] I actually was thinking the same thing. Sort of like, this was a fun story to learn and there was some good that really came out of this new family that Pat has found out about.
Yeardley: [00:40:57] Yeah, I love it.
Patrick: [00:40:59] Yeah. I have these new siblings that I didn’t know about. They’re all great. None of them are criminals. So that’s nice. They’re just good people. Like, I would invite any of them over to come to my house and they’re just all good people. They’re nice people. They’re better than the rest of us. We all agree, us that grew up together, we’re like, “We like them more.”
Dan: [00:41:18] You guys are the shady part of the family tree.
Patrick: [00:41:19] Absolutely. Some of us more than others.
Yeardley: [00:41:22] Amazing. Thank you so much.
Dan: [00:41:24] Yes. Thank you.
Dave: [00:41:26] Thank you.
Patrick: [00:41:26] You’re very welcome.
Yeardley: [00:41:30] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and me, Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. Our production manager is Logan Heftel. Our senior editor is Soren Begin, and our editor is Christina Bracamontes. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our social media is run by the one and only, Monika Scott. Our music is composed by John Forest and our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: [00:42:01] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.
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Yeardley: [00:42:45] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dan: [00:42:52] -in search of the finest-
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Dave: [00:42:56] -as always, by the detectives who investigated them. So, thanks for listening, Small Town Fam.
Yeardley: [00:43:01] Nobody’s better than you.
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