Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Below you’ll find the fifteenth journal entry that Caitlin Wang, our advice columnist who went missing in mid-February, wrote after she and her husband, Dr. Li Wang (from UT’s virology lab), fled Austin. Caitlin asked us to publish her journal in the hopes it will help her efforts to find her missing husband who disappeared in the Hill Country in May. A lot has happened in the interim, but we’ve made the editorial decision to finish publishing the journal before we catch you up on the horrific events that came soon after Caitlin asked for our help. We highly recommend starting at the beginning of this story with our series of videos, when we first announced that Caitlin was missing til when we finally found her and met in person for the first time. If you’d like to start with her journal entries, click here. We’ve included a summary at the bottom of this post of the parts of her journal we’ve made public so far.
May 22, 2020
It’s still Friday, same date as my last entry but much later in the day, and I want to quickly jot some notes about what happened this afternoon.
Basically I killed time until my two o’clock appointment with the lady whose house I’d parked in front of most of the night after fleeing V’s place. (One thing I did was call Henry Sullivan to see if he had any news for me re my missing husband or his associate, Greta Shultz, but so far NOTHING. Henry told me to please be patient. But how can I be patient when I’m by myself trying to figure out who I can talk to and what the fuck is going on?) I know I’d be better off without the bird — more options about where I could find shelter — but she’s good company and I can’t give her up. In fact, while I was waiting for two o’clock to roll around, Lola and I had some interesting conversations. She talked about “that shithead, Trump.” “Oh, you don’t like Trump?” I asked. To which she squawked, “TRUMP’S A FASCIST!”
Wow! That tells me about her owner, Otto Ling’s politics. I’m liking him better and better.
Another thing Lola kept squawking about was Dr. Fauci. “Call Fauci!” she would command, a refrain she’s repeated periodically since the beginning, and so I did, looking up Fauci’s number in Li’s little black book. But when I called the number, the person on the other end — a woman — hung up on me after I’d identified myself as Dr. Li Wang’s wife and said I was looking for information. “Don’t ever call this number again!” she shrilled, a real slap in the face. I will have to ask Henry to investigate since, as far as I know, Li and Fauci are on good terms.
Finally, it was two o’clock. I pulled into the driveway of Nicole Jeffords, the publisher of ArtProfiler’s house. I’d never met this lady, or the other editor, Randi, though I’d been submitting advice columns to the website under the name CD Knowles since 2018. (I didn’t charge $$$ for the columns either; to me, answering all those sad, desperate questions was a good deed.) I texted that I had arrived and almost immediately the garage door opened and a lady in a mask and gloves stepped out. I left the truck to greet her, keeping the A/C on for Lola. As I was doing that, a dark red Mazda pulled up in the cul-de-sac and another lady, Randi I assumed, got out and followed me into the courtyard/driveway of Nicole’s big hacienda style house.
Nicole was older, maybe Li’s age, with frizzy grey hair and a soft voice. She was tanned and wearing shorts. Randi was younger, in her early forties, a sexy-looking lady in a tight dress and sandals, the more forceful of the two. “Hey lady, so good to finally meet you!” she sang out and we all began to say how nice it was to see one another in person. They joked about what a mystery I’d been the past two years. I didn’t care about that, in a hurry for them to suggest a place for me to stay. Nicole’s big house with the palms and gorgeous flowers in front looked just fine for my purposes.
But no, I couldn’t stay with her because of Covid, she said. She and her husband weren’t allowing anyone in the house, not even their kids.
As for Randi, she has a six-year-old, so same deal: no one comes in her house.
Oh shit, what was I going to do? I actually broke down and started weeping uncontrollably. It was all too much, I just couldn’t take this fear and danger and homelessness one minute longer. Randi was the one who took pity on me (Nicole just looked extremely uncomfortable). “I’m a property manager as well as an editor,” she said. “I have a client who’s out of town till September, so I can let you stay there, no problem.”
No problem and no problem for me to have the bird there as well!
So I followed Randi to her client’s house in Westlake. The only thing I will say right now is that it has a pool and I immediately shed my sweaty clothes and dove in. Perhaps my luck has changed? More on that tomorrow.
Summary of What We’ve Made Public So Far
Dr. Li Wang’s sister Mei was researching corona viruses at the Wuhan lab in China, but she disappeared under suspicious circumstances after having mailed highly classified material regarding her research to Dr. Wang here in Austin. (It was sent on an external hard drive hidden inside a key fob.) When he received news of Mei’s disappearance from his niece (who lives in China) in February, Dr. Wang packed up his lab and some supplies, and he and Caitlin set out to live off the grid in a cottage outside of Doss, TX. While there, Dr. Wang had been working in full Hazmat gear on various vials he stored in the small lab fridge. He told Caitlin that if anything should happen to him, she must not, under any circumstances, go to the authorities, and that she was to take the key fob to a researcher in Galveston named Otto Ling.
One morning a few months after arriving at the cottage, Dr. Wang went to the grocery store but never returned. The next afternoon, two law enforcement officers showed up at the cottage with the keys to Li’s truck which had been abandoned, keys still in the ignition, on the side of the road. Caitlin left with the cops to get the truck and returned to a ransacked cottage – Dr. Wang’s computer and all his scientific research had been stolen. She decided to search for him, first in the small town of Doss, and then back in Austin at their house, which had also been burglarized. At that point she had no choice but to drive to Galveston to deliver the key fob to Otto Ling.
Arriving at Ling’s house in the middle of the night, Caitlin slept in her truck, and when no one came to the front door the next morning, she jimmied open a window and let herself in, where she found a chatty African Grey parrot and came face to face with Ling’s angry neighbor. A visit to Ling’s lab at UTMB was a dead end – he’s on sabbatical, no one knows where he is. The neighbor who was taking care of Ling’s parrot, Lola, was ill with what Caitlin suspects is Covid-19, so Caitlin packed the bird and her things into her husband’s truck and headed back to Austin to visit his lab at UT, something Dr. Wang had specifically warned her not to do. That’s where she ran into one of Li’s associates, Dr. Greta Shultz, who was neither kind nor helpful.
Caitlin stayed that night with her friend Henry Sullivan who graciously offered to look into Greta Shultz and to check Caitlin’s computer to see if it had been hacked. Henry is allergic to birds, so Caitlin couldn’t stay with him more than the one night. That’s when she found herself settling into the guest bedroom of her former personal shopper, V, who revealed her true (romantic) feelings for Caitlin over dinner and then, later, snuck into Caitlin’s bed in the middle of the night. Completely freaked out by V’s aggressive and angry behavior at Caitlin’s rejection, Caitlin quickly packed up the bird and her things and parked her truck in front of ArtProfiler editor Nicole’s house, where she slept for a couple hours before dawn.
We’ll post another journal entry on Monday. To start at the beginning of this story, when we first announced that our advice columnist, C.D. Knowles (now confirmed to be Caitlin Wang), had gone missing, please click here. This will be an ongoing publication as we continue to sift through her journal and post the entries that explain everything.