They still meet at the scene of the crime. The breakfasts at the Hotel Clarendon are informal reunions of the lead investigators of the murder of Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles. The hotel itself, redone in the 2000s, has created a shrine of sorts to Bolles, photographs of the event along a hallway. No longer young men, they still have sharp, vivid memories. If one is fortunate enough to snag an invitation, bringing a reporter's notebook is impossible. It would shut down the conversation.
As difficult as it is for some of us to believe, next June will mark 40 years since the bombing. It remains the most enduring mystery and troubling crime in modern Phoenix history.
I have two minor personal connections. I was on duty that day on the ambulance and, as it turned out, one call rotation away from being there. My partner and I caught an auto accident with injuries, or 962 by the radio codes, at 16th Street and Southern. Next up was an explosion in Midtown. One of my friends took that call and was holding the mortally injured Bolles when he said, "They finally got me... Mafia, Emprise, Adamson... Find Adamson..." That's what she told me later in the squad room. (The excellent Paul Rubin of New Times has slightly different wording in this recollection of the event).
Also, in those days I was living in an apartment at 36th Street and Campbell, one of those classic Phoenix buildings surrounded by citrus trees with a grassy, shady courtyard. My neighbor was a young man named John. I noticed that whenever he came home at night, he would repeatedly circle the block. Over time, he told my mother that he and his mother had been relocated to Phoenix by the FBI after his father had died in a mob bombing in Chicago. The Bolles killing unnerved him. "He had been warned," he said. "They always warn you." Followed by, "I've said too much." He was even more reluctant to come home at night.