"Can't do that," says Seattle agent Gary Schoenlein. "It's part of our evidence file."
If the murder of Wales is a riddle, so is the capture of my package. I have no idea what size it is, when it was sent, who really sent it, or what might have been in it.
All I know, taking Schoenlein's word for it, is that it was mailed—apparently recently—to me with Tom Wales' return address written on the wrapping.
Wales, the federal prosecutor, was slain 11 months ago. When Schoenlein called recently to, as he put it, "try to clear up a mystery," he asked first if I received a package recently from Wales.
Well, he said, one was sent to me. But "it was undeliverable to Seattle Weekly." He didn't know or wouldn't say why, exactly.
So it was returned to the sender. That would be, according to the return address, the late Tom Wales—even though he clearly could not have sent it.
"The package was then forwarded to us," Schoenlein says.
It apparently had gone to Wales' Queen Anne home—or perhaps his former desk at the U.S. attorney's office in Seattle—and then was handed over to the FBI by family or associates.
So what's in my package? I asked the FBI.
"I can't comment on that," said Schoenlein.
"You won't tell me what's in my own mail?"
OK, then I'd like to have my package back, I said. If it was sent to me through the U.S. mail, you may have improperly intercepted it. I'd just like to see what's inside, then you can have it back.
Schoenlein wasn't impressed. "We were given it by the 'sender.' And it's evidence now. You can fill out an appeal. Best we can do."
The appeal has been made to Seattle FBI chief Charles Mandigo. But I'm not counting on receiving my package soon.
So here's another appeal, just in case the person who sent the package happens to read this: Could you mail it—or similar contents—again? Or maybe write and tell me what was in it?
1008 Western Ave., Suite 300
Seattle WA, 98104
Just in case the problem was the messenger, you might FedEx it this time.