Daniel Brennan answered on the first ring.
I'm not dealing with the FBI, I'm dealing with Daniel Brennan, recent man of leisure.
Perhaps, Daniel Brennan could get out of the kitchen but the five of us would be left sitting on the stove.
Let's see what Brennan can do for us.
I didn't believe what Dan Brennan told me and I'm not sure I do now but I'm no fool.
Tell Brennan he has carte blanch to give us everything within reason we might need.
Allow Brennan to operate with total independence and no pressure from you people.
Give Daniel Brennan a free hand and we'll both have what we want.
Brennan offered to pay us but we collectively agreed to not become wards of the government.
Daniel Brennan offered an opportunity in late February.
"If you remember Eric Campbell, call me," Brennan posted on our secure web site.
His name is Merrill Cooms, Brennan stated, sounding as if I should know the man.
Brennan gave me the phone number even though I didn't agree to call.
"Mr. Brennan asked me call you," I said by way of introduction.
Brennan offered a hint of information.
"The plate was stolen at a South Carolina mall," Brennan told me.
To ask Brennan directly might lead to us so I made up a story we were checking old cases to see if someone released from prison might have returned to this type of crime.
I mentioned finding the old name of Willard Humphries and asked if Brennan could check if he'd been released.
Both he and Daniel Brennan became sounding boards without being intrusive.
"He confessed," Brennan told us later.
Brennan reported back on Willard Humphries, Annie's alleged abductor.
Brennan thanked us for the name and said he'd try to run down his whereabouts.
Why don't you call Brennan when we get to the office and see what he thinks about the mystical Mr. Youngblood?
Brennan confirmed the FBI was approached and questioned about the preponderance of credible tips.
Brennan asked when there was a break in our conversation.
I talked it over with both Daniel Brennan and Merrill Cooms.
I agreed to Brennan to give it a try and see what we could do.
"Interesting thought," Brennan said when I'd told him our theory.
If pressure was applied to Daniel Brennan, it was never passed on to us.
I asked Daniel Brennan if there was any progress in the Bryce case.
I called Daniel Brennan the next day and related the story to him.
"So we have nothing," Betsy said, surprising Brennan who didn't know she was listening.
"Maybe we'll get lucky," Brennan said, but none of us believed it.
While we presumed Daniel Brennan and Merrill Cooms had gleaned much about our group from our many conversations, we continued to volunteer nothing concrete.
That's a start, Brennan said, getting back to business.
"Don't count on it," Brennan said with a sigh.
The phone call to Daniel Brennan cranked up our level of anxiety several notches.
Let's hold off deciding until I speak with Brennan and see what he can do.
Brennan felt Merrill Cooms idea had merit.
It was the last time we heard from Daniel Brennan for more than a week.
"Daniel Brennan wants you to call him," she announced instead.
Brennan picked up his phone on the first ring.
Brennan answered his own question.
Brennan paused before responding.
"Remember, we're not fools at my end," Brennan said with a hint of defensiveness.
Mr. Brennan posted that he wants you to call him.
While Daniel Brennan was aware of us as a group, he and I were the only ones that spoke directly.
Brennan tossed aside our concern, citing the lives we'd saved.
When I made a move to end the conversation, Brennan indicated there was more.
I advised Mr. Cooms but not Daniel Brennan, at least not yet.
By mutual agreement with both Daniel Brennan and Merrill Cooms, our conversations are reduced to an occasional call, for security sake.
Quinn, who'd been silent during our exchange, spoke up, "Maybe Daniel Brennan can pull in some favors."
I ended the conversation wondering if it was the last time I'd speak to Daniel Brennan, a stand-up guy.
Neither Daniel Brennan nor Merrill Cooms possessed that information.