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Tragedy On The Bay

By Janski

With two women drowned in an overturned sailing dingy, circumstantial evidence points to possible foul play. This episode starts just immediately before the convening of the coroner's inquest investigating this tragedy.

Chapter Three .... Capital "T" Triangle

The previous two episodes detailed a marine tragedy where two women drowned when a dingy sailboat overturned. A series of circumstantial events seem to point to the possibility that there was foul play involved. This episode starts just immediately before the convening of the coroner's inquest investigating this tragedy.

"Charon; Brandi and I are here because we were subpoenaed. What will we have to do?"

"Relax Ryan. My grandson Phredd also received his invitation to attend. He's been bugging me ever since he was served. Not to mention that his mother has been on my case right from the start. I look at this as a great learning experience for the youngster. The coroner will have your respective depositions read into the record. You will listen to this being done. You will then be asked if what was read is as you remember the events occurring. If you agree tell them so. If not, suggest to them what changes you think should be made. Then you can sit back and watch me sweat as to what will be the best way for me to introduce my suspicions."

Shortly after this exchange the coroner called the inquest to order. She had read into the record the deposition from the skipper of the sailboat that reported the overturned dingy to Canada Coastguard. A deposition from the Canada Coastguard radio operator was next. The depositions of the 'Blarney Barge's crew were read into the record and in each case were accepted as read. The same occurred with the depositions of the harbour police officers involved.

The coroner called Otto Hoff, the lone survivor to the stand. His deposition was read into the record and accepted as read. As Otto rose to return to his courtroom seat, the coroner asked him to remain as she had some additional questions to ask.

"Mr. Hoff; DNA tests indicate that neither you nor your wife Gretta are your daughter's biological parents. Was your daughter adopted?"

Hoff indicated that the daughter was adopted.

"Mr. Hoff; are you aware that at the time of your daughter's death she was almost three months pregnant? You must have some knowledge since DNA tests show that you are the child's father."

Talk about shit hitting the fan, this was a classic. It certainly took the wind out of Otto Hoff's sails. He sat as if transfixed. He then whimpered as the coroner attempted to call things to order. When things settled down she asked Hoff if he wished to make a statement?

Hoff described the start of the hot and heavy affair with his step daughter. It went on for most of her years in university. When she became pregnant she was adamant the she would see the pregnancy to term. It was then that the father and daughter schemed to do away with Gretta. This was seen as the way to finance the disappearance of father and daughter to enable them to resettle somewhere to live their torrid affair.

Hoff purchased the dingy sailboat. They all went sailing. Hoff caused the boat to capsize. Gretchen held her mother's head under water until Gretta stopped struggling. She then struck out to catch up with the overturned drifting dingy.

Standing on the overturned sailboat Hoff saw that Gretchen could not see the overturned boat because of the height of the waves. He stepped off the overturned boat and reached under the gunnels to grab one of the oars. Climbing back onto the overturned boat he tied his shirt to the blade of the oar and held up the oar for Gretchen to better see the boat's position.

The windage of the overturned boat caused it to move quite rapidly away from Gretchen. He tried to reach her with the oar and in doing so dropped the oar. Gretchen tired and slipped under the waves. Otto drifted until his position was reported to the coastguard by the sailor who sighted him.

The coroner called for order. "Gretchen Hoff is beyond the reach of the law. Circumstances indicate that her drowning should be ruled as death by misadventure."

"Further I recommend that you Otto Hoff be taken into police custody and charged with conspiracy to the murder of your wife Gretta."